New report calls traffic cams “underutilized resource,” and just 15 days left to launch CA ebike incentives by fall deadline

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Which means there are just 18 days left to show your support for SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy.

So thanks to John L and James B for their generous donations to keep all the freshest bike news coming your way every day. 

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They get it.

A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, in association with State Farm, calls automated traffic cams an “underutilized tool in the fight to reduce dangerous driving behaviors that contribute to more than 100 people dying on U.S. roads every day.”

That’s a lot of associating.

The GHSA offers a list of guidelines for effective automated camera programs, including,

  • Focus on safety: Revenue generated by safety cameras should be used to support program start-up and maintenance costs, with any excess revenue dedicated to traffic safety initiatives such as infrastructure enhancements or increased education.
  • Proper site selection: Cameras should be installed in locations that have crash, injury or fatality data justifying their use, particularly if these incidences involve vulnerable road users. Determining if other countermeasures, such speed calming, could be deployed to address the traffic safety problem should also be considered.
  • Community participation and engagement: Members of the community where the safety cameras will be deployed must be part of the planning and implementation process. Meaningful public engagement that begins early can help bolster public acceptance and trust.
  • Equity: Research has repeatedly confirmed that people of color are disproportionately impacted by traffic crashes and deaths. All decisions about safety camera programs – including public engagement during the planning process, where cameras are placed and how fines are structured – should be viewed through an equity lens.
  • Transparency and accessibility: Jurisdictions should share the data used to inform the decision-making process when considering whether to create an automated enforcement program. Where and when the cameras will be deployed should be highly publicized, so drivers are not caught by surprise.
  • Reciprocity agreements: Jurisdictions should create reciprocity agreements with neighboring states that address out-of-state violators who fail to pay traffic safety camera fines.

A speed cam pilot program was recently approved by the state legislature to enable speed cams in Los Angeles, Glendale and Long Beach, as well as three cities in Northern California.

Meanwhile, Metro recently approved the use of cameras mounted in Metro buses to detect drivers illegally blocking bus lanes.

However, at least in Los Angeles, red light cameras are a no go, after the city council banned them over a decade ago, in response to drivers who didn’t like getting caught breaking the law.

We’ll see how they like speed cams.

And maybe one day Los Angeles will get its collective head out of its metaphorical ass long enough to accept that saving lives is just a tad more important than enabling people to get away with driving dangerously through red lights.

We can hope, anyway.

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After a seemingly endless series of delays, we were promised that California’s seemingly moribund ebike incentive program would finally launch, with a vague deadline of sometime this fall.

But with the holidays rapidly approaching — hello, Chanukah! — time is rapidly running out on the latest promised launch time.

So today we’re launching our own countdown counter marking the days left before the state misses this deadline, too.

Days left to launch California ebike rebate program this fall: 15

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‘Tis the season.

The San Diego Padres gave away over 120 new bikes to third graders at San Diego’s Porter Elementary School.

Police in St. Petersburg, Florida gave away hundreds of bicycles to young kids to spread the holiday cheer.

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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 Los Angeles letter writer responds to LA Times letters editor Paul Thornton’s call for better bike infrastructure for his 46-mile round trip ebike commute by complaining about taking traffic lanes “away from the many who need them for the benefit of the few who consider cars evil,” even though Thornton never expressed any negative comments about cars, or the people who drive them.

No bias here, either. A self-described bike-riding English farmer describes a conflict with a “profusely red-faced, slightly rotund middle-aged man, dressed from head to toe in figure-hugging fluorescent Lycra and a bike helmet, windmilling his arms and frothing at the mouth with rage” while trying in vain not to tip his bicycle, in what Road.cc calls a clearly fictional, or at least exaggerated, account.

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Local 

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition will host their Holiday Lights Ride on Saturday, taking a festive bike ride to Christmas Tree Lane’s 103rd Annual Lighting Ceremony and Winter Festival.

The new Puente Creek Bikeway will provide a safer alternative to busy Amar Road through La Puente, Valinda and City of Industry.

Surprising news from REI, which announced plans to close its very busy Santa Monica store due to rising operational costs; the store will shutter on Leap Year Day next year.

Like Malibu, Long Beach’s efforts to reduce traffic deaths is complicated by the fact that one of the city’s deadliest roadways is a state highway, as the city tries to work with Caltrans to improve safety on PCH.

