Soto-Martinez calls for new bus and bike lanes in CD13, San Diego op-ed calls bike lanes a rip-off, and drivers behaving badly

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You can’t say things aren’t changing in Los Angeles these days.

And Hollywood in particular.

In his first council session after replacing the recently ousted Mitch O’Farrell in LA’s 13th Council District, Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez introduced a motion calling for LADOT to report back with a list of bus lanes, bike infrastructure and pedestrian safety improvements that can be implemented within the next 18 months, as well as calling for placing shelters at every bus stop in the district.

Quite a change from O’Farrell, who spent eight years slow walking most safety projects, if not outright blocking them.

You can ask Soto-Martinez about his plans for the district at this evening’s Streets For All virtual happy hour; RSVP here.

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No bias here.

A retired university professor suggests that San Diego’s commitment to building bike infrastructure, with a goal of achieving a 10% bike commuting rate, is just another special interest rip-off.

Is this a joke? Or is it a monumental rip-off perpetrated by a very small but clearly well-organized special interest group of biking enthusiasts?

And then there is a safety issue. To date, there seemingly has not been any effort by the city or the state to either educate or enforce the multiple safety issues that are important for a mutual use of roadways by bicycles and automobiles. Few bikes on the road after dark have reflectors or lights; it is very rare to see a bicyclist signal to turn. And bicyclists blow through red lights and stop signs consistently — usually as they fly down one of the hills.

Just wait until he sees how people drive, in their big, smelly, two-ton death-dealing machines as they text on their phones, roll stop sighs and race to the next red light.

Of course, his proof that it’s a rip-off is that he and his husband don’t see bikes in the exact bike lane they’re watching, at the exact moment they’re watching it.

And never mind that the well-funded advocacy groups he complains about are in fact dramatically underfunded nonprofits who have to beg for money to continue their work every year.

It would be of interest to know which consultant arrived at this 10 percent number — and how. Special interest groups are focused, connected, well-organized and funded. My guess is that they were heavily involved in the planning for the pathways. And while clearly their prerogative, their influence seems to have outweighed the broader public good.

In reality, the broader public good includes getting people out of their cars — electric or otherwise — before we succeed in our so far successful efforts to destroy our planet, unless and until the erstwhile world’s richest man manages to find another one to move us all to.

And, of course, he can’t manage to make his case without the stunning revelation that “San Diego is not Copenhagen, Stockholm or Amsterdam.”

No, it isn’t. San Diego has much better weather for much of the year. And none of those cities were bike-friendly until they made the commitment and difficult transition to become that way.

But there is one thing he gets right.

San Diego is hilly, built around numerous canyons and hillsides. Yet I somehow managed to find relatively flat routes to get wherever I was going when I lived down there decades ago.

I doubt it’s gotten any hillier since.

Then there’s the ability of ebikes to flatten that terrain, and let anyone ride up and down them with minimal effort.

And if you’re to believe the local media and panicked seaside city officials, the entire place is already being overrun by ebike-riding social terrorists.

It’s possible that the city’s efforts to increase bicycling rates may fail, with too many people clinging to their steering wheels like Charleston Heston to his guns.

But it’s far too soon to give up, when the city’s bike network is still in its nascent stage. Let alone when its success is the only way the city can meet its climate goals.

So give it time, and keep building bikeways.

The worst thing that will happen is that the city will continue to get safer and more livable.

And maybe someday, someone in Copenhagen or Amsterdam will insist that they’re not San Diego.

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This is who we share the road with.

Fortunately, no one was seriously injured, except for the driver of the suspected stolen truck.

And a Laguna Beach hardware store was forced to close when a woman somehow drove her Tesla through the outer wall. Luckily, no one was injured.

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You only have until the end of this month to offer your input on how to make Redondo Beach Blvd and Ripley Ave safer and more comfortable spaces to bike and walk.

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After yesterday’s item about the brief flight of a pedal-powered plane, Steven Hallett reminds us about the Gossamer Albatross, the human-powered plane that successfully crossed the English Channel all the way back in 1979.

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

New York building owners are banning ebikes and e-scooters over concerns about battery fires, even though the problem is largely limited to refurbished batteries and mismatched chargers.

