Archive for Advocacy & Politics

Morning Links: Bike helmets alone don’t prevent injuries, scofflaw cops in bike lanes, and upcoming bike events

Someone please forward this to state Senator Carol Liu, author of SB 192 that would mandate helmet use by all bicycle riders.

A new medical study concludes that bike helmets alone can’t prevent serious bicycling injuries, and the solution may lie in separating cyclists from motor vehicles.

Because just trying to tame traffic and get motorists to drive safely would never work.

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Great piece on risk communcation from Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious, who says yes, bicycling may be dangerous, but no more than driving. And so is walking, bathing and shopping.

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CiclaValley discovers scofflaw cops parking in downtown bike lanes, forcing riders to protect and swerve.

He said it, not me.

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Lots of great bike events coming up.

The South Bay Bicycle Coalition is hosting their first fundraising event this Saturday, with the South Bay Bike Night and Bike City Awards, honoring Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and Lawndale for their efforts to become safer and friendlier for bike riders. The proceeds will be used will be used to pay for the SBBC’s bike helmets for kids program,  bike education classes for elementary school students and adults, and advocacy for safe biking practices, infrastructure and enforcement.

More on this weekend’s bike and hike-a-thon to raise funds to provide orphans throughout Africa with bikes; the charity was founded by a La Canada high school student.

Don’t forget this Sunday’s Pastrami Ride, which sounds like the tastiest LACBC Sunday Funday ride yet.

Mark your calendar for March 14th, when the LACBC will host a two-hour women-only bike safety workshop.

San Diego’s St. Paddy’s Palomar Punishment, billed as the city’s most fun cycling event, rolls on March 7th to benefit the San Diego Humane Society, with rides from 10 to 97 miles.

Looking further ahead, Good Samaritan Hospital’s annual non-sectarian Blessing of the Bicycles will be held on Tuesday, May 12th as part of Bike Week/Month. Because a little divine intervention couldn’t hurt.

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Local

Streetsblog reports the highlights from Monday’s Live Ride Share Conference to discuss shared mobility, including bike share.

Richard Risemberg says nobody bikes in LA. Except for all the people who do.

LA Magazine is waiting impatiently for the MyFigueroa project, noting the much-needed changes can’t come soon enough.

Good news for PCH riders, as the highway is expected to reopen this week after a nine-mile section was closed down to repair storm damage.

KCBS-2 reports on last Sunday’s Milt Olin ride.

Long Beach officials hosted the LACBC’s Operation Firefly bike light giveaway Tuesday night.

 

State

For once, bike lanes win out over parking, as the Vista city council votes to remove parking spaces on Civic Center Drive to make room for bikes. Motorists are undoubtedly getting out the torches and pitchforks as we speak.

Carlsbad police are looking for witnesses to a Valentines Day hit-and-run that left a bike rider injured.

Bad news from Oakland, as a 60-year old bike rider is killed in a collision with a pickup truck.

Oakland bike riders get secure bike parking at the new Bike Station; parking your bike will be free during the day and just $5 overnight.

San Francisco considers closing down streets in popular entertainment districts on weekends, something that should be seriously explored here.

 

National

The Friendship Circle’s Great Bike Giveaway will provide bicycles for hundreds of special needs kids.

Denver considers a two-way protected bike lane on one of the city’s busiest streets.

Evidently ignorance is bliss, as Wyoming legislators vote not to collect data on bicycle safety or explore building a statewide bikeway.

Iowa considers changing the law to require a rear-facing light on bikes after dark, rather than allowing reflectors; that’s also under consideration here in California.

An Indiana cycling instructor calls for ticketing irresponsible bike riders, while acknowledging that cyclists are much less likely to cause harm than motorists.

A Cincinnati letter writer says let’s develop a network of bike paths for recreational riders, but keep those crazy transportation cyclists off the damn roads, already.

A Baltimore bicyclist clearly explains the vigilance cyclists have to maintain, and what it’s like to share the road with motorists.

 

International

Bike Radar offers up five reasons mountain bikers should try skinny tired bikes.

London authorities list the city’s most dangerous intersections for cyclists, as the city sets aside the equivalent of $140 million to re-envision bicycling in the suburbs.

Judging by these letter writers, bicycling in Ireland isn’t any better than it is here.

Good problem to have, as Amsterdam plans an underwater bike parking garage because they’re running out of spaces for bikes.

Unbelievable. A New Zealand cyclist may have died because a truck company placed advertising on the passenger side window of their vehicles.

Thai cyclists demand changes in the country’s laws to protect people on bikes.

 

Finally…

Okay, so it’s got three wheels, but you could hit 100 mph with this pedal powered electric-assist car. Speaking of assists, if your bike doesn’t fly, just add a few fans.

And this is so not the way to promote a bike race to women. Or anyone, for that matter.

 

Morning Links: Unfortunate irony on the Milt Olin Ride, and still more on the proposed helmet law

Unfortunate irony, indeed.

A bike rider is hit by an apparently distracted driver on a ride to remember a bike rider killed by a distracted-driving sheriff’s deputy.

Fortunately, the cyclist should be okay, despite being pretty banged up.

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It’s starting to look like this story isn’t going to go away.

A columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle says bike advocates are splitting hairs in opposition to SB 192, the bill that would mandate helmet use for all riders. Although someone should tell him that the law requiring helmets for minors, which he calls a success, is often blamed for why so few California children ride bikes, which is a major contributor to the obesity crisis in our youth.

The Daily News prints letters on both sides of the issue; once again, licensing people on bikes rears its ugly head even though it has nothing to do with the question at hand.

San Diego’s KPBS public radio station discusses both sides of the question, as well, while Santa Monica Spoke comes out in opposition to the bill. Digital Slurry echoes Copehangenize with a tongue-in-cheek call for walking helmets.

And if you still have any doubt whether the proposed helmet law is a bad idea, Streetsblog’s Melanie Curry nails it.

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Local

USC’s Neon Tommy says a watered down MyFigueroa won’t be finished until the end of next year.

Next City is suitably impressed that Ed Begley, Jr. biked the Oscars in the rain Sunday night. So I am.

Move LA and the SFV Council of Governments are hosting a San Fernando Valley Town Hall on Thursday to imagine our transportation future in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys.

Westwood’s Hammer Museum invites you to design your own bike to suit the environment in a family friendly workshop this Sunday.

 

State

A Santa Ana coalition wants to empower local residents to transform the streets to make them safer for bike riders and pedestrians.

A Bakersfield driver faces four charges, including two felony counts, in the hit-and-run death of a bike rider.

A Modesto letter writer insists there will never be safety for bicyclists as long as we’re required to ride with traffic; someone should show him the safety stats for salmon cyclists.

The new director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition intends to push the fight for Vision Zero.

 

National

Kids added their voices to bike advocacy at the national Youth Bike Summit in Seattle.

Now here’s an idea LA should steal copy, as Houston opens a Bicycle Museum this week. I’d gladly pay to see Connie Carpenter’s gold medal-winning bike from the ’84 LA Olympics, along with one of the bikes that beat a JetBlue jet to Long Beach and made Wolfpack Hustle a household name among local cyclists.

An Omaha flying saucer-shaped building is set to become a new bike shop operated by a non-profit group. Actually, most local bike shops are unintentional non-profits these days.

A Minnesota man prepares to ride next week’s 350-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational along a portion of the famed sled dog trail.

An Ohio fat bike rider doesn’t let freezing temperatures — or a frozen beard — stop him.

Bike riders recreate the legendary Selma to Montgomery civil rights march on two wheels.

New York’s CitiBike workers want the raises they were promised by the bike share’s former owners.

 

International

Must be something in the water, as a racist UK jerk hurls abuse at a bike rider and threatens to set his dogs on him, and a big hearted Londoner is caught on video saying bike riders are their own worst enemy and deserve to die.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 93-year old British WWII vet still rides up to 5,000 miles a year; last year he notched 3,500, which is a lot more than I managed.

A Brit thief steals a bike, and uses it to break through the window of a toy store.

 

Finally…

Roseville bike thieves simply ride off with bikes being sold through Craigslist. An apparently anti-bike OKC city councilmember follows up on his failed attempt to force bike riders to keep three feet from cars with an ordinance allowing police to ticket lane splitting cyclists.

And if you’re drunk off your ass and get caught trying to take a shortcut through a fenced-off business lot, don’t ride salmon and crash into the police car trying to stop you from getting killed by riding into the path of a truck.

Seriously.

 

Morning Links: Biking the Oscars, challenging helmet stats and a big jump in Santa Monica bike commuting

Even the threat of rain couldn’t keep a handful of Angelenos from biking to the Oscars on Sunday.

Actor Ed Begley, Jr. lived up to his promise to bike into the Academy Awards over the Cahuenga pass, donning rain gear on the ride before switching to his tux for the ceremony.

Laemmle Theater president and LACBC board member Greg Laemmle also rode in, wearing his tux on his folding bike despite the threatening weather.

And even the LAPD biked the Oscars as part of the massive security presence protecting the event.

LAPD bike cops at the Oscars

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Somehow I missed this one earlier this month.

The Examined Spoke examined that highly flawed stat behind SB 192, Glendale state Senator Carol Liu’s proposal to require bike helmets for all riders, as well as reflective hi-viz after dark.

Liu cites a statistic from the National Conference of State Legislatures that says 91% of bicyclists killed in 2009 weren’t wearing helmets. Never mind that it fails to addresse how many bike riders actually suffered head injuries, or whether their injuries would have been survivable with one.

ES looks at it another way, revealing that the 91% figure may questionable, since it appears the authors may have combined the figures for victims who weren’t wearing a helmet with those where it’s unknown whether or not a helmet was used.

As he points out, that’s a big no-no, statistically speaking.

And it’s definitely not true in California.

Separating out the unknowns from the cases where it’s known if the victim was wearing a helmet, the figure drops to just 63% of bike riders killed in California in 2009 were without helmets.

And it drops even further in recent years, as just 53% — barely over half — of cyclists killed in the state in 2012 weren’t wearing one.

Hardly the overwhelming statistic that would justify forcing every rider to wear a helmet under every circumstance.

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Local

Built it and they will come. Afternoon rush hour biking in Santa Monica is up 67% between 2011 and 2013, while overall bike commuting rose from 2.3% to 3.7% from 2010 to 2013. That corresponds with the city’s efforts to improve conditions for cyclists, with 45 miles of new bike lanes and sharrows since 2011.

Writing for HuPo, Joel Epstein reports on a panel discussion questioning whether LA has embarked on a bicycling revolution that will bring about post-car dominated city embracing transit, biking and walking. We can only hope.

Bicyclists get new bike racks in Echo Park. Which should come in handy since bikes are forbidden from the pathways around it.

Two UCLA alums will ride from San Francisco to New York to promote science education, especially for girls.

Don’t miss tonight’s Town Hall Meeting of the Westwood Village Improvement Association to discuss the Remove Nothing Plan for much-needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

CICLE’s Tweed, Moxie and Mustaches Ride rolls on Sunday.

 

State

The editor of the Stockton paper says yes, helmets are important, but mandating them is the wrong answer. The Woodland newspaper disagrees, though they could do without the tasteless and highly offensive cartoon that accompanies the editorial — which also appeared down here in the Daily Breeze, though they don’t seem to have posted it online.

The Times looks at the route for this year’s Tour of California.

A San Diego woman suffers major head injuries despite wearing a helmet after touching wheels with her husband’s bike.

Signs warning drivers about the state’s new three-foot passing law go up outside of Napa.

 

National

Salon looks at why it’s so hard to punish killer drivers.

A Seattle rider travels all of the city’s protected bike lanes in a single day. That would be a lot easier here in LA.

A Wyoming paper calls for a statewide bike path, calling it a visionary proposal. Depending on the route, it could pas through some breathtaking scenery and be a huge draw for bike tourism, as well as long-distance recreational riding.

When life gives you snow, build a 40-foot long bike tunnel to get through it like they did in Boston. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

 

International

A Dutch bike team has to go home after thieves steal all their bikes and equipment from the team truck.

Rising American rider Teejay van Garderen misses a chance to win the Tour of Oman after the fifth stage was cancelled due to sandstorms and extreme temperatures.

Another attempt to ride around the world has ended in tragedy in Thailand, as a Chilean cyclist attempting to set a record by riding 155,350 miles across five continents in five years is killed in a collision, less than two years after a British couple on a similar quest lost their lives in the country. Tragically, the wreck happened right in front of the victim’s wife, who was riding separately with their two-year old son.

 

Finally…

San Francisco police recover a stolen bike, but release the suspect because the bike hadn’t been reported stolen yet, except it had. Let’s get one thing straight: It’s not a bicycle if it has more than two wheels, electric or not. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

And Bicycling says if you want to lose weight and improve your performance, put butter in your coffee. No, seriously.

You first.

 

Weekend Links: More helmets and hi-viz, setting the record straight on Colorado Blvd & clearing out the inbox

Still more on helmets and hi-viz.

You know you’ve been waiting for Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson to check in with a typically tongue-in-cheek take on SB 192, the proposed mandatory helmet and hi-viz law.

Well, I have, anyway.

Meanwhile, Chicago’s Bike Advocate weighs in with why the law would be a bad idea. But the Contra Costa Times says cycling is dangerous, and the answer is to force riders to wear helmets, rather than attempt to tame dangerous traffic.

You did sign the petition to oppose it, right?

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Great turnout for last weekend’s Love Ride through South LA; the photos make it look like a mini-CicLAvia.

Aside from all those cars, of course.

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The candidates opposing incumbent councilmember Jose Huizar in LA’s 14th council district — particularly termed-out County Supervisor Gloria Molina — have attacked Huizar over a perceived lack of outreach, especially regarding bike lanes on Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock.

So the president of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council has responded by detailing the lengthy process and numerous meetings that led to approval of the project.

As usual, it looks like if anyone wasn’t informed in advance it’s because they didn’t care enough to get involved.

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Let’s clear out the latest press releases clogging my inbox.

First up, LA’s Pure Fix Cycles has unveiled the upgraded Wallace single speed/fixie.

You’ve got one week left to sign up for a new membership or renew an existing membership with Gold’s Gym, and maybe win a special edition gold bike from Martone Cycling Co. Martone is also providing the consolation prizes for Academy Award nominees; I think I deserve one just for listening to the endless news helicopters filming installation of the red carpet this week.

And for anyone who dreams of riding in a genuine Italian gran fondo, here’s your chance with the 45th annual Granfondo Milan-San Remo Cicloturistica.

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Local

The Source is looking for nominations for Metro’s Golden Pedal Award, for “individuals who take the bicycle, deny perceived limitations and demonstrate the true potential of riders and their machine.” Or how about those who just write about it?

Work begins on the new 6th Street bridge as the old viaduct prepares for demolition, forcing bike riders onto less-than-bike-friendly alternatives during construction.

The Venice Neighborhood Council calls on the county to widen and illuminate the excessively popular beachfront bike path.

Santa Monica’s Main Street is quickly becoming e-bike central.

CiclaValley somehow manages to attend two Valley CicLAvia meetings being held at the same time; somehow, there always seems to be at least one business owner who fails to grasp the opportunity.

StreetsblogLA looks back on seven stupid things that might have happened if they hadn’t been here; then again, if they hadn’t been here, I wouldn’t have my name on an LA Press Club Award. And there’s still time to sign up for their 7th birthday party tonight.

The man behind London’s newly bikeable future will be speaking at a Monday conference on shared mobility.

 

State

LA-based Bike Shield promises to help prevent bike collisions, if the driver has the app installed and if the riders do, too. Or people could, you know, just pay attention when they drive.

An Eastvale hit-and-run driver leaves a 15-year old bike rider lying in the street.

Good news from Caltrans on finally completing the high desert gap in the Bike Route 66.

A 16-year old Fresno driver plays the universal Get Out of Jail Free card after killing a cyclist while driving up to 70 mph, as police say he just didn’t see the victim due to minimal lighting. Oh, well okay then. Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

A multi-millionaire Silicon Valley entrepreneur says cycling is the sport of choice for young professionals. Seems to be pretty popular with the older ones, too.

A red light-running San Francisco driver sends a bike riding mother and toddler daughter to the hospital, thankfully with non-life threatening injuries. But bikes are the problem, right?

 

National

The Times talks with America’s only remaining Tour de France winner.

Seattle becomes the latest major US city to adopt a Vision Zero plan; LA is also on that list, though you wouldn’t know it by looking at our streets.

A Utah driver faces trial for intentionally running down a man on a bike following a dispute, then ramming him again when the victim tried to run away.

The Wall Street Journal goes fat biking through the Colorado ski country.

Wisconsin’s governor kills funding for bicycling and pedestrian projects in an apparent attempt to maintain automotive hegemony in the state.

A Virginia writer says improving safety for bikes is good for drivers, too.

 

International

Grist offers six reasons why cargo bikes are the next big thing.

Caught on video: A Brit driver repeatedly tells a bike rider to F-off after a dangerous pass.

New Zealand can’t seem to keep a killer driver off the roads, license or not.

 

Finally…

I don’t care how rude or unwilling to share the road he might be, don’t punch a 78-year old driver in nose. Looks like you can forget bike-through fast food service in Utah.

And a drunk Yuba County man carrying a loaded shotgun on his e-bike shoots himself in the ass when he falls off his bike.

But hopefully, he was wearing a helmet.

 

Morning Links: The Tour of California comes back to LA; Calbike petition opposes mandatory bike helmet law

The Amgen Tour of California announces the stages for this year’s race.

The courses include another ride up Mt. Baldy, along with a final stage from LA Live through NELA to the Rose Bowl. Maybe they can make the argument for bike lanes on North Figueroa while they’re passing through.

But former Tour of California winner Chris Horner’s team is snubbed this year.

Meanwhile, a North Carolina writer calls for an American Tour de France-style stage race, evidently never having heard of the Tour of California or Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge.

Then again, wouldn’t it be great if they combined the two into a single two week race running from the Rockies to the coast?

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HuffPo offers a pretty balanced look at SB 192, which would require all bike riders, including adults, to wear helmets and reflective hi-viz. Bakersfield cyclists are split on the issue.

Calbike has an online petition to oppose it. And yes, I’ve signed it.

Then again, more riders might voluntarily wear helmets if it would improve their Strava times.

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Local

A good job for a great organization. CICLE is looking for a Web Developer/SEO Engineer. And yes, I know CICLE is an acronym, but I got tired of typing all those periods all the time.

An LA cyclist lists the top 20 questions he gets asked as a bike commuter. I’ve gotten every one of those myself in one form or another.

LADOT wants your input on redesigning their website, which will include a new version of the agency’s bike blog.

KCET looks at the LA River bike path, and how it could be affected by plans to expand the I-710 Corridor.

The Hispanic-owned EGP newspaper chain becomes the latest to endorse Jose Huizar for re-election in CD14.

 

State

Red Kite Prayer’s Padraig makes a call for brighter colored bikewear to keep from getting run over.

A Santa Ana bike rider suffers non-life-threatening injuries when he’s hit by a car.

San Luis Obispo residents rise up against a utility box adorned with a brightly colored painting of a bike rider; I’m not sure if it’s the bright colors or the bike they find most offensive.

Turlock cyclists want safe, connected routes; then again, don’t we all?

More tragedy from the Bay Area, as a 14-year old bike rider is killed in Concord. As usual, the teenage victim gets the blame. Thanks to Anthony Ryan for the heads-up.

A hearing is set for next week for the San Francisco 49ers player charged with hit-and-run after striking a cyclist with his car, as well as possessing brass knuckles; he was driving on a suspended license at the time.

Two thousand Berkley bike riders have been hit by cars in the last 14 years, not counting the collisions that haven’t been reported.

 

National

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske moves back to VeloNews after writing for Bicycling magazine for the past several years.

Bike riders fear for their safety on Vegas roads.

People for Bikes says the lesson from Denver’s crowdfunded bikeway isn’t about raising money, it’s about raising a movement.

Even Wyoming is considering how to build a network of protected bikeways.

Montana considers scrapping the requirement for cyclists to ride to the right, replacing it with a standard allowing them to ride where they feel safest. The bill would also allow drivers to cross the center line to pass a bike when safe to do so, something our misguided governor vetoed a few years back.

Auto-centric Houston will get its first new bike master plan in 20 years.

One of the architects of New York’s Citibike bike share program says splitting a bike share network up into separate nodes — like how LA is planning to roll out its plan — is a recipe for failure.

 

International

The British Columbia woman charged with booby trapping a popular mountain bike trail now faces trial on a single count, after two other charges were dropped.

The Department of DIY is hard at work in Canada, where Halifax bicyclists designed their own network of protected bike lanes.

London advocates say cyclists are an afterthought when it comes to road safety standards.

A London cyclist suffers a broken pelvis when he’s shoved off his bike by another rider. Seriously, the last thing we need is road raging bike riding jerks; violently pissed off drivers are bad enough.

A UK van driver tells bike riders to stay awesome.

An Irish model is a bundle of nerves when she rides through Dublin; she may have reason for concern.

An Amsterdam designer builds a wood and aluminum bike using 3D printing, but that’s not nearly as cool as building a Louisville Slugger bike.

An Aussie writer questions whether parking adjacent bike lanes are havens or door zones of death.

Bangkok builds a new bike path under an expressway.

 

Finally…

Okay, so it’s not bike related. But Curbed has created a pretty good bingo card for when the New York Times — or pretty much any out of town newspaper — writes about LA. Win an Oscar, and get a statue of a little naked guy; lose, and you’ll get a new bike from Martone Cycling so you can #biketheOscars next year.

And a Brit cow evidently decides if it can’t ride a bike, it might as well wear one.

 

Morning Links: Gloria Molina wonders where all the poor cars will park, and KFI’s John and Ken go on the attack

It’s going to be a very interesting election year.

While my attention has been focused on the race to replace outgoing councilmember Tom LaBonge in CD4, bike-friendly councilmember Jose Huizar has been fighting for his political future in the face of a challenge from termed-out county commissioner Gloria “Where are we all going to park?” Molina.

That was her response to a recent debate question over development replacing parking lots in Downtown LA — even though DTLA already has more parking spaces per hectare than the downtown of any other major city on earth, according to UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup.

Oh, the poor cars.

While Huizar stood on his record as a champion of complete streets, Molina criticized his support of bike lanes, saying the community hadn’t been adequately consulted. That despite the extensive public meetings held in the multi-year process that lead to the adoption of the city’s 2010 bike plan.

Simply put, if anyone feels they weren’t adequately consulted, it’s because they didn’t care enough to get involved.

Evidently going after the afraid of change demographic, Molina complained about the increased density that has finally brought DTLA back to life after decades of decline. And has previously called for completion of the unneeded and largely unwanted 710 Freeway — which she later recanted after the forum, apparently after realizing most of the voters in the district oppose the project.

In effect, it was a debate over Huizar’s efforts to move forward to a more livable city based on complete streets, and Molina’s desire to turn back the clock to LA’s auto-centric past.

You can probably guess where I stand on the matter.

And yet the Times has inexplicably endorsed Molina; DTLA Rising’s Brigham Yen endorses Huizar.

Molina has also been endorsed by CD1 Council Member Gil Cedillo, singlehandedly responsible for killing the long planned, full funded and much needed road diet on North Figueroa.

Which should be the final nail in Molina’s coffin.

At least it is for me.

So if there’s any doubt, let me make it perfectly clear. Huizar has been one of the most effective members of the city council in recent years. And with the possible exception of Joe Buscaino, has done more to improve the quality of life in his district than any other councilmember.

Which is exactly what his constituents elected him for. And why he has my unqualified support in next month’s election.

Meanwhile, Bike the Vote LA has released a complete slate of endorsements for multiple candidates in races throughout the county.

And yes, Huizar is on the list, along with Nadine Diaz, who is also running in the district.

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Streetsblog’s Damien Newton somehow managed to keep his cool when KFI shock jerks — excuse me, jocks — John and Ken repeatedly misrepresented the facts on bicycling and bike advocacy in LA. Then kept interrupting Newton to insist he was lying when he tried in vain to correct them.

You can listen to it here if you have the stomach for it.

Personally, I couldn’t take more than a few minutes; frankly, I have better things to do than listen to that kind of crap.

The problem is too many people don’t. Presumably, they believe the kind of kneejerk anti-bike, auto-centric misinformation — to put it kindly — John and Ken were trying to shove down Newton’s throat.

Joe Linton politely took them to task afterwards for incorrectly insisting that half of the roadway on some unnamed streets in Downtown LA had been given over to bicycles.

Of course, the thing to remember is that John and Ken, and other blowhard TV and radio hosts like them, are entertainers, not journalists.

Their job is to draw listeners and increase ratings for the station. And any controversy, real or imaged, helps do exactly that.

The truth has nothing to do with it.

……..

More reaction to SB 192, the proposed legislation from Glendale State Senator Carol Liu that would make California the first state to require helmets for all bike riders, as well as requiring reflective high visibility clothing after dark.

CiclaValley says the law would place a financial burden onto bikes but only have a trace impact on safety, while Boyonabike says it’s not the bikes, the helmets or the hi-viz, it’s the cars, stupid.

San Francisco’s SFGate says a mandatory helmet law would deflect attention from more pressing road dangers, like all those dangerous streets and drivers.

And the Fresno Bee tries to have it both ways, saying Liu should look at incentives to encourage, rather than requiring, helmet use. But that cyclists need to clean up their act or a helmet law may be necessary, as if being forced to wear a helmet is somehow punishment for bad behavior.

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Mark your calendar for May 15th to meet retired Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Robert Friend as part of a fundraiser for Ride 2 Recovery.

If you’re not familiar with them, the Tuskegee Airmen were not only among the greatest heroes of World War II, but paved the way for the Civil Rights Era by proving they were as good, if not better, than anyone else in the air. On either side.

My dad, who fought in both Europe and the Pacific, always wanted to meet one of them so he could thank him for the job they did in the face of incredible racial injustice.

If I get the chance on May 15th, I’m going to do it for him.

……..

Local

Caught on Video: The previously mentioned LA Councilmember Joe Buscaino works with the LACBC to distribute bike lights through Operation Firefly.

Metro’s presentation from the recent Bicycle Roundtable is now available online; CiclaValley offers the condensed version — including coming arrival of Bike Hubs, along with Complete Streets and the long-desired triple bike racks on buses.

Tres shock! Police in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills are filming a bike safety video; a clip posted online shows an impatient driver harassing a cyclist. And no, not to encourage that sort of behavior. I think it was Helen’s Cycles Dan Weinberg who sent that to me; please forgive me if I got that one wrong.

Cycling in the South Bay has a great suggestion on what to do with that unused mountain bike gathering dust in your garage — a bikeless South LA high school mountain bike team needs it if you don’t.

The next Women Bike, Women Lead event sponsored by Multicultural Communities for Mobility will be a ride from Downtown to South LA.

Ride or walk for a great cause, with the 2nd Annual Bike-A-Thon and Hike-A-Thon to raise funds for Bikes4Orphans.

Bust out your woolens, CICLE is hosting their annual Tweed, Moxie and Mustaches Ride on Sunday, March 1st.

 

State

Newport Beach’s popular Back Bay Drive will be closed for resurfacing through the end of the month.

The hit-and-run epidemic has spread to our neighbor to the south, as 23 San Diegans lost their lives to drivers who fled the scene last year. Thanks to sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the heads up.

A San Diego writer says you can save $12,000 a year just by kicking your car to the curb.

Palm Desert cyclists ride to remember handcyclist Rose Peters, who lost her life earlier this year.

If you’re selling a bike, Santa Barbara police say don’t accept a set of keys as security for a test ride.

Unbelievable, or at least I wish it was. An Antioch driver is under arrest for getting out of his vehicle and stabbing a bicyclist in a road rage incident; fortunately, the victim’s injuries were not life-threatening.

A writer for the Modesto Bee says cyclists need a share of the road, and not just in the form of ghost bikes.

 

National

I don’t think this is what Springsteen had in mind when he wrote Blinded by the Light, as a Washington driver plays the universal Get Out Of Jail Free card after running down a bike rider.

Seattle is trading parking spaces for bus and bike lanes. And needless to say, not everyone is happy about it.

A Michigan group wants your help to provide adaptive bikes to special needs kids. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Maybe you recall the case of the asthmatic Chattanooga cyclist who was harassed, nearly run off the road, and pepper sprayed by a group of teenagers in a truck, then threatened with arrest himself after he reported the crime. Now he’s filing suit against the teens and their parents, as well as the local sheriff’s department and the cop who tried to coerce him into dropping the charges.

A Baltimore letter writer says bike riders should share the costs, responsibilities and accountabilities of motorists, conveniently forgetting we’re not the ones in the big dangerous machines that kill people, damage the roadways and harm the environment.

 

International

Yet another way cyclists are vulnerable on the streets, as a Manchester, UK rider is subjected to racist abuse, knocked off his bike and punched in the head as he made his way to work.

Women’s pro cycling continues to gain a foothold in the Grand Tours, with a women’s race scheduled before the final leg of the Vuelta. Although it would be nice if they were given more than a single token race at any given tour.

Syrian women fight to stay on their bikes in the war torn county.

Tasmanian cyclists get the equivalent of a three-foot law on roads with speed limits up 37 mph, increasing to nearly five feet at higher speeds.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: A Brit motorist defends her actions after being caught reading a book while driving. The Desert Sun says the Tour de Palm Springs is not a race, then calls it exactly that in the caption.

And this is so not the way to promote women’s cycling.

 

Morning Links: Glendale legislator wants to mandate helmets and hi-viz; help Finish the Ride fight hit-and-run

Forget riding in regular clothes. Or going out for a quick ride without your helmet.

Or even building a successful bike share program.

All those are likely to be tossed out the window if Glendale State Senator Carol Liu has her way.

Not that she’s anti-bike. In fact, I’m told that she’s a regular supporter of bike initiatives.

But on Wednesday, Liu surprised everyone by introducing a proposed law that would require all bike riders, even those over 18, to wear a bike helmet every time they ride. Along with reflectorized hi-visibility clothing anytime they — that is, you — ride after dark.

And by surprised, I mean blindsided. Even people who regularly work with the senator on bike issues had no idea this bill was in the works.

The reaction was almost instantaneous. And universally negative.

Cyclelicious calls it the “Remove Cyclists From California Roads Law of 2015″ or, alternatively, the “Harass Minorities On Bikes Law of 2015,” both of which have been the result of misguided attempts to impose and enforce helmet laws elsewhere.

Longbeachize cites stats and studies to support the argument that the choice to wear a helmet should remain just that.

And Streetsblog points out it doesn’t address the actual dangers on our streets, like distracted driving and speeding.

Let’s ignore the fact that while requiring bike helmets has been shown to reduce the level of head injuries in other countries, it’s done so by reducing the level of bike riding. Fewer cyclists on the road mean fewer riders getting hurt.

And that helmet laws for riders under 18 in this country have been blamed in part for the dramatic drop-off in bike ridership by America’s youth.

Never mind that Australia’s restrictive helmet law has been blamed for the failure of bike share programs in that country, since no one can legally rent one without donning a helmet.

The simple fact is, bike helmets are not the magic safety devices many people wish they were.

Bike helmets are only designed to provide protection in impacts up to 12.5 mph. In other words, a relatively slow fall off your bike, not a collision with a speeding car.

Yes, they can offer some degree of protection in a wreck. But thinking of them as the bicycle equivalent of a seat belt or air bag is dramatically off base.

And while they can help prevent head trauma, they aren’t designed to prevent concussions. Or to protect against injury to any other part of the body.

Which is something Senator Liu should understand, since her own nephew was wearing a helmet when he was killed, and his girlfriend paralyzed, in a collision with a drunk driver in 2004.

Yes, I always wear a helmet when I ride. But I never count on it to save my life.

A bike helmet should always be seen as a last line of defense if all else fails, not the first. It’s far better to avoid collisions and falls in the first place.

And like the requirement to wear hi-viz after dark, it puts the responsibility for safety on cyclists, rather than on government officials, road planners and yes, drivers to ensure our roads are safe.

Just like those ridiculous flags pedestrians are expected to wave as they cross the street. And in a marked crosswalk, no less.

It leaves it up to us not to get hit, rather than up to drivers not to hit us.

A far better alternative would be to encourage, rather than attempt to force, helmet use allowing bike riders to discount the cost of a helmet on their taxes. And encouraging federal officials to raise the safety standards for bike helmets to do more good in real world situations.

Along with taking steps to educate both cyclists and drivers, and improve out streets to prevent collisions in the first place.

Let’s hope this wannabe law dies a quick and quiet death in the legislature. Before it ends up killing the bike boom we’re currently experiencing.

Thanks to Bill Davidson for the heads-up.

……..

Davidson also points out that other ridiculous proposed bike law, which would have required bikes to have a blinking white tail light after dark has been amended to require a blinking red light instead.

Probably because as originally written, it would have gone against traffic safety regulations for virtually every country around the world, which require white lights in the front and red lights on the rear of virtually every vehicle.

On the other hand, many cyclists are currently breaking the law by using a red tail light, rather than the red reflector our outdated laws currently require.

Bike riders should have the option to use a red light, blinking or steady, in place of a reflector. And to use lights, ankle straps or other means of signaling their presence in place of the wheel and pedal reflectors currently required.

The point should be to maximize visibility and safety.

Not adhere to obsolete regulations that do neither.

……..

Damian Kevitt’s Finish the Ride foundation is preparing to post their first billboards to fight the epidemic of hit-and-run.

But they need your help to raise the funds needed to put them up.

He’s also looking for input on which of the two alternative concepts you prefer. If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments below and I’ll make sure he sees them.

H&R Billboard 1

H&R Billboard 2

……..

Must read piece by Stephen Corwin on LA’s disastrous addiction to cars, which he compares to cancer. And says driving less won’t fix it.

……..

Good advice from CABO on how to fight a bad bike traffic ticket.

……..

A webinar will be held on Friday, February 27th to discuss how stress level analysis can result in more effective bike network planning.

……..

Local

Flying Pigeon says South Pasadena officials deserve to be sued for blocking LA bike lanes from connecting with their equivalent on the other side of a dangerous bridge.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department recommends registering your bike to keep it from being a target for thieves.

CICLE is looking for Web Developer/SEO Engineer.

Santa Monica’s upcoming bike share program is officially named Breeze. Which will inevitably lead to comments like “Breeze blows” the any time a problem develops.

The monthly Spoke(n) Art Ride rolls this Saturday.

The authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles will host a ride with the LACBC this Sunday to the Pointe Vincente Lighthouse.

Malibu is hosting a public meeting on Thursday to discuss the PCH Public Safety Study. If you ride the notoriously dangerous highway, make plans to be there.

 

State

A Laguna Beach writer says the city has done a lot in response to recent bicycling fatalities, but there’s more to be done. However, sharing a bike lane with pedestrians is never a good idea.

A Riverside cyclist is severely injured in yet another hit-and-run.

Safety is the top priority for this weekend’s Tour de Palm Springs after Lavonne Koester was killed during last year’s ride.

Bike advocates say San Francisco isn’t doing enough to fulfill its commitment to Vision Zero. On the other hand, they’re doing more than LA is.

Bike racks sprout in downtown Merced.

 

National

CityLab takes an in-depth look at road rage, and says the solution may lie in better street design and road planning. Meanwhile a Seattle writer says middle fingers won’t solve anything.

An Arizona hit-and-run driver admits to smoking dope on a daily basis, but blames his eight-year old victim anyway.

My hometown newspaper concludes their devastating look at a local hit-and-run by asking if justice was done. Also a must read.

A Pennsylvania man rides his bike every day. And has for 32 years.

Now that’s more like it. A severely drunk Louisiana driver faces up to 30 year in prison for killing one cyclist and severely injuring another; the driver’s BAC was nearly four times the legal limit.

 

International

Today is International Winter Bike to Work Day. Which should be very easy to do here in LA.

Just in time for Valentines Day, Vancouver gets heart-shaped bike racks. Then again, so does London.

After a Canadian bike rider is seriously injured in a collision, he gets a $6,000 bill from the driver’s insurance company for damage to the SUV that laid him up for three months.

Twitter helps a London cyclist get his bike back four months after it was stolen and taken to Spain, while another Brit can’t seem to get rid of one.

Plans for that London bike superhighway hits a snag when British officials decide they don’t want bike lanes besmirching Buckingham Palace. But all those traffic lanes in front of the palace are perfectly okay.

Evidently, it’s a universal problem. After Egypt installs bike lanes, they turn into parking lots.

An Aussie website compares underground bike racing to the Fast & Furious, and uses LA’s bike scene as the prime example.

 

Finally…

You’re not a MAMIL, you’re a grown man on bike. A Montana lawmaker’s proposed legislation would ban yoga pants, among other “provocative” garments, in response to Missoula’s equivalent of the World Naked Bike Ride is appropriately laughed out of committee.

And when you buy this $52,000 bike basket they’ll throw in the bike for free.

 

Morning Links: Waking the sleeping giant in LA and Pasadena, and a gut-wrenching Colorado hit-and-run

Lots of news leading up to next month’s elections.

LA’s Bike the Vote reviews Thursday’s Livable Streets forum for candidates running to replace termed-out Tom LaBonge, while Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers his detailed analysis, along with sound recordings of the event.

My take on night was that Tomas O’Grady and LaBonge staffers Sheia Irani and Carolyn Ramsey stood head and shoulders above the rest, although Mexico City native Fred Mariscal got the biggest applause of the night for insisting LA has to move past its overdependence on cars.

On the other hand, I had major concerns about the ability of the two LaBonge staffers to step out of the shadow of their bike-friendly-in-name-only boss to actually support bicycling and other non-automotive transportation the way they promised.

But in talking to them afterwards, both seemed sincere in wanting to improve safety and make room for bikes on our streets. And while I disagreed with Ramsay on a few points, I came away convinced she would actually listen to bicyclists and be willing to change her mind if presented with compelling arguments, unlike the man she’s running to replace.

Then again, Gil Cedillo made some pretty good promises, too.

But all eight candidates deserve a degree of support for simply showing up, unlike the other six who apparently had better things to do that night.

Meanwhile, Orange 20’s Richard Risemberg seems sold on O’Grady, while the Daily News splits their endorsement between O’Grady and Teddy Davis, who was one of those who didn’t bother to show up on Thursday.

……..

The LACBC offers great information on how to bike the vote, including responses to candidate questionnaires for council district 4, as well as district 14, where termed-out County Supervisor Gloria Molina is challenging incumbent Jose Huizar, one of the best friends bike riders have had on the city council in recent years.

Personally, I won’t vote for anyone who doesn’t complete the LACBC’s questionnaire. And I hope you’ll base your vote on their responses, as well.

……..

The candidates in CD 14 talk housing costs and basic services in Boyle Heights. And several candidates, including Molina, O’Grady, Irani and — apparently grudgingly — Ramsey, pledge to take a pay cut if they get elected.

It should be noted that LA city councilmembers receive the highest pay of any large city in the US. Which is one reason the office seems so attractive to politicians who have been termed out of other seats.

……..

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition has posted audio of the complete streets portion of a recent mayoral candidate forum for their city, as well as responses to their own candidate questionnaire.

……..

Why does all this matter?

Because bike riders remain, potentially, one of the largest voting blocks in the City and County of Los Angeles, capable of swaying elections to ensure safe streets for all of us.

But only potentially, until we finally manage to wake the sleeping giant.

……..

My hometown newspaper offers a gut-wrenching look at the effects a violent left cross and hit-and-run had on a triathlete and father; an exceptionally well written piece almost guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye. Or at least, it did mine.

On Monday, they follow-up with a story asking if justice was served.

That would be a no.

Hell no.

……..

Local

Confirmation that LA Times automotive writer Jerry Hirsch is one of us. I can personally attest he’s one of the good guys.

A Lakewood bike rider saves the life of a newborn baby who had been abandoned by her mother, scooping up the infant and racing to a nearby fire station. She can be grateful her rescuer wasn’t in a car, or he might not have heard her cries. Thanks to Margaret Wehbi for the heads-up.

 

State

UC San Diego is building a new Class 1 bike path on campus.

A non-cyclist rides the bike lanes of Redlands.

 

National

The bike that Seattle Seahawk Michael Bennett commandeered from the local police to celebrate winning the NFC championship raises $10,000 for charity.

A Michigan bike rider survives a head-on collision with a truck in France to come back and rescue the medical company he built.

A good Samaritan who helped a Florida woman after she fell off her three-wheeled bike ends up stealing it.

 

International

Drawing a thread through today’s news, a proposed mandatory helmet law draws mixed reviews in Saskatchewan; The Netherlands is unlikely to require bike helmets for the young and elderly despite the recommendations of a recent report, and a New Zealand writer says those irritating cyclists need to get over themselves and wear one, already.

The Economist says London is slowly becoming a better place for bicyclists.

Australia’s Rohan Dennis becomes the third cyclist in the last few months to break the previously long-standing hour record, as Bradley Wiggins waits in the wings.

Thai authorities are building bike lanes to accommodate a bicycling boom in Chiang Mai.

 

Finally…

A 13-year old paracyclist sets a new world record for the second time, but it won’t count because doping authorities failed to show up. And a cake, ale and cigarette-loving plump Paddy — his word, not mine — rebels against hectoring from “broccoli-loving cycling fascists.”

Actually, I’m more of a spinach guy, myself.

 

Making the case for desperately needed bike lanes on embattled Westwood Blvd

Maybe.

Just maybe, we may finally be seeing progress in getting desperately needed bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard, after earlier plans were summarily canceled by CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz at the urging of a local homeowner’s group.

Now local traffic planner Ryan Snyder has come up with a new plan that won’t result in the loss of a single traffic lane or parking space.

Westwood homeowner and bike advocate Calla Weimer has once again offered a detailed and insightful analysis of the plan and why it’s needed, this time in the form of a presentation to the Transportation Committee of the Westwood Village Improvement Association.

I’m posting it below with her permission.

She also notes there will be another meeting to discuss the plan at the WVIA Town Hall at 5 pm on February 23rd, at 10880 Wilshire Blvd.

Given the rampant objections to bike lanes on Westwood, there’s still a lot of opposition to the plan, even though it won’t affect anything.

Except to improve traffic flow and make a dangerous street safer for the bike riders who will arrive in droves once the Expo Line opens on the Westside.

So support from cyclists will be vital to get it approved.

Note: I initially used the term NIMBYism to describe opposition to bike lanes on Westwood Blvd. While I feel the term aptly describes many residents in the area, where even dancing is banned in Westwood Village at the insistence of local homeowners, it does not further the conversation in this instance. Terming people who object to bike lanes as NIMBYs and those who want bike lanes as activists merely results in talking past one another, and failing to engage in a genuine conversation between people with differing concerns, making consensus difficult, if not impossible. As a result, I have rewritten this piece to remove the term.

……..

Bike Infrastructure for Westwood Boulevard

Remarks Submitted to the Westwood Village Improvement Association

4 February 2015

Calla Wiemer*

The challenge of transitioning from a car centric streetscape to one that is bike and pedestrian friendly is nowhere more pressing than on Westwood Boulevard. This heavily biked corridor exhibits an alarmingly high incidence of car-bike collision and cyclist injury. With the Westwood station of the Expo light rail line slated to open later in 2015, interest in biking the boulevard can be expected to ramp up sharply, compounding the conflict between bike and car.

This submission to the Westwood Village Business Improvement Association makes three points:

1) The incidence of car-bike collision and cyclist injury on Westwood Boulevard is unacceptably high.

2) Bike infrastructure should be developed as a network and integrated with rail transit. The Ryan Snyder “Remove Nothing Plan” jump starts the conversation on this for Westwood Boulevard.

3) Mayor Garcetti’s “Great Streets” designation for Westwood Boulevard calls on us to aspire to more than just removing nothing.

 

Collision & Injury

First, a few summary statistics on collision and injury for the whole of Westwood Boulevard will be presented. Following that, conditions will be analyzed and collision counts reported segment by segment for the length of the boulevard. Data on collision and injury are drawn from the Transportation Injury Mapping System of the University of California, Berkeley. Case identification numbers for the collisions along with explanatory notes are provided in an appendix.

  • The five year period 2009-2013 saw 36 collisions reported between bikes and motor vehicles along the 2.7 mile length of Westwood Boulevard.
  • Four of the cases were felony hit and runs.
  • The cyclist was at fault in only three cases, the motorist in 26, with no fault assigned in the 
remaining seven.
  • The cyclist was injured in all 36 cases; no motorist was injured.

Collision incidence varies along the length of Westwood Boulevard commensurate with discernible differences in conditions. The table that follows distinguishes four segments, presenting collision counts and distance in miles for each. It should be borne in mind that ridership decreases appreciably from north 
to south. Counts taken during the peak hours of 7:00-9:00 am and 4:00-6:00 pm on November 6, 2013 tallied 256 riders at LeConte Avenue, 157 at Santa Monica Boulevard, 116 at LaGrange Avenue, and 110 at Ashby Avenue (source here).

Location

Collisions

Miles

LeConte-Wellworth (incl)

5

0.5

Wellworth-Santa Monica

10

0.6

Santa Monica-Pico (incl)

18

0.8

Pico-National

3

0.8

Along the most northerly segment of Westwood Boulevard through the Village, motorized traffic moves very slowly. The large number of pedestrians crossing at intersections helps to animate driver attention. Only five of the 36 collisions occurred in the half mile stretch between LeConte Avenue and Wellworth Avenue (inclusive of cross streets at both ends). This is despite the much higher ridership at the north end of the boulevard.

Bike lanes begin at Wellworth Avenue and extend to just north of Santa Monica Boulevard. These bike lanes, however, are narrow and pass through the door zone of parked cars that line both sides of the street. The lanes are often obstructed by double parked cars or cars in the process of parking or exiting parking. Motorized traffic along this stretch can move at high rates of speed. Ten of the 36 collisions occurred along this 0.6 mile stretch.

By far the most treacherous segment lies between Santa Monica Boulevard and Pico Boulevard. Motor vehicle travel lanes are too narrow to allow the three feet of passing space required for overtaking cyclists. On the northbound side, street parking is suspended during peak hours with two lanes then allocated for travel. During these hours, most cyclists cling timidly to the curb, enticing motorists to try to squeeze by within the same lane in disregard of the three-foot law. On the southbound side where parking is
permitted at all times, most cyclists cleave to the door zone, again tempting motorists to pass within the same lane. Fully half of the 36 collisions took place on this 0.8 mile stretch. This high incidence of collision occurred despite a much lower ridership than further north.

The most southerly segment from Pico Boulevard to National Boulevard carries much lighter traffic than parts north. A dedicated left turn lane is little used for the purpose since cross streets are few and lightly traveled. Thus northbound, where there is only one travel lane, motor vehicles overtaking cyclists tend to move into the center lane to afford comfortable passing space. By contrast, with two travel lanes southbound, conflict between cyclists and motorists in the rightmost lane is a problem. Still, only three of the 36 collisions occurred along this 0.8 mile stretch.

To put these numbers into perspective, consider that car-bike collisions on Westwood Boulevard occurred at a rate of 2.7 per mile per year during the period 2009-2013. For the segment between Santa Monica and Pico Boulevards, the rate was 4.5 per mile per year. By contrast, for Los Angeles County as a whole in 2011, the rate was 0.24 per mile. The rates on Westwood Boulevard are thus higher by more than an order of magnitude than for the county generally. This calls for community action to meet a reasonable standard of street safety.

 

The “Remove Nothing Plan”

The “Remove Nothing Plan” by Ryan Snyder takes as its premise that no motor vehicle travel lane or parking space should be given up. Even under this severe restriction, the plan finds scope for bike safety enhancements for each and every diverse segment of Westwood Boulevard. The plan provides a fine point of departure for discussion. By addressing Westwood Boulevard as a comprehensive whole, it stands up to a political process that has in the past treated the street in fragments affording any neighborhood association or influential local figure veto power against change. But a transportation system must function as a citywide network. It cannot be patched together at intervals counted in blocks. And with rail lines going in and interest in cycling surging in the city of Los Angeles, Westwood Boulevard cannot stand apart.

If any portion of Westwood Boulevard is dangerous for biking, the corridor itself is dangerous. Safe passage must be afforded from end to end to create a viable transportation link. For the most dangerous stretch of the boulevard between Santa Monica and Pico, the “Remove Nothing Plan” proposes sharrows (arrows painted on the pavement to indicate bikes and cars must share the lane) and signage. This would constitute a significant improvement over the status quo. When the lane is too narrow for cars to overtake bikes legally, the safest behavior for a cyclist is to take the lane. This forces motorists to move to the adjacent lane in order to pass. Cyclists who are bold enough to take the lane now on Westwood Boulevard are often met with honking and shouting. Many are too intimidated to hold their ground. Sharrows and signage would help check threatening behavior by motorists and encourage cyclists to claim a safe space.

The dangers on the Santa Monica to Pico stretch of Westwood Boulevard are of such magnitude, and the proposed mitigation measures of such ease, that the measures should be implemented without further delay. The conversation should then move on to the larger issue of how the community can best make use of its limited street space. Perhaps this discussion will be catalyzed when motorists find cyclists claiming their shared lane at a rate of one every minute or two during peak hours, especially when that means a given motorist must often overtake the same cyclist repeatedly as they leapfrog along together through stoplights. So, what other approaches might there be to not only accommodate existing cyclists, but motivate people in greater numbers to get out of their cars and take to their bikes? On this note, the discussion should turn to the mayor’s “Great Streets” initiative.

 

Westwood Boulevard as a Great Street

Mayor Garcetti has invited us to re-envision Westwood Boulevard as a “Great Street”. His designation applies specifically to the stretch that runs through Westwood Village, but the community has every opportunity to expand on that. For a street to merit the label “great”, it should act as a safe and welcoming public space. It should accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists, and not allow human life to be crowded out by motorized traffic and parked cars. It should be graced with sidewalk rest spots and beautiful landscaping and should support thriving businesses.

To achieve such a vision will involve change. Street space on Westwood Boulevard is now given over almost entirely to motor vehicles, many of which sit empty. Street parking should be on the table for discussion. Parking can be provided off street – and indeed is overwhelmingly provided off street already – whereas mobility in its various guises cannot be. Along the dangerous stretch of Westwood Boulevard between Santa Monica and Pico, more than 90 percent of parking is currently provided off street (source here). The less than 10 percent of parking that is on street unquestionably yields benefits to some individuals. But whether this is the best use of a public resource under today’s changing circumstances is a discussion the community ought to have.

People in increasing numbers do not wish to be encased in steel and glass and powered by fossil fuels for their every move about town; not when the alternative is the exhilaration of riding a bicycle. This change in lifestyle could be a great thing for public health, for the environment, and for street life. It could be a great thing for Westwood Boulevard.

 

Appendix

Collision data analyzed in this document are taken from the Transportation Injury Mapping System of the University of California, Berkeley (website here). Case identification numbers are given below.

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

4034615
4234410
4344350
4385290
4492457
4512304
4629058
4640680
4643254
4820508
5015804
5112556
5194281
5219033
5219037
5289084
5354124
5354132
5361255
5385158
5453135
5474924
5667951
5760408
5900383
5950842
5960237
5975338
6008917
6065016
6086196
6137746
6260375
6260378
6287803
6305334

Cases were selected only if Westwood Boulevard was reported as the primary street. This means collisions that occurred in an intersection with Westwood Boulevard given as the secondary street were not selected.

Data for 2013 are provisional and incomplete.

* Calla Wiemer owns a home just off Westwood Boulevard and bikes the corridor on a regular basis. This document can be found along with her other writings on bike lanes referenced herein at http://www.callawiemer.com/Pages/BikeLanes.aspx.

 

Morning Links: CD4 Livable Streets forum tonight, and the OC Register gets it very wrong on bike funding

Don’t miss tonight’s Livable Streets forum for the massive scrum of candidates running to replace Tom LaBonge in LA’s 4th council district.

You can register for the free event here, and bike the vote by riding in with Wolfpack Hustle’s Don Ward.

And yes, there will be a bike valet.

Meanwhile, the Jewish Journal profiles the seven most prominent candidates in the race, three of whom call for better bike lanes in the district.

……..

In a highly uninformed editorial, the OC Register says bike paths and other active transportation — no ironic quotes needed, thank you — plans receive a disproportionate amount of transportation funding.

Which is absolutely true, as the LACBC’s Eric Bruins points out, since walking and biking account for 19% of trips, 39% of traffic fatalities and just 1% of funding in LA County.

In other words, the very definition of disproportionate. But maybe not the way the Register intended.

……..

Local cyclist and costume designer Erica Schwartz wants your help with a new line of fashionable and functional clothing for women who ride bikes.

Taking just a few minutes to fill out this anonymous survey will help her develop fashions that will meet your needs.

……..

Throw me something, mister!

For those of us who know what it means to miss New Orleans, Metro is hosting a Mardi Gras celebration at Union Station on February 17th.

……..

Turns out even 81-year old country music outlaw Willie Nelson is one of us.

So is Russell Crowe, though we knew that already. Note to Daily Mail — that is so not a BMX bike.

……..

Local

The LA Weekly looks at LA’s underground bike racing scene, which isn’t really all that underground anymore.

LA’s newest bike corral is taking its lumps protecting bikes and pedestrians from careless Larchmont drivers.

The Loyola Marymount news site lists five of LA’s best bike routes. Although some of those seem a little too familiar; maybe someone should explain the need for attribution to them.

If you loved the South LA CicLAvia, don’t miss the Love Ride on Valentines Day.

 

State

Cyclelicious offers a look at transportation bills introduced in the California legislature; nothing exciting on the bike front yet. Which could give the governor’s veto pen a rest this year.

Costa Mesa considers the safety of biking and walking in the city. Thanks to sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the heads-up.

The EPA will help Fresno plan a bike share program to help improve air quality.

The East Bay Bike Club’s Robert Prinz explains how to carry a little or a lot of stuff on your bike.

Sounds like they think he did it on purpose. A Ukiah teenager faces five counts of assault with a deadly weapon for mowing down a series bike riders in rapid succession; he also faces one count of DUI.

 

National

Bicycling offers advice on how to bike with your dog, and how to buy an un-abused used bike.

I’ve never been a fan of PC language, as you may have noticed. But People for Bikes makes the case that changing terms helped end the divisive Seattle bikelash.

Now that’s more like it. A bill before the Nebraska legislature would make injuring or killing a cyclist through careless driving a felony with up to five years in jail. Although someone should have a long talk with the editor who approved that awful illustration.

Louisville KY’s extremely cool new underground bike park built in an abandoned limestone mine prepares to open next month.

Unbelievable. A Shreveport driver received over 40 moving violations in 20 years — including a DUI — yet somehow was still allowed on the road to kill a seven-year old girl in an allegedly drunken collision.

Baltimore gets a new bike plan calling for 253 miles of bikeways.

 

International

The president of cycling’s governing body admits dropping the ball on paracycling, but pinkie-swear promises to make it right.

London approves plans for segregated bike superhighways crisscrossing the city, as well as additional bike infrastructure improvements. Even as a member of the city’s transportation board says it’s your own damn fault if you get killed.

Just seven days after receiving the heart of a fallen cyclist, a British transplant patient suddenly takes up bicycling. And rides a 30-mile sportive in his donor’s honor 19 weeks later.

My favorite Scottish bike blogger turned leading bike advocate says if you want to sell bikes to women, maybe you should actually listen to them.

The womens pro cycling tour is showing the Arab world what women can do if given a chance; I hope they’re watching in Saudi Arabia, where women are prohibited from riding a bike in public.

 

Finally…

If you’re trying to auction stolen bikes online, don’t take photos with your unique wallpaper visible in the background. When you’re an unregistered sex offender carrying drug paraphernalia and meth on your bike, put a damn light on it, already. Or better yet, don’t.

And Bike Radar offers 30 reasons to take up bicycling. Although boosting your bowels is not one most people would usually recommend to prospective riders.

 

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