Cops look for hit-and-run driver — and bicyclist, Boerner set to unveil ebike bill for kids, and demand safer streets now

Just 328 days until Los Angeles fails to meet its Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.
Stop what you’re doing and sign this petition to demand LA Mayor Karen Bass hold a public meeting to listen to 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. We’re nearly up to 900 signatures, so let’s try to get it up over 1,000 this week!

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My apologies, once again, for yesterday’s unexcused absence.

Let’s just say diabetes sucks, and get on with it. 

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Authorities in LA County are investigating a pair of hit-and-runs. Although only one of the suspects was actually in a motor vehicle.

First up is a late January crash in Long Beach that left a bike rider with serious, but non-life threatening injuries.

The victim was riding with a group of bicyclists traveling west on Fourth Street at Atlantic Ave around 9:50 pm on Thursday, January 25th, when he was struck by driver headed south on Atlantic, who fled without stopping.

Police are looking for the driver of a silver Nissan sedan with chrome rims. Anyone with further information is urged to contact Long Beach Police investigators at 562/570-7355.

Photo from Long Beach Police Department

That was followed by the hunt for a hit-and-run bike rider who left an elderly woman lying severely injured in a Sierra Madre street.

The woman was walking near North Baldwin Ave and Highland Ave around 10 am this past Saturday when she was struck by the bike rider, who also continued without stopping.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Detective Ascano at 626/355-1414, or nascano@cityofsierramadre.com.

And yes, bicyclists have the same obligation to stop after a crash that drivers do, and could face the same penalties if they don’t.

Photo from Sierra Madre police department

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It looks like Encinitas Assemblymember Tasha Boerner is ready to introduce her promised ebike bill, which will require anyone without a driver’s license to pass an online ebike safety training course before they can buy an ebike in California.

The bill appears to be directed towards children, though it could apply to adults without a license, as well.

It also prohibits any child under 12 from riding any class of ebike, and establishes diversion programs as an alternative to ticketing children, which is already allowed under current bicycle regulations.

Personally, I’d prefer to see that ban raised to 14 years old, and reclassify throttle-controlled ebikes as mo-peds, requiring a driver’s license to operate, and prohibited from being used in bike lanes or pathways of any sort.

I also hope the bill clarifies that the license requirement does not apply to anyone over the age of 18.

And it raises the question of what happens when a parent with a driver’s license buys an ebike for a child without one. Would the parent be prohibited from being able to buy an ebike for their own child?

But we’ll see what ends up in the actual text.

Thanks to Malcomb Watson for the heads-up. 

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As the previous tweet hinted at, Streets Are For Everyone, aka SAFE, says you have the chance tomorrow to tell Mayor Bass that we need safer streets.

Mayor Bass wants to hear from us!

The UCLA Bunche Center is conducting a series of Community Listening Sessions, as a part of a City of Los Angeles Community Safety Research Study. The study’s goal is to identify and document a broad and representative understanding of the perceptions and realities of public safety (and of its management) of residents in the City of Los Angeles.

Join the discussion and raise your voice about important safety issues in your neighborhood. Please include the need for safety on our streets for cyclists, pedestrians, and all users. With 336 deaths on LA City roads last year, this is a vital safety concern. 

Join this community listening session, and let Mayor Bass know that you want safer streets.

Virtual Community Listening Session
February 8, 2024
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Click Here to Register

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Streets For All — not to be confused with SAFE — has updated their voter guide for next month’s election, with endorsements for six of the seven LA council races, as well as council races in Glendale and Pasadena.

Meanwhile, Boyle Heights Beat is hosting a candidate forum for CD 14 this Saturday.

Personally, though, I’m still struggling to decide between state Assemblymember Laura Friedman and state Senator Anthony Portantino for my next Congress member, either of whom would provide a strong, bike-friendly voice for traffic safety in DC.

I only wish they weren’t running in the same district, because both deserve to win.