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

The people have spoken. People commenting here have all said we should stop linking to articles here where bike use is just incidental to some crime, rather than central to the story. So from here on, this section will be reserved for bike riders who fuck up big time. Let’s just make sure it’s not you, k?

Or me, for that matter.

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Local 

A Los Angeles actor and producer makes a pilgrimage to the great bicycling meccas of Europe.

In what should be must-see viewing for local and state officials, the new documentary 21 Miles in Malibu examines LA County’s killer highway, calling it one of the deadliest stretches of roadway in California.

 

State 

Caltrans is holding a webinar on Friday to present a progress report on the the Statewide Bike and Pedestrian Plan, with public comment extended to January 13th. Yes, Friday the 13th.

Streetsblog examines the worthy active transportation projects that didn’t get funded by the California Transportation Commission under a one-time, $1 billion state funding boost, demonstrating just how much demand there is for better bike and walking infrastructure.

‘Tis the season. The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office held their annual Christmas Bike Giveaway for the 33rd straight year, donating 300 bicycles refurbished by county jail inmates to kids in need.

San Francisco Streetsblog checks the progress on the new curb-protected bike lanes on Oakland’s iconic Telegraph Ave.

 

National

A writer for Planetizen argues active transportation and micromobility can do far more to provide cost-effective cuts in emissions than most current emission reduction plans. Meanwhile, Government Technology suggests micromobility has rebounded from its pandemic-induced downturn.

A Streetsblog podcast talks with historian and author Peter Norton about the history of roadside memorials to the victims of traffic violence.

Bike Portland reports the city is working with the FHA to build several advisory lanes, where bike riders get a lane on both sides, and drivers share a single center lane.

Kindhearted Texas cops worked with a nonprofit group to give a boy with special needs a new bike after his was stolen. Don’t get me started on what kind of schmuck would steal a bike from a special needs kid, though.

More on the Michigan bike shop owner killed in a Florida collision while delivering bikes to children affected by Hurricane Ian; 57-year old Steven Pringle was a grandfather and Army vet who founded a nonprofit providing “bicycle therapy” to veterans by repairing bikes to give to children in need.

The bike lanes on New York’s Roosevelt Island Bridge got a new weather-resistant surface, replacing the metal grate that was prone to causing tire punctures.

New York building owners are banning ebike and e-scooters over fears of battery fires.

 

International

CityLab sees a big opportunity in tiny electric minicars.

Quebec rules that a bike rider who was grazed, but not hit, by a passing motorist is entitled to compensation for her injuries. Although someone should tell them that getting “grazed” is getting hit. And so is getting sucked in or blown off the road by a passing vehicle. 

A London micromobiity company is placing a cognitive function test within their app, which will require ebike and e-scooter users to prove they’re not intoxicated before they’re allowed to rent one. So why can’t we do the same thing for motorists?

Portugal is the first country to reduce the value-added tax, or VAT, on bicycles in an effort to encourage increased ridership.

A Norwegian student praises the kindness of people in India’s Uttar Pradesh province, after thieves stole his phone, credit card, ID and other documents while on an around the world bike tour.

Bizarre story from Australia, where a young woman pled guilty to manslaughter in the death of a 7-foot tall man who was last scene riding his bike, after arguing that she only thought her boyfriend and another man were going to “kick the shit out of him,” not kill him.

 

Competitive Cycling

Colombian cyclist Miguel Ángel López was unceremoniously fired from his Astana-Qazaqstan cycling team, after the team found “probable” connections to a Spanish doctor being investigated for suspected drug trafficking and money laundering. But the era of doping is over, right? Or did they just get better at hiding it?

A Burbank website profiles a 16-year old mountain biker who competes in competitions throughout the US.

 

Finally…

Your bike could soon tell you when it needs new shoes. Why reinvent the wheel when you can just build a better kickstand?

And that feeling when bikes get squeezed out by pickleball.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

One comment

  1. Ralph Durham says:

    Advisory lanes. I ran across those in Holland a few years ago. Mostly on very low usage roads in the countryside. Made perfect sense and the few drivers we saw were respectful. Saw a short, 2 block set up in Cloverdale. Just off the main street through town.
    They make a lot of sense in teh right environment. How they go over when entitled drivers see one with a cyclist in front of them is another story.

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