Bill mandates licensing for ebike riders, ebike-riding LA Times editor backs HLA, and La Brea sign orders bike dismounts

Just 323 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 Mayor Bass hold a public meeting to listen to the dangers we face walking and biking on the mean streets of LA.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can. We’re over 900 signatures, so let’s try to get it up over 1,000!

Ebike photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels.

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Encinitas Assemblymember Tasha Boerner introduced her bill to establish education and licensing requirements for ebike buyers without a driver’s license.

AB 2234 would ban children under 12 from riding an ebike of any kind, and require than anyone over 12 pass an online safety course before being allowed to buy or ride one.

As I’ve pointed out in the past, I see several problems with the bill, starting with whether a parent with a driver’s license could buy an ebike for their child without one.

I also think 12 is to young for an ebike, and would rather see the prohibition raised to 14 for ped-assist ebikes, while reclassifying throttle-controlled ebikes as mo-peds or electric motorcycles requiring a driver’s license or motorcycle license operate.

And I don’t understand why ebikes should be singled out for requiring a driver’s license or a separate ebike license, while any other type of bicycle doesn’t.

Which is a far better argument for not having a licensing requirement for anyone, rather than requiring one for everyone, or just for some but not others.

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Los Angeles Times Letters Editor Paul Thornton writes movingly about the need to pass Measure HLA — the Healthy Streets LA ballot initiative — in next month’s election.

I’ve experienced the worsening situation as a cyclist in L.A. for almost 20 years. The growing size and power of cars and the evident impatience of motorists have exposed the city’s halfhearted attempts at improving biking infrastructure as transportation tokenism.

To understand how unnerving it is out there for cyclists, I might suggest you saddle up and pedal in a gutter bike lane during rush hour. But I could never recommend doing that.

Still, none of this should obscure a simple truth about cycling: It’s fun. A lot of fun. If I were leading the campaign to pass Measure HLA, the slogan would be, “Make L.A. fun again…”

It’s a quietly powerful piece, well worth reading. Especially if you’re on the fence or leaning towards voting against the measure.

He might just change your mind.

Or, if like me, you’re firmly convinced to vote in favor, you can wear your support for Measure HLA and/or Streets For All, if not on your sleeve, at least on your chest.

I’ve got a few on the way, myself.

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Posted signs near the Purple Line construction zone on Wilshire still tell people to get off their bikes, for no apparent reason.

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YouTuber John Hicks says you can ride your ebike through the roughest streets of Compton, and get back home with it and you in one piece.

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A new short film documents mountain biker Kelly-Jayne Collinge and her fight for greater inclusion for women in bicycling, especially for new and expecting mothers, after her sponsors abandoned her when she got pregnant.

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It’s now 53 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.

This is who we share the road with. A 57-year old Kokomo, Indiana man faces charges for driving up onto a sidewalk to intentionally ram a 42-year old bike rider from behind before fleeing the scene; the victim was lucky to escape with non-life-threatening injuries.

Residents of an English city got out the torches and pitchforks over a proposal for protected bike lanes which promise “enormous” community benefits, claiming they will somehow cause “chaos” and “gridlock,” as well as a “sacrilege” if it involves reducing the grass verges.

A 70-something bicyclist and driver in another English town refutes allegations that new bike lanes required the removal of parking spaces, arguing that the street is now safer while still having parking on both sides.

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

Police in Glasgow, Scotland are looking for a hit-and-run ebike delivery rider who rode off after crashing into an elderly woman and sending her to the hospital.

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Local 

No news is good news, right?

 

State

Caltrans finally released their long-overdue Complete Streets policies, which was more than six months overdue; Streetsblog says a bill in the state legislature mandating Compete Streets is needed, anyway.

The Desert Sun offers photos from Saturday’s very popular and very crowded Tour de Palm Springs.

An estimated 2,500 people rode bikes of all kinds across several miles of new concrete and asphalt at Bakersfield’s Cycle Centennial, as bike riders were allowed access to the new Centennial Corridor freeway connector before it was opened to motor vehicles. Maybe they should just keep it bikes only, instead of allowing drivers to ruin it all.

Fresno police are looking for the heartless coward who drove off after critically injuring a bike rider in his 30s.

A Marin political cartoonist suggests maybe bike riders could use a zip line to cross the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge if authorities rip out the existing bike lane for another car lane.

 

National

A writer for Tom’s Guide offers up five things she wished she’d known before buying her first road bike. I wish I’d known that cars are bigger than me, and they hurt. Actually, I did know that, but bought one anyway because bikes are just too damn much fun.

While usually sunny Los Angeles can’t manage to observe Winter Bike to Work Day, Anchorage, Alaska bike riders demonstrate how easy it is to commute in the snow.

Convicted killer Kaitlin Armstrong spent six grand on plastic surgery to make herself less attractive in a failed attempt to avoid capture following the fatal shooting of gravel cyclist Moriah “Mo” Wilson in Austin, Texas, over a perceived love triangle with pro cyclist Colin Strickland.

