Times talks traffic deaths, die-in and Healthy Streets LA; rightwing jock trashes HSLA, speed governors and Sen. Weiner

Stop what you’re doing and sign this petition demanding a public meeting with LA Mayor Karen Bass to hear the dangers we face just walking and biking on the mean streets of Los Angeles.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

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Los Angeles Times reporters Rachael Uranga and Libor Jany examined the recent news that traffic deaths outnumbered murders in the City of Angels last year.

In all, 336 people died in crashes in 2023 — more than half of them, 179, were pedestrians. That’s the highest number since the city started keeping statistics more than two decades ago.

Graphics by tomexploresla

Meanwhile, “just” 327 people were murdered in the city last year, a decrease of 17% over 2022.

“This is a deadly city and it’s not being treated with urgency,” said Damian Kevitt, executive director of the advocacy group Streets Are For Everyone. “We need to declare a state of emergency on traffic violence and treat it as the public health crisis that it is…”

Enforcement has fallen and the city’s interest in making streets safer has waned, Kevitt says, adding that then-Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Vision Zero plan that was supposed to eliminate fatalities by 2025 has been largely abandoned.

They go on to mention efforts to pressure city officials to do more to improve traffic safety in Los Angeles.

On Saturday, Kevitt’s group is planning a “die-in” on the steps of City Hall asking officials to take swift action on safety measures such as implementing speed cameras that were approved by the state Legislature last year. A March ballot measure proposed by another advocacy group would force the city to build more protected bike lanes and wider sidewalks.

Here’s the information on tomorrow’s die-in at City Hall. The link in the graphic below isn’t live, but you can learn more and register to attend here.

It’s also a damn good reason to go back up and sign the petition.

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Speaking of the Healthy Streets LA ballot measure, an op-ed from Streets For All founder Michael Schneider stresses why it’s so desperately needed.

When I first started doing this work via Streets for All in 2019, we used to somberly state that a pedestrian is killed once every three days in Los Angeles. Today, that has increased to a pedestrian being killed every two days. Compared with 2015, when 88 pedestrians were killed on L.A. streets, 176 pedestrians were killed last year. Pedestrian deaths have doubled in just eight years, when they’re supposed to be on the decline.

The nation as a whole has seen a rise in recklessness on the road since the pandemic began in 2020, including driving under the influence, distracted driving, excessive speed and road rage. In that time, Los Angeles has become the most dangerous city in the nation in which to walk. Back in 2022, only New York City had deadlier streets for pedestrians. As of the end of 2023, Los Angeles has now eclipsed New York City, and by a lot (176 deaths versus 114). For the first week of 2024, the city experienced nine fatalities from car crashes, including five pedestrians. That means that more than one Angeleno was dying every day because of traffic violence during the first week of January.

He goes on to point out that the city paid out more in liability settlements for people harmed by traffic violence stemming from our deadly streets than it did to prevent it.

Which is something the HSLA measure would change, though far more Vision Zero funding is needed, as well. Let alone Garcetti’s Green New Deal program.

Schneider ends his piece this way.

If a serial killer were on the loose killing more than 300 Angelenos every year, we would launch a citywide hunt to end the spree. With car crashes among the top causes of death for kids in Los Angeles, and with a decades-high number of pedestrians dying, shouldn’t we treat road safety with the same sense of urgency?

It’s definitely worth taking a few minutes to read the whole thing.

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Then there’s this steaming pile of windshield biased, reactionary claptrap.

John Kobylt, yet another angry, indignorant shock jock host for rightwing radio KFI, spouted off for a couple hours about SB 961, the new state bill from San Francisco Senator Scott Weiner.

Or as schoolyard bully Kobylt called Weiner, “that emaciated little worm…trying to destroy the automobile industry and destroy our freedom…”

By limiting cars to allowing drivers to break the law by just ten miles an hour, instead of the usual 20, 50 or even 100 mph, in violation of every speed law in every city and state in the Union?

Seriously?

Yeah, that’s definitely taking our freedom away. Next thing you know, they’ll pass a law against killing people with your car.

Oh wait, they already did.

I only made it a few minutes into the program, when he introduced someone from driver activist group Keep LA Moving to trash LA’s already-approved Mobility Plan 2035, and the Healthy Streets LA ballot initiative that would require merely require the city to keep their damn word.

But if your stomach is stronger than mine, feel free to give it a listen.

Or better yet, just don’t. Your brain will thank you.

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Orange County bike advocate and longtime tandem pilot Mike Wilkerson forwards news of an informal group bike ride in Fullerton on the last Friday of every month.

