Bicycles aid in Maui inferno; and California organizations say deadly roads are the real problem, not ebikes

Sometimes I feel like I’m beating a dead diabetic horse. 

But the physical problems I’ve had for the past few years — from debilitating neuropathy and carpal/ulnar nerve problems to possible damage to my vagus nerve — don’t stem from diabetes, but rather, from going undiagnosed with the disease for over two decades. 

Which is why I keep harping on the need to get tested. 

Despite having diabetes on both sides of my family, my doctors insisted a healthy diet, lean physique and riding over 300 miles a week meant I had nothing to worry about. 

Instead, all that did was hide my symptoms when I could have done something about it, and maybe prevented some of the problems I’m having now. 

Or maybe not.

But if you’re overweight or have a family history, or have any of these symptoms — including unexplained weight loss, which is how I finally found it — go to your doctor and demand to be tested.

No, now.

My doctor insisted I couldn’t have diabetes, and only gave in when I put my foot down. Then asked me why I wasn’t dead yet when he saw the results.

So call me a nag if you want. But I don’t want you to have to go through this if you don’t have to. 

Because diabetes sucks.  

Now let’s talk bikes. 

Photo by Cole Keister from Pexels.


In a brief comment, the governor of Hawaii mentions seeing people escape by bicycle from the infernos on Maui.

Another reminder that your bicycle may be the most reliable form of transportation in an emergency.

Unfortunately, I can’t find it online, but I’ve also heard some of the survivors mention in news reports that they first learned of the fire in Lahaina from people riding their bicycles through the city shouting warnings to evacuate.

There’s no way of knowing how many lives they might have saved. Or even if they were able to make it out safely.

But it’s one more example of bike riders as heroes.


They get it.

Calbike is joining with a very long list of California bicycle and street safety advocacy groups to say the real problem on our roadways isn’t ebikes, but deadly street designs.

However, this is not an “e-bike emergency” that can be solved by limiting or over-regulating people who use e-bikes. An elite bike racer was killed in San Francisco earlier this year, and an experienced teenage cyclist — a Junior Men’s National Champion— was killed by a driver in Colorado just this week while riding a regular bike; no amount of skill or education can save a person on a bike from a careless driver or our outdated and unsafe infrastructure.

Pinning the blame on e-bikes obscures the real problem. For example, 2022 was Oakland’s worst year for road fatalities in over 10 years, with 35 deaths. That included 15 people killed while walking and at least three people killed while riding bikes. None of the people riding bikes  was on an e-bike, yet Oakland, like most California communities, is suffering from a surge in traffic violence.

They go on to counteract anecdotal arguments, however tragic, with the facts regarding ebikes and street safety.

  • NHTSA data show California highway fatalities trending upward since 2010, long before e-bikes became popular.
  • Deaths of people riding bikes declined 8% between 2020 and 2021, as the number of people riding e-bikes increased, according to the Office of Traffic Safety. During that same period, OTS reports pedestrian deaths increased by 9.4%.
  • Many more pedestrians die in traffic collisions than bike riders (1,108 vs. 125 in 2021, according to OTS). Safety for vulnerable road users is an emergency that won’t be solved by regulating e-bikes.
  • IIHS data show a 55% increase in people on bikes dying in traffic collisions from 2010 to 2021. Despite recent hysteria about teens on e-bikes, most of those who died (90%) were aged 20 or older. During this period, deaths of bike riders under 20 decreased by 90%, while fatalities among those over 20 increased by 400%.

The groups — which include Streets For All, BikeLA, Active SGV, Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition and the San Diego Bicycle Coalition, among several others — call on the state to increase funding for the Active Transportation Program, and support the expansion of quick-build bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

Which beats the hell out of victim blaming and a knee-jerk call for ebike licenses — let alone snatching defeat from the jaws of victory by pulling California’s Stop As Yield bill from consideration by the legislature.

