California ebike rebate plan takes shape, sentencing for killer San Diego driver, and 15-minute city conspiracy theories

This is who we share the road with.

A nice three day weekend with my wife was, if not ruined, at least darkened by a road raging woman who nearly ran us down making a left turn as we crossed the street, less than a block from our home.

She somehow took offense when I objected to the way my wife, dog and I nearly became roadkill, screaming that it was our fault because we hadn’t been paying attention.

Which was true for the dog, anyway.

Never mind that a) we had the right-of-way, b) she started her turn after we were already crossing the street, and c) she neglected to use her turn signal, which might have tipped us off.

But in her mind, we were 100% at fault.

Just another reminder that cars can turn people into monsters.

And that we’ll never have safe streets until our elected leaders have the courage and political will to actually do something about it. 

Ebike photo by Alex from Pexels.

………

Calbike updated the latest outlines of California’s long-delayed ebike rebate program, which is currently slated to begin sometime in the second quarter of this year.

Which means no sooner than April.

  • To qualify, participants can make no more than 300% of the federal poverty level (FPL).
  • The base incentive will be $1,000.
  • Participants can get an additional $750 toward the purchase of a cargo bike or adaptive bike.
  • People whose income is below 225% of FPL or who live in a disadvantaged community can qualify for an additional $250, so the maximum incentive amount is $2,000.
  • Incentives can be applied toward sales tax, as well as the purchase price.
  • Incentives will be applied at the point of sale.
  • All three classes of e-bikes can qualify for incentives.
  • Used bikes will not be eligible.
  • Incentives can be used to buy e-bikes from local bike shops or online retailers with a business location in California.
  • Adaptive bikes can include tricycles. CARB plans to keep the definition of adaptive e-bikes as broad as possible.

As far as I can tell, it looks like the Federal Poverty Limits are calculated using the adjusted gross income on your latest tax return, with certain items added back in.

………

The San Diego Bike Coalition is calling for bike riders to turn out for Friday’s sentencing of the wrong-way driver who killed Matt Keenan in September, 2021.

Keenan was riding his bike to the movies in Mission Valley when the driver, who hasn’t been publicly named, let alone shamed, rounded a corner on the wrong side of the road and hit him head-on.

His confessed killer is copping a plea to misdemeanor Vehicular Manslaughter with Gross Negligence, with a three-year license suspension and not one day behind bars.

Let me repeat.

A lousy license suspension — not even revocation — and no jail time at all. For needlessly killing another human being, while likely driving distracted.

According to the organization, Keenan’s wife Laura has become one of the leading voices for safer streets in the nearly year and a half since his death, and deserves the support of the entire bicycling community in calling for the judge to add additional penalties, like community service and probation, at the sentencing hearing.

If you can’t attend the hearing, they recommend emailing the judge.

Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up.

………

Thousands of apparently very confused yet virulent protesters turned out in Oxford, England to protest Low Traffic Neighborhoods, aka LTNs, as well as plans for 15-minute cities.

According to the BBC, the protestors based their LTN complaints on the difficulties they could pose for motorists who could be unable to drive directly through the city. Not to mention some major climate change denial, as well as baseless claims that it would result in a “climate lockdown,” with residents required to stay at home to protect the environment.

Meanwhile, 15-minute city proposals were bizarrely accused of being a front for a dystopian concentration camp-like lockdown, with gates locking residents inside their zone, allowed to leave just 100 days a year. Along with the creation of an Orwellian surveillance state to enforce climate goals.

Not to mention that Neo-Nazis turned out in support of the protests. Or maybe were behind it.

Consider, for instance, this speech by a 12-year old anti-Greta Thuneburg, which has been circulating in rightwing circles for the past few days. Even if it, like the rest of the opposition, is based almost entirely on baseless conspiracy theories.

https://twitter.com/ChildrensHD/status/1627050833706905600

And none of which actually have a damn thing to do with it, of course.

A 15-minute city simply means that everything you need for daily life should be located within 15 minutes of your home — preferably by walking, biking or taking transit.

Meanwhile, LTNs are simply designed to discourage driving through a neighborhood, to increase the safety and livability of the community.

Neither one is intended to force anyone out of their cars. And they certainly have nothing to do with a dystopian surveillance state.

Here’s how British bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid debunks the conspiracies in under a minute.

………

Call this ad the anti-anti-15-minute city ad, asking if we can put a man on the moon, why can’t a kid safely ride a bike?

Then again, we haven’t set foot on the moon in over 50 years, either.

………

A new French traffic safety campaign calls out the dangers of toxic masculinity behind the wheel.

Unfortunately for us monolingual types, though, it’s in French.

………

The legendary Nina Simone was one of us.

………

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

No bias here. A 79-year old Missouri man is dead because a driver’s van struck the victim’s bike. Not, say, the driver. Because apparently, the van somehow did it all on its own. 

No bias here, either. A Florida letter writer says bicyclists are a danger to themselves and others on the road because it’s a fact that we can’t keep up with traffic flow, and it’s our fault drivers get mad about it because we shouldn’t be there into first place. Then again, it’s also a fact that people on bikes are often faster than congested traffic. And we’re not responsible for how drivers, or anyone else, reacts. 

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

Life is cheap in the UK, where the courts let a 25-year old man walk with a 12-month sentence for wanton and furious biking, with all 12 months suspended; he was skitching and popping wheelies just moments before running down a 13-year old kid while blowing through a red light. Thanks to Marcello Calicchio for the link.

………

Local 

Streets For All is asking for your support for a motion at today’s City Council PLUM Committee meeting to end automatic street widening when new construction takes place, which results in those odd mid-block wide spots that too often get blamed on us.

