Meager LA bikeway output in decline, support urged for Stop-as-Yield bill, and Carlsbad declares bike emergency

Before we get started, my brother the former Iditarod mushing and bike-riding adventurer is off on another cross-country bike tour.

He left yesterday on the Trans-America trail, taking it from Western Colorado to the Atlantic Coast. 

I’ll try to keep you posted when he shares details of his trip. 

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I doubt it will surprise anyone that bikeway implementation in Los Angeles fell last year.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton reports the LADOT showed a total of just 39.1 miles of new or upgraded bikeways for the most recent fiscal year that just ended, down from 52.5 the previous year.

And yes, that includes sharrows and bike routes, as well as protected bike lanes, bike paths and painted bike lanes.

Linton reports that implementation of bikeways fell precipitously under outgoing Mayor and erstwhile almost ambassador to India Eric Garcetti.

Although Garcetti doesn’t shoulder all the blame.

Under Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, bike facility implementation peaked at 200+ new bikeway lane-miles annually. Since Mayor Eric Garcetti took office in 2013, implementation has fallen dramatically. Under Garcetti-appointed city Transportation Department (LADOT) General Manager Seleta Reynolds, new bikeway mileage has been dismal, hovering between 10 and 52 miles annually for the past seven years.

It’s not all Garcetti and Reynolds’ fault, as their modest efforts have been blocked by many city councilmembers: Gil CedilloPaul KoretzCurren PriceDavid Ryu, Mitch O’Farrell, and Paul Krekorian have all vetoed planned bikeway projects in their districts.

I got pushback when I declared on twitter that last year’s total was a fail, as Linton and others pointed out that the figures for last year included some high-quality installations.

Which is fair.

Under Villaraigosa, the city focused on what they referred to as the low-hanging fruit, where installation of a bike lane didn’t require removing parking or a traffic lane.

And while the city remains averse to doing anything to annoy or inconvenience people in cars, they have built more protected bike lanes and cycle tracks in recent years.

Not enough, but still.

And not enough are truly protected, as the city too often pretends that car-tickler plastic bendy posts offer some form of protection from motorists, who can simply drive over them at will.

Hopefully, a new mayor and city council will increase funding to LADOT to hire more bike-focused engineers, and wipe the dust off the city’s Vision Zero and mobility plans.

We can hope, right?

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Calbike is urging everyone to call their state senators to urge them to vote for AB 1713, the latest attempt to pass a Stop-as-Yield law.

Streetsblog says we’re this close to getting the right to treat stop signs as yield signs, and that the bill addresses Governor Newsom’s complaint that led him to veto the previous version by limiting the law to riders over 18.

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They get it.

Carlsbad has responded to the recent deaths of two bike riders and a jump in ebike injuries by declaring a state of emergency, allowing the city to take immediate action to improve safety for bicyclists.

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Dr. Grace Peng has done the hard part for you, developing talking points for this afternoon’s workshop to discuss the California ebike rebate program.

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Belgian pro Wout Van Aert goes Hollywood, making a brief appearance in a Red Bull video featuring F1 racer Max Verstappen.

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GCN considers why bicycle license plates are a terrible idea.

Because they are.

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

A Chicago father accuses a hit-and-run driver of intentionally striking him and his daughter as they were biking home from school, not far from where a three-year old girl was killed earlier this year.

The Spanish driver who killed two people and seriously injured three others when he rammed a group of bike riders, possibly intentionally, is being held without bail pending trial, as police investigate him for possible murder charges; he has a long record of traffic safety violations, as well a violence against women.

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

New York police are looking for a hit-and-run bike rider, following the death of a pedestrian, who died days after the bicyclist collided with him while the victim was crossing a Manhattan street.

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Local

KCRW looks at the Healthy Streets LA ballot measure, which is being considered by the city council today, asking if the city can finally be friendlier to transit users and pedestrians. Because the measure’s not just about bikes, regardless of some perceptions.

The LA Times celebrates the closure of Griffith Park Drive through Griffith Park, and questions what other streets should be closed next. Like Hollywood Blvd, which is long overdue for a pedestrian plaza at Hollywood & Highland.