Meanwhile, Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer writes to correct the New York Times, saying roadway design, not bicycles, determines the safety of our communities, and that ebikes aren’t motorcycles and shouldn’t be treated as such.


I’ve seen similar stats from all over the US, including right here in Los Angeles.


Sounds like fun. Ride with the OC Wheelmen in two weeks.


This is what we could — and should — have here in Los Angeles.


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

No bias here. After a 73-year old Illinois woman was killed in a collision while riding her bike, the local paper blames “a vehicle” for her death, without ever mentioning that said vehicle may have had a driver.

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

A Santa Cruz letter writer says an ebike almost killed his friend, who ended up with his knee fractured in three places, and asks why an ebike was on a crowded sidewalk — never mind that the rider fled the scene. Aside from the fact that no one ever died from a fractured knee, the problem wasn’t the type of bike, but rather why it was being ridden on the sidewalk. Although it’s probably a safe bet that there wasn’t a safe bike lane next to it. 

Police in Philadelphia busted man for allegedly grabbing the butts of at least seven women as he rode by on a bicycle over a two day period. Or as a local paper calls him, the notorious South Philly bicyclist butt grabber.



This is who we share the road with. A pair of men are facing murder charges for the street racing death of an innocent woman in South LA last month, who was just crossing the street when they slammed into her.

Streetsblog examines the proposal to protect the existing painted bike lane on Forrest Lawn Drive, while reducing traffic lanes from four to two. Which is the real protection, rather than LADOT’s flimsy, car-tickler plastic bendy posts.

Downtown El Monte could soon be transformed by Complete Streets.

Metro Bike wants your opinion for their 2023 user survey.

Speaking of Metro Bike, the county bikeshare is hosting an easy 3-mile community ride to the California African American Museum tomorrow morning, followed by a day at the Exposition Park museum.

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition will host an 11-mile evening ride in West Pasadena tomorrow night — for “bike enthusiasts” according to the local paper.



Anaheim is investing $100 million to create a family-friendly two-mile OC Riverwalk along the Santa Ana River near the Honda Center, including a 350-foot bike and pedestrian bridge connecting Anaheim and Orange.

San Diego recommends seven of the city’s most scenic bike routes. It’s been a long time since I lived and rode down there, but as I recall, “scenic” is putting it mildly.

This is who we share the road with, part two. A 13-year old boy was arrested for leading police on a motorcycle chase through San Bernardino, racing head-on into oncoming traffic at speeds up to 65 mph.

Sad news from Berkeley, where bike shop owner Peter “Pete” Starke Rich passed away last week at 83 years old; Rich is credited with organizing the original Tour of California, the first American stage race in modern times.

San Francisco is considering an appeal after the California Public Utilities Commission voted to allow robotaxis to operate 24/7, continuing to use all of us as unwitting guinea pigs; WaPo — whose owner is also in the autonomous car business — calls it a pivotal moment for the autonomous car industry.

The connected Sacramento River Rail Trail and Sacramento River Trail, which form the backbone of a 250-mile trail system, will be inducted into Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Hall of Fame.



Slate says Lyft wants to get out of the bikeshare business, which could mean big trouble for American bikeshare systems.

Cosmo recommends the best gifts for bike riders.

Triathlete considers the new art and science of finding the perfect women’s bike saddle.

Life is cheap in New Mexico, where a 33-year old man will spend just six years behind bars after copping a plea for fatally stabbing a 70-year old man in a dispute over a bicycle. As we’ve said many times before, no bicycle is worth a human life.

Following on the heels of Denver’s highly successful ebike rebate program, Colorado will begin a statewide ebike voucher program on Wednesday. Meanwhile, California’s ever-gestating ebike rebate program remains vaporware. 

An Illinois man received a record $9 million jury verdict after he suffered a brain injury from going over his handlebars, while riding on a bike path that had been inadvertently torn up by trucks from the local utility.

A Detroit man faces up to 30 years behind bars on a pair of felony charges for the alleged drunken crash that killed a man riding an ebike; police found “full and empty alcohol bottles as well as a cooler filled with ice and full beer bottles” in the driver’s truck. But once again, the type of bike the victim was riding had nothing to do with the crash.

