CA ebike voucher program sets next failure to launch deadline, and Times calls out fear-mongering over Measure HLA

Just 312 days until Los Angeles fails to meet its Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.
So 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. Only 19 signatures to go to reach 1,000! 

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Good news, maybe.

But don’t hold your breath.

San Diego’s inewsource reports that the next soon-to-be-missed deadline for California’s moribund ebike rebate program is now scheduled for sometime this spring.

That comes after self-imposed deadlines of January 1st, 2023, and the significantly more vague deadlines of second quarter, 2023, then last fall, which is the most recently missed deadline.

Not that we weren’t all expecting it to launch in 2022, after it passed the state legislature and was signed into law all the way back in those heady pandemic days of 2021.

So if anyone feels like Charlie Brown trying to kick a football, you’re in good company.

The story begins with a focus on San Diego nonprofit Pedal Ahead, which has been tasked with operating the program for the California Air Resources Board.

The nonprofit plans to operate a similar program statewide under a $10 million grant it received from the California Air Resources Board, or CARB. But roughly a year after its originally planned launch date, the program has yet to officially start.

CARB spokesperson Lys Mendez told inewsource that the state’s E-Bike Incentive Project is now expected to begin in the spring, as officials need more time for “infrastructure building” — essentially, making sure Pedal Ahead runs smoothly statewide. That includes organizing with e-bike retailers and community groups that can help get the word out and educate the public about the program, she said.

In other words, the same bullshit they’ve been feeding us for the last year.

The only real news in the story is that the soft launch that was supposed to take place last year actually did happen, despite the complete and total news blackout up to this point.

But as inewsource previously reported, Pedal Ahead suffered from low participation when it launched its San Diego program in 2020, with just a fraction of local participants logging enough miles to keep their bikes — and some reporting far fewer miles than what’s required, or none at all. The program also didn’t use an income requirement, allowing people who didn’t qualify as low income to receive a bike.

Despite that, Pedal Ahead beat two other applicants to administer the state program, with CARB citing the nonprofit’s “proven, on-the-ground experience” in San Diego.

Some money has been spent ahead of the program officially opening statewide. A preliminary “soft launch” is already happening in San Diego, the East Bay in Northern California, Fresno and in tribal communities, Mendez said. In those locations, she said the state is “currently testing key aspects” of the program.

Some, as in a quarter of the original $10 million in state funding has already gone to overhead, leaving just $7.5 million available for rebates.

Of that, $5 million is reserved for the lowest income applicants, with just $2.5 million for everyone else who qualifies with an income less than 300% of the federal poverty level.

Never mind that I would have qualified if the program had launched on time a year ago, and won’t now.

So I hope someone enjoys riding my ebike.

Maybe I can get Tern to sponsor me with one of these, instead. It could happen.

The other news in the story is that even after the moribund program finally crawls its way through the earth to launch, like Dracula after dark, it could take a full three months to be approved for a voucher once you apply.

Residents must also be at least 18 years old to apply for a voucher to get a free e-bike from a program-selected retailer, such as a local bike shop. Participants will need to own the e-bike for at least a year and complete surveys about the experience.

The approval process may take up to three months.

Yes, three months.

And if that’s not a sign of the sheer incompetency behind this program, I don’t know what is.

Frankly, I’m ready to give up on the whole damn thing and ask my state legislators to fire both CARB and Pedal Ahead, and start over from scratch.

Because the thing that other cities and states have seemed to find so easy to do — get ebike rebate programs up and running through multiple rounds of funding — seems to be impossible here.

Meanwhile, if Tasha Boerner’s AB 2234 passes, even adults will be required to pass an online test in order to be able to legally buy one, let alone actually ride it, if they don’t already have a driver’s license.

Because living in poverty isn’t humbling enough, evidently.

Thanks to Ellectrek for the heads-up.

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They get it.

The Los Angeles Times writes that all the fear-mongering over Measure HLA — the Healthy Streets LA ballot measure — ignores that what’s really scary is LA’s deadly streets.

According to the paper, some of the city’s most powerful officials have been trying to sabotage the measure, rather than actually doing something to reduce deaths and injuries resulting from traffic violence.

Never mind actually eliminating them, which was supposed to happen by next year. But won’t.

But even though the projects have been on the books for years, last week the city’s top budget official released a questionable new $3.1-billion estimate for the plan, while the union that represents city firefighters claimed that making the streets safer will slow emergency response times.

It’s fear-mongering designed to scare Angelenos into voting against the measure. But what’s really frightening is that L.A. leaders could have started building a more walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly sustainable city years ago and perhaps averted some of the recent deaths. They had the blueprint to make streets safer but didn’t make it a priority. That’s why Measure HLA is necessary.

It’s worth reading the whole thing to see just how much your life is — or more accurately, isn’t — worth to many of those leading this city.

Let alone the people responsible for saving it.

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Bike Long Beach will host a murals and coffee ride tomorrow, to avoid conflicting with Sunday’s CicLAvia, along with a virtual monthly meeting on Monday.

Bike Long Beach Feb Meeting

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Don’t forget Saturday’s 46th Annual LA Chinatown bike ride tomorrow, and Sunday’s Melrose Ave CicLAvia.

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It’s now 64 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. Streetsblog says Oakland complains about a lack of resources to build bike lanes, but they somehow had the resources to rip one out along the city’s Embarcadero.

Britain’s CyclingMikey, scorned among the motoring crowd for recording scofflaw drivers with his bike cam, says bicyclists “are seen as the cockroaches of the road.” Well, tell us something we don’t know.

Berlin’s rightwing mayor is fulfilling a campaign promise to make more room for cars by ripping out bike lanes. Which is more proof that we’re never more than one election from losing all the gains we make.

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

Apparently, someone has our back, but not in a good way. After a 19-year old driver hit a bike rider in San Antonio, Texas, someone opened fire, riddling the car with bullets.

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Local 

The Beverly Press says Measure HLA could pave the future for mobility in Los Angeles.

 

State

Calbike calls on California to divest from wasteful, induced demand-inducing highway projects, and invest in Complete Streets and the state’s transportation future.

Calbike also introduced a slate of 16 bills they’re backing for the current legislative session, including bills that would mandate Complete Streets following Caltrans resurfacing projects, similar to Measure HLA, as well as mandating motor vehicle speed limiters and truck sideguards.

An Orange County mother has made it her mission to preach ebike safety in the face of rising ebike injury rates. Although I’ve yet to see a study that shows ebike injury rates in relation to ebike ridership, without which claims of rising or worsening injuries are merely anecdotal.

San Diego will pay nearly $3 million to the family of Hossein Samadi, who was killed in a 2020 collision with a city truck parked in a bike lane Carmel Valley Road without warning cones or flashers.

San Francisco Streetsblog attempts to cut through the latest misinformation regarding the city’s Valencia Street centerline bike lane.

Bike Magazine examines how Davis became “Bike City, USA.”

 

National

Vehicle-to-everything technology, aka V2X, rears its ugly head once again, as a writer for Streetsblog says we could improve safety for bicyclists by allowing cars and bikes to talk to one another. As long as you’re willing to wear a transponder every time you ride, or be held accountable anytime you don’t.

Velo marks Black History Month with a look at eight groups making bicycling more inclusive across the US.

NPR reports bike helmet use declined almost 6% each year for the last five years, while ebike head injuries saw a 49-fold increase, with just 44% of injured ebike riders wearing helmets. Although as noted above, those numbers are virtually meaningless without a comparison to increasing ebike ridership rates, and comparing helmet use by ebike riders who suffered head trauma with similarly injured riders of regular bikes.

An Oʻahu bike club uses two wheels to explore Honolulu’s Kalihi Valley, one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods.

This is why you let the police handle it. A Portland woman was nearly killed when she went with friends to a homeless camp to help recover a stolen bicycle, and was shot by a man with a high-powered air rifle.

Denver opened a new $14 million, 1.5-mile protected bike lane that bike riders have been waiting on for more than eight years.

Cleveland’s Vision Zero program is called into question after 550 people were struck by drivers while walking or biking in the city.

The husband of fallen US diplomat and bicyclist Sarah Debbink Langenkamp says littering can get you up to five years behind bars in Maryland, but the driver who right hooked his wife with a 50,000 pound truck walked with a traffic ticket that carried a lousy $2,000 and 150 hours of community service.

 

International

More on the “clever policing” that London cops used to bust a $165,000 bike theft ring by using a bait bike. Something that remains off-limits for the LAPD, over misplaced fears of entrapment, thanks to a singularly uninformed opinion from former City Attorney Mike Feuer, who wants to be my next Congress Person; yeah, good luck with that. Thanks to Steven Hallett for the link. 

Meanwhile, bikejacking victims call for more cops around London’s Regent’s Park, where gangs of moped-riding thieves are reportedly targeting a list of high-end bicycles, including Pinarello, Bianchi, S-Works and Brompton, which are then shipped to Russia to evade sanctions.

A British letter writer says excuse me, but 1 million bicyclists a year, 2,739 cyclists every day and 114 an hour does not a low number using a bike lane make.

Paris is now officially the most bike-friendly city in France.

Over a quarter of Belgians rode an ebike last year, as electric bicycles continue to gain in popularity. That’s a figure we may never see here, as long as officials continue to drag their feet on an underfunded rebate program, and fight against safer, more livable streets.

Czech carmaker Škoda’s We Love Cycling site looks forward to this year’s trends in bicycle fashions. Which are pretty much the same as last year, and every other year.

 

Competitive Cycling

British cyclist Adam Yates was forced to retire from the UAE Tour following a concussion protocol fail, when he continued riding after a crash, until he radioed the crew to ask what happened since he didn’t remember anything.

A writer for Cycling Weekly knows just how it feels when Phil Gaimon steals your hard-won KOM.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you get hit with a bicycle during a pro wrestling street fight. Or when even an Aggie understands we’re second-class road users.

And presenting the driver psychology course for bicycling safety.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

One comment

  1. Ben Fulton says:

    I can’t believe somehow they made that Denver article two-thirds negative comments. It looks like a really great bike lane.

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