Archive for bikinginla

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

Firefighters campaign to keep streets deadly amid HLA disinformation campaign, and Feds single out better LA bikeway

Just 314 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 28 signatures to go to reach 1,000!

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One quick non-bike note before we get started. 

You may recall that my wife and I took in a corgi for a homeless man just before the pandemic to give him a chance to get back on his feet, in a story that was told beautifully by then Los Angeles Times City Beat Editor Nita Lelyveld.

For a time, they both thrived; Lelyveld’s followup piece seemed like the perfect Hollywood ending. 

But celluloid isn’t reality, and here in the real Hollywood, people and dogs don’t always live happily ever after. 

So yesterday, the Times published my op-ed detailing the tragic end of the story. You may want to have a tissue on hand before you read it.

Or maybe a box.

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Gotta admit, it’s pretty remarkable to see firefighters, of all people, arguing for keeping our streets deadly.

What’s next, ER docs telling people not to wear bike helmets?

Meanwhile, David Drexler offers a reminder that you can order HLA yard signs here. I would, if I only had a yard.

And retired LA City Councilmember Mike Bonin offered a thread about Measure HLA, aka the Healthy Streets LA ballot measure, on Twitter/X that’s worth repeating here.

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Nice to see LA bike infrastructure used as a good example, for a change.

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The West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition is hosting a CicLAvia feeder ride this Sunday, assembling in front of the Hollywood & Highland Metro Station at 9 am, and departing at 9:15 am.

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Streets Are For Everyone, aka SAFE, is hosting an interactive community meeting on Saturday with County Supervisor Holly Mitchell to stop illegal street takeovers; advance registration required.

Speaking of SAFE, you only have through this Sunday to get advance registration for April’s Finish the Ride and Finish the Run in Griffith Park, prices go up after midnight.

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Los Angeles Walks is celebrating their 25th Anniversary with a Sidewalk Soirée fundraiser on Saturday, March 16th.

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GCN debunks the myths and misconceptions behind hi-viz clothing for bicyclists, saying if it really made you safe, the results would be obvious.

And they’re not.

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It’s now 62 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.

The San Diego Reader considers the love and hate for the city’s expanding bike network, including the many people illegally using and parking in the well-marked bike lanes.

No bias here. A Conservative member of the British Parliament is opposing plans to improve safety at a dangerous roundabout, because “the main cycling beneficiaries will be those out of borough looking to cycle in a straight line.” If only pass-through drivers were subject to the same standard. 

No bias here, either. Just a month after two Melbourne bicyclists were targeted in deliberate hit-and-runs, Aussie police warned bicyclists to stay off the roads when a TV news network runs a show asking “Are cyclists annoying us?”

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Local 

A 44-year old man living in Pico Rivera was shot to death while riding his bicycle on Rosemead Blvd shortly after midnight Saturday, though no one seems to have seen the shooter, or have a motive for the murder.

Santa Monica is looking for a Senior Transportation Planner for the city’s Bicycle Program, offering a great opportunity to make a difference in a city that seems to be committed to making a difference for people on bicycles. Thanks to Kent Strumpell for the link.

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition makes the case that Complete Streets are an accessibility issue.

Pasadena police will conduct a bicycle and pedestrian safety traffic enforcement operation tomorrow, targeting dangerous behavior that put vulnerable road users at risk. So ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limit line, so you’re not the one who gets a ticket.

Walk Bike Glendale invites you to weigh in on a proposal to install bike lanes on a little over a half mile of Glenoaks Blvd between Brand and Geneva, either through an online survey or a public open house tomorrow evening; you can learn more about the proposal on the project website.

 

State

Calbike will host a free online panel discussion on the need for Complete Streets on Caltrans Corridors on March 6th, in advance of April’s California Bicycle Summit in San Diego, though advance registration is required. Unfortunately, it will be over before I usually get up.

Sad news from Palo Alto, where a woman in her 20s was killed when her bike was rear-ended as she waited for a left turn arrow, and knocked into the intersection where she was struck by two other drivers, neither of whom bothered to stop. And for once, we know exactly what happened because the entire crash was captured on the first driver’s dashcam.

A new report showing San Francisco’s controversial Valencia Street centerline bike lane improved safety received applause from some bicyclists, and a legal challenge from local merchants.

A Manteca bicyclist relates getting pulled over by a Nevada state cop while doing 44 on a steep descent in a 45 mph zone, as a reminder that bike riders can get speeding and other tickets, too. It’s been one of my lifetime goals to get stopped for speeding on a bicycle, but I never seem to be going that fast when there’s anyone around who gives a damn.

 

National

Electrek makes the case that ebike riders actually get more exercise than riders of traditional pedal bikes, because a) ebike riders generally ride longer, b) ebike riders tend to ride more often, and c) tough terrain is easier on an ebike. Remember, though, they’re talking generalities; your mileage may vary. Sometimes literally.

A new study from the University of Duh uncovers the shocking news that recreational downhill mountain bikers suffer a high rate of upper extremity fractures and soft tissue injuries. Which anyone who has ever done it, or ever spoken with anyone who has ever done it, can likely attest to.

Cycling Weekly offers advice on how to complete your first gravel race, courtesy of someone who’s finished dead last; meanwhile, the magazine questions whether the new “gravel race bike” category is just a con.

Velo recommends the six best bicycling weekend getaways for the whole family, without having to leave the friendly confines of the US.

Denver prepares for a new round of the city’s highly successful ebike voucher program, with simplified rules to make it easier to apply; since the program began in 2022, the city has funded over 8,000 ebike rebates. Which serves as a good reminder that California’s moribund and modestly funded ebike rebate program passed the legislature in 2021, and has yet to issue a single voucher. And most retailers who are supposed to participate don’t even know about it yet.

Contemporary Christian star Amy Grant says she had to learn how to sing again after suffering serious injuries falling off her bike in Nashville.

Columbia SC bicyclists complain about a new bike lane, arguing the lack of connecting lanes means a “perilous” journey just to get there. And contending with the risk of dooring from parked cars once you do.

A pair of kindhearted Tampa, Florida retirees have founded a church charity dedicated to refurbishing bikes to donate to homeless people.

 

International

If they build it, we will come. A new European study confirms what we already knew — bike lanes get more people on their bikes, and improve perceptions of public spaces. Because it’s easier to say the city sucks when you drive through it in your hermetically sealed vehicle, then when you are actively experiencing it on a bicycle.

Gangs of moped riders are pushing Londoners off their bicycles and making off with them. The bikes, that is, not the riders.

A semi-truck driver will spend the next four years and nine months behind bars for killing a doctor riding her bike to the London hospital she worked at, after failing to use his turn signal before making a “highly dangerous maneuver at a dangerous gyrator intersection.

British historian and bike scribe Carlton Reid describes his discovery of over 100 bikeways built in the 1930s hiding in plain site, many of which could be brought back to useful purpose.

Dublin, Ireland plans to double bicycling rates over the next four years, while developing a 15 minute city by diverting motor vehicles from traveling through the city center. Or centre, if you prefer.

 

Competitive Cycling

America’s greatest early Black bike hero — or perhaps America’s greatest early bike hero, period — is back in the news, with a new documentary about Marshall “Major” Taylor, and a new biographical novel about him by three-time Olympic cyclist John Howard and research scientist Rene Maurer.

British cyclist Emily Bridges will take her fight to compete in the Paris Olympics to the courts, after British Cycling banned transgender women from competing in female cycling events.

 

Finally…

Nothing like posting the full access benefits of your magazine — then hiding it behind a paywall so non-subscribers can’t even see it.

And that feeling when the lessons learned from a short dooring video don’t include “It hurts.”

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Bloated CAO cost estimate weighs down Measure HLA, and draconian ebike regs threaten drag on micromobility

Just 315 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. Just 42 signatures to go to reach 1,000!

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Measure HLA continues to lead the news, and appears to be the hottest issue on next month’s ballot for Los Angeles.

The ballot proposal, which does nothing more than require Los Angeles officials to keep their official commitments to the bicycling, walking and transit communities, would require the city to build out the already approved Mobility Plan 2035 whenever a street in the plan gets resurfaced.