Evidently, those flimsy, car-tickler plastic bendy posts don’t work any better in Indianapolis.

Baltimore residents argue against plans for bike lanes along a roadway, saying there’s not enough room and they’d rather have parking, anyway. Maybe a better question is would they rather have a bike lane, or a funeral?

More proof there are still good people in this world. After a West Virginia man’s bike was trashed in a collision, a bystander reached out to a local bike shop to replace the bike the victim used as his only form of transportation.

They get it, too. After a man was killed in a hit-and-run while riding an ebike, “angry and frustrated” Bronx bicyclists demanded more protected bike lanes, arguing that paint is not protection.

A New York driver faces 8-1/3 to 25 years behind bars after the Manhattan DA threw the book at him for killing a man riding a bicycle, then careening into another bicyclist and two pedestrians after a “day of boozing” at multiple locations.

Huh? A man from New York state was killed when his bike was struck by a driver on a Florida causeway, who somehow hit the right side of the victim’s bike as they were both traveling in the same direction on the two-lane bridge.



I want to be like him when I grow up. An 80-year old American man hopes to ride for at least another decade, after winning the hearts of Scottish spectators by finishing first in his age group in a Glasgow fondo.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a driver walked without a single day behind bars for killing a bike-riding father of three while high on weed, because the judge feared jail would be hard on his elderly mother. Never mind how hard it will be for the victim’s wife and kids to live without him. 

Amen, brother. Or maybe sister. An anonymous Irish bike columnist argues that we need safe, secure bike parking at the end of a trip, and we need to keep asking, pestering and reminding venues to install it.

An Indian woman went viral for riding her bike with a water bottle balanced on her head. Then again, you’ve got to put it somewhere.

Philippine transportation advocates decried the “non-priority” of bicyclists and pedestrians in the country’s budget for next year, in a country where 94% of the people don’t own a motor vehicle.


Competitive Cycling

Instead of cheering for 17-year old Colorado cyclist Magnus White at the Junior Mountain Bike World Championships in Scotland, his family rode their bikes to his funeral on Thursday; they want to know “why Magnus was killed while riding his bike on a designated bike route, on a straight road with a wide shoulder, in broad daylight.”

American pro Chloé Dygert finally made it all the way back from a devastating leg injury by winning the world championship in the road time trial on Thursday, and cementing her status as one of the most decorated US cyclists in history, despite multiple setbacks.

Twenty-eight-year old Jennifer Valente won world title in omnium, adding to her record as the most decorated American track cyclist in history.

The Olympics website says Britain’s Tom Pidcock, Switzerland’s Nino Schurter and Dutch star Mathieu van der Poel are all aiming for victory in Saturday’s mountain bike cross country race at the worlds, even though Pidcock says he has “zero to no expectations.”

Outside takes a detailed look at new world champion Mathieu van der Poel’s poopgate.

Twenty-year old Sebastopol cycling star Luke Lamperti is joining the WorldTour after signing a two-year contract with Belgium’s Soudal-Quick-Step.

British cyclist Ben Wiggins says he’s a lot better than his dad Bradley, as the 18-year old son of the cycling legend sets his sights on the 2028 LA Olympics.

Apparently, Julian Alaphilippe can’t even beat a three-year old. Although to be fair, the kid did have a massive head start. 



Oh, sure, anyone can ride RAGBRAI facing forward. Maybe a cyclist shouldn’t be promoting his massive SUV — let alone owning one.

And that feeling when you befriend a cow while training for the worlds.


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

Oh, and fuck Putin


  1. Joe Linton says:

    You can delete this comment – but the El Monte article has the wrong link – goes to a Sebastopol article

  2. Ralph says:

    The Cosmo article seemed to ha ve practical gifts for everyday riders. Better options than many bike mag lists.

Discover more from BikinginLA

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading