Archive for Advocacy & Politics

Morning Links: Disappointment on 6th Street road diet, and new bikeways drop under new LADOT leadership

Hopefully, we’ve got the problem fixed, and subscribers received an email notification of this post. If not, we’ll take another shot at it tomorrow.

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This is why Vision Zero will fail in Los Angeles.

It’s no secret that LA’s 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea is one of the most dangerous streets in Los Angeles.

And not just for bike riders, but for pedestrians, drivers and even residents of the street, given the number of drivers who lose control and smash into the buildings alongside it.

In fact, according to the Beverly Press, collision data shows it’s three times as dangerous as the average street in Los Angeles.

Yet even though there’s a shovel-ready plan to fix it, it’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

LADOT has proposed a road diet for the one-mile stretch of street, reducing it to one lane in each direction with a center turn lane, and much-needed bike lanes on either side. It’s a plan that’s won significant community support, including the backing of the Mid City West Community Council that represents the area.

And it’s a proven solution. According to the Federal Highway Administration, road diets have been shown to reduce collisions as much as 47%, while retuning road space back to the community.

The resulting benefits include a crash reduction of 19 to 47 percent, reduced vehicle speed differential, improved mobility and access by all road users, and integration of the roadway into surrounding uses that results in an enhanced quality of life. A key feature of a Road Diet is that it allows reclaimed space to be allocated for other uses, such as turn lanes, bus lanes, pedestrian refuge islands, bike lanes, sidewalks, bus shelters, parking or landscaping.

Although at every community meeting where the results of any study are mentioned, someone will inevitably ask if it was conducted in Los Angeles. As if there is something magically different about this city that makes water run uphill and two plus two equal five.

But this time, the answer is yes.

Because the latest research shows that the needlessly contentious Rowena road diet accomplished exactly what it was supposed to do.

Since the road diet was installed more than three years ago, LADOT has been collecting data on traffic patterns. An analysis of that data makes it clear that the project has worked as intended: Average speeds dropped from 39 mph to 35 mph, and safety has significantly increased on Rowena, with no effect on overall traffic volume.

Let’s repeat that.

Despite the claims of local residents that cut through drivers have run roughshod over their neighborhoods, Rowena post-road diet carries the same number of vehicles as it did before. But far more safely.

But that’s where the good news ends.

Because the Beverly Press reports CD4 Councilmember David Ryu, who represents the area, questions the benefits of the road diet, preferring incremental changes to improve safety.

Like bollards, for instance.

And he’s concerned about how a road diet would affect other local development projects, such as a joint Metro/Los Angeles project to encourage transit ridership, new jobs and development along the transit corridor formed by the planned La Brea, Fairfax and La Cienega subway stations, which won’t open until 2023.

So instead of trusting the people the city pays to design safer streets, he prefers to overrule their judgement, and that of the local community, and drag his feet for months, if not years to come.

So a lot of people could be needlessly injured or killed on the street in the next seven years.

And that’s the problem.

Just as we’ve seen with Westwood Blvd, Central Ave, Lankershim and North Figueroa, a single LA councilmember has the power to stop much needed safety projects, sometimes based on nothing more than their own personal whims.

Which means that safety can improve dramatically in one council district, and grind to a halt in the next.

Vision Zero will be impossible to achieve if individual councilmembers are allowed to carve their districts out, and keep the streets dangerous at the behest of constituents fearful of any change to what they consider their streets.

Even if it’s change for the better.

And even though the streets belong to all of us.

We had high hopes for Ryu, who professed to support Vision Zero, as well as encouraging bicycling and walking when he ran for office.

But based on this decision, as well as his votes in support of removing Westwood and Central from the Mobility Plan, we may be disappointed.

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If you thought bikeway construction had slowed down dramatically under Seleta Reynold’s stewardship at LADOT, you’re right.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton took at deep dive into the department’s recently released annual report, and found that the city installed only 17.1 miles of bikeways in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. And that’s using the new lane mile metric, which counts each direction of travel separately.

So that 17 miles of bikeways represents just 6.5 miles of roads and pathways.

That compares to 38 lane miles in Mayor Garcetti’s first year in office, when Reynolds was appointed several months into the year.

And 120 lane miles in Mayor Villaraigosa’s final year in office, far exceeding his commitment to build 40 miles of bike lanes — 80 lane miles — a year.

As Linton points out, LADOT has a number of projects in the works for the coming year.

If all goes according to plans, FY2016-17 looks like it should be better. LADOT is poised to implement plenty of quality bikeway mileage during the current fiscal year, with protected bike lanes anticipated on Figueroa Street (MyFig), Venice Boulevard, Spring Street, Main Street, Van Nuys Boulevard and (newly announced in the report) Highland Avenue.

But he adds,

LADOT has recent accomplishments to be proud of, but, given Reynolds, a committed walk and bike champion at the helm, it is falling short of expectations. Cyclists, communities and advocacy groups will need to continue to press LADOT and L.A. electeds to ensure that progress continues.

Let alone if we ever hope to see even a fraction of the hard-fought gains reflected in the 2010 Bike Plan, now part of the Mobility Plan 2035, on our streets.

Minus Westwood Blvd and Central Ave, of course.

………

Today’s common theme is ebikes.

An Escondido father tours Catalina Island on an ebike with his young daughter.

A British Columbia man takes a 1,553 mile ebike ride to next month’s Desert Trip classic rock festival in Indio.

Financial Review calls a new e-cargo bike the equivalent of a muscle car.

And if you like your ebikes to look like 1920’s motorcycles, this one’s for you. Then again, as Cyclelicious points out, America has a long history of making pseudo-motorcycle bicycles.

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The head of the Tour de France says cycling is shedding its image as the black sheep of the sports world as it cleans up its act, while other sports are rocked with doping scandals.

Although Deadspin says trusting anyone in cycling is a loser’s game.

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Local

The LA Times endorses Measure M to provide alternatives to LA’s soul-crushing traffic. However, a representative of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association urges a no vote, saying the plan isn’t perfect yet — in part because it doesn’t include a plan for parking. Which kind of misses the point of getting people out of their cars.

UCLA has established the area’s first online bike traffic school, allowing students to improve their knowledge of bicycle traffic regulations instead of having to pay a traffic ticket. Meanwhile, thirty years ago you could have ridden a pedicab through Westwood Village.

CiclaValley offers a video breakdown of the popular Nichols Ride.

Better Bike’s Mark Elliot points out that the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills set a new record for injury collisions involving bicyclists or pedestrians in August, with six and ten respectively — over four times the average number of bicycling injuries for the previous seven months.

Cycling in the South Bay goes back to third grade dealing with anti-bike Palos Verdes NIMBYs at a pair of city safety meetings, while including his notes of the various NIMBY uninformed comments.

 

State

Governor Brown signed a bill requiring ignition interlock devices for anyone convicted of drunk driving, to keep them from operating their cars while under the influence. Not as good as impounding their vehicles until they get their licenses back, but it’s a start.

A bike path becomes a contentious issue in the Encinitas council election. Yes, a bike path.

Palm Springs uses bait bikes to bust two bike thieves.

A crowdfunding account has been established for the 88-year old grandfather who was killed riding his bike in Goleta last week.

A Monterey bicyclist jumps head-first into the great helmet debate, saying even hard-headed people should wear helmets while biking. Meanwhile, your next helmet could be made from a honeycomb of hollow neon green tubes.

 

National

A stoned Oregon driver gets six years and three months for the hit-and-run death of a bike rider while he was high on marijuana, which is legal in the state. However, driving under the influence isn’t.

There’s a special place in hell for anyone who would try to sell a Chicago ghost bike on Facebook.

Kindhearted North Chicago police buy a new bicycle for a seven-year old boy after his was destroyed in a collision.

A Minnesota writer reviews a new book that says Bike Lanes Are White Lanes, as bike advocacy too often leaves communities of color behind.

New York passes three laws guaranteeing bicycle access to commercial and residential buildings.

It takes a special kind of road raging jackass to pull a gun on anyone, let alone former pro and Lance lieutenant George Hincapie and his eight-year old son as they rode near their South Carolina home.

 

International

Momentum Magazine looks at three grassroots bicycle organizations shaking things up in cities around the world, including our own East Side Riders Bike Club.

Canada is creating a national task force to reduce injuries and fatalities to cyclists and pedestrians. That sound you hear is the silence of the US doing nothing.

Bicyclists in Edmonton, Canada already treat stop signs as yields, even without an Idaho Stop Law. As opposed to LA, where too many riders simply ignore them.

It’s official. The Right Bank of the Seine River through the heart of Paris will be taken back from cars and returned to the people.

Southern Germany features over 120 bike routes with 5,000 miles of dedicated pathways.

A Formula 1 driver wiped out while rounding a corner at nearly 30 mph on his bicycle when he ran over a Thai chicken.

 

Finally…

It’s not a bomb, it’s an inflatable bike helmet. The perfect bike for when you want to ride in a semi-Superman position, cape optional.

And your next bike tour could be led by a pair of porn stars.

 

Morning Links: LACBC endorses Measure M, cars used as weapons, and Bill Nye teaches bike riding

The LACBC officially endorsed Metro’s Measure M in the November election

The half-cent sales tax extension is projected to raise $120 billion over its 40-year lifespan, with $4 billion set aside for bike and pedestrian projects

The remainder will be invested in transit projects and wasted on highways.

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The only good thing about these next few stories is there were no bicycles involved.

A horrifying story from Oregon, as a white supremacist couple is charged with using their car as a weapon to intentionally run down and kill a young black man following an argument.

Meanwhile, a Phoenix driver apparently used his car to deliberately run down three cops; fortunately, none appear to be seriously injured.

Funny that we screen gun purchases in the US, but we’ll let any homicidal maniac drive a car.

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Local

A Dutch intern reminds CiclaValley learns not to take riding the Angeles Crest Highway for granted.

Hawthorne is the latest city to announce their police department will be stepping up enforcement of violations that can cause bike and pedestrian crashes tomorrow. So ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits; thanks to Margaret for the heads-up.

The New York Times talks with LA author Edward Humes about his new book Door to Door: The Magnificent, Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportation, which discusses the inefficiency and wastefulness of the automobile, as well as its potential to kill.

BikeSafe USC is hosting a free bike ride and workshop one week from today.

 

State

The Army Corps of Engineers will shut down the San Luis Rey Bike Trail in Oceanside for six months to remove sediment in the river.

The next phase of the project to widen Highway 101 through Carpinteria began Monday; plans include sidewalks and bike lanes — hopefully separated from the highway.

Santa Barbara County will clear out supposedly abandoned bicycles in student-friendly Isla Vista, despite giving only two days notice; if your bike disappears, check with the sheriff’s department.

Napa police return two stolen bikes to their owners and bust the transients riding them.

 

National

Seattle is thinking about getting serious about Vision Zero by lowing speed limits by 5 mph all over town.

A Fairbanks AK newspaper says the city needs changes in attitudes as well as infrastructure if it’s going to meet its goal of becoming a more bike-friendly community.

Caught on video: A Utah bike rider walks away after being run down from behind by a distracted driver; remarkably, the 16-year old driver wasn’t even cited, despite saying she never even saw the cyclist. Which should be taken as an admission of guilt, not an excuse.

Pueblo CO votes to rip out a protected bike lane, calling the design dangerous from the beginning. So if it was such a bad design, why did they install it in the first place? And why not fix it instead of removing it?

The New York Times calls North Dakota’s Maah Daah Hey Trail the longest, and arguably most grueling, single track route in the US. And stunning, too.

Life is cheap in Iowa, where a distracted driver faces a whopping $750 fine for leaving a cross-country bike rider in a wheelchair.

A Houston paper asks if the city’s comprehensive new bike plan, which calls for 1,700 miles of “safely designed bike lanes and trails,” will end the battle between bicyclists and drivers. Only if they actually build it, unlike most bike plans in most cities. And it’s not much of a battle when ones on two wheels are the only ones getting hurt.

The Illinois Project Mobility works to put disabled vet on specially adapted bicycles to help them re-engage with the world. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Streetsblog says New York Mayor De Blasio should get serious about Vision Zero instead of getting defensive about his bike policies.

Cyclists call Pennsylvania’s Reading 120 Classic of the Americas the toughest one-day bike race in the US. Thanks to Mike Bike for the tip.

A new study from Virginia’s James Madison University says consuming protein supplements while you ride may help build muscle, but won’t improve your performance.

 

International

You’d have to ride nine hours and 50 minutes a day in peak London pollution before the risks of bad air would outweigh the benefits of bicycling; in Delhi, it would take just five hours a week.

A driver in the UK will face private prosecution for killing a cyclist after a crowdfunding campaign raises $60,000 to fund the trial; government prosecutors twice refused to file charges. Too bad we can’t do that here.

A new UK app will power a first-of-its-kind peer-to-peer bikesharing system.

Caught on video: A British motorcyclist gets off his bike to threaten a bicycle rider after he and a second rider nearly take him out passing on both sides on a roundabout, even though he’s hugging the side of the roadway.

A new poll says that one in four Brits are worried about having a wreck while they bike, while “only” 9% of British workers ride to work. There aren’t many places in the US that wouldn’t be overjoyed to have half that many bike commuters.

An Aussie city council considers requiring all bicyclists to wear hi-viz any time of the day or night, evidently because the councilors can’t be bothered to pay attention to where they’re going.

 

Finally…

Caught on video too: bike cleats and slick floors are not a good combination. Your next ebike could have a Ferrari pedigree.

And learn to ride a bicycle with Bill Nye the Science Guy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFGl0tXRAjg

 

Morning Links: Torrance tri canceled, Riverside carnage continues, and bike advocate ponders if it’s time to quit

If you haven’t read it yet, don’t miss yesterday’s guest post Letter From St. Louis, from CyclingSavvy’s Karen Karabell.

Go ahead. We’ll wait.

Then buckle in. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today.

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Don’t bother showing up for this weekend’s triathlon in Torrance.

Word comes from Todd Munson that the race has been called on account of apparent greed and billing irregularities from the cities involved, and not involved.

This is what the organizers had to say.

Yesterday, the city of Torrance canceled the 2016 LA Triathlon at Torrance Beach.  With much regret, we are forced to announce this cancellation to our participants and sponsors only 4 days prior to race day.  We understand that the cancellation will come with great disappointment to those of you who have worked hard and prepared for months toward this year’s triathlon.  We are disappointed by the unexpected and unprecedented circumstances and demands that have unfolded to cause this cancellation.

We have listed the key points that led to the city’s cancellation of our event in an effort to offer some immediate transparency to all participants:

  1. On August 31st, the City of Torrance sent to Pacific Sports an email demanding advanced payment, in full, to the city, prior to the event, for city services.  There was no detail of the charges, simply amounts in total and the requirement to bring two cashier’s checks by 5pm.   This is not standard practice in other municipalities and certainly not in those where all previous invoices had been paid in a timely fashion.
  2. In the same email on August  31st, we were informed that a significant separate payment was also required to be paid to the neighboring City of Palos Verdes, a city in which we have no footprint, no permit, no participants enter their city as part of our course, no liability coverage, and no relationship of any kind.  This demand is unprecedented in our 36 year history as an event production company, and to our knowledge unprecedented in the event industry in the United States.    This payment is demanded by Torrance (to be paid to Palos Verdes) although we have never been made aware of the apparent business relationship (although it has been requested) between Torrance (where we do have permits) and the city of Palos Verdes.
  3. Also in this email, it was finally revealed by the City of Torrance, after an audit requested by Pacific Sports, the city had significantly overbilled us by an amount in excess of 30% to the total in 2015 for city services.   We have strong evidence that the 2014 invoice may have been overbilled as well.   Importantly, we have no reliability that the advance payment demanded for 2016 (without detail of its calculation) is backed up by verifiable charges which will only be available after the event has occurred.
  4. Since August 31st, we have worked tirelessly with all levels of the city government including the city council and Mayor’s office in an attempt to bring resolution.  We offered a structured and fair written compromise on these issues in attempt to  insure the event went on as planned on September 11th.  Ultimately, the city offered no compromise or proposed solution and informed us they had unilaterally canceled the event.

We are upset and deeply disappointed by the cancellation, but the requirements were unreasonable and excessive.  Accepting the terms would have compromised the entire event and were untenable for us to continue at the current site for the LA Triathlon.

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Yet another teenager has been injured riding her bicycle in Riverside, where it’s apparently open season on bike-riding school kids.

A 14-year old girl is in stable condition after being hit by a pickup while riding in a crosswalk just 100 feet from her school Wednesday morning. The driver fled the scene after stopping briefly; she was taken into custody on a nearby highway about 10 minutes later.

Although despite what the story says, it’s hard to imagine the driver was “fully cooperative” with police when she tried to make a getaway before being caught.

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Lucas James Guidroz pled not guilty to in the hit-and-run death of math and music teacher, musician and cyclist Rod Bennett as he was riding on Placerita Canyon Road last May. Guidroz faces felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run driving resulting in death or serious injury.

Note to Santa Clarita Valley Signal: Show a little respect, and get the victim’s name right in the caption.

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In the wake of yesterday’s blog post from Surly’s Skip Bernet, in which he said he’s done riding on streets due to the dangers posed by cars, long-time LA bike advocate Examined Spoke questions whether he wants to keep riding his bike.

Is cycling in traffic safe? I can find statistical support for any answer I want: yes, no, who knows. My own experiences suggest the answer should be no, not safe. In 2009 I was rear-ended while riding on Los Feliz Boulevard; last year I was brushed (side-swiped) on Fountain Avenue. I can recount several other close passes, terrifying moments — the usual stuff that you will hear from almost any cyclist. I shrugged off these experiences when they happened, but they still haunt me. They’ve also made me into a poor advocate; I cannot argue for cycling’s essential safety, I am a personal testament to its dangers. As much as I want to believe the opposite, little by little I’ve had to admit to myself that I don’t feel safe on the road. I never feel safe out there.

It’s a very well-written and challenging piece, and one that poses some very difficult questions.

If anyone wants to respond to it, let me know. I’ll be happy to share your thoughts here.