Which is, like, tonight.

Everyone is invited to a fun ride this Friday evening in Fullerton.

The ride starts at 6:00 pm from the Fullerton Downtown Plaza at 125 E Wilshire Ave. It will be about 16 miles long, all on public streets, some with hills.

This will be a no-drop ride, so come as you are on what ever you ride.

It will be an night time ride. Please bring front and rear lights and wear a helmet.

This ride goes on the last Friday of most months. Put it on your calendar, and enjoy the company of fellow riders along some of Fullerton’s bike-friendly streets!

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It’s now 36 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 30 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law, and counting.

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

Former Tour de France and world champ Cadel Evans called out the “bad attitudes” of Aussie drivers towards bicyclists, after two men riding bikes were seriously injured in deliberate hit-and-runs that were filmed and uploaded to social media.

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Local 

No surprise here, as Streetblog’s Joe Linton calls out Metro for once again ignoring Los Angeles city standards by implementing wider traffic lanes at the forthcoming Wilshire and La Brea Metro station than the city allows, which encourages speeding and otherwise dangerous driving.

Streetsblog also reports a virtual town hall will take place on Thursday to discuss plans to install bike lanes on Hollywood Blvd between Gower Street and Fountain Ave.

A Larchmont paper looks forward to the 50th CicLAvia, scheduled for February 25th on a four-mile stretch of Melrose Ave. However, future open streets events could come less often if Metro cuts funding, as staffers are recommending.

Culver City approved funding to rip out the successful Move Culver City protected bikes lanes and require bike riders to share a lane with public buses, although there is an ongoing CEQA lawsuit to halt the project; the city council also approved plans to install new bike lanes on Culver Blvd and Robertson Blvd.

Burbank police have made an arrest in the hit-and-run that critically injured a 77-year old man riding a bicycle last week; 23-year old Sherman Oaks resident Alexander Saenz reportedly admitted to being behind the wheel. Meanwhile, the victim remains hospitalized in critical condition.

 

State

The Acorn reports on the hundreds of bike riders who turned out in Thousand Oaks to demand the release of the Israeli hostages, on the 100th day the Israel-Hamas war.

An Oildale bike rider was lucky to escape with minor injuries when he was struck by an on-duty Kern County Sheriff’s deputy in a marked patrol car.

Sad news from San Jose, where a man died this week, seven months after he was struck by a driver while riding his bike last June.

Tomorrow night, San Franciscans can enjoy the city’s 3rd Annual Light Up the Night Bike Parade, featuring “hundreds of bicyclists taking a leisurely 2-mile, family-friendly bike ride along JFK Promenade, all aglow with colorful bike lights and fun costumes.”

 

National

A Colorado man says he was lucky to escape with just a few broken vertebrae, along with a broken hip and shoulder, when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver who saw him on the ground in tears, begging for help, and chose to drive off anyway.

 

International

Even the usually auto-centric Daily Mail has a problem with a “daft” motorist blithely driving down a Glasgow bike lane, ignoring all the little bike symbols along the way.

In a bizarre case, a couple men got into a fist fight in an English courtroom after one of the two was convicted of murder for fatally stabbing a man to steal his ebike, while the other man was found guilty of manslaughter and robbery; a third defendant apparently had enough sense to stay out of it.

Czech carmaker Škoda’s We Love Cycling website offers advice on how to keep riding your ebike through the cold and snowy winter months. Or as we call that in LA, somewhere else.

An Indian website lists the best bikes for women in pink. Because all women prefer pink and only like girly bikes, evidently. 

Let’s hope something was lost in translation, as an Indian website reports a young man was killed as he returned home on a bicycle after the birth of his wife.

Here’s one for your bike bucket list, with the 46th edition of the world’s largest timed bike tour taking place in Cape Town, South Africa in March.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling News says pro cycling needs to take a page from Formula 1, and design bikes specifically for speed, with the tech eventually trickling down to the rest of us. You know, like how car alarms and cup holders eventually made their way down from F1 to the rest of us.

The season opening race of Northern California’s 27-year old Grasshopper series will feature a unique mentorship program by professional women’s cyclists for U19 girls.

 

Finally…

The addiction to obese cars. Your next e-cargo bike could be hand-built in Will Shakespeare’s hometown.

And now you, too, can own bikes ridden by Tour de France champ Jonas Vingegaard, Wout van Aert and Marianne Vos.

Though probably not the one Vingegaard rode in the Tour, dammit.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

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