Multiple drivers accused of intentionally running down bike riders; Congress looks at why bigass vehicles are killing us

Just 196 days left until Los Angeles fails to meet its Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025..

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Happy Juneteenth! 

My apologies for yesterday’s unexcused absence. Even though the situation is getting better, I’m still ending my days exhausted after caring for my wife and the corgi, while still dealing with my own injuries.

And Tuesday night it just got the better of me. 

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Apparently, they really are out to get us.

Video captured a truck driver appearing to intentionally run down pair of Texas bicyclists from behind, before fleeing the scene, running over one of the bikes — and possibly one of the victims — in the process. Thankfully, a still photo shows the driver being led away in handcuffs by police.

Thanks to TacoTheCat for the heads-up.

Meanwhile, a bike rider in Hamilton, Ontario is urging police to charge a road-raging driver who appeared to intentionally crash into him, breaking his pelvis; the driver conducted a punishment pass with his pickup and trailer, after approaching from behind honking and swearing — then swerved his trailer into the victim, knocking him off his bike. He later found video the driver allegedly posted online showing him following and swearing at other riders.

And police in the UK are looking for a driver who filmed himself deliberately running down an ebike rider before fleeing the scene, leaving the victim with serious, but not life threatening injuries.

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About damn time.

Streetsblog is reporting that the Government Accountability Office, aka the investigative arm of Congress, has launched exactly that into the question of why today’s massive motor vehicles kill so many bicyclists and pedestrians.

Hey, it’s Congress. Nothing is obvious to them these days.

The ever-growing stain our national reputation is partially attributable to our ever-growing cars, trucks and SUVs, some experts argue. Between 1993 and 2023, the average vehicle on U.S. roads swelled by 1,000 pounds, while simultaneously getting four inches wider, 10 inches longer and eight inches taller — bloat that’s driven by the increasing sales of pick-up trucks and SUVs.

That’s enough to bring the hoods of America’s best-selling cars, like the Ford F-series pick-ups, up to chest level for many adults, all but guaranteeing crashes that cause to vital organs rather than the legs, which are more survivable. The swelling size of the U.S. fleet has also increased the size of blind zones so much that drivers often can’t even see long lines of children right in front of them, and made it far more likely for pedestrians to be pulled under the wheels rather than pushed up onto the hood, where they’re less likely to be killed.

Let’s hope they get to the bottom of it, and discover what’s behind this perplexing — to government officials, anyway — jump in traffic deaths.

And actually do something about it for a change.

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The great bike helmet debate goes on, fueled by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s call to wear one following his bicycling crash, which somehow angered a lot of people.

However, it didn’t anger a bike-riding UK writer who insisted Ramsay was right, while expressing her astonishment at “reckless cyclists without helmets,” who she argues can be more threatening that people in cars.

No, really.

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Streets For All says they’ll be at Sunday’s South LA CicLAvia, with a booth at the Exposition Blvd Hub. Which just happens to be located right next to the Expo/Western Metro Station on the E (nee Expo) Line.

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It’s now 180 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And three full years since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law — and counting.

Meanwhile, a whistleblower has filed complaints with the San Diego Association of Governments, aka SANDAG and the California Air Resources Board, aka CARB, alleging that the CEO of San Diego nonprofit Pedal Ahead faked data for the ebike distribution program and mixed the program with his private businesses.

Pedal Ahead is the organization that has been selected by CARB to operate California’s moribund ebike voucher program — which is now likely to be dead in the water until the state can claw back its funding, and find someone else to run the damn thing.

And a Mastodon user writes that demand is high for Atlanta’s ebike voucher program, with 1% of city residents applying. But says infrastructure has to catch up. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up. 

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

This is what people who call for licensing bicyclists are really asking for. And why.

Residents of a wealthy Sydney, Australia suburb have filed a civil right complaint alleging that a proposed new bike lane somehow infringes on theirs.

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

Ventura police arrested a 13-year old boy accused of being just one of a number of “disruptive” teens on ebikes, who allegedly stomped a homeless woman, threw rocks at another woman, and spit on people they passed; however, the rest managed to get away.

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Local 

Work has finally begun on the long-discussed and much needed makeover of Hollywood Blvd, with the first phase being implemented Gower Street and Lyman Place.