Despite being passed nine years ago with the overwhelming support of the city council, just five percent of the plan has been built in the years since — meaning an overwhelming 95% of the plan remains vaporware, with just eleven years remaining before it’s supposed to be completed.

Although implementing the plan this way, as streets are resurfaced, will take considerably longer.

Then again, we were told within weeks of its passage that the plan is just “aspirational,” anyway.

The Los Angeles Public Press describes it this way.

Measure HLA, also known as Healthy Streets LA, would require the city to implement Mobility Plan 2035 every time it repaves 1/8 mile of street or repairs 1/8 mile of sidewalk. If it fails to do so, any resident of the city of LA can sue to force compliance.

If passed, the measure could change how the city designs and builds transportation infrastructure. But it could also change the city’s identity as a sprawling metropolis built for cars — where everybody drives and nobody walks, bikes, or takes the bus unless they have to.

Last week, the city tried to sandbag the ballot measure with an astounding estimate of up to $3.1 billion — yes, with a B — to fully implement the measure.

But among the financial tricks they used to inflate the cost was rolling the full amount of street repaving, sidewalk repairs and other costs into the measure, which the city will be obligated to spend whether or not it passes. Along with shoehorning the full cost of the measure into an artificial ten year horizon, raising the projected annual costs to ridiculously high figures.

This is how Streetsblog’s Joe Linton described the report from City Administrative Officer Matt Szabo, which he accurately described as “scaremongering bullshit.”

In November, the CAO had forecast bike lanes to cost L.A. $350,000 per mile.

That was roughly double current city costs. L.A. Department of Transportation’s higher quality facilities (for example parking-protected facilities like San Vicente Boulevard) cost just under $200,000 per mile.

Today, the CAO upped its bike lane figure to $1.76 million per mile. I had to look at that number several times – not a typo: $1.76 million per mile of bike lane. Really.

The CAO bike lane cost today is about nine times what LADOT currently spends for a mile of its best bike lanes. And the CAO applies this cost to the Mobility Plan’s protected and unprotected bike lanes.

Other outlets picked up the misleading $3.1 billion estimate, while lacking the context or willingness to put it in perspective.

However, other sources focused on the powerful pro-HLA billboard that says more pedestrians have been killed on LA’s Vermont Blvd than in the state of Vermont.

CityWatch’s self-appointed urban planning expert, who somehow seems to think his expertise as a dermatologist gives him unique insights into the field, says he’s a big hell no on HLA, arguing that it’s a sheep in wolf’s clothing for road diets and transit-friendly housing, while complaining about “councilmembers and paid mercenaries parade around promoting ‘Healthy Streets’ that empower developer and other monied interests.”

Although I suspect many of the people working to pass HLA would love to paid for the countless hours of volunteer time they’re putting in on the campaign.

Former councilmember and retired LAPD supervisor Dennis Zine is also a no on HLA, arguing that it will “further reduce vehicle traffic lanes and cause additional gridlock on roads that are already over capacity,” even though the Department of Transportation says it ain’t necessarily so.

Also writing for CityWatch, civic activist Tim Deegan makes the bizarre argument that HLA will empower progressives, as if no conservatives ever walk, bike or use transit, and hurt the homeless in some unspecified way, as if they somehow won’t benefit from safer streets.

But at least one writer for CityWatch takes the time to consider both sides, while appearing to come down on neither.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports Mayor Bass is standing on the sidelines by refusing to take a stand on HLA.

But at least that’s better than stabbing us in the back like she did with her flip flop on a proposal to merely study the practicality and support for removing the useless Marina Freeway, and replace it with housing and a massive park.

According to the Times, supporters include city councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Eunisses Hernandez, Heather Hutt, Nithya Raman, Hugo Soto-Martínez and Katy Yaroslavsky, along with City Controller Kenneth Mejia.

Councilmembers Bob Blumenfield, Tim McOsker, Traci Park and Monica Rodriguez are opposed, though only Park is actively campaigning against it.

And neither Bass nor Council President Paul Krekorian have voiced support for either side.

Finally, the Daily Breeze and other SoCal News Group papers appear to oppose the measure. But since the story is hidden behind their draconian paywall, we may never know.

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The other topic gaining a lot of traction over the weekend was the effort by some legislators to reign in the booming popularity of ebikes.

A New Jersey state senate committee approved a bill that would require insurance and registration for ebikes and their riders, while admitting the bill is flawed in its present form, but insisting someone else will fix it.

A writer for CleanTechnica says New Jersey would be foolish to require ebike insurance and registration, which threatens to put the brakes on micromobility through over-regulation.

Advocacy groups say it would harm working-class residents while requiring a form of insurance that doesn’t yet exist.

Meanwhile, Key Biscayne, Florida responded to the death of an elderly woman who was struck by a teenaged ebike rider while riding her bike by approving a temporary ban on all ebikes and e-scooters.

Which is kind of like banning all cars because a single driver is accused of causing a crash, even though they may not have been at fault.

Okay, it’s exactly like it.

Yet everyone appeared to comply with the ban, as police didn’t ticket anyone for breaking it over the weekend. Although I’m very surprised no one violated the ban to challenge it in court.

GCN considers what seems to be lost in all the other arguments, with advice for beginners on how to stay safe riding an ebike.

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On the same subject, longtime Orange County bike advocate Bill Sellin forwards the following comments from ebike instructor, presenter, author & consultant Clinton Sandusky, with his permission. 

As promised, here are my personal thoughts/bullet points (not representing any organizations I am a part of) on this proposed (Bill Text – AB-2234 Vehicles: electric bicycles. (ca.gov)) by Assemblymember Boerner:
First, I certainly appreciate Assemblymember Boerner’s efforts now and in the past in trying to make riding conventional and electric bicycles a more safe and enjoyable experience here in California! I believe this bill in its current form is highly flawed, will not have the results hoped for, and therefore should not proceed forward for the following reasons:
  • It would make significant changes to existing laws (some of which have been in effect since 2016) way too fast. A more reasonable first step in addressing electric bicycle safety would be the passage of Bill Text – AB-1778 Vehicles: electric bicycles. (ca.gov) — which would raise the minimum age to operate a Class 2 electric bicycle to 16 and require the wearing of a helmet for all persons.  Of course, adherence and enforcement even to this other proposed bill would be a challenge.
  • I have a big concern with the educational component of this bill! Making education mandatory, especially for persons who do not possess a valid driver’s license, poses many problems. 1. How effectively would it be adhered to and/or enforced? 2. The current CHP online course only provides knowledge-based learning vs. more important and needed skills-based (on-bike) learning.  3. We need to take a page from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) from decades ago and first look at and highly promote voluntary education and training.  Adult to youth riders MUST be exposed to a variety of relevant, quality and effective online and in-person bicycle safety and training programs provided by recognized statewide and national organizations.  4. What would the financial burden be to bicyclists taking a course of their choice, whether a no cost or cost-based course?  Will there be provided state or local governmental vouchers?
  • My final concern is a Constitutional one. In California, all classes of electric bicycles are currently defined as a “bicycle” Law section (ca.gov) and a bicycle is defined as a “device” Law section (ca.gov) — not a “vehicle” Law section (ca.gov). Therefore, bicycling (including riding electric bicycles) in California is a right, not a privilege (like for drivers of vehicles) and must not require a valid driver’s license or issued “skills wavier” to operate.  A skills wavier would also be a logistical nightmare to administer, more appropriately by the DMV and not the CHP.

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Sean Price forwards the following warning for bike riders on PCH. My apologies if it’s hard to read; making it big enough to see seems to blur the content.

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Writing for the New York Times, author Caroline Paul describes what happened when her mother changed her life by taking up bicycling in her 60s.

Besides being trash-talked on a bike ride with her own mom, that is.

Turns out, my mother’s cycling habit meant that she was checking many of the boxes — health, novelty, community and purpose — needed to age well. (For others, this might come in the form of a language class, a book club, a commitment to mastering a plank.) Yet when my mother went biking, there was something more: She was embracing attributes like exhilaration, exploration, awe, a little bit of recklessness. This provided the final pillar for healthy and fulfilling aging: Dr. Levy’s positive mind-set.

