Many drivers blind to how badly drivers drive, British press demonizes bike riders, and building greater inclusion in bicycling

Just 225 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’ve made it up to 1,135 signatures, so don’t stop now! I’ll be forwarding the petition to the mayor’s office this week, so urge anyone who hasn’t already signed the petition to sign it now! 

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No bias here.

A British Columbia columnist wants you to imagine what would happen if drivers behaved like some bicyclists, saying there’s no gain if aggressive riding keeps others off the supposedly all-ages-and-abilities trails and lanes.

Passing at high speed without signalling verbally or with a bell. Passing at high speed without signalling on a blind curve. Passing someone else who’s passing at high speed on a blind curve. Passing within a hair’s breadth of a pedestrian at 40 km/h with no warning. Plunging through a pack of pedestrians, dogs and small children on the Selkirk Trestle at full speed.

Of course, vehicle drivers don’t typically behave this way because we have a robust system of vehicle licensing to ensure they know the rules of the road, and a somewhat less robust system of enforcement (less all the time, given the number of red-light runners observed of late.)

Yes, there is a sizable segment of bicyclists who ride in an aggressive manner, with little or no regard for how that affects others. Or how that makes people see us.

Yet it’s remarkable that so many people are blind to how motorists actually behave, as if bicyclists are the only ones who do dangerous and aggressive things out there — as if the people on two wheels somehow posed a greater risk to others than the ones in the big, dangerous machines.

Yes, scofflaw bike riders can be extremely annoying. I’ve been tempted more than once to clock some asshole who zoomed by on a narrow sidewalk, nearly hitting my wife or I, let alone our dog.

But the fact remains that even the worst bike riders pose the greatest risk to themselves, while aggressive drivers are a risk to everyone else on — or off — the roadway.

The number of people killed in collisions with bicyclists in the US each year can usually be counted on one hand, while you’d need more than 4,000 hands to count the people killed with motor vehicles, using every finger and thumb.

Especially that one.

The simple fact is, human nature dictates that some people will always be jackasses, regardless of how they choose to travel.

The only difference is which ones actually pose the real peril.

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The demonization of bike riders by the British press in the wake of an 82-year old woman killed in a collision with a speeding bicyclist in London’s Regent Park is still going on.

A London tabloid posted photographs of “reckless” cyclists still flouting the rules, just days after leaders of the UK’S Conservative Party proposed strict new rules, including 14-years behind bars for bike riders who kill — although I wouldn’t exactly call riding while holding a cellphone in your hand reckless.

The husband of a woman killed by a bicyclist seven years ago applauded the new restrictions, while suggesting he had to overcome a super-secret bike cabal “blob” somehow entrenched within the British government. Although no one ever seems to question whether the pedestrian may have been at fault, automatically blaming the person on the bike.

And a writer for The Spectator says a crackdown on bad bicyclists can’t come soon enough, as she dreams of the day when police can immobilize ebikes and electric scooters by zapping them with pulses fired from special backpack under development from a government defense lab.

On the other hand, British bike hero Chris Boardman decried as hate speech a recent article disparaging bicyclists, while it turns out that the article claiming a bike rider was clocked doing 52 mph in a 20 mile zone was in fact co-written by a BBC fact-checker, who failed to fact-check the physically impossible report.

Cycling Weekly says parity in punishment is no problem, but “death trap” journalism that capitalizes on misinformation is unforgivable, because we can’t pretend that creating more laws for cyclists will result in equality on the roads.

And London bicyclists say Members of Parliament are spinning out of control as they peddle fears of the dangers posed by scofflaw bicyclists.

Maybe someone should explain the concept of collective guilt to the members of the press so intent on painting bike riders as the bad guys.

Because there’s no surer sign of bias than pretending the actions of some members of a group should somehow condemn the others.

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Today’s other common thread reflects the need for inclusion in the bicycling community.

The new book Black Cyclists: The Race for Inclusion examines the mostly unknown history of Black cyclists, from Major Taylor to today’s riders.

Forbes talks with the founder of the Jafe Cycling Foundation, a group dedicated to exposing middle and high school students to the sport of cycling in order to increase Black ridership, at a time when Black cyclists make up less than 1% of the pro peloton.

Bike Radar says derogatory comments and actions — intentional and otherwise — reflecting the dominance of straight males are still prevalent on the trails, within the bike industry and in the race scene, fostering an environment that discourages many women from riding.

Speaking of which, the WeHo Bicycle Coalition is hosting a group ride next month to kick off Pride Month, riding from Hollywood and Highland to the West Hollywood Pride Fest.

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It’s not every day Saturday Night Live satirizes bike riders. Mostly because it only airs on Saturdays.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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It’s now 153 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.

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

Bike lanes have become a division issue in the mayoral election in Mississauga, Ontario, as a local group is offering to support any candidate that will undo a plan for protected bike lanes passed by the city council last year.

