Hope for Expo bike path despite entitled NIMBYs, LA needs safer streets not more signs, and South Bay tries to rein in ebikes

Welcome to the 9th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

We’re off to a rip-roaring start as we begin Day 4, ahead of last year’s record pace by nearly $450 after just three days. 

So before you settle down to Cyber Monday shopping, take a moment to join the 23 people who have already opened their hearts and wallets to help keep all the best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day. 

And please join me in thanking everyone who’s given so far for their kindness and generosity in supporting this site. 

Thanks to James L, David R, Eric L, Arthur B, Stephen T, Scott R, John C, Joni Y, André V, Glenn C, Jordan G, Michael G, David M, Joseph R, Michael S, Mark J, Stephen M, Patrick M, Steven F, Steven S, Brian N, Robs M, and Smiling Corgis. 

Let’s hope tomorrow’s list is just as long. So donate today!

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Writing for Streetsblog, longtime lawyer, bike advocate and Cheviot Hills resident Jonathan Weiss tells a prototypical LA horror story about entitled NIMBYs blocking the Expo Line bike path.

Weiss writes how wealthy Cheviot Hills residents successfully fought the installation of the Expo Bike Path after unsuccessfully fighting the Expo Line train, resulting in the notorious Northvale Gap that has forced bike riders and walkers to use difficult bypass routes.

And how they’ve used means both legal and otherwise to deter outsiders from besmirching their neighborhood.

But there may finally be light at the end of the tunnel, after ten long years.

As for finally closing the Northvale Gap, I am cautiously optimistic now that Katy Yaroslavsky is the Los Angeles City Councilwoman for Cheviot Hills. She is pro-active-transportation and is also on the Metro board. Already, her office has obtained additional funds from Metro to close the Northvale Gap. Her staff regularly meets with relevant departments (LADOT, Engineering, City Attorney) to solve problems. The latest (2022) fact sheet available through LADOT’s “Exposition Bike Path (Northvale Segment)” website says “Construction is anticipated to begin Spring 2024.” The Council Office expects construction to start some time in 2024.

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In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, Streets For All founder Michael Schneider says the city needs safe streets, not more signs warning drivers to “watch your speed.”

The official responses to proven traffic hazards are woefully inadequate — mere gestures, if even that.

In 2021, after Monique Muñoz was killed on Olympic Boulevard at Overland Avenue by a driver going more than 100 miles per hour, the city placed a “Watch your speed” sign, politely asking drivers to slow down. Unfortunately, in the over two years that have passed, the city has yet to meaningfully redesign Olympic Boulevard to prevent a crash like this from happening again.

People don’t drive based on signage. They drive based on the design of the street. In the case of Olympic Boulevard in West Los Angeles, the design screams “wide open highway,” a lot like the Pacific Coast Highway. Hazardous as this is to all people (including drivers), it is most dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists.

Take a few minutes from your busy Cyber Monday to read the whole thing, because, as Schneider concludes, “The problem is carnage in the streets, and we know the solutions.”

Indeed we do.

We just need leaders with the courage to implement them, which seems to be sadly lacking in this town.

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Speaking of the LA Times, the paper observes the proliferation of ebikes in California’s coastal cities, as South Bay cities struggle to rein riders in.

And as we’ve seen, several have over-reacted with draconian, and possibly illegal, restrictions. Hello, Manhattan Beach.

Meanwhile, Clean Technica gets it, pleading with officials not to turn ebikes into a regulatory nightmare.

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CicLAvia looks forward to their final event of the year, as the nation’s most successful ongoing open streets festival finds its way to South LA this weekend.

The route runs from historic Central Ave to iconic Leimert Park, with culturally rich MLK Jr. Blvd in between.

Unfortunately, I’ll have to miss this one, much to my regret, due to other obligations.

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The Cyber Monday sales are coming in fast and furious, with as Cycling Weekly rounds up bicycling deals, including up 40% off at REI and up to 50% off at Competitive Cyclist, as well as deals on bikewear and novelty jerseys.

Meanwhile, Wired says you can now get a Specialized ebike for as little as two grand.

Which would normally give us another opportunity to chide California for the interminable delay in launching the state’s ebike rebate program, but screw it.

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Of course Bill Nye the Science Guy is one of us.

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A German TV network reports on the influx of migrants flowing into Finland across the border with Russia, many on bicycles supplied by the Russians.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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GCN tackles the ultimate question of who is the fastest, staging a drag race pitting a roadie against a mountain biker, BMX rider and a track cyclist.