But how? My mom didn’t live in a bubble; she had not escaped subliminal toxic messaging. It was the bicycling, with its demands for physical vitality, the uncertainty of every ride, the grit on the uphill, the inherent wheeeeee aspect of fun on the downhill — all powerful proof of that messaging’s mendacity. As her own beliefs were being subverted, her biking adventures also drew surprised and admiring reactions from peers and from those much younger (like her own children). Wow! Badass! was the elated response, which boosted her own passion for the sport, and her life. (Another thing not expected of older women: passion.)

Thanks to Tim Rutt for the heads-up.

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It’s now 61 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.

Bike riders are forced to dodge a series of curb stones randomly littering a Glasgow, Scotland bike lane for the past month, which are virtually impossible to see after dark.

A whopping eight men in their 20s, 30s and 40s have been arrested in the murder of a British bike rider, who police allege was intentionally run down by the 24-year old driver; the others face charges for assisting in the coverup.

A motorbike rider in the UK is “terrorizing” bicyclists by riding on local bike paths.

A Yorkshire, England cab driver got out of his vehicle to confront a bicyclist in the video below, squaring up to exchange punches before slamming the bike rider against a car.

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

An ebike rider in New South Wales was fined a total of nearly $1,500 for violating the Australian state’s strict ebike rules for operating an unregistered and uninsured motor vehicle, presumably by violating power and/or speed limitations. Meanwhile, a woman was fined a total of more than $2,500 for violating the same restrictions while riding with her child.

………

Local 

The Los Angeles city council voted to instruct city workers to look for ways to close the $100 million funding gap to close remaining gaps in the LA River bike path.

After West Hollywood gave away 50 free bicycles to encourage residents to get around without a vehicle, recipients rode an average of nearly 30 miles a month in a mix of recreation, transportation and commuting. Yet surprisingly, only 20% thought WeHo needs more bike lanes.

Long Beach continues its struggle to meet Vision Zero goals, despite a significant drop in traffic deaths last year.

 

State

Goleta proposes transferring funds promised for a new car, bike and pedestrian bridge to building roundabouts in the Old Town area, after price estimates for the bridge soar to $275 million.

San Francisco is setting new storage and charging rules for lithium-ion ebike and scooter batteries in an effort to reduce fires.

San Francisco will consider design changes to the controversial Valencia Street centerline bike lane, despite a new report indicating it has met the goal of improving safety.

 

National

A writer for CNET says her Apple Watch, combined with an iPhone, changed the way she rides a bike, eliminating the need for a separate bicycling computer.

He gets it. A Seattle writer says if he paid attention to drivers the way they pay attention to him while walking or biking, he’d be dead by now.

Once again, a group of bicyclists were heroes when four Washington state bike riders successfully fought off a mountain lion that attacked a woman riding with their group, subduing the puma by pinning it under a mountain bike frame; the victim was hospitalized with injuries to her face, neck and jaw, but is expected to survive.

A Las Vegas driver learns the hard way that if you’re going to flee the scene after killing a bike rider, take your damn bumper with you. And don’t tell your wife.

In yet another example of keeping a dangerous driver on the road until it’s too late, a Florida woman blamed her drug addiction after she was sentenced to 15 years behind bars, with another 15 years probation, for the hit-and-run death of a man riding a bicycle; she was somehow still driving, despite 11 previous felony convictions.

Florida investigators concluded the woman who plowed her car into nine bicyclists on a group ride last month suffered an apparent medical issue — then appeared to refute their own conclusion by ticketing her for failing to drive in a single lane, unknowingly operating a vehicle while license was suspended, revoked, canceled or disqualified, and failure to provide proof of insurance; one victim remains hospitalized with significant brain trauma. Although how it’s possible to not know if you have a valid license, or to be held responsible if you’re having a medical problem, is beyond me.

 

International

Condé Nast Traveler recommends the world’s 19 most scenic bike paths, ranging from the British countryside to breathtaking views of Mount Everest.

It took London police less than 24 hours to infiltrate a bike theft ring using a bait bike, jailing ten people and recovering 60 stolen bikes worth the equivalent of $167,000.

Actor Matthew Broderick is one of us, taking a break from performing Plaza Suite with his wife Sarah Jessica Parker, with a casual bikeshare ride through the streets of London.

English police recommend registering your bike, after someone got their stolen Cannondale road bike back four years after it was stolen. You can do that for free right here with Bike Index

Just days after a new study suggested turbans worn by Sikh bicyclists can be nearly as effective as bike helmets in preventing injuries, an English man said his turban protected his head when he came off his bike on a wet road and slid underneath an oncoming car.

A pair of bike riders in the UK were also heroes, as authorities look for a couple who paused their bike ride in a valiant, but unsuccessful, attempt to save the life of a 25-year old man they found lying unconscious near a cycle track.

An Irish bike club suffered its second tragic loss in less than a year, when an amateur cyclist and father was killed by a Dublin, Ireland driver.

Velo describes Kortrijk, Belgium’s annual Velofollies bike expo as the best kept secret in bike shows, offering a surprising array of commuting, cargo and urban bikes.

A Sri Lankan company introduced an innovative ebike-based “Eco Hauler,” which is really just a cart towed by an ebike. But still.

An Aussie bike rider politely tells drivers to use their damn turn signals, already.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Vuelta a Andalucía “Ruta del Sol” was shortened from five days to just three due to farmer protests in the area.

A Dublin writer decries traditional gender roles and stereotypes that have limited the participation of women in cycling.

Tragic news from South Africa, where talented teenaged cyclist and national U19 time trial champ Jessie Munton has spent the last month fighting for her life in the ICU, remaining in a coma since she was struck by a driver on a January training ride.

Velo looks back at former Tour de France champ Stephen Roche, saying he was more popular than the pope, JFK or any other celebrity — in Ireland, anyway.

Always wait until you cross the damn finish line to celebrate your victory.

 

Finally…

Riding around the world without leaving the comfort of your home. Get your toddler the latest in e-balance bike technology. Bike riding on Mars means less air, but fewer drivers.

And we now have a new world record holder for the tallest tall bike.

Although the LA-based builder of former record holder StoopidTaller Bike didn’t need no safety rope.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Guest Post: For Real E-bike Safety, We Need Safe Infrastructure and Education, Not Licensing and Criminalization

I’ve known John Lloyd almost as long as I’ve been involved in bicycle advocacy, and admired his insights and opinions since the days of his old Boyonabike blog,

A respected professor of history at Cal Poly Pomona, John also serves as co-chair of the campus Alternative Transportation Committee, and has long been a leading voice for sustainable transportation and safe streets for all ages and abilities.

As an experienced ebike rider, John’s comments on Tasha Boerner’s new ebike licensing ban caught my attention, and I asked if he’d share them here with you. 

We’ll be back tomorrow with our usual Morning Links to catch you up on all the latest bike news. 

Photo by Max J. from Pexels

………

This month Assemblymember Tasha Boerner introduced AB 2234, a bill that would require licensing of e-bike riders and prohibit children under the age of 12 from riding e-bikes. The bill would create “an e-bike license program” that would require all e-bike riders to take an online test and have a state-issued photo ID confirming passage of the test. The bill is short on specifics, but establishes a “stakeholders’ working group” to “work on recommendations to establish an e-bike training program and license.” If the working group were to establish such a recommendation, it is not clear whether it would then go back to the legislature for ratification or whether it would be immediately implemented by the DMV. The bill does seem to make a nod toward an e-bike education program to be administered by “local agencies and school districts,” but even that is not clear. There are good bike education programs in existence that can and should be scaled up, but of course, funding would be key to the success of any education program. The bill explicitly does not provide funding for any such program.  

What concerns me is the focus on creating new categories of illegality for people riding bikes while doing nothing about our dangerous infrastructure. This law would make it a crime for a person over the age of 12 to ride an e-bike without a license and this approach raises a number of important questions the legislature needs to ask before the bill is brought to a vote. Legislators ought to ask themselves if they’re willing to fund an education program at the level required to make it meaningful and widely available to people of all income levels. 

