Archive for Morning Links

Weekend Links: Act now for complete streets and more bike funding; Metro releases bikeshare timetable

Calbike says your help is needed to secure funding for bikeways before the state legislature calls it quits for the year next Friday.

Your California Bicycle Coalition has two hugely important bills that will transform how California funds bikeway projects. Now we need your help to show that we have enormous grassroots support for world class #CompleteStreets policies and increased funding for bikeway networks. Here’s what these laws would do:

  1. Implement a Complete Streets policy for state funding: SBX 1-1 will require “new bicycle and pedestrian safety, access, and mobility improvements” in every state-funded road maintenance project. It calls for sidewalks and protected bike lanes or bike paths in transit-dense areas on most roads with a speed limit over 25 miles per hour. Thank you, Senator Jim Beall for proposing sensible complete streets policies.
  2. Increase dedicated funding for biking and walking: ABX 1-23 doubles the size of the Active Transportation Program (ATP) with a $125 million increase. The ATP is the sole source of state funding dedicated to biking, walking and Safe Routes to School projects. Last year, the ATP was underfunded by nearly $800 million—many shovel-ready walking, bicycling and safe school access projects were denied funding. This bill also includes an innovative grant program that will fund complete bikeway networks connecting every destination in communities like yours with unbroken webs of bike paths, protected bike lanes, and quiet bicycle boulevards. Thank you, Assemblymembers Eduardo Garcia, Autumn Burke, and David Chiu!

Contact your state Senator and Assemblymember now to let them know that you support implementing strong “complete streets” policies and increasing funding for biking and walking.

Streetsblog has more information on the second bill, which would double funding for the Active Transportation Program.

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Looks like Metro has a five-year plan for building out bikeshare in the LA area, starting with Downtown, then expanding to Pasadena, Central LA and University Park. If they stick to the schedule, it will reach Hollywood and WeHo in 2019-20, and most other areas the next year.

Meanwhile, Santa Monica Spoke is recruiting volunteers to do outreach and spread the word about Santa Monica’s new Breeze bikeshare system. They also invite you to become a founding member of LA County’s first bikeshare system.

And the debate goes on over whether helmets are needed for bikeshare bikes.

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I received the following email earlier this week from the author of a new book about ghost bikes.

I have finally finished a project that I have been working on the last few years that is near to my heart. I traveled the country photographing ghost bikes (white bikes places as memorials for cyclist fatalities) and have self published a book called: Don’t Forget Me; Ghost Bikes-A Photographic Memorial by Genea Barnes. I would appreciate if you took a few minutes to check it out and if you like it, share it with those you think might appreciate it. This project has taken a long time, and I really wanted to share the final product with all those that I have reached out to along the way.

The book is divided into 2 sections. The first, the journal of my travels while searching Ghost Bikes, including small photographs that document who the bike was for, and where it was located. The next section includes images that were created from the photographs that I took. The book is hard cover, 148 pages, and measures 10.25in x 10.25in x 0.75in (thick).

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Portugal’s Nelson Oliveira wins stage 13 of the Vuelta in a breakaway from the breakaway group, while American rider Larry Warbasse discusses what it’s like to suffer in a challenging mountain stage.

The editors of Australia’s Ella Cycling Tips respond to the comment by Oleg Tinkov, owner of the Tinkov Saxo team, that Chris Froome was riding like girl as he fought to rejoin the peloton despite a broken foot; they agree, but not the way he meant it.

Cycling News talks with cycling scion Taylor Phinney about his long road back from a devastating injury at last year’s nationals, and looks forward to the coming world championships in Richmond VA. He says the Americans will be on the offensive, while the US men’s and women’s teams were unveiled Friday.

No surprise here, as the Astana team has been booted from the anti-doping Movement for Credible Cycling after letting teammate Lars Boom compete with an un-credible cortisone level, not to mention the five Astana riders busted for doping. And it wasn’t just my imagination; four riders in the pro peloton have been taken out by race motorcycles this year.

The Guardian says cycling shouldn’t forget its rich history and tradition, despite a proposal to develop a “season-long narrative” to produce a single champion at the end of the year.

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Local

The Guardian offers a pretty good look at LA’s underground bike racing scene. If you can look past describing riding groups as “tribes” and “gangs.” Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.

Calling all planners. Councilmember Mike Bonin’s office is looking for a “seasoned” professional to join their staff as Senior Planner. After last night’s curry, I’m pretty seasoned myself.

CicLAvia introduces the people behind the scenes who bring you the world’s largest open streets event.