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The bus carrying Britain’s Team Sky pro cycling team nearly made mince pie out of a cyclist on a narrow country road.

The team contacted him a few hours after the video went online to apologize.

They should give him an autographed team bike, at the very least. And a new pair of shorts, since he probably needs them after that.

Meanwhile, Lance’s doping ban has been partially lifted, so he is now free to compete in non-bike related Olympic sports, like ski jumping, pole vaulting and synchronized swimming.

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Local

Props to CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo for beginning work to create a pedestrian plaza, including bike racks, on the Hoover Triangle in University Park. Now if he could just do something to make it safer to bike or walk there.

More honorees at the LACBC’s upcoming Firefly Ball include Culver City Council Member Meghan Sahli-Wells and The Walt Disney Company.

CiclaValley shares video of the new Spring Street bike lane between 1st and 2nd Streets in DTLA.

Damien Newton talks with Marisa Creter of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments about plans for a 200 mile bike superhighway crisscrossing the entire valley.

WeHoVille examines the 18-month timeline to reconstruct Santa Monica Blvd through Beverly Hills; the street will be widened, providing enough room for the bike lanes that won’t be installed. Increased costs and the objections of residents to widening one narrow section of the street was given as the reason not to install much-needed bike lanes on the boulevard. So why won’t they commit to adding them now that the street is being widened anyway?

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson reports on Wednesday’s meeting of the Palos Verdes Estates Traffic Safety Committee as only he can.

 

State

A Canadian man is riding over 1,500 miles to attend next month’s Desert Trip music festival in Indio on his Pedego ebike.

Pismo Beach votes to move a bike path into a busy parking lot to keep it from besmirching a coastal subdivision for wealthy homeowners.

Fresno jurors find an accused career criminal not guilty of attempted murder of a police officer in a struggle that began when the cops tried to stop him for riding without a light.

 

National

Streetsblog says the US has the worst per capita traffic fatality rate in the developed world because we drive too damn much. Not to mention too damn fast, too damn drunk and too damn distracted.

Zocolo Public Square says modern roads resulted from a coalition of early bicyclists and rural farmers banding together to demand better streets, only to see cyclists squeezed out with the advent of the automobile.

Build your own DIY ebike that looks like it would probably alert the bomb squad.

Bicycling offers advice on how to ride through your pregnancy.

Exploring Hawaii’s Lanai island by bicycle, where only 3,200 people live and there are no traffic lights.

The Tacoma teenager tackled by police as she rode her bicycle through a mall parking lot is suing the police department, as well as the officer in question, the mall and its security company.

American Denise Mueller hopes to set a new motor-paced bicycle land speed record of over 168 mph at Utah’s famed Bonneville Salt Flats this weekend.

A Chicago area writer can’t seem to figure out if he’s pro or anti bike, saying allowing bicycles in wilderness areas is a bad idea, but giving bicyclists the same rights as drivers is a good one — especially if it means more riders get tickets.

An Op-Ed writer in the Chicago Tribune complains about a parking protected bike lane, and insists that bike riders can’t be ticketed — or pay fees — because they don’t have operators licenses. Never mind that most bicyclists have driver’s licenses, like most other human beings in this country, and can be ticketed even without them.

Cleveland officials say the bike lane that was removed to provide parking for the Hilton hotel wasn’t really removed because it was never really a bike lane to begin with.

A retired Boston doctor encourages drivers to open their doors with their right hands to avoid dooring cyclists.

New York protected the security of the presidential candidates from bike riders by forcing the riders onto a busy highway at rush hour.

A Pennsylvania website says bicyclists face a life and death struggle for space on the state’s roads.

 

International

Ottawa officials say it’s okay that bike lanes on a newly opened bridge are too narrow to meet official guidelines, because they’re not really bike lanes. Evidently, they’ve been talking with the people in Cleveland.

It only took 120 years to get a bike lane on one Toronto street.

The Guardian looks at the Rails to Trails movement in the UK, where abandoned rail lines are being turned into world class biking and walking trails.

Curbed introduces Amsterdam’s first Bike Mayor, elected as an unofficial representative for the city’s bicyclists.

Apparently Belgrade, Serbia fails to make the grade when it comes to being bike friendly.

A new report says Adelaide, Australia isn’t ready for bikeshare because of its immature bikeway network, mandatory helmet law and crushing car culture. Los Angeles can cop to two out of three.

An Aussie writer calls for a network of segregated cycle routes to replace painted bike lanes, augmented by a network of shared quietways where cars don’t own the roads. Which sounds a lot like the apparently forgotten Bicycle Friendly Streets called for in LA’s Mobility Plan.

 

Finally…

Bicycling may be good for your health, but good sex may kill you. Seriously, if you’re already on probation for drug charges and carrying an “unknown white substance” on your bike, don’t ride on the damn sidewalk.

And just in time to beat the Halloween rush, a bicycle on a kickstand pedals itself, both forward and back, with no one but the camera around.

Guest post: Letter from St. Louis

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from St. Louis correspondent Karen Karabell. 

While I don’t always agree with her, I’ve found Karen to be one of the most agreeable people to disagree with I’ve ever encountered. In fact, she’s become one of my favorite people, even if we’ve never managed to close the 1,800 some odd miles separating us. 

I do agree that knowing how to ride anywhere, under any circumstances, makes all the difference in both your safety on the streets, and your enjoyment on your bike. And taking a course in bike safety is one of the the fastest and best ways to get there.

……..

The news this summer from Southern California has been thrilling. Three cycling clubs have offered CyclingSavvy to their members. Big Orange is considering making participation in a CyclingSavvy workshop mandatory for membership.

Wow! Before we know it, cyclists everywhere will recognize CyclingSavvy as a quantum leap forward in bicycle education. Bicycle safety instructors throughout the land will retrain themselves to start teaching CyclingSavvy.

A new tagline for selling truly useful bicycle education that changes people’s lives will be: “Got Savvy?”

Is she crazy?

Those who follow the politics of bicycling might think so. Perhaps you’ve heard of CyclingSavvy, but not actually taken the course. Be aware that much of what you’ve heard may be unintentionally inaccurate at best, and even deliberately misleading at worst.

Such are politics! Be that as it may, things are changing, and fast.

I want to introduce you to Shawn Leight, incoming president of the Institute of Transportation Engineers. The ITE is an international scientific and educational association, with 13,000 members working in more than 90 countries.

I met Shawn through a Facebook post:

facebook-screen-shot

The screen shot excerpted above is after our first IRL meeting.

Shawn and I decided to meet the old-fashioned way. We both live in the St. Louis area. For our first meeting, he suggested lunch. I said no.

I prefer not to sit down with a transportation professional until we’ve done something else together: Ride.

I needed to show Shawn that I was a regular human, not a person reeking with ideological certainty cyclist. It worked! Our ride together allowed us to move beyond the caricatures that permeate discussions about bicycling in America.

Shawn and I rode together in heavy afternoon rush hour traffic. I loved showing him how we cyclists can easily share our existing roadway network, especially when we take advantage of the hallmarks of the U.S. transportation system: Communication, Cooperation, and Courtesy.

On one stretch, I controlled our space on a narrow two-lane road without shoulders. I waved on or held back other drivers as circumstances dictated. We received complete lane changes and zero incivility.

He later told me that I earned his respect when he asked if I’d control an uphill travel lane on a busy St. Louis County arterial road. “Heck no!” I responded.

My visceral response assured him that I was not crazy. But savvy cyclists know that my response could not be as simple as that. It never is when the topic is bicycling.

I told Shawn that I would try to find an alternate route. Failing that, I’d take advantage of the “platoon effect” and ride on the road when it was empty, moving to the shoulder to facilitate passing. On the shoulder I’d be slow and cautious! I would monitor conditions constantly in my rearview mirror, ready to bail if an errant motorist headed my way.

This all becomes second nature when you’re riding on a shoulder, or practicing what we now call “Edge Behavior,” thanks to Dan Gutierrez.

Dan has earned a place in history for creating an easy way to think about bicyclist behaviors. He coined the typology “Pedestrian,” “Edge,” and “Driver” behavior to describe how bicyclists operate their vehicles. Successful bicyclists use all three behaviors to their great advantage. We CyclingSavvy instructors show people how to use each behavior safely and effectively.

cyclist-behavior-spectrum

Unlike any other form of transportation, bicycling is an art. Trains, planes, boats, pedestrians and motorists have fairly standard operating characteristics. But we cyclists have choices.

So many choices! Also: Safety is a product of behavior. This is something that I did not truly appreciate until I got savvy.

Even after I took my first CyclingSavvy workshop, it took me a long time to become a savvy cyclist (but that’s another story).

Before I understood savvy cycling, I was a typical bicyclist, exhibiting what psychologists call “unconscious incompetence.” This is a technical term to describe people who don’t know what they don’t know. The term fit me perfectly when I first went to Florida to check out CyclingSavvy.

I’m not criticizing myself! At the time I simply shared our culture’s prevailing mindset regarding bicycling. Most people are clueless regarding safest and best practices.

Again, it’s not their fault! People don’t know what they don’t know.

So, Smarty Pants, what exactly is it that “most people” don’t know yet about bicycling?

