Beach city anti-ebike hysteria, tackling bicycling’s gender pedal gap, and 3 years for pipe attack on naked bicyclists

It’s the Penultimate Day of the First Week of the 9th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Or Day 6, in other words.

And we’re off to a great start, well ahead of last year’s record pace, thanks in part to the kindness and generosity of yesterday’s Giving Tuesday donors.

So let’s all thank Ben F, Bernard B, Anne F, James Z, Catherine D, and Jennifer P for their generous donations to help keep Southern California’s  best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day. 

So take a moment, and give now!

It’s okay, we’ll wait. 

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It was a light news day in the world of bikes yesterday.

Which is a good thing, since I got another shot in my eye to control bleeding in the retina yesterday, and can barely see my screen to write these words.

Yet another reminder, if we need it, that diabetes sucks.

So if you’re at risk or have any of the warning signs, do whatever it takes to get or keep your blood sugar under control. Because you don’t want this crap.

And forgive me if I screw something up, because I seriously can’t see half of what I’m reading or writing this time.

Now let’s get to it.

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Los Angeles Times letter writers respond to a recent article about the anti-ebike hysteria sweeping the area’s beach cities.

Although the paper might not have characterized it quite that way.

Some pointed out, not incorrectly, that throttle-controlled ebikes that can easily exceed common bicycling speeds should more appropriately be regulated as underpowered electric motorcycles, rather than bicycles.

While others point out that, despite the hysteria, the story makes clear that there have been no reported collisions between pedestrians and ebike riders in the area in the past two years.

Which means they’re trying to fix a problem that has so far resulted in no reported injuries, while ignoring the ongoing carnage caused by motor vehicles just feet away.

Still, no one should ever ride a bike at speed around pedestrians, who can be even more unpredictable than we are. And who face just as much risk, if not more, in a collision with someone on a bicycle, regardless of the bike’s power source.

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A new British report from Lime titled Tackling the Gender Pedal Gap considers concerns preventing women from bicycling, topped by worries over poorly lit streets and isolated riding routes.

According to a story from the UK’s Stylist, the report also found,

Anti-social behaviour (36%) and fear of harassment from other road users (34%) were also listed as major deterrents for female cyclists. Only one in five women said they felt safe cycling alone at night and four times as many women as men (82%) said they view cars as a safer transport option when it’s dark.

The same likely holds true in this country, serving as yet another reminder that women face dangers on the streets that most men don’t.

And that they should be directly involved in all bicycle planning decisions.

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‘Tis the season.

A group founded by a Minnesota real estate broker teamed with a local nonprofit to refurbish bicycles to distribute to kids in need this holiday season, capping their efforts with a $2,500 donation.

Bicycling Australia recommends holiday gift ideas for bicyclists. Although it should be noted that some things may not be available in this country or could be sold for a different price. And you may have to install or use it upside down.

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GCN considers whether it’s ever acceptable for bicyclists to break the rules.

It depends on the rule, of course.

But given that most traffic laws weren’t written with bike riders in mind, it can sometimes be necessary to break the rules to protect your own safety.

Just bear in mind that, like civil disobedience, you might do it for the right reasons, but still have to suffer the consequences.

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

A 40-year old Portland, Oregon man was sentenced to three years behind bars for a violent attack against two people participating in the World Naked Bike Ride earlier this year. Robert Earl Houchins received a bias crime enhancement for yelling homophobic slurs as he struck the riders across the back with a metal pipe; fortunately, neither victim was seriously injured.

No bias here. A British commentator is calling for all bicycle and scooter riders to be required to wear hi-viz clothing to make them more visible to drivers, who want us to dress up like clowns because they’re apparently unable to rely on their own eyesight or lights. Or put down their phones, for that matter.

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Local 

Streetsblog visits a new traffic circle under construction at Parthenia Place and Columbus Ave in North Hills; the project also includes a short protected bike lane.

Santa Monica has finally converted the intersection of 19th Street and Idaho Ave into a four-way stop after years of complaints from local residents; it only took the death of fallen bicyclist Tania Mooser and serious injuries to another bicyclist two weeks later to get the city to act.

 

State

The San Diego Reader considers which of the city’s many bike wheel-busting potholes should be fixed first.

San Diego is nearly a year away from starting work on an overhaul of the “notoriously congested” I-805 and Palm Ave interchange in Otay Mesa, including new 6-foot wide sidewalks and separated bike lanes.

A San Francisco letter writer says the real danger on the new Valencia Street centerline bikeway isn’t the people on the 30-pound bicycles, it’s the people in the two-ton cars.

 

National

He gets it. A writer for the Brown University student newspaper says bike helmets are ineffective because they’re a piecemeal solution to a societal problem, and it shouldn’t be up to the individual to be solely responsible for their safety while riding a bike. Before anyone fires off an angry comment, the writer isn’t anti-helmet, and neither am I. I never ride without mine, but recognize that bike helmets should always be seen as the last line of defense when all else fails, not the first. 

 

International

Momentum offers a guide to bike tourism and planning your first ride. Meanwhile, the magazine also offers advice on how to handle a real northern winter on an ebike. Which is not something we’re likely to encounter here in sunny Southern California. But given the unpredictable effects of climate change thus far, it may not be entirely off the table.

I want to be like her when I grow up. A 78-year old English woman has been named one of the UK’s most exceptional women in cycling after riding the full length of the country, then following it up by riding 200 miles from Yorkshire to London.

A beachfront British town has ripped out a short new bike lane bordered by a wiggly line that a local NIMBY group characterized as a “Mickey Mouse” layout that had made the town the “laughing stock of the nation.”

France has committed to investing the equivalent of $137 million in bicycling infrastructure across the country. Which is like the US investing nearly $650 million on a per capita basis. 

The Belgian region of Flanders has installed speed cams on bicycle-priority streets to ticket anyone exceeding the 18 mph speed limit, including people on bicycles. Although identifying someone on a bicycle from a speed cam photo could be problematic — and licensing bicyclists isn’t likely to help, given the small size required for a bicycle. 

Cycling News reports Shimano was struck by hackers who blackmailed the Japanese component maker, threatening to release a massive trove of data if they failed to pay up — then followed through by releasing information including confidential employee details, financial documents, a client database, and other confidential company documents. Which means it’s possible your personal information may have been compromised if you’ve dealt directly with the company. 

 

Competitive Cycling

The Spanish cycling community is mourning the death of former pro and elite cyclist Jorge Martin Montenegro, after the Argentine native was found dead in his home at age 40.

Dutch multi-discipline cycling star Mathieu Van der Poel may be forced to give up cyclocross to deal with nagging back issues, after winning five world titles competing in ‘cross, mountain biking and road cycling. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you. 

Cycling Weekly asks if we’re seeing the death of multi-discipline cycling stars.

 

Finally…

Fishing with magnets for underwater abandoned bikes. And the godfather of gravel grinding.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

One comment

  1. Catherine Des Lauriers says:

    I have to agree with Times letter writer Todd Koerner. I ride the bike path near Hermosa almost every weekend. I have never seen any enforcement. I ride a regular bike & have few problems with those riding electric bikes. The main problem is pedestrians and many points of conflict where beachgoers have to cross the bike path. I know there is hunger for open spaces not ruled by the auto, but some toddler or dog is going to get run over by a speeding bicyclist, battery or no. There is a parallel sidewalk, but still too much pedestrian traffic on bike path.