There is also a question of driver education. Many of us who ride will tell you that there is a significant portion of the licensed driver population that show no evidence of awareness of state laws regarding how to drive safely and especially how to drive safely around pedestrians and people on bikes. Any such education program must address driver education as well. 

Criminalizing unlicensed e-bike riding is bound to have unintended consequences for many communities who already face disproportionate police scrutiny. It is not difficult to imagine that law enforcement agencies in some cities would use the e-bike law as a pretext to stop and harass low income people, youth, and people of color. In my experience, a surprising number of law enforcement officers misinterpret traffic laws as they apply to bicycles, especially when it comes to subjective interpretation of things like lane positioning, sidewalk riding, use of crosswalks, or even what constitutes an e-bike. Some “e-bikes,” especially those popular with many younger riders, look more like motorbikes, and some look like regular bikes. How are police supposed to know which is which? This bill is a blank check to police to stop any person on a bike on the flimsiest of pretexts. Cyclists of color will tell you how often this already happens. This bill will provide even more pretexts. Encounters with law enforcement over minor violations often do little to improve safety, to say nothing of making it harder to simply ride an e-bike without fear of police harassment if you’re young and Black or Latinx. 

Bike licensing is a red-herring and a distraction from the far bigger problem of traffic violence caused by drivers–the vast majority of whom are licensed by the state. What problem is licensing designed to solve? The state’s investment in safe bike infrastructure has been anemic for years and fixing unsafe road conditions would do far more for e-bike safety than an online test. Indeed, Assemblymember Boerner’s bill follows close on the heels of the Governor’s proposed $200 million cut to the state’s already inadequate Active Transportation Plan (ATP). If the issue really is the safety of e-bike riders, providing more funding for safe infrastructure is the most important thing our political leaders can do. 

For years Californians who ride bikes have pleaded with state leaders for the resources to make safer streets a reality. We’ve got plenty of examples of bike plans that go unfulfilled, Vision Zero and complete streets declarations that are forgotten soon after they’re passed. I’ve got decades of experience as a rider, I know the laws and ride safely because I want to get home safely to my family. I’d like nothing better than a state with a serious commitment to the safety of all road users, because all too often the roads aren’t safe for those of us on bikes and e-bikes, even when we follow all the rules. Many longtime bike safety advocates like myself have had the experience of asking our city for a bike lane to make riding safer, only to be answered by a nonsequitur, “what about cyclists who don’t obey the law?” That’s what Assemblymember Boerner’s bill feels like. We ask for infrastructure to keep us safe from cars and get e-bike criminalization from car-brained politicians instead.  

If legislators want to get serious about safety, I ask that they start by getting serious about increased funding for the state’s Active Transportation Program. Next, provide funding for universal bike safety education programs for youth and adults through schools districts, municipal parks and recreation centers, and local community groups. Third, upgrade driver education so that people are aware of the fact that bicyclists have a right to the road and how and when to pass safely. 

Licenses and criminalization won’t make anyone safer, but they will discourage e-bike riding and result in one more excuse to harass marginalized people on e-bikes, and that shouldn’t be the consequence of misguided, if well-meaning “safety” legislation. 

 

Person riding bicycle killed Saturday in early morning Santa Ana collision; few details available

Once again, someone has been killed riding a bicycle, this time in Santa Ana.

And once again, that’s all we know about them.

According to the Santa Ana Police Department, the victim, who has not been identified in any way, was riding north on Bristol Street at Alton Ave at 3:55 am Saturday when they were struck by a driver traveling east on Alton.

The victim was declared dead at the scene.

That’s all we know at this time. There’s no word on who may have had the right-of-way at the signalized intersection, which has bike lanes north of Alton, but nothing below.

There’s also no word on whether drugs, alcohol, distraction or speed may have been a factor in the crash.

Hopefully, we’ll learn more soon.

Anyone with information is urged to call Santa Ana Police Sergeant R. Shin at 714/245-8294, or the Traffic Division of the Santa Ana Police Department at 714/245-8200.

This is at least the fifth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first that I’m aware of in Orange County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and their loved ones. 

Santa Monica cops cool with vehicular assault, opponents misrepresent HLA, and group rides offer up close view of LA

Just 319 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. Just 55 signatures to go to reach 1,000!

………

I’ll be off for President’s Day on Monday, but we’ll have a guest post from Cal Poly Pomona history professor John Lloyd critiquing the new bill that would impose an online test and permit before anyone without a driver’s license can buy or ride any type of ebike or e-scooter, and ban kids under 12 from riding them. 

Meanwhile, Calbike doesn’t like the damn bill either, saying it “would create an unnecessary new bureaucracy and mostly harm youth of color in California while not taking the steps necessary to make our streets safer for all users.”

………

What happens when you get threatened with a motor vehicle in Santa Monica?

Apparently nothing.

Even if you catch it on video.

In this case, Twitter/X user Mobility For Who reacted to a driver attempting to run a stop sign with a polite “Whoa, buddy!”

The driver naturally responded politely in kind.

Yeah, no. The driver responded with an angry honk as the bike passed in front of him, then revved his engine and squealed his tires in what can only be interpreted as a threat, which had the intended effect of scaring the hell out of Mobility For Who.

Unless you’re a Santa Monica cop, that is.

In that case, they try to blame the victim for using a handheld phone — which isn’t illegal, even if it was true. Also for running the stop sign, which again wasn’t true.

And while the cop was correct that road rage itself isn’t against the law, the actions resulting from it often are. Even just exiting your vehicle to approach another road user is prima facie evidence of assault, according to an LAPD officer.

In this case, what you see on the video is, at a minimum, a misdemeanor case of assault with a deadly weapon — which means threatening someone, rather than actually making contact.

As others pointed out on Twitter/X in response to these posts, had this occurred in Los Angeles, it would have made a good case under the city’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

But not in Santa Monica, or anywhere else in Los Angeles County.

I’ve met with the police chief in Santa Monica, along with representatives of BikeLA Neighborhood Chapter Santa Monica Spoke, to address the department’s lack of enforcement to protect bicyclists and other vulnerable road users.

And left with promises they’d look into it, and ensure the law was enforced fairly against dangerous, aggressive and/or threatening drivers.

But that was four chiefs ago, as the department’s revolving door on the top floor has prevented any continuity or progress in protecting the rights and safety of vulnerable road users. And allowing street level officers to regress in their commitment to protect bike riders and pedestrians, instead of the current policy of just enforcing laws against them.

I encouraged Mobility For Who to meet with the current chief, whoever that may be now, to press their case — if not for this case, then for the next person it happens to.

And yes, I do know the current chief is Ramon Batista.

For now, anyway.

But that’s the problem. Whatever progress we might make by taking our concerns up with the chief would only last as long as he does in that role. And if past history is any indication, you might be better off buying ripe bananas than counting on the Santa Monica Police Chief to stick around.

It’s a problem that will have to be addressed with, and by, city leadership, who can require the department to better protect people walking and on bikes.

Or more likely, the inevitable lawsuit that will come from their failure to do anything.

………

The Healthy Streets LA ballot measure continues to make news.

A rally in support of Measure HLA, as it is referred to on election ballots, brought out four of the six City Councilmembers in favor of the measure to encourage voters to mark yes on their ballots.

According to Streetsblog’s Joe Linton,

Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez spoke movingly of meeting a 29-year-old man who had barely survived a car crash. The victim’s mother told Hernandez that “before, he was very active – he would ride his bike everywhere.” When Hernandez met him, “he was in a bed in a hospital, having been there for months already… he got hit while he was riding his bike…”

Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martínez spoke of the urgency of passing Measure HLA. “These High Injury Network streets happen to be in the most poor areas of our city – the ones that have historically been redlined – and it’s mostly working class people that are biking, walking or taking public transit… who are being killed every single day,” he said.

Both Councilmembers Nithya Raman and Katy Yaroslavsky spoke of their fears as mothers of young children, and how scary it is to cross unsafe streets just to walk their kids to school.

Raman drew attention to the need for Mobility Plan improvements to be implemented citywide, “in a way that is connected, that enables people to get out of their cars.” She concluded by calling Measure HLA “smart public safety-oriented policy-making.”