Good idea. A UCLA professor has created a new app enabling people to easily organize group bike rides to create safety in numbers for bike commuters.

Streetsblog talks with Los Angeles-based comedian George Coffey, who is turning Metro’s foibles into fodder for jokes.

Active SGV continues to live up to its name, as they continue to be one of the most active advocacy groups in the LA area; the group is bringing Slow Streets and open streets to the San Gabriel Valley, with a number of demonstration projects to show the value of traffic circles, outdoor dining, and bike lanes.

 

State 

Thirty-six-year old Kenneth Alexander Heimlich was convicted of going on a two-city crime rampage in Orange County in June, including pushing a bike rider into traffic and repeatedly stomping his head for no reason as they waited at a bus stop.

A 63-year old San Diego man was the victim of a hit-and-run when a driver turned in front of his bike, in a crash caught on security cam — even if the local TV station can’t be bothered to include it. Or even link to it. Schmucks.

Life is cheap in Lafayette, where the driver who killed 86-year old Joe Shami, better known as The Legend of Mount Diablo, walked without a single day behind bars; Lori Everett got a lousy one year probation and 100 hours of community service, while her victim got the death penalty.

A Davis writer says bicycle etiquette begins with being considerate.

 

National

The New York Times takes a look at the rise in traffic deaths, which disproportionately affect Black, Latino and low-income families.

A new study shows Blacks are overrepresented in bike and pedestrian deaths; the study also shows drivers of pickups and SUVs accounted for 38% of bike riders and pedestrians killed on the roads, despite being involved in just 20% of the crashes.

Marketplace says high-tech speed governors are gaining traction with safety advocates, even though carmakers hate the idea.

A six-year old Minneapolis girl was collateral damage in a shootout between two men when she was shot in the leg as she was riding her bike.

Heartbreaking news from Minnesota, where a pickup driver was arrested for vehicular homicide for killing an eight-year old girl as she rode her bike on the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Reservation.

Bighearted former Indiana University basketball player and Head Coach Dan Dakich and his wife gave away 31 bikes to kids in need earlier this month, as they work year round to ensure that every kid can have a bicycle.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. A North Carolina driver walked without a single day behind bars after copping to a plea deal for probation in the DUI death of a bike rider. Which sends a clear message to other drivers that it’s perfectly okay to get drunk, get behind the wheel and kill someone.

 

International

Road.cc considers the carbon footprint of your bike, which may be more than you think.

Newspaper readers in Hertfordshire, England like a government proposal to regulate bicyclists by requiring a numbered license plate and liability insurance to catch riders who totally ignore the rules. Even though that isn’t likely to happen, numbered plates or not.

Welsh bicyclists are ignoring government warnings to stay off the world’s longest and highest aqueduct; officials insist the 126-foot high structure isn’t wide enough to accommodate both people on foot and on two wheels.

Tragic news from Scotland, where champion mountain biker Rab Wardell died in his sleep in his Glasgow home, just two days after winning the elite men’s title at the Scottish MTB XC Championships; he was just 37.

A new study shows that Lisbon, Portugal’s bike paths reproduce the city’s social inequities, with people in working class neighborhoods having less access to them than residents of wealthy neighborhoods.

The first ever, ten-day Tour De Maccabi bike race and adventure tour will take Jewish bike riders rom Krakow, Poland through Slovakia and Hungary, before ending in front of Europe’s largest synagogue in Budapest

 

Competitive Cycling

As predicted, the first day back in Spain shook up the standings in the Vuelta, as three-time defending champ Primož Roglič stormed to victory in what The Guardian termed a “stunning effort,” taking the leader’s red jersey in the process; American Sepp Kuss is in second place, 13 seconds back.

The Mountain Bike World Championships begins today in Les Gets, France.

USA Cycling named the US men’s and women’s road cycling and time trial teams, with L39ION of Los Angeles cyclist Skylar Schneider the lone domestic competitor to make the team.

 

Finally…

Blame bikes for the demise of religion and a rise in women smokers.

And face it, he’s got a point.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

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