The late Sam Rubin was one of us, state officials just tinker with PCH safety, and drivers want all of WeHo streets

Just 234 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 all face on the mean streets of LA.

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

We’re still stuck on 1,131 signatures, so don’t stop now! Urge everyone you know to sign the petition, until she meets with us! 

Photo from the Sam Rubin Wikipedia page.

………

My apologies for another unexcused absence. 

Caring for my wife and her broken shoulder 24/7, along with suddenly becoming the sole caretaker for the corgi — never mind dealing with my own ever-growing health problems — leaves me with a very small window to work each day. 

And writing about a pair of fallen bicyclists Thursday night, as important as that was, took up all the time I had available to work. 

I’d like to say it won’t happen again, but it probably will until we get all this crap sorted out.

………

Larry Kawalec forwards news that longtime KTLA-5 entertainment reporter Sam Rubin was one of us.

Rubin took pride in organizing the station’s team for the annual MS 150 Bay to Bay Bike Tour, which raises funds to find a cure for multiple sclerosis.

He died unexpectedly on Friday from a rumored cardiac arrest. Sam Rubin was 64.

………

State transportation officials unveiled a new traffic safety campaign for PCH in Malibu, urging drivers to “Go Safely.”

The Go Safely PCH initiative calls for increased traffic enforcement, enhanced infrastructure and a public awareness campaign, with California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin saying “it signifies a collective effort to ensure the safety of all travelers along this iconic corridor.”

Although that “enhanced infrastructure” is little more than paint, with the state applying $4.2 million worth of lane separators, crosswalk striping, more visible road striping, speed limit markings, more speed limit and curve warning signs, pavement upgrades, bike lanes and pedestrian access, reaching from the McClure Tunnel in Santa Monica to the Ventura County line.

And as we all know, a little bit of paint and road signs urging people to drive safely is all it takes to bring bad driver behavior and traffic violence screeching to a halt.

Right?

While there may be some modest benefit to the program, it represents a continuation of the state’s policy of just tinkering at the edges, investing as little money and effort as possible to do something to improve safety without inconveniencing all those people cruising down the highway in their hermetically sealed vehicles.

When what’s actually needed is a wholesale re-imagination of the deadly corridor, which is currently engineered to encourage speeding, to turn it into Malibu’s commercial Main Street and beachfront byway, instead of a highway designed to maximize throughput and funnel as many cars through as quickly as possible.

Adding a little more paint, posting more speed limit signs and urging drivers to “Go Safely” is the least they can do.

Which, sadly, is the most they ever seem to do.

………

A West Hollywood website seems to blame the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition for upcoming bike-friendly improvements to the city’s streets.

According the WeHo Online Community News, the city is moving forward with “highly controversial plans to install protected bicycle lanes on Fountain Avenue, Willoughby Avenue, Gardner Avenue and eventually Santa Monica Boulevard, at the cost of increased vehicle congestion and a loss of street parking.”

As if city officials had somehow just rubber stamped the coalition’s “wish list,” without determining whether the changes were actually needed or wanted.

Anyone who has tried to ride in or through the city is undoubtedly aware that cars and the people in them currently dominate the lion’s share of the city streets, with a few relatively minor and mostly unsafe exceptions.

Adding protected bike lanes and other safety improvements simply rebalances the equation to provide safe spaces for people outside of car, while improving safety for everyone on the street. Yet still largely maintaining the current automotive hegemony.

But evidently, they just want all the streets themselves, and the hell with anyone else.

………

A new report concludes that 8% of deaths among homeless people in Los Angeles was due to traffic violence.

The only real surprise is that the number is so low.

………

Burbank is planning a series of overnight road closures through June 3rd to build a new protected bike lane.

………

Gravel Bike California offers a video recap of the recent Sea Otter Classic in Monterey.

………

It’s now 143 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 35 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law — and counting.

Meanwhile, Michigan Democrats included a modest $3 million in the state budget for ebike vouchers covering up to 90% of the purchase price, which Republicans somehow concluded is “off the rails.”

Residents of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard can get a rebate for up to 90% off the cost of an ebike.

Connecticut is considering a lottery for their next round of ebike vouchers, anticipating that demand for the vouchers will far outstrip supply. Which makes a hell of a lot more sense than California’s plan to start and stop the voucher program every two months to allow them to better mismanage it.

And in news that really shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s paying attention, a British Columbia study shows that ebike rebates really do reduce motor vehicle usage.

………

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

Sacramento bicyclists are complaining about drivers illegally using a ten-mile long bike path, in an apparent attempt to bypass traffic; local residents say they see an average of seven motorists using the path each day, including a recent truck driver.

No bias here. British actor Nigel Havers claimed that “no cars go through a red light,” while “every cyclist does.” A bizarre assertion that’s demonstrably false on both counts, apparently based on the extensive knowledge of traffic safety he gained starring in Chariots of Fire. 

Speaking of disgruntled British actors, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz star Simon Pegg posted a video that may or may not have been an attempt at humor, showing himself passing bike riders as he drives, while telling bicyclists to “fuck off,” “get out of the way,” “just because you can ride two-abreast, doesn’t mean you fucking have to”, and to “get out of the middle of the fucking road, dopey”. And to think I used to like that potty mouthed son of a mother. 

No bias here, either. The British press is on a rampage over the more than 30 pedestrians killed by bicyclists over the past decade, calling for a new law to criminalize dangerous bicycling, as if the current laws against it aren’t enough. Although calling people riding bicycles on the sidewalk “terrorists” just needlessly diminishes the meaning of the word, at a time when people are literally dying because of it. And just wait until someone tells them about the 17,052 people killed by drivers in the UK over the same period. 

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

A Quebec mother blames bike lanes and scofflaw bicyclists after her four-year old daughter was “assaulted” by a woman riding a bicycle, who apparently ignored the stop signs on a school bus, and slammed head on into the little girl as she crossed the bike lanes to get to her bus.

Then again, Londoners may have some reason for concern after all, after a dog walker in the city’s Regent Park suffered multiple skull fractures to her eye socket, jawbone and cheekbone, as well as musculoskeletal injuries, when she was struck by a speeding bicyclist who strayed onto the wrong side of the road to pass a car, at the same spot where another bike rider had killed an 81-year old woman.

The Daily Mail bizarrely asserts that all drivers observe the 20 mph speed limit, while bicyclists routinely ignore it; one bike rider was clocked doing 32 mph. Maybe British drivers are different, but the idea that all, or even most, drivers in the US routinely observe any speed limit would be laughable. 

Meanwhile, a British columnist insists that when he rides a bike, he does everything right, just like he does when he’s driving. But all those other bad, bad bike riders should have to wear numbered plates, and face a new law criminalizing scofflaw bicyclists, who he claims are “even more touchy as a group than almost any other I can think of.”

………

Local 

This is who we share the road with. Three young people were killed, and three others critically injured — and a vacant Pasadena building virtually demolished — when the driver lost control after running a red light and slammed into the building, while traveling at least twice the posted speed limit.

Santa Monica’s Sundays Cycles bike shop was vandalized because of the Israeli flag the owner hung in the window following the October 7th Hamas attack, as someone wrote “Free Palestine” across the window. Although I’d hesitate to call a little easy-to-remove graffiti “vandalism,” whether or not you disagree with the sentiment. 

A 35-year old Compton woman faces multiple charges for the alleged drunken Long Beach hit-and-run that killed a 17-year old boy riding a scooter on Orange Street and South Street.

 

State

Calbike condemns the governor’s draconian cuts to the state’s Active Transportation Program, arguing that, despite the state’s massive $40+ billion budget deficit, there is no deficit in the transportation budget. And never mind that Gov. Newsom could maintain programs aimed at reducing climate change, while actually furthering the state’s climate goals, by cutting highway funding, instead.  

Bakersfield bicyclists are forming an all-volunteer Kern River Bike Patrol, to “promote safety, offer an informed trail presence, trailside information, bike safety advice, flat tire assistance and simple bike repair, as well as first aid skills and other assistance” along the popular bike path on the river’s banks.

 

National

Consumer Reports recommends the best ebike-specific bike helmets.

People recaps the twists and turns of the unsolved murder of Colorado mom Suzanne Morphew, who disappeared four years ago after leaving on a Mother’s Day bike ride; her body was found in September, 50 miles from her home, with traces of an animal tranquilizer in her system.

This is your chance to bike New York’s famed Watkins Glen race track, with an all-too-brief two hour window this Wednesday.

The emotional husband of fallen bicyclist and foreign diplomat Sarah Debbink Langenkamp celebrated the passage of a new Maryland law passed in her memory, which imposes a fine up to $2,000 and two months behind bars for killing someone riding in a bike lane.

 

International

A columnist for Cycling Weekly says people who don’t ride bikes think there’s something wrong with us, and imagine we’re a strange breed, even to our close friends.

Life is cheap in Ontario, where a speeding driver walked with a lousy $2,000 fine and six month’s probation for killing an 81-year old man riding his bike to a weekly gathering with his family.

The UK’s transportation secretary is considering a ban on floating bus stops, which could preclude building segregated bike paths.

Belgian Royal Antwerp soccer star Eliot Matazo killed an 85-year old bike rider in a collision, after the victim allegedly ran a red light.

 

Competitive Cycling

After nine stages, Tadej Pogačar continues to lead the Giro, with a two minute 40 second margin, with Daniel Martinez second and Geraint Thomas a surprising third, after Olav Koolj of the Netherlands took the stage win.

Costa Rican pro Andrey Amador was lucky to escape with a broken ankle and foot when a truck driver ran over hit foot and destroyed his bike, after he slipped on gravel on a training ride in Spain.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to break into Drake’s home, don’t leave your bike behind — and if you do, don’t come back to get it later. Now you, too, can pedal a propeller to push you through the water like a human torpedo; thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up.

And that feeling when you have to wear a bike helmet to a tennis match to avoid getting bonked in the head with a water bottle.

Again.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

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