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles firefighters union held their own event to oppose Measure HLA, while demonstrating both their lack of understanding of mobility issues, as well as an inherent windshield bias and commitment to car culture.

Take this quote from California Professional Firefighters President Brian Rice, who Linton says was repeatedly dismissive of bicycles and transit, in addition to displaying his own misinformed conservative political bias.

“I hate to tell you men and women, California – and Los Angeles in particular – this is a car community. You may not like it,” Rice declared, “but it is.” Rice derisively asked, “Do you really think you’re going to see buses go faster than 12 miles an hour?”

Rice declared that “a small group of elite… Democratic Socialists” are behind Measure HLA…

However, many of the people behind the measure are far from elite. And while I suspect most probably are Democrats, given the political makeup of LA County, none have cited Marx, Che Guevara or Mao in any of their conversations with me.

But I digress.

Rice concluded his remarks emphasizing fiscal issues that firefighters don’t lead with, but which appears to be among their core concerns: spending money making streets safer competes with more resources going to firefighting.

The city released a misleading cost estimate for Measure HLA implementation: $250 million annually. (Safe streets advocates can only wish that HLA gradual implementation could ever result in that kind of annual investment. Measure HLA proponents estimate annual costs to be more like one tenth of the city’s estimate.) The city estimate rolls in some non-HLA costs, including the cost of the city’s annual street repaving program which already has been and will continue to be in the city budget, regardless of HLA. It also inflates per-mile bikeway and bus lane cost estimates well above what the city currently spends.

Nope. No bias there.

A writer for LA Progressive also takes a very non-progressive stand, saying he’ll vote against the measure because it “ignores two essential criteria that bicycling on LA’s streets must be safe and bicycle paths and lanes must directly connect to each other.”

Except that’s exactly what LA’s mobility plan, and by extension, Measure HLA, does.

Former LA City Planner Dick Platkin adds that HLA offers a “deceptively simple way to solve LA’s traffic congestion, just switch from cars to bicycling and walking.”

Even though it does no such thing, since the mobility plan is based on the assumption that most Angelenos will continue to drive, while offering safe alternatives to those would prefer other options.

He goes on to site Councilmember Traci Park, one of the city’s least progressive councilmembers.

And repeats the city’s extreme $2 billion cost estimate, which Linton explained above includes inflated figures, as well as the city’s entire resurfacing budget, which it is already committed to and HLA has no bearing on.

HLA would only add the cost of paint and any additional barriers, along with the basic design costs for each street restriping.

So maybe Platkin should try writing for a less progressing site.

Oh wait, he did.

Never mind that it was the previous LA city planners and engineers who got us into this car-centric mess to begin with.

………

Nice piece from freelance writer Michael Charboneau for the LA Times The Wild newsletter, introducing four group rides offering an up close and personal view of the City of Angels.

He nails his introduction, kicking it off this way.

Riding a bike in Los Angeles is an act of defiance — against car culture, against endless sprawl, against bike lanes that disappear without warning and against gaping potholes. But on the best days, riding a bike is a pure joy. And I’ve found that you can get even more out of those moments with this one easy trick: Ride your bike with other people.

………

Calbike will host a webinar on March 6th to discuss the state bike advocacy group’s campaign to demand Complete Streets on Caltrans Corridors.

Speakers: Senator Scott Wiener; Kendra Ramsey (CalBike); Jeanie Ward-Waller (Fearless Advocacy); Laura Tolkoff (SPUR); Sandhya Laddha (Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition).

Please join us to learn more about our statewide campaign for Complete Streets and Complete Corridors on Caltrans’ State Highway System. Our joint campaign is bolstered by SB 960, authored by Senator Scott Wiener, which will require Caltrans to implement safe streets for people biking, walking, and using transit. Along with the senator joining us, we will also have state and local experts demonstrating the path needed for Complete Streets and Complete Corridors on Caltrans’ roads that run through your community.

………

CicLAvia will kick off their 2024 season this evening with the release of Los Angeles Ale Works seek-la-VEE-ah West Coast IPA, after it was rained out last week.

(Did I hear someone say “Oh please, not another IPA!”? Or was that just me?)

The free event will be held in conjunction with the Ivy Station Night Market, featuring food trucks, music, games, local vendors and kid-friendly activities.

It comes just over a week before the year’s first CicLAvia a week from Sunday on Melrose Ave between Fairfax and Vermont.

In addition to the usual two-wheeled frivolity, I’m told we can expect the first-ever CicLAvia corgi parade, though the time and location are still TBD.

………

It’s now 57 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.

………

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

No bias here. The president of a San Francisco merchant’s association offers an alternative to the “well-intentioned, but ill-conceived” Valencia Street bike lane, while offering a gratuitous slap at bike advocates, saying “diehard bike advocates can come across as a little sanctimonious and zealous,” even though “they’re doing the Lord’s work.”

Planetizen correctly says New Jersey’s proposed requirement for liability insurance for low-speed ebikes would have a chilling effect on micromobility, effectively halting any transition away from cars.

No bias here, either. A writer for the London Telegraph says bicyclists are the rudest, most entitled people in the UK today, with Lycra-clad boors giving off “an almost palpable air of smug self-satisfaction, even as they make life miserable for fellow road users.” Just wait until someone tells her about drivers. However, you’ll have to either subscribe to the paper or sign up for a free trial if you want to read the damn screed. 

English authorities have launched a murder investigation following the hit-and-run death of a man riding a bicycle, after reports that he was also assaulted by an occupant of the vehicle, either before or after the crash.

A Singapore driver pled guilty to committing a rash act to endanger the personal safety of others, despite claiming she tried to de-escalate a confrontation with a road-raging bike-riding woman several times.

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

And no bias here, either. A 12-year old boy on an ebike somehow collided with a 66-year old Key Biscayne, Florida woman riding a bicycle in the opposite direction, killing the older woman. So local officials immediately called an emergency meeting to ban ebikes and e-scooters, ignoring 1) the crash was caused by one or more people riding where they shouldn’t have in the middle of the street, and 2) the tragic results might not have been any different if both were on non-electric bikes.

………

Local 

Jacobin looks at the LA bikeshare worker’s opposition to the proposed takeover of the Metro Bike operations by Lyft.

LAist offers an overview of the Pasadena city council election.

 

State

A new bill in the state legislature would ensure that all California bridges will remain toll-free for bike riders and pedestrians.

Costa Mesa has received $7.4 million in grants from the Orange County Transportation Authority, aka OCTA, to “create three interconnected, separated bike lanes as part of a major expansion of the City’s bicycle network.”

A Novato driver was busted on felony hit-and-run and driving under the influence of prescribed medication after he ran down two 15-year old boys as they rode their bicycles, followed by crashing into a pickup a block away; fortunately, everyone is expected to survive their injuries.

 

National

The Consumer Products Safety Commission has ordered a recall of Bell Soquel Youth Helmets due to risk of injury resulting from a balky strap.

Portland bike advocates want to change the narrative after bicycling rates rebounded slightly, following last year’s precipitous drop.

Oregon has their own ebike bills under consideration, including one opposed by Portland’s The Street Trust that would create California-style ebike classifications, and legalize ebikes for kids under 15, while banning throttle-controlled ebikes for the same age group.

Denver is down to just four bike messengers for the entire city, including one world champ.

A potential new helmet padding design developed at the University of Colorado could absorb as much as 25% more impact than existing foams, improving protection from bicycle helmets, as well as other types of helmets.

Kindhearted Texas cops bought a new bike for a local boy after his was destroyed by a hit-and-run driver.

New York celebrated a full decade of Vision Zero, despite just a 12% reduction in overall traffic fatalities and a record number of bicycling fatalities last year.

That’s more like it. A Mississippi man will spend 12 years behind bars after pleading guilty to the DUI death of a Tupelo bike rider.

 

International

Bicycling says bike riders in Nuevo León, Mexico are fighting to take back their streets, following two decades of drug cartel violence. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

The first woman to win the 3,000-mile Race Across America has been disinvited to speak at an Ottawa, Canada Women’s Day event because she served in the Israeli Defense Force 30 years ago.

Canada’s bicycling minister says he didn’t mean what he said when he said the country will stop funding large highway projects. Or so he says.