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Velo marks Black History Month with a trio of articles recounting Black bicyclists from the early days of bicycling.

First up is what they call the little-known story of the US Army’s all-Black Bicycle Corps. Which isn’t so little known anymore, after several historical articles over the past couple years.

Then there’s 1890s Black cyclist Woody Hedspath, who they refer to as Major Taylor Number Two, honing his skills in summertime “colored fairs” during the Jim Crow era before moving on to greater accomplishments.

Finally, they write about Kittie Knox, the young Boston woman who broke racial and gender barriers in the 1890s, becoming the first Black woman to join the League of American Wheelmen, the forerunner to today’s League of American Bicyclists, or Bike League, before they changed the rules to exclude people of color.

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The Bambino was one of us.

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Someone finally found a good use for a Tesla pickup.

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It’s now 48 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 31 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.

No bias here. After British tabloids attack a Birmingham bike lane as a 10 million pound “waste of money” that “no one uses,” a local paper finds it’s actually one of the most popular bikeways in the city.

Ireland’s Green Party called the Sinn Féin party’s objections to a protected bike lane “populist, anti-cycling, anti-road safety, anti-climate action bolloxology.” Although I kinda suspect they made that last word up.

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

A Portland, Oregon letter writer who seems to have an overly high opinion of his fearlessness and bike riding abilities says the city shouldn’t invest in more bike lanes or public transit until they clean them up and more people use them

Police in Mobile, Alabama busted a man riding a bicycle on multiple drug charges after searching him following a short pursuit, begun because he was exhibiting “suspicious behavior.” Let’s hope he can afford a good lawyer, because “suspicious behavior” is entirely subjective, and not probable cause to make a stop.

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Local 

The Eastsider reports that Bike LA, the former Los Angele County Bicycle Coalition, has been awarded a $100,000 grant to “evaluate transportation gaps and identify the mobility challenges, needs, preferences, and priorities of Boyle Heights and East LA residents,” one of 12 similar grants across the state. Let’s hope that’s enough to sustain the organization, which has struggled financially in recent years, but offers a much-needed voice for bicyclists in the LA area.

The Los Angeles Times explains daylighting, and why you’ll now need to park further back from an intersection to avoid a ticket.

Santa Monica police will be conducting yet another bike and pedestrian safety operation tomorrow, ticketing any violation that could put either group at risk, regardless of who commits it. So ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits, so you’re not the one who gets written up.

Speaking of Streets For All, the street safety PAC is hosting a bike ride and fundraiser in Mar Vista this Saturday. Saturday is also the Lunar New Year, so there could be some major dragon energy there.

The Alhambra and South Pasadena bike ride hosted by Safe Streets for SGV and South Pas Active that was scrubbed because of rain last weekend has been rescheduled for this Sunday, when the weather looks more promising. And should give you time to get back home in time for that big sportsball thing.

 

State

Good question. The Los Angeles Times asks why the state is widening the 15 Freeway in San Bernardino County, in conflict with the state’s climate goals, which are supposed to be given priority but clearly aren’t. Meanwhile, a new nationwide coalition is calling for a halt to freeway expansion, arguing that “Endless highway expansions are pulling our country into an environmental, budgetary, and public health crisis.”

A San Francisco bike rider was lucky to escape with non-life threatening injuries when he was struck by a Waymo driverless car, which evidently couldn’t spot him following a truck through an intersection. They’re called Waymo because they’re probably way mo’ dangerous than most cars with drivers.

San Francisco banned the use or sale of damaged or recycled ebike and e-scooter batteries, along with limiting how many can be stored in a single home.

 

National

Momentum offers more on the groundbreaking new study that shows cities with high levels of bicycling are usually safer for all road users — and by extension, cities that are safer for bicyclists usually have high levels of bicycling.

NPR considers what Vision Zero has and hasn’t accomplished in American cities. The only thing it’s really accomplished in Los Angeles is making traffic violence part of the conversation, without actually doing anything about it.