Speaking of Streets For All, the street safety PAC is participating in the annual Climate Ride for the first time, and is looking for volunteers to ride with them, as well as sponsors for the riders.

SoCal Cycling discusses how to get back into bicycling after a long layoff. Kind of like the one I’ve gone through with one diabetes-related health problem after another, which has resulted in a bike that’s virtually unrideable at this point. And a rider who can’t either.

Unbelievable. Metro’s board Planning and Programming Committee rejected calls for pedestrian crosswalk improvements in Pasadena, as part of a package of multimodal projects using leftover funds from the cancelled 710 Freeway extension; advocates hope the full board will overturn the decision this week. Apparently they’ve forgotten the urgent need to improve walkability and bikeability in the face of a climate emergency.

This is who we share the road with. A group of pedestrians waiting for lunch outside a Sawtelle Blvd restaurant became collateral damage when two drivers collided and one careened into the crowd, sending four people to the hospital, including a 23-year old woman in critical condition.

 

State

Streets For All calls out Caltrans for misrepresenting 1,600 miles of Complete Streets, most of which are anything but. And asks you to comment on it.

San Diego’s Park Blvd will be getting dedicated bus lanes and buffered bike lanes through Balboa Park, which has proven deadly for bike and e-scooter riders in recent years. Thanks again to Phillip Young.

Woodland Hills Magazine highlights the area’s best bike riding views.

A San Francisco TV station reports East Bay bike riders are showing solidarity in the face of violent dooring attacks by teenagers in an apparent stolen car; shamefully, Oakland cops say they’re too busy to do anything about it.

Apparently having nothing better to do, the CHP is investigating several instances of juvenile bike riders on the Bay Bridge.

 

National

A Utah man pled guilty to reduced charges for killing one man and injuring another when he crashed into their bikes last July; he was on parole for multiple felonies and had amphetamine, meth, codeine and morphine in his system at the time of the crash. Not to mention belonging to a Nazi criminal gang.

Life is cheap in Texas, where a bus driver walked without a day behind bars for killing a bike rider on the UT campus in 2019; the 44-year old woman got seven years probation and 250 hours of community service, while her victim got death.

Minneapolis is staring down a more than a quarter of a million settlement for the forcible arrest of a man riding a bicycle during the 2020 protests over the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, even though the bike rider “was peacefully and lawfully exercising his constitutional right to protest.”

No bias here, either. The Ohio legislature is proposing a ban on center lane bike lanes in cities of 300,000 population, after Cleveland business owners complained they wouldn’t be able to make left turns or unload their trucks.

Tragic news from Pennsylvania, where a 75-year old man was killed when a cop responding to a traffic call rammed his bicycle from behind, while traveling without his lights or siren on; meanwhile, a woman standing in a New York bike lane was killed when she was collateral damage in a crash between a cop and another driver.

Bizarre story from South Carolina, where a John Doe was finally identified as a South Carolina man after his family reported him missing, three months after he was killed riding his bike without ID. Yet another reminder to always carry ID with you when you ride. 

A New Orleans TV station says the city’s bikeshare system is the best way to get around during today’s Mardi Gras celebrations.

 

International

National Geographic says gravel cycling is the next big trend.

CNN highlights ten of the world’s best cities to explore by bicycle; unfortunately, San Francisco is the only US city on the list. And needless to say, Los Angeles isn’t. Thanks to Steve Fujinaka for the tip. 

Canadian F1 driver Lance Stoll is one of us; the driver for Aston Martin will miss next month’s Bahrain Grand Prix after suffering an injury in a “minor” bike crash.

You’ve got to be kidding. Bath, England NIMBYs argue that new green bike parking hangers will threaten the city’s Unesco World Heritage status. Because evidently, all those cars and their parking lots must have been there since Roman times.

Police in the UK are facing justified criticism for advising a pair of bike riders  “be aware,” “keep space” and “expect to wait” after they were struck by drivers, with no suggestions for drivers to not hit people, on bikes or otherwise.

British Channel 5 news anchor Dan Walker is one of us, after he had to miss his broadcast after he was struck by a driver while riding his bike to the strain station.

Hit-and-run drivers in the UK could soon face of fines up to the equivalent of $1,200 for not stopping after hitting a cat. Which is more than many drivers get for killing someone on a bicycle.

Cycling Weekly says bicycling is growing in some parts of the Middle East, despite poor infrastructure and police harassment, while being banned in other places.

Things are looking up for bike shops in Vietnam, as more Vietnamese commuters are opting for riding a bicycle.

He gets it. A Philippine professor says riding a bike is a basic human right, and he intends to keep doing it for the rest of his life.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cyclist looks at the hard road ridden by newly crowned Esteban Chaves, who became Colombia’s national champ for the first time at the ripe old age of 33.

A 20-year old British bike rider says forget hi-viz, after his back and bike were both broken when he was struck by a driver, despite wearing a kit he says couldn’t have been brighter.

British cyclist Tom Pidcock shows off his bike handling skills at the Volta ao Algarve’s time trial on Sunday.

https://twitter.com/writebikerepeat/status/1627332215435657216

Sad news from the Netherlands, where Dutch cyclist Amy Pieters suffered a setback in her recovery from a near fatal 2021 bike crash, although she continues to ride an adaptive bike, despite suffering epileptic seizures.

Hear, hear! Kenyan-born Chris Froome says he has high hopes for African cycling.

 

Finally…

Foster a pet, get a discount on your next bike. Probably not the best idea to hit a cop who stops you for riding without a light.

And no more free bikes for Indian school kids.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

One comment

  1. Mike Wilkinson says:

    I’m really sorry the two of you had such a frightful experience. I’m very glad you’re all OK. Best wishes to you!