A new report says Croydon is failing bicyclists and pedestrians, as the only London borough not seeking funding for greater bicycle infrastructure and bus priority lanes. Their semi-pro football, aka soccer, team kinda sucks, too.

The CEO of British foldie maker Brompton answers questions for Cycling Weekly, saying “People see us as a little, quirky, odd bike.” Which is exactly how most people view them.

 

Competitive Cycling

American Magnus Sheffield says he’s “incredibly lucky to be alive” after crashing on the same descent that killed Swiss cyclist Gino Mäder in last June’s Tour de Suisse, adding it’s a reminder of how fragile life can be. Amen.

A Guyana bike race celebrates the country’s “rich history of bicycling excellence.”

 

Finally…

That feeling when something gets lost in translation between Dutch bike infrastructure and Chorlton-Cum-Hardy. Or when a bike needs a new forever home after its owner dies.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Firefighters union pledges 6-figure fight to keep LA roads deadly, and woman bicyclist critical after Belmont Shore collision

Just 320 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. Just 60 signatures to go to reach 1,000!

………

Somehow, Los Angeles firefighters don’t seem to think LA’s wide street are wide enough.

Or that their trucks can manage to roll over a thin line of paint.

According to the Los Angeles Times, United Firefighters of Los Angeles City Local 112 plans to spend at least $100,000 to fight Measure HLA, the ballot measure that would make the city build out its already approved mobility plan whenever streets within the plan get resurfaced.

Union President Freddy Escobar said his organization, which represents about 3,400 firefighters, is concerned that the measure will lead to slower emergency response times and put new pressure on a city budget already experiencing financial strain. Firetrucks are already being hindered by “road diets” — reductions in vehicle lanes caused by the creation of bike or bus lanes, Escobar said in an interview.

“Every second counts. The road diets slow down our firefighters,” Escobar said. “And it will be so much worse with HLA.”

Like the road diet on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista, for instance. Which we were told was dangerously delaying responses from the local fire station after it was installed, until we learned that the average response for Mar Vista’s Station 62 was just four seconds more than the citywide average in the months following the road diet.

Because every second counts, evidently.

Never mind that when firefighters complain about road diets, they neglect to mention that while road diets reduce the number of traffic lanes, most contain a continuous center left turn lane large enough for firetrucks to zoom through any backed up traffic — actually making them more efficient for emergency vehicles than LA’s congested roadways.

Other major streets in the mobility plan are marked for bus lanes, which also present a perfect lane for emergency vehicles to bypass traffic more quickly than they can now.

Assuming no one is illegally parked in them, of course.

Or that one reason we’re told LA’s “protected” bike lanes are protected by nothing more than flimsy plastic posts is so emergency vehicles can drive over them whenever necessary.

Not to mention that most of the bike lanes in the mobility plan will feature nothing more than a thin stripe of white paint, which should hardly pose a barrier for a massive, multi-ton truck with huge wheels.

So the reality is that road diets, particularly the kind the would be created under HLA, would likely speed emergency response times, not slow them.

Which makes you wonder what the firefighters real complaint is.

Then there’s the simple fact that Measure HLA, and the mobility plan it’s based on, is designed to save lives by dramatically reducing the risk of life-threatening injuries and traffic deaths.

So maybe what they’re really worried about is that improved traffic safety could reduce the need for emergency responses.

And emergency responders.

Of course, Los Angeles isn’t the first city to face this type of manufactured conflict.

New York firefighters complained that city’s road diets and bike lanes were affecting response times, until the brass clarified that it ain’t necessarily so.

In fact, response times were better the year after bike lanes were installed on New York’s Columbus Ave than they were the year before.

San Francisco firefighters also complained about the city’s rapid installation of road diets, neighborhood greenways and bus and bike lanes. So city officials bought several slightly smaller fire trucks to enable them to better traverse San Francisco’s narrow, winding streets.

Not, say, our overly wide, straight and multilane boulevards.

Which makes it seem like the union’s real objection is less about reducing response times, and more about wanting to drive unhindered to and from the fire stations and their suburban — or even out-of-state — homes.

But in the end, it’s only appropriate, in this pre-Easter season, that the firefighter’s union will spend more than a hundred grand of their member’s dues to perform a miracle.

By turning their water into whine.

………

Bad news from Long Beach, where a 32-year old woman is in stable but critical condition after she was struck by a driver while riding her bike.

The collision occurred at Second Street and Bay Shore Ave in the city’s Belmont Shore neighborhood at 8:15 pm Sunday.

The victim was reportedly making a left turn after the light had changed, when a driver went through the intersection on the red light, striking her.

A nearby doctor provided first aid until paramedics arrived.

………

Um, okay.

………

It’s now 56 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.

………

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

A Dublin, Ireland mother was forced to give up bicycling after she was threatened with an £11 million fine — the equivalent of nearly $14 million — and two years behind bars for installing a small bike shed in her front garden to store her family’s bikes and her mother’s wheelchair.

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

New Jersey comedian Rich Kiamco was chased and beaten by a gang of teenaged bicycle riders, who ran him down to steal his ebike; police used the GPS on his bike to track down the thieves and recover his bike less than an hour after it was stolen.

A Singapore botanical garden urged bike riders to slow down, after a hit-and-run bicyclist on a road bike ran over a monitor lizard.

………

Local 

It just keeps getting worse. Former Major League shortstop and current Oaks Christian School baseball coach Royce Clayton was busted for DUI early Sunday morning, just weeks after testifying about quaffing margaritas with wealthy socialite Rebecca Grossman and her then-lover, former Dodgers pitcher Scott Erickson, before she allegedly killed two little kids while speeding through a crosswalk.

Metro is looking for volunteers to help audit first mile/last mile connections for the Eastside Transit Corridor, the coming nine-mile extension of the E Line train.

Income-qualified Pasadena residents will be able to get a rebate of up to $1,000 on the purchase of an ebike starting July 1st, while other buyers will be able to claim $500 off a regular ebike, and $750 off an e-cargo bike. And chances are, California’s moribund ebike voucher program still won’t have launched by then.

 

State

Seriously? The replacement project for the Mission Bridge over the Santa Ana River between Riverside and Jurupa Valley has been pushed back until 2025 — but don’t worry, officials plan to protect bike riders by installing a couple of Share the Road signs along the dangerous roadway.

Santa Barbara will seek $32 million in state funds to build a new bike and pedestrian bridge over Highway 101.

The San Francisco Standard examines the proposals to ban kids from riding ebikes, while noting that US Consumer Product Safety Commission research shows it’s people 25 to 44 years old who are the most likely to end up in the ER as a result of an ebike crash — not kids.

 

National

The Manual says you should never buy a used mountain bike.

Once again, a bike rider was a hero, as a Washington state man was saved after driving off an embankment when someone passing by on a bicycle heard his moans and called 911; the driver was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

A Boulder, Colorado op-ed says bicycling isn’t inherently dangerous, but bad street design is. (Hint: Stop the page from loading to bypass the paper’s paywall).

Illinois IndyCar vet David Malukas will see his debut with the Arrow McLaren SP Racing team delayed a couple months, after dislocating his wrist in a mountain bike crash — or maybe tearing ligaments in his wrist; he now expects to start his season at April’s Long Beach Grand Prix.

An Arizona man is likely on his way back to prison after allegedly crashing a stolen box truck in Terre Haute, Indiana, and attempting to make his getaway on a stolen bicycle while naked from the waist down.

She may be onto something. A Baltimore bike rider questions whether cars are just a parasitic alien life form that makes people do their bidding.

 

International

Virgin founder Richard Branson claims bike riders need body armor, after his latest bike crash in the British Virgin Islands left him with a “nasty” road rash and a hematoma on his hip. So he and I finally have something in common (see photo).

Canada commits to stop funding large highway projects, concluding that the country’s current highways are sufficient to meet its needs.

No bias here. A London website says bicyclists will no longer have to annoy pedestrians by dismounting and walking their bikes across the city’s Hammersmith Bridge.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a Yorkshire, England van driver walked without a day behind bars for running down a bike rider from behind, after playing the universal Get Out Of Jail Free card by claiming the sun was in his eyes.