Thank you for asking! I’ll be glad to touch on some salient points:

It is possible to ride safely and easily on any urban street, right now.

In CyclingSavvy we give people the tools to do so. We do a whole lot more than this; I’ll write more about that in a minute.

I’ll never forget my conversation with a prominent local cyclist and former board member of the League of American Bicyclists. I was practically begging her to take even just only the classroom session of CyclingSavvy. She refused. She already was an “expert.” She had nothing to learn, especially not from me and my ilk who dared find issue and speak about safety flaws with the special infrastructure that she so fervently promoted.

The conversation did not go well. She finally yelled at me in frustration.

“Education doesn’t work!”

She was right, based on what she knew. As a League Cycling Instructor, I could not make education “work,” either. That’s why I decided to go to Orlando in 2011 to see what this “savvy cycling” thing was about. The experience set me on a whole new path, mainly because it wasn’t about bicycling.

The biggest thing we do in CyclingSavvy is bust myths.

Myth #1: Rules were created for cars. The rules of the road were created long before automobiles were common. In fact, the rules were created in part because of the behavior of reckless bicyclists, who were injuring people in the road and startling horses pulling carriages.

unrestrained-demon

The guy who created the rules was nothing short of brilliant. He devised something so simple and elegant that it would become—and remains—the basis for the most boring transportation network on Earth.

Nothing wrong with that, right? When the topic is traffic safety, “boring” equals “good.”

Myth #2: When operating a human-powered vehicle on the road, it is not safe to mix with faster, heavier, motorized traffic.

I can see how people believe this. Especially because we regularly see bicyclists do all kinds of crazy shit practice all sorts of behavior. But bicyclists usually get along just fine, however they choose to ride.

Remember, we are talking about bicycling. This is an inherently safe activity. Don’t take my word it. Go be a Salmon Wedgie Ninja on any road you want. You probably will be terrified. Yet you will likely get home unscathed.

Myth #3: We must have special facilities in America to ride safely. Nope. As my colleague John Brooking has observed: Educated cyclists do not need special infrastructure. But safely using special infrastructure requires education.

As a corollary, Myth #3.5: CyclingSavvy opposes special infrastructure for bicyclists. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Our job is to show people how to keep themselves safe, wherever they ride.

Myth #4: What is considered “safe” is typically the opposite of safe.

defensive-driving

‘Nuf said with the graphic above.

Myth #5: Cyclists cause delay. Ugh. This idea needs its own PR campaign to be dismantled and abolished.

A successful campaign to kill the myth of delay would lead to the demise of many entertaining YouTube videos, as angry dudes start changing lanes to pass, like everyone else.

It is very easy to change lanes to pass bicyclists. Fat chance passing anyone else on the 405/10.

405-10

I asked my cousin to send me a photo of his favorite traffic-clogged Los Angeles freeway. We have traffic jams here, too, though none that look as deadening as in this scene from LA.

Whenever I see people stuck like this in traffic, I think:

You all are crazy. I’ll haul groceries on my bicycle any day to avoid that.

Myth #6: There will always be antagonism between motorists and cyclists.

This may be the biggest myth that we savvy cyclists bust, day after day after uneventful day.

We busted it again last month in a CyclingSavvy workshop with novices. Check out what happens when we use “driver behavior” on fast and scary roads:

cs-1

Nothing.

cs-2

Nada.

cs-3

Zilch.

Well, that’s not exactly true. We get where we want to go, safely and easily.

I have yet to meet a CyclingSavvy graduate who is not thrilled by the possibilities of being empowered to use a bicycle to go anywhere.

CyclingSavvy has a marketing conundrum. I decided to be frank about this in a classroom session held this summer with Shawn Leight at his engineering offices. Joining him was another transportation professional, a magazine editor, and two “regular folk” able to rearrange their Monday afternoon schedules. Yep, that’s five people. We need 500 in these sessions. Thousands!

As we moved through the presentation, they clearly were impressed. It is impossible not to be. CyclingSavvy uses powerful graphics and video to pack practical information into a fast-paced interactive format.

I was teaching alone, and decided to give myself a break by using two videos from the new (and not yet finished) CyclingSavvy Online. This group was impressed—as is everyone we manage to cajole into attending a session.

I asked them: “This is good information, isn’t it?” They nodded enthusiastically in agreement.

“Yet nobody wants it,” I said, “because they don’t know what it is.”

This isn’t exactly true. There certainly is a buzz among the cognoscenti. Yet with fewer than 100 people in the nation certified to teach, it’s not easy to find a CyclingSavvy workshop. Now we can point them to CyclingSavvy Online, which offers this information to anyone with Internet access.

The early reviews are impressive and encouraging. I recommended CyclingSavvy Online to my sister, who bought a recumbent tricycle this summer.

text-msg-1

I have no doubt that many will find the online course useful. And that others will not believe a word, until they try CyclingSavvy strategies for themselves.

Safe traffic cycling is totally counter-intuitive (see Myth #4). And people are not convinced by argument. People are convinced by experience. The rearview mirror on my helmet convinced me that what we teach are safest and best practices.

We savvy cyclists want everyone to discover what we know: That bicycling can be easy and fun and safe, wherever one chooses to ride.

(Dude, I’m not talking about riding on freeways. Stay. Off. The. Freeway.)

It is a challenge to counter experiences people refuse to let go of. I don’t even waste my breath trying anymore. Still, I am heartbroken each time I am regaled by someone who has tried bicycling on the road, and therefore is certain that it is not safe. By golly, she was riding in a bike lane and some idiot cut across her path and turned right in front of her. She could have been killed!!!

CyclingSavvy Online saved my sister from the terror of that experience.

text-msg-2

She took her recumbent this summer to the Gulf Coast, affectionately known as the Redneck Riviera. She was triumphant as she later described her experience on Perdido Beach Boulevard, the main drag with its commodious bike lanes:

“Because of those videos, I knew that I had to get out of the bike lane before every intersection so that I wouldn’t be right hooked!”

This observation made me think of my conversations with the traffic engineer, Shawn Leight.

He believes everyone should be accommodated; it doesn’t have to be an “either-or” proposition.

“Our transportation system is big enough to have bicycle facilities for those who want to use them and at the same time support bicyclists who prefer to ride as part of traffic,” Shawn said.

I understand Shawn’s perspective. I am grateful that he insists on inclusivity. Other influential engineers and advocates have ignored or dismissed us because we already know how to keep ourselves safe (i.e., the “strong & fearless” hogwash).

What is wrong with EVERYONE knowing how to keep him- or herself safe? Yes, I’m shouting, for a good reason:

BECAUSE of the rise in facilities, our job as bicycle safety educators has become more important than ever.

Mighk Wilson, executive director of the American Bicycling Education Association, has said it best: “We cannot design ourselves out of the need for education.”

Shawn points out that transportation safety for decades has been built upon three Es: Education, Engineering and Enforcement. “We all can accomplish a lot more with engineers and educators working together,” he says.

We savvy cyclists add a few more Es to the list. We frankly want nothing less than to change the culture. We want to make bicycling as easy a choice for everyone as motoring.

i-am-traffic

It is obviously a big conversation, and we’re having it! I cordially invite you to meet Shawn and Mighk—and people from all walks of life who are passionate about the topic—the old-fashioned way this fall in St. Louis.

The ABEA is holding its first national conference, but second confab. The first gathering led to the formation of the ABEA and I Am Traffic.

At I Am Traffic 2 we are building upon our successes and strategizing for the future.

Nothing beats face-to-face conversation…and bike rides, and parties. Let’s have fun getting savvy!

Speaking of which: I’m looking for a marketing genius or two to enroll in a CyclingSavvy workshop. There’s a workshop being held in St. Louis right before IAT2.

The marketing genius will get savvy, and then create the campaign demolishing the myths surrounding safe and easy bicycling. This campaign will cleverly show people how to protect themselves and control their space.

I can’t help but think of the marketing wizards who made “Got Milk” an unforgettable idea.

got-milk_

Got Savvy, anyone?

 

Morning Links: Westwood & Central out of LA Mobility Plan, SD bike lanes are no sweat, and more family biking

No surprise here.

The LACBC reports the LA City Council passed amendments removing Westwood Blvd and Central Avenue from the city Mobility Plan adopted earlier this year, as expected.

Photo from LACBC

Photo from LACBC

Rumors have circulated for some time that the removal was assured, as a result of a backroom deal of the sort we’re assured doesn’t happen here.

The only surprise is that two councilmembers voted against it, as opposed to the council’s near-constant unanimous agreements, which would seem to be virtually impossible without some sort of deal making going on behind closed doors.

So now Westwood and South LA cyclists can take comfort in knowing that the dangerous streets they ride are assured of remaining that way, at least as long as their current councilmembers are in office.

And here in Los Angeles, Vision Zero is just two meaningless words.

………

You’ve got to be kidding.

The San Diego Reader continues to post responses to their recent misguided Op-Ed calling for sacrificing planned bike lanes to continue the automotive hegemony on their streets.

Including this truly bizarre missive from Robert Burns of Ocean Beach, who should give one of the world’s great poets his name back.

