Archive for General

Move along, nothing to see here

My apologies. No update today due to a computer problem. Hopefully we will be back soon.

No Morning Links today

Unfortunately, keeping up with yesterday’s two breaking news stories — and an attempt to correct a CHP officer’s mistaken interpretation of the ride-to-right requirement in yesterday’s Orange County Register — has taken up the time I would normally have used to write today’s Morning Links.

So please accept my apologies. And come back tomorrow, when I’ll try to catch up with an expanded Weekend Links.

Use the extra free time today to get out for a bike ride if there’s a break in the predicted drizzle. Or even if there isn’t.

And if you haven’t already, take a moment to sign up with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition as part of our first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive.

We’re now up to 19 new members, so we need at least one more person to sign up now or renew your membership to keep up our one-a-day pace and make it 20 on the 20th.

And a special thanks to everyone who has joined already to help build a more bikeable community.

No Morning Links today

My apologies. Got home too late, and too worn out, from a meeting last night, so I wasn’t able to get today’s Morning Links ready.

Go out for a good ride, and we’ll see you bright and early tomorrow.

Today’s post called on account of pain

Or rather, a bad reaction to my pain meds.

Hopefully, I’ll be back on my feet once the drugs wear off, and we’ll be back on track tomorrow.

My apologies.

Morning Links: New app for navigating LA, advice on running for your local NC, and pointing the finger in Westwood

Figuring out how to get around the City of Angels just got a little easier.

And could help improve the way you get around in the future.

The new Go LA app, created by Xerox for iOS and Android devices, calculates the shortest, cheapest, and most sustainable way to get to your destination — whether on foot, by bike, motorcycle, taxi, car or transit, as well as ride-sharing options — while providing map routing and real time traffic and parking information.

And not just in terms of distance, but also time, cost, carbon footprint, health benefits and calories burned. Which means walking and biking will usually win on the last four counts.

The app also sends anonymous trip data back to LADOT to provide feedback on how people actually get around the city to provide data for future planning.

You can read more about the app on the Go LA press release.

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Maybe that app will make it easier to use Metro, as the LA Times says ridership on public transportation is in a decade-long decline.

The paper cites other transportation alternatives, such as bicycling and ridesharing, as just two in a long list of factors leading to the drop. Although a more likely culprit is increased fares combined with cuts in service.

Charging more for worse service is rarely a good business model.

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The LACBC offers details on the upcoming Neighborhood Council elections, and urges you to not only vote, but consider running for election to your local council.

As they point out, local councils are usually the first stops for any discussion for or against bike projects in the local community, and their opinions often carry a lot of weight with the area councilmember.

So your involvement really does matter. But you need to hurry, because the deadline to register as a candidate is approaching quickly in some areas.

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Speaking of neighborhood councils, a writer for UCLA’s Daily Bruin says the Westwood Neighborhood Council gets the blame for blocking improvements to Westwood Village, including putting up roadblocks to the Westwood Blvd Great Streets project. Homeowners in the area are among the city’s most notorious NIMBYs, and should be held accountable for the decline in the once vibrant Village, where even dancing is banned at their insistence.

Meanwhile, the same writer says Councilmember Paul Koretz has been making opposing promises to both sides about the planned Westwood Blvd bike lanes, promising the neighborhood council and homeowner groups he’d kill the bike lanes, while telling the Sierra Club he supported moving forward with engineering studies. Thanks to Michael Cahn for the heads up.

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BikeSGV reports that a proposed bike park is included in plans for the coming Puente Hills Landfill Park, along with bike and pedestrian access.

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Local

Richard Risemberg accuses the city of malign neglect in its approach to 6th Street in the Mid-City area, where a planned road diet and bike lanes have been blocked as injuries and deaths mount.

CiclaValley looks at the numbers behind the proposed Griffith Park shuttle service, and says they don’t add up. Or even come close.

A Santa Monica advocacy group says the city talks a good game when it comes to promoting alternative transportation, but is hardly discouraging its own employees from driving when they receive free parking.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a $5,300 three-wheeled adaptive bike from a Burbank teenager with cerebral palsy.

Duarte develops a new Citywide Bicycle Master Plan and Safe Routes to Transit Master Plan to encourage more riding and promote bike and pedestrian safety. Evidently, the smaller the city, the more grandiose the title for their bike plan.

 

State

The head of the California State Transportation Agency — no, not Caltrans — says au contraire, the state is actually leading the nation in investments for bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Of course, as the nation’s most populous state, we should lead by default; the question is how do we stack up for spending as a percentage of population.

Some Cardiff residents are up in arms over a proposed bike and pedestrian trail that would run along a railroad track, claiming it would somehow cause irreparable harm to their community and the environment. Because evidently, bikes are so much more harmful than trains.

Menlo Park considers a bicycle boulevard connecting the east and west sides of the city.

San Francisco’s bikeshare program is expanding across the bay to Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville.

The CHP is looking for the heartless coward who fled the scene after left-crossing a Sonoma Valley bike rider; the victim, who was on his honeymoon, is reportedly making a “miraculous” recovery, despite suffering a broken neck.

 

National

Seventy percent of American mayors support more bike lanes at the expense of traffic lanes or parking. The problem is getting their auto-centric constituents to agree.

A Portland cyclist wins a nearly half-million dollar judgment against a car wash after he slipped on the wet, soapy pavement, fracturing his hip, when a car wash customer pulled out and blocked the bike lane he was riding in.

An Idaho bike lawyer makes the case for the Idaho stop law that allows bicyclists to treat stop signs as yields and red lights like stop signs, arguing that it has helped the state maintain one of the nation’s lowest bicycling fatality rates as a percentage of population.

Not surprisingly, it’s going to be days before DC’s bikeways are cleared following last weekend’s blizzard. And things aren’t looking any better in New York.

 

International

Good news from Argentina, as Italian rider Adriano Malori has awakened from a medically induced coma after hitting a pothole at nearly 40 mph in the Tour de San Luis.

A Toronto paper rides along with bike-borne food delivery people through the city’s frozen streets.

It’s a daily double for the Guardian, as the paper test rides the sub-$700 dream bike of the British Labour Party leader, and looks at how bicycling unexpectedly became cool in Tel Aviv.

Caught on video: A British driver gets two and a half years for deliberately swerving head-on at a cyclist from the other side of the road in a successful attempt to frighten him. Thanks to Jeffrey for the link.

 

Finally…

Nothing like getting a punch in the face when you agree to buy a bike. Forget riding with your dog; try riding with a couple goats on your back.

And driving while very distracted: A pantsless Detroit man was killed in a car crash while watching porn on his smartphone.

 

Morning Links: Notes from Neil Storm Stephany sentencing, and update on new Camp Pendleton bike policy

For anyone who downloaded the full PDF of PCH bike crash stats yesterday, please note that I inadvertently linked to an earlier draft of the report compiled by Ed Ryder; the link has now been corrected to provide full stats through the end of 2015.

My apologies for the mistake.

………

Our anonymous Orange County correspondent offers some belated, and very hard-hitting, notes from the recent Neil Storm Stephany case.

As you may recall, Stephany was sentenced to 15 years to life for the heroin-fueled 2014 hit-and-run death of cyclist Shaun Eagleson on PCH in Newport Beach.

The impact statements presented at Stephany’s sentencing were brutal. The Register didn’t (and couldn’t) print half the poignancy. At one point, Eagleson’s mom yelled “I hate you! I fucking hate you!” at the back of Stephany’s head, which he kept bowed for most of the proceedings. She told the judge that no matter how long the murderer’s sentence is, it will never be enough, and she will be at every parole hearing he ever has. She ended her statement with, “I am Shaun’s voice.” No mama should ever have to say that.

Sandra, Shaun’s widow, presented two statements. One detailed the inescapable darkness left by the absence of her husband, who was “my past, my present, my future, my forever.” Although she didn’t quite offer Stephany forgiveness, she wasn’t going to hold onto her hatred, because she recognized it eclipsed everything her husband loved about her. As she was writing her statement, “each word was killing the woman Shaun loved so much. With every ugly word I wrote, I was killing Shaun’s best friend.”

Her second statement was a letter to her unborn child, begging forgiveness: “Once again, I have failed you. Please forgive me. I have cried for you since the first time I lost you. Please find your father wherever he is and tell him I love him.” She described the rush to the hospital, and the denial that flooded her as she clung to her husband’s lifeless body: “Wake up. This isn’t real. We still have adventures to go on.”

GODDAMMIT WHO PUT ALL THESE ONIONS ON MY KEYBOARD WHERE THE HELL IS THAT KLEENEX.

Stephany wrote a letter of apology to the family, but it didn’t get him any reduction in sentence, although the judge did grant 450 days of credit for time served. When the defense argued that “some degree of mercy is a appropriate here,” tsk’s of incredulity arose from one side of the courtroom.

Judge Paer used the word “mind-boggling” several times while pronouncing sentence. He pointed out that Eagleson, like many others who use that stretch of PCH, was a vulnerable road user. The judge was mindful of the irony that such “an ugly event could occurring one of the most beautiful places in the county.” “Hopefully,” the judge said, “this case will send a message.” That message is: If you’re gonna engage any homicidal activity, make sure you use a motor vehicle, ’cause otherwise you’re goin’ away for a long time.

My jaw dropped when the judge said, “Believe it or not, I have to give Mr. Stephany a Watson advisement again.” He then recited the advisement, even though it didn’t do Mr. Stephany any good the first time. He also revoked Stephany’s current probation, since it’d expire long before Stephany could even start hoping for release.

(As a side note, one probation was for assault; the victim died of a heroin overdose a month after the assault, with his broken jaw still not fully healed.)

Stephany’s sister is an LA County Sheriff’s Deputy; their uncle is a homicide investigator for the OC Sheriff’s Department. Young Neil was a Boy Scout, First Class. He played team sports in high school, while also taking ROP classes in fire science & first aid. He earned his Professional Mariner’s certificate. Unfortunately, he fell in love with a girl whose family had moved from up north to get her away from unsavory characters who influenced her opiate addiction. It didn’t help; the contagion spread to Neil.

On the day Shaun was murdered, Neil had left his apartment knowing he was going into rehab. When his parents went to his apartment to retrieve his belongings, they found his bags already packed, with his Bible and a rosary his mom had given him for strength.

In December, a juror recognized Neil’s mom and approached her. They spoke; the juror said they think of the family a lot, and hoped that Neil would get help. How kind to get a hug from someone who had to convict your son of murder.

………………………………………………………………………………..

The Stephany case is going to stick with me. Such a small percentage of people, especially in Orange County, commute by bike. Of that tiny percentage, even fewer do so because they like to, rather than out of economic necessity. And out of that number, how many commute fixed? I might be the only one left.

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Camp Pendleton riders, don’t panic. Not yet, anyway.

There’s still a lot of confusion over upcoming changes in the access policy for bicyclists at the Marine base.

So Mike Wilkinson reached out to Joe A. Grabman, Assistant Services Officer with the base’s Provost Marshal’s Office, and got this response.

A final decision on the procedure for recreational bicyclists after 01 Feb 2016 has not been made.

Which is about as clear as the mud the base’s Marines have to crawl through after an El Niño rain storm.

Mike writes…

I was confused by Officer Grabman’s response, so I called and left a voicemail asking for clarification. He called back just a few minutes ago and told me this:

  • There will be a process or an accommodation that will allow recreational bicyclists who comply with certain requirements to ride through Camp Pendleton.
  • The exact form and requirements of that process or accommodation have not been determined yet. However, they are scheduled to be in place by March 1.
  • Until March 1, bicyclists will be able to ride through Camp Pendleton the same as they have been able to do recently. They will need to present a U.S. or state government issued identification card.

I wish that I had some exact quotes for you, but Officer Grabman talks very quickly. He told me he has been contacted by hundreds of people about this issue, so I guess he’s a busy guy.

Based what I have learned on my own, those who want to ride through the base should remember the usual advice: Your ID must be the original – no copies; comply with the traffic rules of the base, because as you wrote a couple of days ago, “…don’t mess with the Marines!;” the base closes from time-to-time, some times on short notice.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton says the proposed new Griffith Park plan is a step in the right direction, but questions why a currently car-free road has to be opened up so tourists can avoid a lousy 1/3 mile walk to see the Hollywood Sign.

CiclaValley talks Griffith Park with Larry Mantle, and get caught up in the LA River bike path closure.

A Streetsblog piece says the proposed anti-growth Neighborhood Integrity Initiative would ban the planning process, and throw a wrench into plans to reshape Los Angeles around transit and bikeable, walkable streets. Meanwhile, LA Curbed says the initiative would be dangerous for Los Angeles, and maintains the city’s addiction to parking.

Downtown’s new upscale residents are looking forward to bikeshare coming to DTLA.

It looks like the 41-year old Hermosa Cyclery will survive despite leasing their property to a developer; plans are announced to move into a new hotel to be built on the site.

 

State

San Francisco’s Streetsblog looks at the psychology of road rage, and asks if Bay Area drivers and cyclists can get along.

Former LA newsman Roger Rudick says bike advocates must never yield to regressive politics, despite the veto of San Francisco’s proposed Idaho stop law.

Caught on video: Where’s the best place to offload a truckload of new Mercedes for a San Francisco dealership? In the bike lane, of course. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.

A road raging Mill Valley driver gets a slap on the wrist for brake checking a cyclist who flipped off his horn-honking wife; he gets off with just two years probation and 80 hours of community service. Although someone please tell me what the hell difference the make of car he was driving makes.

Lake Tahoe will break ground on a three mile, $27 million separated bike path, which planners say promises to be one of the most spectacular bikeways in the US.

 

National

Here’s what happens if your bike has to live outside.

Despite its stated Vision Zero goals, New York proposes to rip out a vital bike lane and replace it with two-directional sharrows. Maybe they didn’t get the memo that sharrows don’t improve safety.

 

International

A sales slowdown at the UK’s leading bike dealer suggests the county’s bike boom may be ending.

Someone needs to tell Arnold they drive — and ride their bikes — on the other side of the street in Scotland. Thanks to cdp8 for the heads-up.

What to do when you call off your celebrity divorce? Go for a romantic bike ride through the streets of Paris, of course.

Sometimes a new wheel just isn’t enough. After American pro Tyler Farrar crashed into a ditch at 40 mph in Australia’s Tour Down Under, a fan loans him his bike. And his shoes.

 

Finally…

They already make bikes and helmets out of wood, so why not bike paths? Ride the next CicLAvia in style on your very own $25,000 gold seahorse fixie; thanks to Cyclelicious for the tip.

And if you’re riding a stolen $5,000 bike, remember to leave your drugs and paraphernalia at home.

 

Merry Christmas. And thank you.

Let me take just a moment to thank everyone who contributed to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive over the last month.

Thanks to your support, what had started as joke became a real thing. And what had looked like a bleak holiday season became much brighter.

And for that, I couldn’t be more grateful.

So please accept my most humble thanks, and my best wishes for a very merry Christmas. Or the happiest of holidays, whatever you may observe.

BikinginLA will be taking the next week off, as I plan to do a little work under the hood and make some long-delayed changes.

So unless there’s breaking news, we’ll see you bright and early next year.

We have a big January planned for you, with more people ready to describe their rides. And a first-ever contest to give away a new bicycle, courtesy of Hermosa Beach’s Beachbikes.net.

So enjoy the holidays.

Ride safe and ride happy.

And don’t forget Sunday’s Valley Finish the Ride.

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Special thanks to David Aretsky for contributing to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive.

FTR_HH_email11-22-2015

A brief expression of gratitude, on a day for giving thanks

Fund-Drive-With-Type-2Let me take a moment, on this day set aside for giving thanks, to express my deep gratitude for those who make this site possible.

Especially our sponsors, bike attorneys Jim Pocrass of Pocrass & De Los Reyes, and Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney Josh Cohen.

And to everyone who has contributed out of their own pockets, far too many to thank here individually; your generosity means more to me than I can ever express.

I am grateful, too, for everyone who has contributed a guest post, forwarded a link or commented on here, for helping to keep the conversation going.

But most of all, I am thankful for the readers of this site. Without you, these would just be meaningless words lost in the ether of cyberspace.

It’s your readership that keeps this site going.

Thank you.

 

Move along, nothing to see here

After spending Thursday night with the LACBC at another successful Firefly Ball, I’m too exhausted to get today’s post online.

So lets take the day off. Go out and ride your bike, and come back tomorrow for an extra large Weekend Links.

Let’s call it a sick day

Lately the bike news that seems to be increasing at an exponential rate, while find myself fighting to focus despite a change in medications that has me working at half speed.

Sunday it all caught up with me.

So let’s hit the reset button, to steal a phrase from our former Secretary of State. I’m taking today off in order to get some rest, and try to function like a normal person again.

That means no new post today.

If you missed it, you can catch up with the weekend news, as well as Sunday’s tragedy in Cathedral Springs.

Get out there and ride your bike, and I’ll see you bright and early on Tuesday.

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