The Turkish founders of the annual, worldwide Fancy Women Ride have called an end to it, saying its goal of getting more women on bikes has been met. Although they may find the ride was easier to start than it will be to stop.

An EV website says Sydney, Australia needs to change its perspective and embrace cycling as a viable mode of transportation.

 

Competitive Cycling

A British Columbia paper says Svein Tuft, arguably Canada’s greatest road cyclist, is finally leaning to slow down after retiring at 41 when he lost his competitiveness, and began braking early to avoid injuries.

 

Finally…

That feeling when even the parking cops don’t care about a blocked bike lane. Forget a tandem, what could be more romantic than a bicycle built for five?

And we may have to worry about road-raging drivers, but at least we’re not likely to get shot after being mistaken for a bike-riding wild boar.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Driver blames bike rider for riding legally, Bob George ghost bike gone, and no SoCal counties deadliest for bike riders

Just 321 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. Just over 70 signatures to go to reach 1,000!

………

In a letter to the Los Angeles Times, Norwood Paukert recounts the story first told here last week about being intentionally run down by a pair of young men on Griffith Park’s Zoo Drive.

I have no memory of the impact, but I was told by the park ranger on scene that witnesses had watched a car with two young men inside intentionally swerve into the bike lane and ram me from behind, throwing me over the handlebars into the street, and then laughing as they sped away.

We’ve seen similar stories coming from all over the world — as near as Huntington Beach and Las Vegas, and as far as Australia — of young men deliberately running down people on bicycles, usually while driving stolen cars.

Yet no one seems to be connecting the dots here, despite with rumors circulating of a hit-and-run challenge targeting bicyclists.

Meanwhile, another letter on the same Times link asks a “bike enthusiast” to explain why an Eagle Rock bike rider would be riding against traffic on the sidewalk, right next to the painted bike lanes on Colorado Blvd.

When there was a large gap, I checked again for pedestrians, and started to move forward. Out of nowhere, here comes a bike rider, on the sidewalk, coming from my right against the traffic flow. I came within millimeters of knocking him down.

I have seen many cyclists use the bike lanes correctly, but I have also seen them riding in groups so that they overflow the bike lanes into traffic. I’ve seen them at night with no reflective gear on.

Let’s start with the idea that the rider came “out of nowhere.”

Bikes are allowed on the sidewalk in Los Angeles, and drivers have a responsibility to look both ways. That includes looking for anyone walking or biking on the sidewalk, which is bi-directional — meaning there is no right direction, and people are entitled to travel in either direction.

Even people on bicycles.

Secondly, there is no requirement to ride in the street, even if it has a bike lane.

It’s possible that riding with traffic on the opposite side of the street may have been inconvenient if the rider was heading to or leaving a business or residence on the near side of the street, or connecting to a street on that side.

Or they may have just been uncomfortable riding on a busy street with nothing more than a thin strip of paint for protection.

And it’s odd that drivers can accept illegal, dangerous and otherwise bizarre behavior from other drivers, but somehow can’t comprehend when someone on a bicycle does something similar.

People are people, regardless of how they choose to travel. And people will inevitably do what’s most convenient, or which seems to make sense at the time.

So maybe it’s time to lighten up when someone on a bicycle acts like a human being.

Meanwhile, GCN examines just what we do that manages to piss drivers off so much.

………

Sadly, the ghost bike for fallen bicyclist and Hollywood producer Bob George has been removed already, his memory erased from a town that forgets too easily.

………

A new report from personal injury law firm Bader Scott analyzed data the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aka NHTSA, to determine the nation’s most dangerous counties for bicyclists.

To the surprise of no one, the worst offenders came from Florida. In fact, the top three counties, and 14 of the top 20, are in the state, which is the nation’s deadliest state to ride a bike in.

California was also represented near the top, with San Joaquin County ranking eight, and Stanislaus County 15th. (Hint: Stop the page from loading to get around the paper’s paywall.)

Surprisingly, no SoCal county ranked in the top 20. Although it would be interesting to see what the rest of the list looks like.

………

There’s still time to reserve your spot in next weekend’s L.A. Chinatown Firecracker Bike Ride celebrating the upcoming Lunar New Year, Year of the Dragon.

Here’s how a recent press release described the event.

The 46th Annual L.A. Chinatown Firecracker 5K/10K Run/1K Kiddie & PAW’er Dog Run/Walk & 20/50-Mile Bike Ride – which will be held over the weekend of February 24-25, 2024, where thousands will take to the streets and where the events start and end, as well as a free to the public post-event festival at the historic Los Angeles Chinatown Plaza (Event Festival until 3pm on Saturday as well as a Lantern Paw Festival in Blossom Plaza from 11am-4pm in conjunction with Saturday’s Paw’er Dog Walk, and on Sunday, the Firecracker event festival goes until noon).

In addition, the 50-mile Bike Ride snakes through DTLA, LA River, “Frogtown”, LA Zoo, Travel Town, Burbank, Glendale, Verdugo Foothills, Montrose, La Canada, Pasadena, Altadena, San Marino, South Pasadena, El Sereno, Lincoln Heights, and much more.

The L.A. Chinatown Firecracker is one of the largest and oldest running races in the U.S. which had its humble beginnings from a few Belmont High School Alums (a public school located in the Westlake community just outside of Chinatown).

Meanwhile, there’s just two weeks left to get early bird pricing on the April Finish the Ride and Finish the Run in Griffith Park.

………

It’s now 55 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.

………

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

No bias here. A San Diego TV station blames the victims by suggesting the safety of Encinitas ebike riders is in the hands of Gen-Z, meaning teenage ebike riders. Even though the real danger comes from the drivers they’re forced to share the road with, thanks to a lack of safe infrastructure.

No bias here, either. In a clear indication of who they think poses the greatest risk, Fresno police cited 32 drivers in their latest bicycle and pedestrian safety operation — and 96 bicyclists and pedestrians.

Or here. A London bike rider famous for riding with his cat was scolded for riding around a car, after the driver had just pulled out and cut him off.

An Irish driver complains that a bike rider must “enjoy playing with traffic” by riding in the traffic lane when there’s a perfectly good bikeway right next to it — even though it’s blocked by a bollard.

………

Local 

The LA Times sums up the prosecution’s case against wealthy socialite and Grossman Burn Center co-founder Rebecca Grossman as “Liquor, Valium, speed and recklessness;” Grossman is on trial for two counts of murder for the high speed hit-an-run deaths of two little kids as they crossed the street with their parents and siblings in Westlake Village last September.

Yo! Venice offers video of the badly damaged Marvin Braude Bike Trail, which collapsed during last week’s heavy rains; remarkably, the bike path appears to have been build with little or no rebar or other means of support beyond the concrete itself.

Hermosa Beach is considering a proposal to allow cops to impound bicycles and ebikes of riders cited for traffic violations. Although that would appear to violate state law, which does not permit it.

 

State

Sad news from Los Altos, where a woman riding a bicycle was killed in a collision.

San Francisco State Sen. Scott Wiener discusses his proposed bill to require speed limiting devices in all new cars, which keep drivers from exceeding ten miles over the speed limit. And which would probably do more to save lives than anything else the state could do right now.

 

National

He gets it. A writer for Bicycling says stop the ebike hate, and love your fellow bicyclists regardless of how they dress or what they ride. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t seem to be available anywhere else, so you may be screwed if the magazine blocks you. 

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a writer for Visor pens a love letter to bicycling, expressing “the simple yet profound joy of riding a bicycle.”

Portland, Oregon rebounded from a “precipitous drop” in bicycling rates last year with a modest 5% increase in this year’s count.

The rich get richer. On top of Denver’s successful ebike voucher program, residents of the city can now get paid $1 a mile to ride their bikes instead of driving, up to a maximum of $200 a month.

New York bicycling deaths dipped just slightly last year, a full decade into the city’s failed Vision Zero program.

A pair of bills in the New Jersey legislature would impose an $8 annual registration fee and require a $35,000 liability insurance policy for even slow-speed, ped-assist ebikes, as well as e-scooters, in an apparent attempt to kill the ebike boom and keep people in their cars.

