Screens impair drivers more than alcohol or drugs, famed LA cougar victim of traffic violence, and snow gravel biking above LA

Just five days left in the 8th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Time is running out to show your love for this site, and help keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day. 

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Your support is very needed, so don’t wait. Take a moment to donate right now via PayPal or Zelle, before you forget!

Every contribution, no matter how large or small, is truly and deeply appreciated. 

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No, seriously, she’s going to keep staring until you give something.

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A writer for Streetsblog suggests there’s a lot more to impaired driving than driving under the influence, noting that drivers using Apple CarPlay’s touchscreen are five times more impaired than someone who is legally drunk.

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released what seems, at first, to be a shocking statistic: a sample of more than 7,000 road users who were killed or injured in car crashes across America, 56 percent of them tested positive for impairing substances when they arrived at the hospital…

To be abundantly clear: none of this is to say that impaired driving, and especially drunk driving, isn’t extraordinarily dangerous. A motorist’s odds of getting into a car crash double at a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.05, which is the legal limit only in Utah, and they roughly triple at 0.08, the limit in most other states. The universe of potential effects from the universe of impairing substances a U.S. driver might consume include decreased muscle coordination, distorted perceptions, increased risk taking, and so much more. The correct number of drinks, or pills, or other delivery mechanisms for impairing substances that a driver should take before she gets behind the wheel is always zero.

A lot of those deadly effects, though, are also present in people who are sleep-deprived, or stressed, or fiddling with a NHTSA-approved “infotainment” screen embedded in the dashboard of their car — and in some cases, those effects can be as bad or worse than knocking back a couple of beers. One UK study found that using Apple’s CarPlay system slowed drivers’ reaction times nearly five times as much as driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 — but CarPlay is legal on U.S. vehicles, even as U.S. regulators spend millions on anti-distracted driving campaigns to politely request drivers not use it.

It’s definitely worth taking a few minutes to read the whole story. And maybe change your mind on who and what poses the biggest risks on the roads.

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It turns out LA’s celebrity mountain lion P-22 was a victim of traffic violence, suffering from a fractured skull, an eye injury, herniated organs and a torn diaphragm, all apparently the result of being struck by a motorist.

He was put down on Saturday after being captured due to concerns over his health.

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Evidently, you don’t have to ride far to find snow above LA right now.

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Good question from Reddit.

I hate driving in Los Angeles. from LosAngeles

Thanks to How the West WS for the heads-up. 

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This brief UK thread may be the best bike Twitter exchange this year.

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Bikepacking offers advice on how to secure your bike on a bikepacking trip.

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‘Tis the season.

A National City, California group plans on giving out 200 bicycles and a thousand toys on Christmas morning, continuing a 50-year tradition.

Touching story from West Jordan, Utah, where the family of a 13-year old boy killed by a drunk driver while riding his bike earlier this year were given a huge Harry Potter-themed Christmas tree that had been designed in his honor and sold to benefit a local children’s hospital; the buyer bought it just to give it back to them.

A Texas law firm donate 140 bicycles to local kids in their second annual bike giveaway, saying it reminds them of how much they enjoyed riding bicycles as kids.

The kindhearted owner of a Cicero, Illinois bike shop is fixing up old bikes, and placing them outside for anyone who wants one to simply take it, no questions asked.

A Michigan girl whose heart is definitely in the right place collected cans all year to buy 50 bicycles to donate to local kids.

Twenty-eight kids at at Bloomington, Indiana Boys & Girls Club got new bicycles in a Christmas tradition funded by a local attorney.

Kindhearted students at a Tupelo, Mississippi high school built bikes to give to local kids in need, as part of an annual Christmas bike giveaway.

A Hilton Head, South Carolina real estate agent donated 300 bicycles and helmets for local kids and teens for the 25th consecutive year.

A Georgia sheriff’s department teamed with a local bike shop to donate 13 bikes to local kids who might not otherwise get one. Then again, they also gave away a couple mini-motorized Ford Broncos, because its never too early to instill some motor mania in the kids.

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

No bias here. A San Diego letter writer insists that local residents just aren’t interested in riding bikes and protected bike lanes go unused, wasting money and road space. Although another letter writer insists on patience, comparing bike lanes to the centuries-long delay before indoor toilets gained popularity. Let’s hope it doesn’t take quite that long.

Edmonton, Alberta is ripping out a new bike lane because local residents preferred restoring curbside parking to keeping bike riders safe.

A Scottish judge allowed a road raging hit-and-run driver to walk without a single day behind bars for intentionally swerving into a bike rider, leaving the bike riding man seriously injured with multiple fractures, and sentencing the driver to an overnight curfew, instead. Just one more example of authorities keeping a dangerous driver on the streets.

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Local 

Metro continues to flush money down the induced demand toilet by approving a zombie project to widen the 57 and 60 freeway interchange at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, despite the damage it will do the the climate; the project was originally conceived to serve a proposed football stadium that was never built.

Urbanize LA wants you to vote for LA’s biggest transportation story of 2022.

Apparently, it’s not just bikes, as Crosstown LA warns that e-scooter thefts are on the rise, too.

 

State

Yes please. A state committee calls for ending pretext stops by police, which have long been used to harass bike riders while fishing for criminal violations.

The Lightning Velo Cycling Club will host a pair of holiday lights bike tours in Rossmore on Thursday and Friday. (Scroll down)

San Francisco advocates used artificial intelligence to quantify how many bike riders used a local Slow Street, and saving it from being returned to drivers.

 

National

Bike shops across the country are coping with a post-pandemic glut of bikes, parts and accessories that were ordered during the bike boom, but delivered long after sales have tapered off. Which means it might be a great time to get great deal at your favorite local bike shop, who would undoubtedly appreciate the business. Thanks to Victor Bale for the link. 

Road Bike Rider explains the term “hold your line,” which you’re likely to hear on any group ride or road race. Someone once wanted to fight me because I failed to hold my line on a corner when I was a) riding alone, and b) riding despite a broken arm; the dispute only ended when I used my good arm to threaten to put an air pump through his spokes.

Seattle is replacing the car-tickler plastic bendie posts on a downtown protected bike lane with actual concrete barriers to keep drivers from parking in them, but leaving out a known conflict zone. (Scroll down. No, keep scrolling.)

The Washington Post examines Denver’s ebike rebate program, suggesting it could be a national model to cut emissions and traffic congestion. Then again, it could have been California serving as a national model, if the state’s fully funded $10 million ebike rebate hadn’t suffered a years-long failure to launch.

A Cleveland bike shop has been in business since 1883.

New York’s iconic 5th Avenue is about to get a Complete Streets makeover, transforming the car-choked boulevard into a safer, human scale “pedestrian-centered area that also prioritizes mass transit and cyclists.Maybe we can talk our new mayor into doing the same thing with Wilshire Blvd. Thanks again to Victor Bale. 

A Harlem magazine offers tips on how to pick a new bike. Which actually make sense for a change, even if they are a little simplistic. 

Philadelphia is closing in 30 miles of protected bike lanes. No mention of whether those are centerline miles or lane miles; the latter counts bike lanes on both sides of the road separately, effectively doubling the actual miles of protected roadway. 

A DC site celebrates a decade of getting their Christmas tree home by bike.

She gets it. The vice mayor of Manassas, Virginia says streets have to be remade to protect all road users, and it’s up to all of us to improve traffic safety.

 

International

Canadian Cycling Magazine questions whether a cop parked in a bike lane in front of a Toronto hospital was on an emergency call, or just getting coffee.

Czech carmaker Škoda’s We Love Cycling offers a short list of very practical gifts to keep your family bicycling.

Power may be out in most of Ukraine, thanks to Russian bombing of civilian infrastructure, but residents of Kiev are keeping the Christmas lights on at a train station through sheer pedal power and determination.

A Manilla writer calls for converting the city’s pandemic-era popup bike lanes into motorcycle lanes, because they aren’t safe enough for bicyclists to use.

 

Finally…

Turn your bicycle into a winter-friendly snowbike. Why it matters if your frame has a stiffie. Or is one.

And that feeling when you spend a month’s salary on a new bike, then disappear without a trace while riding it around the world.

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Happy Chanukah to everyone celebrating today.

Chag Urim Sameach!

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

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