I used to bike everywhere, and was known as “the bicycling barrister.” But, I eventually realized in my bicycling and in my representation of bicycling-accident victims, that it is unreasonably dangerous to bicycle with or without motor vehicles and that the workplace could not afford or appreciate generating profuse sweating.

In a colder climate like Great Britain or San Francisco, bicycling has a greater chance of factoring into the workplace, but definitely not in Southern California. This is a frivolity seemingly perpetuated by brainwashed true-believers.

So evidently, bike lanes are a bad idea because you might sweat.

Got it.

………

Good news from Riverside, as the 16-year old girl hit by a Dial-A-Ride bus remains in critical condition, but is expected to survive.

………

Today’s common theme is biking with your family.

LA Bike Dad discovers the joys of the LACMA Jazz Night, where adults can enjoy the music while kids look at the cement mixers.

And Streetsblog’s Joe Linton takes a family bike tour along the central coast, and offers advice on how to do the same yourself.

………

A challenging read from Surly’s Skip Bernet, who says he’s done riding his bike on the streets, where drivers have to be reminded that people on bikes are human, too. Thanks to Michael from Racers Who Ride for the heads-up.

………

When Laugh Out Loud says don’t touch my car, it’s clearly a joke. Even though the commenters seem a tad touchy themselves.

………

Local

Dodgers bench coach Bob Geren is one of us, riding 15 miles from his home in Pasadena to Dodger stadium before every home game.

The Ovarian Psychos will be honored with the Alex Baum Excellence in Advocacy Award at the LACBC’s Firefly Ball on October 27th. And speaking of the LACBC, Next City talks with the coalition’s Executive Director Tamika Butler.

A ride through Westlake Village reminds a writer to slow down and admire the Lantanas.

Southern California Bicyclist guides you on a 41 mile pier-to-pier ride from Santa Monica to Seal Beach.

Bike SGV invites you to ride to the LA County Fair tomorrow, with free tickets included.

 

State

The Advocacy Director of Bike East Bay says Berkeley’s draft bike plan may be good, but it’s not good enough.

Two San Francisco cyclists were the victims of brazen bike jackings, one a strong arm robbery and the other after being shown a gun.

People in Oakland’s Lake Merritt have been leaving tributes to a street salesman who disappeared without a trace in July and was feared dead; it turns out he was in a hospital after being beaten by two men who jumped him while he was riding his bike and stole his belongings.

A 67-year old bike rider was badly beaten when he asked a group of people to turn down their radio after he stopped to rest at Folsom’s Lake Natoma.

 

National

A real estate website looks at the next big-city meccas for cycling. None of which are Los Angeles, for reasons which should be painfully obvious given yesterday’s council vote.

An e-bike entrepreneur says once you get used to one, you won’t want to go back to a regular bicycle again.

A Portland bicyclist reports being attacked by a driver who got out of his car to punch him, yelling “I won’t have you impose your will on me with that fucking bike, I’m sick of you people.” Although how you can impose your will on someone in a car with your bike is a skill many of us would like to know.

An Idaho mountain biker learns he’s tougher than he thinks after competing in the 2,704 mile Tour Divide.

Denver plans to fill in the gaps on the city’s High Line Canal trail to create a bikeway 71 miles long through four counties.

A Cleveland bike lane is truncated to preserve parking for the downtown Hilton after being painted for the GOP convention.

A Florida letter writer insists Boston is, was and always shall be a city dominated by motor vehicles, and says he won’t “even touch on the pervasive arrogance and rule-bending of so many bicycle riders.” Which is, of course, is doing exactly that.

A New York cyclist says there are simply too many cars driven by stressed out, impatient drivers, putting cyclists in peril every time they push off from the curb.

A writer in the New York Times argues for keeping bikes out of wilderness areas, insisting that if they get in, it’s only a matter of time before ATV enthusiasts will push to let their motorized vehicles in. Even though there seems to be quite a difference between a human-powered bicycle and a gas-powered motor vehicle.

Evidently, bikes are a security risk when it comes to NYC presidential forums, but cars aren’t.

A Philadelphia writer says the best way to ensure you’re hated on every street in the city is to ride a bicycle, which seems to be personal affront to many drivers.

More anti-bike terrorism, as a Virginia university student was shot at close range with a BB gun by the passenger in a passing car as she was riding her bike home. Lets hope the police treat it like the crime it is, instead of writing it off as just a prank.

 

International

Caught on video: A Brit bike rider crashes into a road closure sign blocking a pathway with no warning.

Caught on video too: A Brit driver threatens to knock a bike rider off his effing bike after nearly doing exactly that.

The Telegraph travels Britain’s most beautiful bike route.

An Aussie-American TV producer quit her job to bike around Ireland, and wants a date to an Irish wedding.

It’s official. The world’s largest rideable bicycle is this 1.08 ton German behemoth.

 

Finally…

When you’re already awaiting sentencing on a previous burglary conviction, probably not the best idea to bust a bike lock with a hammer in public. If you’re going to crash your car while fleeing from the police after slapping a bike rider on the ass, at least try to dress more presentably.

And who needs backup musicians when you can perform Sia’s #1 hit on a bicycle?

No, literally on the bike.

Morning Links: Stolen bike recovered through Bike Index; OC rider critically injured; cyclist jailed for riding in traffic

LA may have seen its first stolen bike recovered through Bike Index.

According to the Beverly Press, when LAPD detectives arrested a suspect on weapons charges last month, they recovered a bicycle they believed to be stolen.

After checking the Bike Index stolen bike registry — the same one you’ll find right here on this site — they were able to identify the owner and return the bike.

The story also notes the department recommends Bike Index as “a valuable tool for reuniting owners with stolen bicycles.”

It’s good the see the LAPD is checking the listings, and recommending it. And even better that a hot bike has finally made its way back home because of it.

But don’t wait until it’s too late.

Register your bike for free with Bike Index now, so you’ll have all the information available in an instant if anything should ever happen to it.

Think of it as the cheapest anti-bike theft insurance you can get.

And as this shows, one of the most effective.

Just to be clear, this site receives no compensation for hosting or promoting the Bike Index registry, financial or otherwise. Just the satisfaction of helping stolen bikes get back to their rightful owners.

………

Prayers are needed for an Orange County woman after she and her husband were hit by a car while riding in San Juan Capistrano.

Leonie Mckenna reportedly was in critical condition with major trauma, including head injuries, after a driver rear-ended the couple as they rode together on newly opened La Pata Avenue Saturday morning; her husband, Kevin B. Mckenna, was less seriously injured.

………

Authorities are attempting to revoke the bond of a Pittsburgh PA area man for the crime of riding a bicycle.

The 57-year old cyclist is charged with delaying traffic by riding in the middle of a traffic lane, preventing drivers from passing, not once, not twice, but eight times since 2012.

He was released from jail after posting bond in February, after apparently spending seven months behind bars without being convicted of a crime — for a damn traffic violation, no less — on the condition that he not ride a bicycle.

Never mind that bike riders are taught to ride in the traffic lane to avoid the door zone and debris on the shoulder, while increasing visibility and preventing unsafe passes.

Whether he was riding safely and legally, or took taking the lane to a dangerous extreme remains to be determined. But there is something seriously wrong when a simple traffic violation results in a single day in jail, let alone months.

And let alone without a conviction.

Although he’s clearly no saint; he also faces charges for threatening the staff of the DA’s office with a rock and several knives last year.

………

Like any good serial, some bike stories keep revealing new twists and turns as they go on. And on.

Eighty-nine-year old former New York Mayor David Dinkins insists he had no idea he hit a bike rider as he rushed his wife to the hospital, and returned to the scene as soon as someone told him about it. He swears the rider hit him, rather than the other way around. Which seems strange; if he didn’t even know it happened, how could he know how it happened?

The Toronto cyclist who was run off the road by a cab driver faces charges himself for allegedly reaching into the car to assault the driver before the attack caught on viral video.

The road raging driver who repeatedly attacked bike-riding BBC personality Jeremy Vine last week says he provoked her; police evidently disagree, arresting the woman on an assault charge.

Meanwhile, former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson says it was extremely rude of Vine to selfishly ride safely outside of the door zone, blocking the poor angry driver from whatever imaginary emergency she most likely wasn’t rushing to.

………

It shouldn’t be a spoiler at this point to say Nairo Quintana may have put the Vuelta away over the weekend, as long as he can stay upright the rest of the way.

A man is caught on video pulling down a barrier in a French bike race, causing six riders to crash.

Worse, it was the father of one of the competitors who did it; Jonathan Boyer’s dad reportedly did it in anger because the peloton failed to wait for his son after he fell earlier in the race.

And an Aussie Paralympian apologizes for doping after he’s sent home for using EPO. Funny how people only seem to apologize after they get caught.

………

Local

A 17-mile July bike ride explored environmental injustice along the LA River.

Santa Monica police say to prevent theft by locking your bike in a well-lit and populated area, and secure it with a U-lock. Although that didn’t help one guy, even though he was able to buy it back after it was stolen.

A new rest stop on the San Gabriel River Bike Trail in Pico Rivera features a Fixit station with tools and an air pump for minor bike repairs.

 

State

A new poll shows 83% of San Franciscans think bicycling is good for the city, and over half report riding a bike occasionally themselves.