Cyclist calls Moab, Utah a gravel cycling mecca like nowhere else on Earth.

The Colorado Supreme Court upheld a $2,400 restitution judgement against a bike thief for damaging the victim’s car, after the bike’s owner used it to give chase and cut in front of the thief to stop him as he made his getaway.

A Rhode Island man is suing Trek and Shimano for $2 million, alleging his bike’s brake lever impaled his thigh in a crash due to faulty design.

A New Jersey man was killed when a state trooper driving an unmarked SUV crashed into his bike; no word on whether the trooper was on duty at the time.

A 72-year old Florida woman was killed when her bicycle was rear-ended by a 92-year old woman driving a truck. Once again raising the question of how old is too old to drive safely. 

 

International

GCN offers five reasons ebikes are better than regular bikes, along with five reasons they’re better than cars.

Momentum recounts the wildest bike lane obstacles, from fat, indecisive squirrels to discarded e-scooters and banana peels.

An English research fellow writes that ebikes offer huge promise for sustainable transport in rural tourist areas.

Bicycling says Paris is now a bicyclist’s paradise after closing 100 streets to cars. Read it on AOL this time if the magazine blocks you.

A writer for Men’s Journal explains why he’s stoked to ride his bike across Morocco. Which should go without saying, because Morocco.

 

Competitive Cycling

Velo writes about Eritrean WorldTour rookie Henok Mulubrhan, who they refer to as the “new hot prospect” already making waves as an African phenom on a mission.

British Cycling, the governing group for nearly all bicycling in the UK, will take over operations of the annual Tour of Britain, which was at risk of folding after the previous organizer shut down.

 

Finally…

Your next pair of Reebok’s could be an ebike and an e-scooter.

And the 2026 Wold Cup final will take place in a stadium where it’s literally illegal to walk; thanks to Steven Hallett for the link.

https://twitter.com/nikicaga/status/1754270927339020360

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

5 comments

  1. Mark H says:

    The drivers license requirement for purchasing an ebike should apply to anyone, regardless of age. I think that requirement- and the online test if the buyer doesn’t have a license- should be to make sure the buyer has some knowledge of basic “rules of the road,” traffic laws, and expectations of other road users. Merely being over eighteen does not magically imbue that knowledge to someone.

    Someone with a driver’s license should know that a blinking red light means “stop” (though that’s debatable) whereas that kind of assumption cannot be made for anyone else who has mostly been a pedestrian with the implicit right of way almost all the time.

  2. Norwood Paukert says:

    I was struck by a vehicle Sunday afternoon while riding my bike in the bike lane on Zoo Drive in Griffith Park. I have no memory of the impact…I was unconscious until the paramedic was loading me into the ambulance. I was told today by the park ranger on the scene that witnesses said I had been deliberately targeted…the plate # provided by a witness/witnesses is evidently wrong or partial. The miracle is I suffered only cuts, bruises, and road rash along the right side of my body, where I evidently landed after gooing over the handle bars. I had no interaction whatever with anyone in a vehicle before this happened…I can’t imagine why these two guys tried to take out a 72-year-old guy on his bike.

  3. Norwood Paukert says:

    I was deliberately struck by a vehicle when riding in the bike lane on Zoo Drive in Griffith Park Sunday afternoon about 12:30. At least that’s what the park ranger told me today based on testimony from several witnesses. Unfortunately the plate # reported turned out to be wrong or impartial. I have no memory of being hit…I regained consciousness as I was being put on a stretcher to go to County ER. I fortunately suffered cuts, bruises, and contusions but no broken bones or serious injuries. I had no contact with any vehicle, verbally or in any other way…I have no idea why this driver deliberately tried to take out a 72-year-old man riding his bike in the park.

  4. Norwood Paukert says:

    Thanks…a police report has been generated. Witness provided a plate number but I was told it was wrong or incomplete. They did get good descriptions of the vehicle and the two men in the car.

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