There’s a special place in hell for someone who’d steal a bike a Long Beach family who uses it as therapy for their two-year old autistic kid.

The LACBC’s monthly Sunday Funday Ride rolls through the parks of Long Beach this Sunday.

The Grand Opening of Metro’s first Bike Hub is scheduled for 10 am to noon on Monday, the 14th at the El Monte Metro Bus Station. Show up with your bike and get a free 30-day Metro Bike Hub Pass.

 

State

A Dana Point woman faces a second degree murder charge for killing a woman who was walking in a bike lane with her blind grandson, after knocking back at least a dozen drinks before she got behind the wheel.

This is what the air rescue of an injured cyclist looks like from the perspective of a Contra Costa County rescue team.

Modesto residents pitch in to replace a 75-year old man’s recumbent bike after it was stolen; the bike was the only form of transportation for him and his wife, both of whom are being treated for cancer.

An 11-year old Hollister boy killed in a collision five weeks ago was riding brakeless, though police aren’t sure if that was why he apparently rode out in front of a bus.

 

National

Someone’s assaulting cyclists in Portland to enforce their own vigilante rules about who should ride on a bike path, and how.

Protected bike lanes are coming to Provo UT.

Accidently start an Idaho wildfire while on a mountain bike poop break, and get a bill of up to $75,000 to put it out.

Two-thirds of the bike collisions in Sioux Falls SD involve people riding on the sidewalk.

Boston Magazine responds to that anti-bike screed in the Boston Globe earlier this week, while the local public radio station says bicycling remains a relatively safe way to get around the city, but could be made safer.

The NYPD’s 19th precinct cracks down on cyclists while virtually ignoring people in the big dangerous machines; they ticketed more cyclists in three hours than they did speeding drivers in seven months.

Evidently, they get right on it if you steal a bike from a B-list New York celeb, though.

A writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution complains about proposed bike lanes on Peachtree Street, saying it might increase the 1% who ride bikes to 2%.

 

International

The head of Canada’s Green Party can’t ride a bike. Personally, I’d rather see a politician who doesn’t ride a bike but supports bicycling than someone who can but doesn’t.

The Economist says there’s a worldwide shift under way from keeping cars moving to making it easier to walk, cycle and play on city streets.

In yet another piece from the Guardian, a former bike courier explains why he rode 150 miles to donate his bike the people in a French refugee camp.

A London bike safety campaign puts candidates for mayor on the spot, asking them to commit to a 10-point plan to Stop Killing Cyclists.

In China, if a driver hits someone, it pays for them to make sure their victim is dead. Even if that means backing up to run over them again. Thanks to Alan Thompson and Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

 

Finally…

Don’t drive drunk on an Iowa bike path at 4:30 in the morning. Don’t shoot your boss if he tells you not to ride your bike to your second floor office, and don’t beat your neighbor to death if he complains about how a boy is riding his bike.

And once again, Bikeyface nails it.

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Get out there and enjoy the great SoCal weather this weekend. But don’t forget that three day weekends mean more drunk and distracted drivers on the roads, especially with both UCLA and USC opening their football seasons at home on Saturday. So ride safely and defensively, wherever you ride. I want to see you back here next week.

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Barring any breaking news, BikinginLA will be off Monday for Labor Day. We’ll see you bright and early Tuesday morning.

 

Morning Links: The Mobility Plan battle isn’t over yet, new ARTCRANK website, and rear-end wrecks are most deadly

We may have won the battle, but the war is far from over.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton says the bikelash is spreading to some neighborhood councils, particularly in Silver Lake, which voted to reconsider its support for the new Mobility Plan 2035.

That same bikelash could also be reflected in the Silver Lake NC’s decision to hold a public meeting to discuss the Rowena Avenue road diet on Monday the 12th.

Rowena was the subject of a recent story in the LA Times, which showed it had significantly improved safety by cutting crashes over 50%. However, some people complained about increased congestion on the street and the surrounding neighborhood, even though average speeds were still equal to the posted speed limit or higher, depending on direction of travel.

That’s in addition to defending the Mobility Plan against motions by Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Curren Price to remove planned bikeways on Westwood Blvd and Central Avenue from the plan. Let alone anti-bike Gil Cedillo’s scorched-earth motion to remove his entire council district from it.

Apparently, he never got over not getting that shiny red Schwinn he wanted from Santa.

Newton says those motions will most likely rear their ugly heads in committee sometime next month. When they do, we’ll have to be prepared for all out war to save the Mobility Plan from piecemeal destruction.

Because if opponents see it’s possible to remove one street from the plan, we’ll end up having to defend nearly every street in it. And it will go from a unified, well-thought out network designed to improve safety and mobility for everyone, to the same fractured system of unconnected bike lanes and virtually unrideable routes we have now.

Clearly, the recent passage of the plan doesn’t mean the fight is over. We still face a lot of battles to defend it before any paint hits the street.

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Straight to Hell by Amy Jo

Straight to Hell by Amy Jo

I’ve long been a fan of the annual ARTCRANK poster exhibitions, offering local artists a chance to sell their limited edition bike-related designs to fellow fans of two-wheeled travel.

But if you missed the show, as I did the last few times it came around, you were out of luck.

But now they’ve — finally — developed a website, allowing you to order original bike art from the comfort of your own home or office, whenever the mood strikes.

As the press release says,

The new online store will be structured similar to ARTCRANK’s live shows, offering 30 different poster designs by 30 different artists in limited edition runs of — you guessed it — 30 prints, all priced at $45. Posters will be sold on the site for 30 days or until they sell out, whichever comes first.

The biggest difference is that, where ARTCRANK’s events feature local artists exclusively, the new online poster shop will feature artists from all over the U.S. and beyond. And of course, buying posters won’t require being physically present at one-night pop-up show.

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Evidently, rear-end collisions are more dangerous than we’ve been lead to believe.

Research from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety shows 45% of bicycling fatalities were hit from behind, while 22% were the result of side impacts at intersections.

The report adds that currently existing technology could be modified to enable car anti-collision systems to identify cyclists and help prevent wrecks with bike riders.

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Dutch rider Danny van Poppel took stage 12 of the Vuelta in a sprint finish.

Turns out Tour de France champ Chris Froome had a good reason for cracking in Wednesday’s stage, as he withdrew Thursday with a broken foot. And American Larry Warbasse isn’t just looking for a stage victory in the Vuelta, he’s looking for a riding contract for next year.

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Local

City Lab’s Sarah Goodyear says LA’s coming bikeshare program could end up being a leader by incorporating it into Metro’s transit system, as well as LA’s city bureaucracy.

The Hollywood Reporter reviews the documentary Bikes Vs Cars, which focuses in part on riding in LA.

The Spoke Bicycle Café located along the LA River bike path in Frogtown plans to add a full service restaurant, complete with coffee roaster and microbrewery. Go ahead and load up on coffee before you ride, but save the beer for the end.

Cynergy Cycles shares a favorite ride from Santa Monica to the Palos Verdes switchbacks.

A $10,000 donation from an anonymous donor has helped supply Glendale bike cops with twelve new police bikes.

 

State

Evidently, Santa Ana has never heard of a road diet, as the city approves an environmental impact statement for a roadway widening that will require the demolition of 37 residential and 15 commercial properties in order to install bike lanes and a third traffic lane in each direction.

An Encinitas man plans to walk a 10k this weekend, just nine months after he was critically injured in a bicycling collision.

A Fresno boy somehow jumped off his bike moments before it was crushed under a packed school bus.

Bicyclists offer their recommendations for the best bike rides in San Joaquin County.

A candidate for San Francisco supervisor says he supports bike lanes on Polk Street, despite consulting with the group suing to prevent them.

A San Francisco writer offers what he calls an honest guide to startup life in the city, which includes this misguided paragraph:

Those with a death wish cycle to work. It is easy to spot a cyclist. If you see a guy with one side of his jeans rolled up to the shin, he is a moron; if you see a guy on a bicycle, he is a cyclist.

 

National

The editorial editor of a Milwaukee paper says bike safety is a shared responsibility.

This could be a glimpse into LA’s future, as Minneapolis invests heavily in protected bikeways.

Bono says his chances of playing guitar again aren’t looking good following last year’s solo bike wreck in New York’s Central Park.

A Virginia bike rider receives a $300,000 jury award after colliding with a runner who turned around without warning on a shared path. I try to avoid similar situations by passing others with as much space as possible on shared paths, and always calling it out before I pass. Although if they’re wearing ear buds, chances are they won’t hear you anyway.

 

International

A British Columbia bike rider somehow survives a collision with a semi-truck when he grabs the truck’s brake line and holds on for dear life — literally.

The widow of a fallen cyclist calls for more dedicated bike lanes in London.

A writer gives a different perspective on what it’s like to be a female cyclist in London, saying the city is your oyster. Unless you’re allergic to shellfish, of course, or Vegan, in which case it’s your semi-firm tofu.