Speaking of Long Beach, the city has started work to install bike lanes on a section of Alamitos Ave, from Ocean Blvd to Seventh Street.

 

State

San Francisco’s director of transportation says people just need more time to adjust to the new, much maligned centerline protected bike lane on Valencia Street, as business owners reacted to complaints about new parking restrictions by demanding the dismantling of the city transportation agency; Streetsblog says the problems stem from design compromises made in an effort to appease everyone.

The San Francisco Standard asks if the city has killed its most important business corridor through significantly scaled back plans for a pedestrianized street that has resulted in no car traffic, but no foot traffic, either.

San Francisco received a $600,000 grant from the US Dept. of Energy to provide ebikes and safety training to food delivery workers, as well as collecting data on food delivery; the funding is in addition to a $2.4 million state grant.

Streetsblog says it’s hard to take promises from Oakland’s mayor to improve safety seriously when one off-street bike path is in such a state of disrepair that it’s unusable.

 

National

A pair of Rutgers University studies show bicycling habits may have permanently changed as a result of Covid, with more people using free time gained from working at home to ride recreationally — although an 11% bump in people riding to work ain’t nothing. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you. 

Grand Junction, Colorado will distribute 40 free ebikes to residents earning at or below 80% of the area’s median income, equal to $46,050 per year or less, in an effort to collect detailed trip travel data to share with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

A 52-year old former competitive cyclist stopped in Laredo, Texas on his bike tour from Alaska to the tip of Argentina, with a mission to plant 5,000 trees along the way.

The Army Corps of Engineers is backing off plans to ban bike riders from a popular Fort Worth, Texas trail after the first of the year, and will now look at ways to minimize conflicts between bicyclists and campers.

Continuing our journey through Texas, bicycle advocates in Houston are urging the city to make safety a priority, as it nears a record number of bicycling deaths this year.

NPR discusses Milwaukee’s annual Santa Cycle Rampage, as over a thousand bike riders  rode through downtown dressed as Santa Claus for the 20th anniversary celebration.

A Chicago newspaper recommends three books recounting the writers’ cross-country and global bike rides for your holiday giving. Even if you’re just giving one to yourself. 

You know you have a problem when three bicyclists have been killed at the same Indianapolis intersection in just three years, as the city tops last year’s total for bicycling and pedestrian deaths.

A Harpursville, New York man will serve consecutive sentences of one and a third to four years behind bars after pleading guilty to hit-and-run and gun charges following the death of a 13-year old boy riding his bike on New Year’s Day.

A pair of North Carolina towns are going car-optional, as new bike networks in Carrboro and Chapel Hill encourage residents to get on their bicycles instead of driving.

 

International

The home of the traditional Christmas Coventry Carol is making like the Grinch this holiday season by banning ebikes and e-scooters from sections of the city center.

Newly released video shows a Northampton, England cop jump out of a police van to commandeer a bystander’s bicycle to chase down a fleeing drug dealer.

Life is cheap in New Zealand, where a drunk and stoned driver got 11 months of home vacation detention for killing a 61-year old bike-riding grandfather, while driving an unregistered car at over five times the legal alcohol limit; but at least he’ll have to pass the victim’s ghost bike every day as he bikes to work, after losing his license for three years.

A Queensland, Australia coroner has opened a cold-case inquest into the hit-and-run death of a 21-year old man riding a bicycle, using a new state law that allows coroners to force witnesses to answer questions, though the answers can’t be used against them in a criminal trial.

 

Competitive Cycling

American pro Neilson Powless says he remains focused on one-day classics, but doesn’t rule out competing for a Grand Tour win one day.

Pro cyclist Tim Merlier rallied to win a beach race in a photo finish after nearly being taken out by the operator of a quad bike.

The family of fallen cyclist Magnus White is creating a nonprofit foundation in his honor, using crowdfunded contributions raised after 17-year old rider was killed by a driver while training for the Junior Mountain Bike World Championships in Scotland.

Conservative media is once again in a transgender panic, after a pair of trans women took first and second at the Illinois State Cyclocross Championships.

 

Finally…

Nothing like mountain biking on a gravel bike. Your next bike could be a 3D-printed Aston Martin.

And there’s something seriously wrong when Santa’s elves aren’t even safe from traffic violence.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

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