DC just approved a new Intelligent Speed Assistance Program, which will allow authorities to slow speeding drivers, similar to a bill recently introduced in the California legislature.

 

International

In today’s entry from the Department of Repetitive Redundancy, Momentum says Valentines Day is the perfect excuse to get a tandem bike built for two. As if there are many tandems built for one.

A Toronto website debunks three common myths about bike lanes, including that bike lanes cause congestion and are bad for business.

Like is cheap in Glasgow, Scotland, where a man walked with just a fine and no jail time for the drunken crash that left a bike rider with life-changing injuries. This is why people keep dying on our streets. 

A new study from Cambridge, England shows that separated bike lanes had no impact on business employment levels or commercial vacancies, despite claims from business owners that bike lanes hurt their sales.

A London man credits his helmet with saving his life when he crashed his bike, despite breaking his face in three places.

London police say bike thefts dropped nearly 90% in the city center after the arrest of a prolific bike theft ring; the group was blamed for stealing the equivalent of over $126,000 worth of bikes over a two-year period.

A crowdfunding campaign in honor of fallen British cyclist and filmmaker Jonathan Gales has raised the equivalent of over $10,000 for his local velodrome; the CAT1 racer was killed by a drunk driver while crossing a Los Angeles street on foot in November, 2022.

Parents in the UK are complaining that bicycling instructors are teaching their kids to ride in the middle of the traffic lane.

There’s something seriously wrong when an Irish cop who gave an unclaimed bicycle to an elderly, isolated man during the Covid pandemic faces discipline for it, rather than getting a commendation.

Momentum recommends the “incredible Trans Dinarica cycling trail” stretching over 1,200 miles through Eastern Europe, as the place to pedal in 2024.

A 12-year-old boy is attempting to become the youngest person to bicycle around Malta. Then again, it’s only 62 miles, but still.

A Bollywood actor met with a fan who rode his bike over 600 miles just to meet him. Most American stars would just have their security team toss the guy out on his ass. 

Bikeshare is helping to ease travel on the congested streets of Cairo, Egypt.

Around 4,500 bike riders turned out for a ride through Tokyo in December to promote bicycle safety.

An Aukland, New Zealand man armed with a knife chased a bike rider down a bike path threatening to stab him for nearly a minute, after the rider told the man to fuck off for laughing at him.

 

Competitive Cycling

Italian road race champion Elisa Longo Borghini says things have finally changed in women’s cycling, and riders no longer have to take a second job to finance their cycling careers.

 

Finally…

Nothing beats the safety of our paint-protected bike lanes. That feeling when the crowd hates autonomous cars way mo’ than anyone expected.

And your next dining room table could be holding your bike up right now.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

2 comments

  1. E. Lehrer says:

    Re: AB 2234

    I disagree with your opposition to the bill. I do generally agree with what you say here:

    “I also think 12 is to [sic] young for an ebike, and would rather see the prohibition raised to 14 for ped-assist ebikes, while reclassifying throttle-controlled ebikes as mo-peds or electric motorcycles requiring a driver’s license or motorcycle license operate. [sic]”

    However, your prohibition at “14” should be at “16”

    Ebikes are not the same as standard bicycles. They are heavier and therefore inherently more dangerous – both to the rider and those around him/her. They also make it possible for people who do not have sufficient skill (or probably should not be riding at all) to way out-ride their skill level – which is a recipe for disaster. Riding a standard bicycle also forces people to acquire skills that you do not necessarily need to be as facile in for an ebike (balance, etc.). You have people who jump on an ebike and ride ’em like cowboys who would barely be able to ride a standard bicycle. This makes them overconfident and therefore dangerous.

    I speak empirically – I know someone who was riding an ebike that crashed at Cathy’s Corner coming down from the top of Mt. Hollywood and ended up over the cliff knocked out cold. Luckily, he was found and was transported in County USC Medical center – unconscious with numerous broken bones and needing multiple surgeries. If he had not been found, it could have been a lot worse.

    I also have seen problems with ebike riders on the LA River bike path – going too fast, cutting left and right around obstacles (pedestrians) and generally riding dangerously.

    Lastly, let me draw an analogy. There are different classes of driver’s licenses that are required for different kinds of vehicles. If you have a license to drive a car (noncommercial Class C), that does not mean you can drive an obviously more dangerous heavy truck. If you want to drive one, you must get a different license (Commercial Class B) requiring additional training/testing. I don’t think it would necessarily be bad to require some sort of licensing for all bicycle riders…however it should be consummate with the specific type of bicycle they ride and the skills to ride it safely.

  2. Luis Pineiro says:

    This is kind of rediculous. Now that unlicensed drivers have found a way to get back and forth either to work or an appointment , now cities wanna find a way to make a dollar out of it.
    Maybe an age limit but to register and have to get licensed to ride an e-bike is horrendous.
    Skateboards n. roller blades alit more dangerous but since they can’t get taxed , there’s no issues!

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