Heartbreaking news from Oakley, where a 14-year old boy was killed in a traffic collision, just a month before he was scheduled to receive a kidney transplant from his mother after a lifetime of kidney disease.

 

National

As we all know, good beer and bicycling go together; a beer publication offers advice on where to plan your next brewery ride in the US.

Two injured vets in my hometown credit bicycling with saving them from depression and disability.

Nebraska revises the law to give cyclists the right-of-way in a crosswalk where a bike path crosses a roadway.

Columbus OH is the latest city to ditch Share the Road signs for the much clearer Bikes May Use Full Lane signs. Although drivers are often confused when the signs go up, thinking they give riders new rights, rather simply clarifying the rights we already have.

More kindhearted people, as a New Jersey paramedic went to Walmart to buy a new bicycle for a 10-year girl who had been impaled by the brake handle of her bicycle; the Walmart manager donated a bicycle after hearing the story. This sort of injury happens far too often; there’s clearly a major design defect when children are put at risk by their own bikes.

An 89-year old man now faces up to 30 years behind bars after being convicted in the hit-and-run death of a former pro football player as he rode in a Florida bike lane. Even with good behavior, he could be well over 100 years old before he gets out.

 

International

A British cyclist discusses the 16,000 mile ride around North America he took after learning he had early onset Alzheimer’s at age 39.

Bicyclists say some of the existing portions of the nearly finished 15,000 mile bike path across Canada are better on paper than in reality.

A British driver gets nine years for killing a cyclist while texting — after eight previous convictions for using his phone while driving. You’d think that after three or four convictions, someone would have taken his phone away. Or maybe his car. Or both.

Dublin is ordered to stop work on bicycle projects, after funding is pulled and resources diverted in favor of a massive traffic project. Proving once again that cyclists are second-class citizens virtually everywhere.

A 22-year old Namibian man hung himself following an argument with his brothers over who could use the family bicycle.

A New Zealand teen is building a prosthetic hand so his younger brother with cerebral palsy can ride a bike two-handed for the first time.

Maybe you could wear a disguise. Not only do magpies Down Under attack bike riders they perceive as a threat, they also remember and attack again the next time they see you. And every time after that.

A new bicycling jacket from New Zealand can automatically signal your turns. Manufacturers continue their attempts to improve bike safety by turning us all into cars, instead of expecting people in cars to operate them safely.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to use your bike as a getaway vehicle after torching your ex’s car, make sure it’s the right car first. Your next bike could be a treadmill.

And everything you need to know before letting a helicopter drop you off for your next downhill ride.

 

Weekend Links: WaPo’s anti-bike drivel, hit-and-run reward fund, and don’t invite cops to see your dope

Got to hand it to the Washington Post.

This is one of the single most biased pieces of anti-bike drivel I’ve read.

Somehow, as they see it, the 1,557 bike riders caught running stop lights on DC’s red light cameras equates to the 84,000 drivers who did the same thing.

Never mind that the risk posed by a law-breaking driver outweighs the risk from a scofflaw cyclist by about two tons.

Let alone the sheer absurdity of painting all bicyclists as aggressive and entitled militants based on the misperceived attitudes of a few, projected from behind the windshield. Sort of like accusing every mom driving her kids to soccer practice of being no different than this guy.

It shouldn’t need to be said that everyone should obey the law. And that the safety of everyone on the road depends on the give and take codified in the vehicle code.

Which means stopping for red lights.

Period.

But if you can’t manage that, at least observe the right-of-way so you don’t end up a bug on someone’s windshield, or force drivers to take dangerous evasive actions to avoid you.

The Post used to be a great paper.

But crap like this is just more evidence that Woodward, Bernstein and Graham have left the building.

………

David Drexler forwards a reminder from Surf City Cyclery in Huntington Beach about the gofundme account for injured Encinitas cyclist John Abate; the account has raised over $6,400 for a reward to find the hit-and-run driver who ran him down last month.

………

No leadership changes in the Vuelta, despite a breakaway that finished half an hour before the peloton, who must have stopped for tea along the way.

Bicycle design could get a lot more interesting as UCI scraps a key rule limiting the shape of frames.

Clearly, it’s not just the pros who dope. A gold medal-winning Aussie Paralympic cyclist has been sent home from Rio after testing positive for EPO.

………

Local

Caught on video: Evidently, bike riders aren’t the only victims of road raging drivers.

Richard Risemberg attends a meet-and-greet for city council candidate Jesse Creed, and comes away convinced Creed deserves your vote if you live in CD5. Then again, considering the alternative is re-electing career politician Paul Koretz, it’s an easy choice.

Smorgasbord LA is now offering a bike valet every Sunday for the gourmet food fest at the Alameda Produce Market in Downtown LA.

Nice move from the Sheriff’s Youth Foundation of the LA County Sheriff’s Department, which donated 69 refurbished bicycles to ministers in Watts area to help kids get to school safely.

Bicyclists say the bike lanes on Santa Monica’s new and improved California Incline are indeed a big improvement, though they could be a little wider.

Speaking of SaMo, the Bike League wants to know what you think, as the city applies for an upgrade in its bike friendly city status. Thanks to Kent Strumpell for the heads-up.

 

State

Caught on video too: A bicyclist passes, then drops, a group of motorcyclists on a 50 mph descent somewhere in California. Then again, it’s not the first time that’s happened.

Oceanside responds to residents complaints about a dark underpass on the San Luis Rey Trail with promises to install solar powered lights to help protect nighttime riders.

Freemont traffic engineers somehow believe placing a green bike lane in between two right turn lanes, so right-turning drivers in the left one have to cut across the bike lane, is better than no bike lane at all.

Napa is seeing a rash of bike thefts, with 24 bikes stolen in three months. Or as we call that in LA, Wednesday.

More heartbreak in the UC system, as a second faculty member lost his life when a UC Davis professor was killed after he was right hooked by a garbage truck while riding in a bike lane. A Nobel Prize winning UC San Diego researcher died last week on an Oregon bike trail. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

 

National

Consumer Reports lists ten ways to avoid a car crash. None of which include remaining sober, paying attention to the road or putting your damn phone down.

A cyclist in one Utah county can credit his life following a heart attack to a requirement that sheriff’s deputies must also be trained as paramedics.

Only five percent of incoming freshmen at Colorado State University know the difference between a bike lane and a walking path.

Chicagoist says the recent Tribune editorial calling on bicyclists and motorists to obey the law and share the road safely creates a false equivalence dressed up as diplomacy.

A lawsuit accuses 89-year old former New York Mayor David Dinkins of hit-and-run after he apparently sideswiped a bicycle delivery man; however, the mayor sees it the other way around.

A New York couple ditches the limo and rides away from their wedding on matching bicycles. Although judging by the photos, matching may be a relative term.

 

International

The Financial Times examines whether urban cycling is worth the risk in a series of articles.

The daughter of a Bangladeshi diplomat was killed in a right hook on what was considered one of Ottawa’s safest bikeways.

Caught on video three: A Toronto bicyclist is doored by the passenger of a transport truck in what is supposed to be a protected bike lane; fortunately, she’s not badly injured.

Somehow, the bicycle Virgin owner Richard Branson crashed has magically become a motorbike. Maybe it’s just too shocking to believe a billionaire adventurer would actually ride a bicycle.

Welcome to Bizarro World. Bicyclists in Seville, Spain are fighting bike lanes, but welcome sharrows.

A Romanian minister promises any new roads built in the country will now have bike lanes, and existing roads will be made bike friendly.

 

Finally…

Before the crash, a mountain biker; afterwards, a competitive beard champion. A shirtless, feuding Rhode Island man opens fire on his neighbor’s house with a corncob-shooting potato gun, nearly taking out a girl on a bicycle in the process.

And if you’re riding your bike under the influence while carrying a machete, maybe you shouldn’t give police permission to go into your home, where the marijuana plants are, to get the ID you forgot to bring with you.

I’m just saying.

………

Barring any breaking news, BikinginLA will be taking the rest of the holiday weekend off. So enjoy the weekend, ride your bike, spend time with family and friends, and try to remember this is the one holiday established to honor America’s much maligned working men and women.

And stay safe out there. We’ll see you back here bright and early Tuesday morning.

Morning Links: KNBC jumps the gun with complaint over NELA safety project that hasn’t been built yet

You’ve got to be kidding.

KNBC-4 ran a story on Friday about the horrible, terrible, unbearable delays caused by a traffic calming project on Fletcher Road in Glassell Park.

Never mind that it hasn’t even been built yet.

Citing unnamed residents opposed to the project, they then proceed to talk to just one, who is up in arms — not over the project itself — but simply over the start of construction, claiming to have “road diet refugee post traumatic stress disorder”* after having fled from Rowena Avenue following that successful road diet.

Only to find that her drive to her kid’s school is now inhibited by the very start of a project designed to improve safety so maybe her kids won’t have to be driven to school.

This is how a local resident in the area, who prefers not to be named, explained the non-controversy to me.

The Fletcher Streetcape project (a plan first initiated in 2006, by then-Councilmember Garcetti) includes bike lanes, new crosswalks, new curb ramps, benches, 70 trees and a landscaped median in the one mile corridor. A woman who claims to have moved to Glassell Park/Mt. Washington, away from Silver Lake because of the road diet there, was angry when she noticed construction had begun on this project last week.

She posted a rant titled ‘road rage’ on social media site Next-Door about how she had only seen one cyclist in her ten years of driving there, how all cyclists on that street are just headed to the LA River, how she was a cyclist in NYC for 20 years but that she would never ride in LA… she even went so far as to say that the notorious Avenues gang is active in this area, and she worries the DOT didn’t take this into account.

Basically, she was able to incite lots of hate which prompted over 100 replies, some of which agreed with her and some which pointed out for all her complaints about supposed “congestion,” the goal is safety.

The irony is that she moved out of Silver Lake because of the road diet, but now drives back there daily to take her kid to school. And of course, she ignores the fact that the street she was using as a speedway is home to two schools.

KNBC is undoubtedly patting themselves on the back for getting this “controversy” out there, when they should be hanging their heads in shame for taking such a negative view of such a badly needed project to improve safety for everyone, not just people on bicycles.

Maybe next time they could wait until it’s finished before pushing any more complaints out onto the public.

*Not a recognized psychiatric disorder

………

If you were assaulted by an SUV driver while riding at the intersection of Lucille and Griffith Park Blvd, contact weshigh, who may have a photo of the vehicle; he says the same driver nearly ran over him and his wife as they walked in a crosswalk.

………

There’s a new leader in the Vuelta, as the Tour of Spain is now being led by a Spaniard. Riders competing in the race call it insanely hard, as the projected leaders fear showing their hand too soon.

Many riders may be more concerned about securing a contract for next year than winning the next stage.

And Frank Schleck won the equivalent of $2.23 million from his former team after he was dumped 11 months into a one year doping ban.

………

Local

The LACBC is hiring a full-time Development Director and an Organizing Director.

LA Bike Dad looks at the moments of serendipity that only come from riding a bicycle.

A Manhattan Beach author is riding cross-country to gather stories for a book exploring the emotional and psychological impact cancer has on a variety of people.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson recommends daytime riding lights in his own inimitable style.

West Hollywood’s WeHo Pedals bikeshare has its official grand opening tomorrow.

Orange 20 welcomes the return of the New Urbanism Film Festival this October.

 

State

Over 3,500 San Diego cyclists take part in the annual Bike the Bay over the Coronado Bridge.

A San Marcos street in a former industrial area has been reborn as a 1/3 mile complete street with broad sidewalks, bike lanes, angled parking and new landscaping fronting the area’s new apartment buildings.

Santa Clara bike riders could lose a popular bike and pedestrian bridge originally built by Intel as a temporary bridge over a gully two decades ago.

Sad news from Sacramento, as a 92-year old bike rider was killed when he allegedly veered out of the bike lane; friends remember him as a fun loving, giving man who didn’t let his age get in the way of what he loved doing.

 

National

Access Magazine looks at how improving safety and providing better access for bike riders could encourage more people to ride.

The leading candidate to operate Seattle’s struggling bikeshare system proposes converting to an all-electric bike fleet to encourage riding in the hilly city.

Indiana cyclists have to contend with angry and impatient motorists. Then again, New Zealand is no bargain, either.

Brooklyn’s bicycling culture is not enough to protect cyclists on the streets of New York’s most bike-friendly borough.

There’s a special place in hell for the thief who stole a truck filled with $37,000 worth of bikes and parts from the Wounded Warrior Project in Pittsburgh.

Ann Holton, the wife of Virginia Senator and Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, is one of us; she formed a bike club for neighborhood women called Mother Bikers. Then again, Kaine is one of us, too.

 

International

A new study shows moderate walking or biking can cut the risk of cardiac death by 50% for people over 65.

A Brit cyclist rides 65 miles a day to combat the effects of PTSD.

A Scottish writer says Great Britain’s domination of Olympic cycling is great, but won’t improve safety on the country’s roads.

An Edinburgh man circled the world in 12 months on a singlespeed bike; surprisingly, he found Iran the most welcoming country on his trip.

Be grateful you only have to take off your shoes to go through airport security. An Indian paracyclist says he was humiliated when he was forced to take off his prosthetic leg.

Caught on video: An Aussie cop knocks a 13-year old boy off his bike after the boy swore at the officers when they told him to get off the road.

Just days after a Japanese driver killed a pedestrian while playing Pokémon GO, a cyclist was killed as a driver was distracted by charging his cellphone after running the battery down playing the game.

 

Finally…

Most bicycles hardly ever burst into flames. Not only is bicycling the new golf, it’s the new real estate agent, as well.

And why bother with selfies and helmet cams when you can film your next offroad descent by drone?

 

Weekend Links: Bike rider critically injured in solo Burbank crash, and LACBC’s Tamika Butler honored

A 74-year old Bell Gardens man was critically injured after somehow slamming his bike into the back of a parked commercial truck in Burbank early Friday morning.

The victim suffered severe head injuries despite wearing a helmet; he reportedly had his head down and didn’t notice the parked truck ahead of him.

Which should be a reminder to all of us to always watch the road in front of you.

………

Congratulations to LACBC Executive Director Tamika Butler, who will be honored as the 2016 Professional of the Year ­– Nonprofit Sector by the Association of Pedestrian & Bicycle Professionals.

As a former member of the LACBC board, I can honestly say this honor is richly deserved. No one does more on a daily basis to make this city safer and more equitable for everyone who rides a bike.

………

A Charlotte NC bike lawyer comments on the road raging Charlotte driver we mentioned here yesterday, who buzzed and brake checked a group of 30 cyclists, then screamed and flipped them off when they tried to calmly talk to her.

And she notes that even though bicyclists have been highly critical of her, online comments when cyclists are killed or injured are far more hateful. Even though the local press is desperately trying to turn her into the victim.

Meanwhile, a columnist for the Charlotte paper says he doesn’t feel sorry for the driver, and the whole thing could have been avoided if she just hadn’t acted like an idiot. And adds that the TV station that interviewed her was irresponsible in painting her as the victim.

Amen, brother.

………

Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson says he’s lucky to be alive after hitting a speed bump and going over his handlebars while descending a hill in the British Virgin Islands — which were not named after his company — and watching his bike go off a cliff.

Fortunately, he wasn’t badly injured, despite the photos, though his bike did not survive.

Thanks to Ed Ryder for the heads-up.

………

Hats off to 16-year old Inglewood cyclist Rafael Solorzano, who won two gold medals in the Junior Track Cycling National Championships in Trexlertown PA this month, for team sprint and team pursuit.

………

It’s happened once again. An Estonian cyclist was forced to withdraw from the Vuelta after he was hit from behind by a car for another team; his team director stressed that it was a complete accident, rather than the result of careless driving. Which doesn’t make it better; motor vehicles don’t belong on course during bike races.

Alberto Contador went down hard after touching wheels with another rider in the Vuelta, which could ruin his plans for the race.

An 86-year old Catholic nun owns the triathlon record for her age group.

And sad news from Michigan, as seven time world champion triathlete Karen McKeachie was killed in a collision with a motor vehicle.

………

Local

Streetsblog discusses the future of bikeshare with the project manager of the North American Bikeshare Association.

Beverly Hills encourages everyone to walk or bike to tonight’s free Next Night celebration on South Beverly Drive. Never mind that there are no bike lanes to get you there, and nowhere to park your bike if you do.

Burbank police will be holding a free bike registration event from 8 am to 2 pm today, with Bike Walk Burbank on hand to provide bike safety inspections and minor repairs. Or you can just click here to register your bike for free with Bike Index.

Santa Monica police will conduct another of their periodic bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operations this Monday. You know the drill; ride to the letter of the law until you leave the SaMo city limits so you’re not the one who gets a ticket.

Just Ride LA is hosting a ride Tuesday night in honor of Michael Jackson, on what would have been the self-proclaimed King of Pop’s 58th birthday.

 

State

A Carlsbad woman will attempt to set a new bicycle land speed record this September.

A Redlands boy passes it forward after police recover his stolen bicycle, donating the bike police offers gave him to replace it to another child.

Just one day after San Francisco Streetsblog wrote about a vital bike bridge that was blocked with homeless encampments, the city cleared them out, while denying any connection to the story.

 

National

The Institute of Transportation Engineers tells the US Department of Transportation it should focus less on moving cars and more on moving people, regardless of how they travel.

Based on stats for the first six months of 2016, this is shaping up to be the deadliest year on American roads since 2007.

People for Bikes is looking for a project manager for their PlacesForBikes program.

Bicycling offers ten things cyclists wish drivers knew, including we’re just people, too.

Not surprisingly, Portland residents have embraced bikeshare, as usage has exceeded expectations since the system’s launch last July.

Who says you can’t make things in the US? The world’s best bike pump is made in Minneapolis, even if it does cost $450.

Despite being required to avoid drugs as a condition of his measly $5,000 bond for killing a bike rider while driving salmon and apparently under the influence, a Wisconsin man was sent back to jail for using heroin and faking a drug test with a bottle of freshly purchased urine.

A writer for the New York Times says everyone remembers their first bike, even if it gets killed by a defective roof rack.