 

International

A new report suggests the post-pandemic sales slump affecting the worldwide bike industry will last through at lease next year; meanwhile, sales at Shimano’s bicycle division were down 30% last year.

A writer for Cycling Weekly describes what it’s like to ride in the worst bike lane in the world.

Momentum offers ten ways to go on a bicycle date.

Cyclist explains how to get more aero on your bike. Unless you ride an upright bike, in which case, as you were. 

Canadian Cycling Magazine nominates a Toronto driver for the most egregious case of driving in a bike lane. Which sounds like a challenge to SoCal drivers.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. A driver walked without a single day behind bars, despite being convicted of intentionally ramming a bike rider into a large truck, breaking the victim’s spine and leaving him a “hollow shell of a person.”

Harry Styles is one of us, as he goes on a late-night bikeshare ride through the streets of London with girlfriend Taylor Russell.

Dublin, Ireland offered a plan to halt pass-through traffic in the city center to make room for buses, bicyclists and pedestrians, along with drivers who actually have a destination in town, after a study showed that 60% of downtown Dublin drivers were just passing through.

 

Competitive Cycling

Sad news from Seattle, as former Giro and ‘cross cyclist, and longtime bike industry pro, Tim Rutledge died following a battle with cancer at age 65.

 

Finally…

At 15, most of us were happy just to ride a bike, not run your own bike shop. Now you, too, can ride your bike like the Swiftie you are.

And a corgi on an ebike is all I really ask of life.

Thanks to Dr. Grace Peng for forwarding the tweet, or whatever the hell it’s called these days.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Bashing Boerner’s ebike safety bill, dismount bikes signs to be removed, and the Biden-Trump bike race we deserve

Just 322 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. Just over 70 signatures to go to reach 1,000!

Photo by Maxfoot from Pixabay.

………

Streetsblog’s Melanie Curry responds to Encinitas Assemblymember Tasha Boerner’s bill to ban ebikes for kids under 12, and require a driver’s license or completion of an online training course for anyone else.

E-bike safety is certainly important. Asm. Boener has been working on developing safety training – more on that below – but the idea of requiring licenses for riding a bike introduces a range of problems. There is racial profiling, for one – the people most likely to be pulled over for potential violations of this law are youth of color. Then there’s the whole problem with making the police deal with what is fundamentally a safety issue in the first place. And as the California Bicycle Coalition has pointed out:

“The bicycle is an efficient and essential tool to fight climate change, and e-bikes make bicycling accessible to a wider range of people. E-bike licensing requirements are unlikely to measurably reduce the prevalence of crashes (see below for why), but they will reduce ridership just as California needs to employ every strategy to mitigate the climate crisis.”

Electric bikes can be easier – and faster – than “acoustic” bikes. This brings both benefits and hazards, particularly to inexperienced riders. But the solution is better information and training, not more policing.

Curry also points out that California law already bans anyone under 16 from riding the fastest category of ebikes.

And that the “real and present danger” associated with ebikes is cars, and the people who drive them. Because even the best trained ebike rider is no match for a speeding, overly aggressive or otherwise distracted driver.

Meanwhile, a comment on the Electrek site sums it up pretty well.

Hard disagree with the current iteration of this bill, the way it reads right now its another power move under the guise of “for the safety of children” and an overblown way to solve a problem that affects some cities locally. There’s smarter and more cost effective ways to increase ebike safety rather than making a big conundrum out of it and then finding a new way to ticket people who have been following the law, while people breaking the law will continue to ignore it…

………

Credit Streetblog’s Joe Linton with getting Los Angeles and Beverly Hill to remove signs posted near the Purple Line construction zone on Wilshire which tell people to get off their bikes, for no apparent reason.

It’s questionable whether these signs were ever enforceable to begin with, since they don’t conform to the MUTCD, and look more like something a Metro contractor might have ordered off Amazon.

………

Daily Kos says forget all this talk about who is “infirm” or “feeble,” or capable of passing a basic cognitive test.

What we really need to settle the issue once and for all is a Biden-Trump bicycle race.

I know who I’d put my money on.

………

Bike Portland celebrates the city’s Boom Bike, a human-powered, mobile soundstage.

………

GCN explains how to commute on an ebike.

Which is kind of like commuting on any other bike, just less sweaty.

………

It’s now 54 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.

………

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

Something tells me there’s more to this story, after an alleged hit-and-run driver was charged with first-degree murder for killing a British Columbia bike rider; the suspect is accused of planning or conspiring to murder the victim, as mounties describe the investigation as “sensitive.”

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

An unknown bike rider is the prime suspect after a former British sports commentator found his car slashed by what could have been a bicycle pedal.

………

Local 

Los Angeles now has a bicycle-based mobile espresso bar serving Westside communities with beans exclusively sourced from West African farms.

Politico looks at the bad blood delaying Lyft’s takeover of behind-the-scenes operations for LA’s Metro Bike bikeshare program, as political and labor leaders decry awarding “hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to a company that is car-centric and anti-union.”

Torrance is moving towards approval of a proposed multi-use trail linking the city’s new regional transit center with its downtown district.

Long Beach says not so fast to California’s new intersection daylighting law.

 

State

Instead of succumbing to the ebike panic plaguing SoCal’s beach cities, Newport Beach has taken a more rational approach by launching a new webpage devoted to ebike and traffic safety.

Bad news from San Diego, where a 63-year old man suffered severe injuries when he was right hooked by a 33-year old woman while riding in a Carmel Valley bike lane; fortunately, his injuries were not considered life-threatening.

More bad news from San Diego, as a man in his 70s suffered injuries to his head and legs when he was struck by one of the city’s downtown trolleys while riding his bike.

Sad news from Fresno, where a 33-year old man died after he was struck by a driver while riding his bike just doors from his home.

 

National

Velo talks with PeopleForBikes about the five principles required for the year’s best US bicycling infrastructure.

Five years after launching it with much fanfare, PeopleForBikes will shut down their Ride Spot mobile app at the end of this month, after deciding the resources could be better spent in other areas. Which is just business speak for it flopped. 

Bicycling offers their picks for the best President’s Day deals on bike gear. This one doesn’t appear to be available anywhere else, but it also doesn’t seem to be hidden behind the magazine’s paywall. 

Cycling Weekly advises doubling up on bike locks to make your bike less inviting to thieves as bike theft rates rise.

Good question. The Good Men Project says public health and urban planning go hand-in-hand, so why aren’t we doing more to promote bicycling? Actually, that’s easy. It’s because we care more about allowing drivers to go zoom zoom than we do about keeping people healthy.

In a complicated story, the owners of a Houston bike shop got a classic 1950s Columbia bike back after a photographer they loaned it to never returned it; a year later, a friend found it for sale after someone discovered it on the street when the photographer was evicted for nonpayment of rent.

 

International

Momentum makes the case for why building bike lanes is good for more than just people who ride bikes.

Ebike conversion kit maker Swytch recommends the most romantic cities for bike-riding couples to spend quality time together. That none of them one is Los Angeles should go without saying.

Virgin owner Richard Branson once again suffers “nasty” injuries falling off his bicycle, this time after hitting a pothole in the British Virgin Islands.

Toronto bicyclists celebrate riding on the coldest day of the year, on one of the warmest days of the winter.

Um, no. A Manchester, England website explains how the city became the European capital of bicycling. Which will likely come as a big surprise to Amsterdam and Copenhagen, not to mention Paris and Barcelona.

A British community learns the hard way that the equivalent of $17 million won’t even buy a straight bike lane anymore.

The consumer standards regulator for the Netherlands is investigating a cargo bikemaker, after complaints of broken frames on fragile Babboe bakfiets.

 

Competitive Cycling

That feeling when a bike race fan does a face plant trying to keep up with a cyclist in the Tour Columbia.

 

Finally…

Presenting a crossdressing bike ride that could be banned in some red states. When you’re riding your bike at 1 am with illegal drugs, a fake handgun, knife, pepper spray and a half-dozen outstanding warrants, don’t ride salmon without lights on the damn thing,

And that feeling when a magazine thinks every bicyclist needs a new Pinarello — and a balance bike.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin