Study shows bike injuries down, CicLAvia comes to Sherman Way, and NYC safety advocate killed by uninsurable driver

Before we start, I need to correct yesterday’s story. 

A comment from Dawn made it clear that I had miscategorized a story about her father’s August death in Irvine. 

After correcting it and adding it back into the totals for OC, that made 17 people killed riding their bikes in the county last year, and 82 in Southern California. 

Here are the corrected totals for Orange County. 

Orange County

  • 2022 – 17
  • 2021 – 7
  • 2020 – 14
  • 2019 – 13

My apologies for the mistake. 

………

A new study from the Medical University of South Carolina mixes apples and oranges to conclude that bicycling injuries are decreasing, despite an increase in ridership.

Except the study period, which showed a 1/3 drop in bicycling injuries, ran from 2012 to 2021, while the jump in ridership they cited came from 2000 to 2014 — including a dozen years before the study period.

Never mind that the increase in ridership stemmed from “public bicycle utilization,” which sounds suspiciously like they may be referring to bikeshare use, which exploded because of the exponential growth of bikeshare programs as they spread across the US.

Not necessarily because more people were riding bicycles.

However, they at least have to wisdom to conclude that the reason for the decrease is outside the scope of the current study. But then shoot themselves in the foot by speculating that at least part of the reason could be due to the increase in indoor cycling.

And yes, that could have something to do with it. But only because indoor cycling and outdoor bicycling are two entirely different things, with one presenting far less risk of falling off your bike or getting struck by a carless or distracted driver.

Unless maybe you live on the 405.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.

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CicLAvia announced LA’s first open streets event of 2025, unveiling a map for a five-mile route along Sherman Way in the San Fernando Valley on the last Sunday in February.

It’s just the first of what’s planned to be eight CicLAvias throughout the Los Angeles area this year.

………

Heartbreaking news from New York, where 85-year old author and safety advocate Norman Fruchter was killed by a reckless driver who backed over him at high speed, then hit him a second time going forward.

His death came 25 years after his wife, renowned health researcher and practitioner Rachel Fruchter, was killed riding a bike in New York’s Prospect Park.

Fruchter had responded to his wife’s needless death by becoming one of the city’s leading bike and pedestrian safety advocates, and was a driving force behind the eventual ban on cars in the park.

In a tragic irony, both Norman and Rachel Fruchter were killed by drivers considered uninsurable due to their bad driving records. And both killers were allowed to walk without charges by the NYPD.

Just two more examples of authorities keeping dangerous drivers on the road until it’s too late.

And even then, letting them off to kill again.

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Streets For All is hosting a family friendly Westside bike meetup in Culver City on the 22nd.

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I followed the years long fight over this road diet. So it’s nice to see the NIMBYs were wrong.

Again.

………

An Indian boy was caught on video carefully tying his little sister’s legs to his bike frame to keep her from falling off.

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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 Luis Obispo writer whines that it’s just too hard to drive if you have to safely change lanes to avoid killing someone on a bicycle, let alone watch out for people crossing the street so you don’t kill them, either.

A corner-cutting driver nearly hit a Welsh bicyclist head on as he patiently waited to make a left turn. So naturally, the car’s passenger gets out to yell at the bike rider that he was going to cause a crash.

No bias here, either. Bike riders in Malta will now be required to wear a helmet in an effort to reduce head injuries, while e-scooter riders will be required to wear a helmet and hi-viz. Never mind that at least some of the reduction in injuries from mandatory helmet laws has been shown to stem from reducing  bicycling rates. And don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer in wearing a helmet, and never ride without one. But mandating helmet use is counterproductive, reducing bicycling rates while leading to over-policing of low income residents and people of color.

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

More on the Kiwi ebike-riding man who repeatedly kicked a paralyzed handcyclist in the face, apparently simply for the crime of overtaking him. Seriously, there’s not a pit in hell deep enough.

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Local 

Streets For All founder Michael Schneider urges Los Angeles to stop wasting space and money by imposing parking minimums, calling it counterproductive to building desperately needed housing and fighting climate change.

Go SGV is offering ebikes for longterm rental, with prices starting at just $49 a month for students and $69 monthly for other renters, and e-cargo bikes starting at $129 a month.

 

State

Brea-based Aventon announced permanent price cuts up to 20% off its entire current ebike line, in anticipation of new 2023 models.

Encinitas will host the city’s Cyclovia open streets event on South Coast Highway 101 from 10 am to 2 pm this Sunday; the rain predicted for Los Angeles isn’t expected to extend that far south, so you should be in for good riding.

A Santa Rosa paper explains California’s new law requiring drivers to change lanes when possible to pass a bike rider. Which the SLO writer above seems to think is just too darn hard. 

 

National

A higher education website questions whether college e-scooter bans is an over-reaction, blaming infrastructure built for cars for at least part of the problem. And yes, it is. 

The Consumer Products Safety Commission announced a recall of 9,000 Salsa and Whisky carbon handlebars, which can crack near the brake/shift levers.

Someone who apparently doesn’t understand the meaning of ghost bikes is placing white-painted kids bikes with plastic doves on the handlebars at intersections throughout Portland, making the city’s bicycling community mistakenly fear there’s been a rash of children killed riding their bikes in recent weeks.

He gets it. A Kansas City op-ed writer says the city’s new bike lanes aren’t just for “serious” bicyclists. In fact, it’s the so-called serious bicyclists who need them least; bike lanes serve to encourage reluctant riders to feel safer and give bicycling a try. 

Once again, a bike rider is a hero, if a wounded one this time, as a Chicago man riding a bicycle was shot in the elbow when he tried to stop a thief from breaking into a car. No word on whether he was successful at stopping the thief, or if he sacrificed his elbow in vain.

A Michigan state agency has ruled a pair of Black Detroit judges were in the wrong when they blamed racism for a dispute with a bike rental shop, and says they shouldn’t have identified themselves as judges to the shop workers and the police. Needless to say, the judges disagree, even though they ended up with a 100% discount.

In a truly bizarre case, a Michigan sheriff is asking a killer hit-and-run driver who confessed in an anonymous letter to come forward, 31-years after killing a 24-year old man whose body and bicycle were found in a flooded ditch a full month after the crash.

Life is cheap in Indiana, where a driver will spend just two years behind bars for killing a bike rider last April, followed by three years of work release.

New York advocates are pushing the governor to expand New York City’s Vision Zero program statewide, even though NYC’s program has only resulted in an 18% drop over ten years. But at least that’s better than traffic death rates going up, like they have in LA’s Vision Zero program

A DC letter writer says bike lanes are “for the potential benefit of the few to the detriment of the many;” insisting the city will never be Amsterdam. Then again, Amsterdam wasn’t Amsterdam until people had the will to encourage bike use and discourage driving. Which any city, anywhere can do.

Florida’s famous one-legged Black bicyclist suffered a broken neck and partial paralysis when he was struck by an SUV driver while riding to work the week before Christmas; fortunately, Leo Rodgers — aka The Black Flamingo — has started to regain feeling below the waist. A crowdfunding campaign has raised nearly $74,000 of the $130,000 goal for his recovery and medical care.

 

International

A Banff, Alberta city councilor is proposing speed limits for ebikes on city trails.

A new Dutch study shows half of likely ebike buyers would question their purchase if they were faced with a mandatory bike helmet requirement, and nearly a quarter would stop riding altogether. And yes, that’s in the Netherlands, which is arguably the world’s most bicycling obsessed country. Or maybe normalized is a better word. 

An Indian bicyclist describes his attempt to set a new Guinness record for riding between two towns 300 miles apart, with 23,000 feet of elevation gain in between.

A half-dozen dockless bikeshare operators are betting on success in Sydney, Australia, despite the country’s reputation as a sometimes watery graveyard for bikeshare.

 

Competitive Cycling

Trial continues for the men accused of robbing British cycling champ Mark Cavendish, as the court heard testimony about the late-night home invasion at knifepoint.

American pro cyclist Gavin Mannion unwillingly called it a career after 12 years, after failing to receive a contract to ride this year.

The popular Belgian Waffle Rides are taking over North America, with new rides expanding to Mexico and Canada.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your new e-cargo bike for working professionals is priced out of the reach of much of your target market. Or when you’re riding from Maine to Florida on one wheel — in the middle of winter.

And this is the kind of parking minimums we like to see.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

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