City, county and state leaders unveiled plans to improve LA’s massive Sepulveda Basin, including connecting already existing segments of the LA River bike path on either side of the park.

West Hollywood is cracking down on e-bikeshare and e-scooter users who violate the city’s rules.

The documentary about LA’s killer highway, 21 Miles in Malibu — which just happens to be the exact length of PCH through the coastal city — won three Silver Telly Awards at the prestigious 45th Annual Telly Awards; the film was produced by Michel Shane, whose 13-year old daughter was killed by a motorist on the highway in 2010.

Santa Monica police are conducting yet another bike and pedestrian safety operation, this time lasting this entire week, ticketing any traffic violations that could endanger either group, regardless of who commits them. As usual, ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limit for the rest of this week, so you’re not the one who gets written up.

 

State

Streetsblog’s Melanie Curry updates the progress of traffic safety bills in the state legislature, including a much-needed speed cam pilot program on PCH in Malibu (SB 1297), the ever-shrinking requirement for a warning device to notify drivers when they exceed the speed limit (SB 961) — which started out mandating speed limitation devices to keep drivers from going more than 10 mph over the speed limit — and a bill to redefine ebikes and require only EU or UL certified batteries (SB 1271). Although the latter bill would be a lot stronger if it simply reclassified all throttle-controlled ebikes as electric motorcycles. 

Palo Alto approved plans for protected bike lanes along El Camino Real, along with narrower traffic lanes and restrictions on right turns, overcoming months of opposition.

 

National

Once again, bike riders are heroes, after people participating in an ebike tour in Yavapai County, Arizona rescued a woman who had driven her car off a 20-foot embankment.

A Phoenix, Arizona man has been charged with 2nd degree murder for killing a bicyclist in a hit-and-run as he fled a domestic violence situation.

A boy in New Mexico got his custom lowrider bicycle back just in time for his 12th birthday, after it was stolen from a museum lowrider exhibit.

Convicted murderer Kaitlin Armstrong has been ordered to pay the family of her victim, gravel champ Moriah “Mo” Wilson, $15 million as judgment in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by her parents seeking a more modest $1 million; Armstrong murdered Wilson in Austin, Texas two years ago over a perceived love triangle with pro cyclist Colin Strickland. But good luck seeing any of the money while Armstrong serves her 90-year sentence — and won’t even be eligible for parole until she’s 67.

Chicago bike riders rejoiced as news broke that a driver had been towed for parking in a bike lane.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A retired Minnesota police chief was killed when he was run down by a semi driver while riding his bicycle; the truck driver doesn’t appear to have been charged.

Mauritanian refugees are fixing bicycles in an Ohio city while they wait to learn whether they will be allowed to stay in the US.

Tragic news from Pennsylvania, where a man was found dead after riding his bicycle into downed power lines on a trail.

Leaders of a Black church in DC are demanding changes to a new protected bike lane, alleging the bike lane barriers block access for older parishioners and members with disabilities.

 

International

An editor for Cyclist says stop complaining about the high cost of bicycles, even as the price for high-end ebikes continues to climb.

Momentum lists the world’s top ten bicycling destinations. None of which are Los Angeles. Or in the US, even. 

That’s more like it. Toronto has a page on the city website explaining why licensing bicyclists doesn’t work.

That’s more like it, part two. The city council in Colchester, England has ordered traffic officers to stop ticketing people riding bikes through the city center, after they were accused of running amok by threatening to fine people who were actually riding legally.

A BBC presenter settled a defamation case filed by broadcaster and cycling advocate Jeremy Vine for the equivalent of over $95,000 for calling Vine a “big bike nonce” and a “paedo defender.”

The New York Times goes for a bike ride along France’s three-century old The Canal du Midi through the scenic Occitanie region.

 

Competitive Cycling

Outside examines how Durango, Colorado’s Sepp Kuss became cycling’s “chillest champion.”

 

Finally…

Los Angeles can take pride in being America’s 5th best city to bike in the nude. And the next time someone complains that no one is using the new bike lanes, show them this.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

One comment

  1. That Tweet reminds me of the adage they don’t put bridges where people are trying to swim the rivers.

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