Fox News commentator and prospective New York mayoral candidate Bo Dietl becomes just the latest politician to pander to bike haters by promising to rip out the city’s bike lanes his first day in office.

An arrest has finally been made in the fatal shooting of an Atlanta teenager who confronted two men over the theft of his sister’s bicycle.

 

International

In a series of tweets, a conservative and sadly misguided Toronto senator blames bike lanes for turning the city into the equivalent of a third-world country, comparing it unfavorably to New York, London and Paris. All of which have bike lanes, and none of which are third world.

The Toronto cab driver caught knocking a delivery bike rider off the road in a viral video has finally been arrested on an assault charge.

The mayor of Montreal calls for changes to the highway safety code following a series of collisions involving bicyclists, while the opposition accuses him of not doing enough to protect riders.

Who says bike helmets don’t improve safety? A British bike rider credits his with saving his skull when he was beaten over the head with a bottle by a notorious thug and drug addict.

A Brit bicyclist thanks the mean hearted git who stole his bike’s wheel, even though it was locked up in front of the police station overnight, since it kept him from riding when he started suffering dizzy spells.

Caught on video: A cyclist recorded himself covered by swarms of biting midges on a ride through the Scottish countryside.

 

Finally…

Who needs a cargo bike when you can just carry your refrigerator on your shoulders while you ride?

If you’re riding your bike while high on drugs and carrying meth and an illegal handgun, put a damn light on it — and don’t struggle with the cops when they try to stop you; on the other hand, if you’re carrying a sawed-off shotgun on your bike and have an outstanding warrant, don’t ride on the sidewalk.

And no, you can’t get compensation from her parents if you crash your car while staring at a woman riding a bike in a bikini and short skirt.

Though I must confess to riding my bike into a parked car under similar circumstances.

 

Morning Links: Brake-checking driver as victim, cyclists are not obstructions, and going full superman on a bike

So who exactly is the victim here?

A group of around 30 Charlotte NC cyclists were riding in a bike lane when they were dangerously buzzed and brake checked by a road raging driver, who proceeded to swear at them and give them the rare double bird when they caught up to her at a red light, all for no apparent reason.

Charlotte NC double bird

And with her child in the car, no less.

Although she was probably unaware that two of those riders she threatened happened to be off-duty cops.

Oops.

So the riders filed a complaint with the police, while those cops had a nice little chat with the undoubtedly surprised driver.

But that’s when the story took a bizarre turn.

Because when the local TV station was done with it, the victim wasn’t any of the innocent cyclists whose lives she’d threatened.

It was the driver herself, who was said to be working with the police and seeking legal council after alleging she’d been threatened once the story became public.

So instead of focusing on the would-be Dr. Christopher Thompson, the news report approached it from the perspective of how she didn’t deserve to be harassed for what she did.

Which she didn’t.

No one deserves that. Which is why I often withhold the names of drivers accused of criminal acts until they become common knowledge, after seeing the outrage that poured out in the first few days following the Mandeville Canyon brake check — including late night death threats directed at the wrong Dr. Christopher Thompson.

Let alone the person who once politely offered to track down a driver who harassed me and bust his windshield, if not his legs. Or his head.

But while she didn’t deserve the alleged response, let’s not forget she was the one who started it by attempting to threaten, if not injure, a group of people whose only crime was riding their bicycles in the lane designated for just that purpose.

Because they didn’t deserve it, either.

Thanks to Michael Hart of Racers Who Ride for the heads-up.

………

Patrick Lynch forwards a report of a legal case in which police refused to blame a scofflaw driver for breaking the law. And his insurance company tried, and failed, to convince a jury that the bike rider he hit was just an obstruction in the roadway.

………

A cyclist goes full Superman in an ad for a fixie maker.

Although it’s been done before.

………

Wish Los Angeles a happy 235th birthday this Saturday with a walk and bike ride from the San Gabriel Mission to Olvera Street, retracing the steps of the city’s original founders, who didn’t even have a Garmin to guide their way.

LA Birthday Ride

………

Once again, victory in yesterday’s stage of the Vuelta went to someone other than the favorites; the winner was just back from a four-month suspension for failing a drug test.

………

Local

LADOT explains the new cycle hoops pilot program allowing you to legally lock up to parking meters in Westwood. But for now at least, only in Westwood.

Unlike the LA Rams football stadium coming to Inglewood, the new soccer stadium for the coming LAFC franchise promises to be easily accessible by bicycle, with parking for 440 bikes.

Saturday’s Gravel Trofee #4 offers a gravel grinding grid from the Backbone Trail to the beach.

The 17-mile 626 Golden Streets ciclovía postponed from last June due to the San Gabriel Complex fire could be rescheduled for spring of next year, possibly in March.

 

State

A Laguna Beach radio host observes that the wife of fallen cyclist John Colvin has forgiven Dylan Thomas Rand-Luby, the 19-year old driver convicted of taking his life. And notes that there hasn’t been another bicycling fatality in the city since, crediting luck, along with a network of sharrows directing riders off PCH.

Orange County officials are blocking access to a maintenance road used as a de facto bike path along seven miles of the Santa Ana River following complaints about homeless camps along the roadway. However, the Santa Ana River bike path remains open.

Not surprisingly, the driver who killed Redlands cyclist Randy Stephenson in Loma Linda while fleeing from sheriff’s deputies has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.

Simi Valley votes to remove ghost bikes and other roadside memorials after just 30 days. After all, why would they want to bum people out by reminding them to drive, bike and/or walk safely?

The UC Santa Barbara student newspaper traces the history of bicycling at the bike friendly university, where musician Jack Johnson met his future wife by locking his bike to hers in his rush to get to class.

The New York Times says Silicon Valley group rides are the new place to pitch ideas and make deals, if you can keep up; VeloNews responds that cycling is not and never will be the new golf.

The San Francisco Chronicle offers proof that Bay Area bike activism goes back nearly 45 years, including photos taken by the man who shot the iconic Iwo Jima flag raising.

The former Napa Valley Bike Angel is launching a drive to donate bikes and helmets to families affected by the recent Clayton Fire.

 

National

People for Bikes considers what can be done to improve safety on roads filled with distracted drivers.

Evidently, bicycles really are dangerous. A Texas woman was injured by one that fell off a vehicle and struck the car she was in.

A Wisconsin writer says hell yes, cyclists are entitled to their place on the road, and people driving cars and trucks have a responsibility to honor that. Note: Michael Hart points out the writer is the former mayor of Madison WI, and the current president of the Wisconsin Bike Federation.

A security guard for the Chicago ABC affiliate gets credit for catching a wrong-way, probably drunk driver who tried to flee the scene after running down a bike rider; fortunately, the cyclist wasn’t seriously injured.

A woman on Martha’s Vineyard puts out cold drinks to comfort strangers passing by on a bike path in a gesture of hospitality.

It’s not just pedestrians who are at risk from collisions with bicyclists, despite the breathless stories in the press. A New York cyclist was seriously injured going over his handlebars after swerving to avoid a pedestrian who stepped out in front of him while he was riding in Central Park. And in a similar incident, a Texas woman died a month after she was injured going over her handlebars in Central Park, possibly after being cut off by a pedicab.

The New York Times says the death of a 78-year old bike rider shows biking perils persist in the city, as advocates grow angry that the city isn’t doing more to address them.

New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare expands further into Brooklyn, with an additional 139 stations coming by year’s end; however, not everyone is happy with the loss of parking spaces.

A Pennsylvania town is being terrorized by teenage bike riders who pop wheelies, and force drivers to remember where their brakes are.

Road diets can do more than just improve safety; a New Orleans street is being reconfigured in hopes the narrower street and bike lanes will bring life to a crime-ridden neighborhood and encourage businesses to invest there.

A St. Petersburg FL bridge is the latest to be sabotaged by someone throwing tacks in the bike lane; police and DOT officials insist they don’t know anything about it, even though a reporter picked up 30 tacks herself.

A Florida jury deliberates for a whole 10 minutes before giving a bike thief three years for stealing a bait bike. Unfortunately, LA still doesn’t use bait bikes, despite a rampant bike theft epidemic. And most bike thieves here don’t get three days, let alone three years.

 

International

Ella Cycling Tips offers tips on what to do if your lady bits hurt after riding. Assuming you have lady bits, of course.

A Winnipeg man fled on a bicycle after placing a backpack containing a bomb in front of the courthouse; fortunately, no one was injured in the explosion. Meanwhile, a kindhearted Winnipeg couple is fixing up bikes to donate to refugee children. And no, let’s not jump to any connection there.

A man in the UK was the victim of a strong arm robbery after being pushed off his bike by a someone who then rode off on it.

An Indian man plans to become the first visually challenged cyclist to conquer the Himalayas on a tandem.

A new Aussie ER study shows most cycling injuries occurred while the victims were riding on the street, often in bike lanes, and usually in broad daylight.

It was bound to happen sooner or later. A Japanese driver has killed one pedestrian and seriously injured another while playing Pokémon Go instead of watching the road.

 

Finally…

If not being able to ride drives you crazy, you may be right. If you’re going to steal your neighbor’s bicycle, don’t ride past her house on it, especially not while she’s filing a police report.

And do they make these in adult sizes?

No, really.

 

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