The Magistrates Courthouse in Wimbledon, England — home to the famous tennis tournament — says don’t even think about bringing your bike onto the premises, even though they have plenty of room for parking cars.

Bicyclists slammed a proposed city ordinance in Zaragoza, Spain, which would impose a mandatory insurance requirement for everyone on a bicycle — including children — while urging motorists to dangerously overtake bike riders on the roads.

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

Police in New York are looking for a sidewalk-raging teenaged bike rider, who attacked and pummeled two young Jewish kids for blocking his way as he rode on the sidewalk; the cops are investigating the assault as a hate crime.

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Local 

The Signal offers photos from Saturday’s Hit the Trail self-guided community bike ride in Santa Clarita, even though the “community” all rode individually.

 

State

Grab your mountain bike and head to Orange County’s Silverado Canyon, where the sweeping canyons and lush wildflowers of the Red Rock Wilderness has just been opened to the public.

This is who we share the road with. A former Riverside craft brewer was sentenced to 20 years behind bars after accepting a plea deal for the drunken, high-speed hit-and-run that killed another motorist in Ontario, after prosecutors dropped a 2nd degree murder charge; Ryan Cavender Wicks earned the heavy sentence because of a previous DUI conviction.

A writer for the Fresno Bee says recent trip by city leaders to sister city Münster, Germany could offer lessons for making Fresno a safer place to ride a bike.

San Francisco bicyclists aren’t the only ones who want to feel safer on the popular route known as The Wiggle, as seniors who live along the route also risk getting hit by impatient drivers.

Frequent contributor Megan Lynch offers a Mastodon thread about her lengthy and ongoing fight for accessible bike racks at UC Davis, as campus officials can’t seem to grasp that equal accessibility is required under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

 

National

Bike shops nationwide are struggling in the face of excess inventory, as demand plummeted after manufacturers overbuilt, and bike shops overstocked, while overcompensating for the bike shortages of the pandemic.

Architecture Daily examines bike-riding urbanism pioneer Jane Jacobs, at a time when American car culture “has produced and normalized new forms of sociopathy,” and carmakers have adopted an angry-looking, “murdered-out” esthetic.

Another person riding a bicycle has been killed in police chase, when a domestic violence suspect in Phoenix fled from the cops and slammed into the bike rider as he tried to make his escape.

Here’s one for your beer bucket list, with a 25-mile bike tour of six breweries in and around Golden, Colorado, ranging from local craft brewers to the massive Coors complex.

 

International

Yes, a Mexican transit company really did put their drivers on stationary bikes to get buzzed by buses so they’d know how it feels to people on bicycles.

A British Columbia lawyer says cost savings for the province’s no-fault insurance program was made on the backs of victims like him, accusing it of shortchanging him after a bicycling crash left him a paraplegic. Thanks again to Megan Lynch. 

London plans to install planter boxes and rumble strips along a popular Thames River multi-use path to slow speeding bike riders, while stressing that pedestrians should be given priority.

I want to be like her when I grow up. An 82-year old London woman rode through fog and hail to conquer the legendary Mount Ventoux, raising the equivalent of nearly $24,000 for the children of Gaza, and counting.

Here’s another one for your bike bucket list — okay, maybe just mine — with a list of the most beautiful bike routes in Ireland.

Momentum recommends Europe’s best spring bicycling destinations for nature lovers.

French bikemaker and sports retail giant Decathlon urged politicians to implement the European Union’s Cycling Declaration ahead of the European Parliament elections to make it easier for people to bike, while focusing on infrastructure and bike theft, and calling for more sustainable bicycle manufacturing.

A Chinese man is current riding through Africa on a bike tour that has led him through a dozen countries so far, despite loosing an arm and a leg when he was electrocuted as a teenager.

Seven-thousand people turned out in Seoul, South Korea for the 16th Seoul Bike Festival on Sunday, following a 13-mile course along the banks of the Han River.

Japanese bike riders are almost universally ignoring the country’s new mandatory helmet law, with just ten percent of bicyclists nationwide donning skid lids; meanwhile, new laws will allow police to crackdown on scofflaw bicyclists.

 

Competitive Cycling

Kristen Faulkner and Sean Quinn are your new women’s and mens US National Road Cycling champs.

Tadej Pogačar entered the final rest day of the Giro by demolishing the field in yet another solo breakaway, extending his lead to a virtually insurmountable six minutes and 41 seconds.

At this point, the only thing that may derail Pogačar in the Giro is the virus that’s sweeping the peloton, with 21 riders abandoning so far.

A writer for Velo says Pogačar is a “risk-taker, an entertainer, a high-wire act” who’s the current King of the Hill, but won’t be forever.

Um, no. Cycling Weekly’s Dr. Hutch ponders the point where a long solo break ceases to be polite, and becomes a case of showboating.

 

Finally…

Tackle the local time trial with a ‘bent. That feeling when someone thinks $1599 is “pricey” for an ebike. Your next ebike could be a golden Porsche.

And who needs lights when your whole bike glows in the dark?

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

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