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

No bias here. Georgetown historian Thomas Zimmer writes on Mastodon that certain members of the far right are promoting “aggressive anti-bikeism” as part of their political agenda, even though bicycling is far less socialist than the massive public subsidies paid for cars. Unfortunately, I can’t embed his post, but you can read this thread and other Mastodon posts without having an account with the social media company; thanks again to Megan Lynch for the link. 

Britain’s Daily Mail offers a panicked assessment of the “staggering 10,000 cyclists” delivering fast food across Scotland’s cities and towns, saying they pose a threat to pedestrians and even cars by flouting ­traffic regulations and riding on sidewalks. Never mind that an additional 10,000 people driving cars to make fast food deliveries would pose an greater risk to everyone.

London’s former police chief calls for forcing bike riders to wear numbered license plates to “stop so many cyclists being a danger on London’s streets.” Meanwhile, a writer for conservative The Spectator wisely asks what good would requiring bicyclists to wear numbered plates actually do?

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Local 

Writing for CityLab, Alex Contreras argues that LA should have used the I-10 closure as an opportunity to rethink the freeway and apply the same sense of urgency to get people out of their cars.

West Hollywood will team with the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition to host a WeHo Mobility Popup on Santa Monica Blvd tonight, giving away free bike lights on a first-come, first-served basis for people with bicycles, along with other complimentary giveaways for everyone.

 

State

No surprise here, as California ranks among the country’s deadliest states for bicyclists, ranking 4th nationwide in the percentage of bicyclists killed compared to total traffic deaths.

An assistant US Attorney in San Diego says a form of blood cancer knocked him off his bike, but not for long.

In a rare occurrence, someone was killed in a bicycling crash, and it wasn’t the person on two wheels. A driver in San Gregorio was killed when he struck a bicyclist riding on the shoulder, then went off the road and struck a tree; compounding the tragedy, the bike rider was hospitalized with what was described as severe injuries.

San Francisco advocates say the city is prime real estate for undoing one of the country’s most glaring urban infrastructure mistakes and building cities around people instead of cars.

Sad news from Lodi, where a 56-year old homeless man was killed riding his bike after allegedly swerving head-on in front of a 19-year old driver; investigators blamed the victim for possibly being stoned

 

National

A pair of kindhearted Pocatello, Idaho business owners gave a new bicycle to a man described as a local fixture for riding his bike around the city, after his bike was stolen.

New York’s high court extended prohibitions against illegal search and seizure to bicyclists, ruling that people on bicycles should have the same protections as people in cars, and require that police have probable cause to conduct a search.

Bloomberg’s CityLab talks with the mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey about the steps the city has taken to improve street safety, which has resulted in no traffic deaths for the past six years. And proves that Vision Zero is achievable — if our leaders actually give a damn, and have the political will to make the tough choices.

 

International

Rouleur says ‘cross will make you a more powerful bicyclist.

Momentum offers the top ten reasons to bike to work in the winter. Reason #1 should be that you live in Los Angeles. Or anywhere else in sunny Southern California. 

The mayor of Manchester, England defends plans for a new segregated bike path alongside a major highway, as vandals steal orange construction cones in what the mayor describes as “systemic theft,” arguing that we can’t live in a world where cars “have got all the road.”

The owner of an independent Dublin, Ireland bike shop describes how his business was trashed and looted by right-wing rioters angry over immigration and a stabbing.

The Guardian examines the culture of bicycling on the cobbles and countryside of Flanders.

National Geographic describes how to plan a design-focused bicycling tour of Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city.

The Philippines’ Iloilo City hosted roughly 3,000 bike riders for a three-day celebration of all things bicycle.

A British TV star is once again criticizing a 108-mile New Zealand bike path that runs across property and a restaurant he owns, citing a number of safety concerns for bike riders on the trail, although he has long fought its mere existence on his property.

Hats off to 39-year old Kiwi paracyclist Hannah Pascoe, who became the first blind bicyclist to ride the full 1,000-mile length of New Zealand.

 

Competitive Cycling

Jeffrey Rusk forwards news that four California paracyclists were among the 15 Americans competing for Team USA at the 2023 Parpan American Games in Santiago, Chile last week — including his girlfriend Jenna Rollman, who brought home bronze in Road Mixed H Womens Class Time Trial, among several other American medalists.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could have a 19-gear string drive groupset. Why ride a mere bicycle, when you can pedal a Star Wars speeder, instead?

And when you disagree with the law, just change it.

Or chop it down, anyway.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

One comment

  1. Ralph says:

    No Paul Bunyan there.