A British man thanks a recent fall from his bike for uncovering an aggressive malignant tumor that could have killed him.

A woman plans to ride solo across India to raise awareness for women’s safety; she’s raising funds on Indiegogo to pay for the trip.

 

Finally…

A news smartphone app not only reports any potholes you hit, it marks the offending pavement with paint to alert other riders. That new derailleur you’re lusting after is electric, so why not your sunglasses?

And there’s still a place for bike messengers in today’s e-world. As long as you’re willing to move to Jakarta.

 

Morning Links: Avoiding bike/car collisions, too much bike theft news, and new bike coffee shop in DTLA

Let’s see what you have to say.

I was forwarded a link to this website on how to avoid the 12 most common types of bicycle/vehicle accidents by one of the people who helped create it.

While it has some good advice, a few things jumped out at me. Like use of the term “accident,” for instance. And the stat saying 75% of collisions at controlled intersections are caused by bike riders going through stop signs.

Which sounds like the sort of victim blaming the CHP loves to indulge in. And makes me wonder just where they got their stats, since it’s not credited on the site.

But before I offer my opinion, I want to know what you think.

Just leave your thoughts in the comments below, and I’ll forward them to the person who sent it to me.

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Too much bike theft news today.

Bikes continue to disappear in DTLA, with six stolen in one recent week, including two from the Downtown library.

Santa Rosa police bust three bike rustlers with a bait bike.

After a Duluth boy’s bike was stolen off his porch, his mom tracks it down. And in the processes, uncovers a bicycle chop shop with 20 other stolen bikes.

A Dallas mom posts a hand-written notice saying some low-life made her seven-year old daughter cry by stealing her new bike.

A North Carolina writer offers advice on how not to get your bike stolen.

And it’s nice to have a big heart, and want to replace a kid’s stolen bike. But first, make sure you’re in the same town, and not another one with the same name 800 miles away.

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Chris Froome cracks following a crash on one of the toughest stages ever to grace a world tour, while Astana’s Mikel Landa takes the stage and Fabio Aru slips on the Vuelta leader’s jersey. And yet another rider is knocked out of the race by a collision with a motorbike.

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Local

Fascinating OpEd from a former New York traffic commissioner and engineer on LA’s new Mobility Plan, saying accessibility trumps mobility and increased congestion can be a good thing.

Flying Pigeon’s Rick Risemberg says the tide appears to be turning against CD1 Councilmember “Roadkill” Gil Cedillo, who is up for re-election in 2017.

Streetsblog says the promised community outreach is lacking on some of the city’s Great Streets, while Cesar Chavez Ave in Boyle Heights appears to be a test case for Vision Zero.

KPCC looks at the UCSF study saying hospital admissions due to bicycling injuries more than doubled over a 15 year period. Here’s my thoughts, in case you missed it yesterday.

A new bike shop/vintage-inspired hangout/specialty coffee destination called The Wheelhouse will be opening soon on 6th Street in DTLA’s Arts District.

 

State

A coalition calls on the state legislature to provide $600 million a year in transit funding, as well as making it safer and easier to bike and walk to transit.

Sorry, Orange County. No 2024 Olympic bike races for you.

Nice. An annual OC Bike Camp teaches children with disabilities how to ride bikes.

A cyclist suffered minor injuries in a left cross collision in Newport Beach Wednesday morning.

A 47-year old cyclist was killed while riding salmon in Modesto Wednesday evening, the second bicycling fatality in the city this week.

A writer for the SF Chronicle says Critical Mass is dying of self-inflicted wounds, in the city where it started but may not be needed anymore. Than again, it wasn’t his song that was playing in the background during the U-lock car bashing.

Turns out you don’t have to risk your life on busy highways to do a wine tour by bike; you can tour wineries in the Russian River Valley on a 5-1/2 mile off-road pathway.

 

National

Maybe a car isn’t the best place to raise your kids after all.

MTV discovers the art of artistic cycling.

A Washington man faces vehicular homicide and hit-and-run charges after running down a cyclist as she rode on the shoulder of a highway.

Colorado’s DOT quickly shelves a tasteless, victim-blaming pedestrian safety campaign.

Taking a page from LA’s playbook, Cheyenne WY paints new bike lanes, but doesn’t bother to fix the cracks and potholes first.

A Montana writer comes across a tense confrontation after two men in a Jeep threaten a pair of cyclists.

A Chicago writer applauds bike riders for taking cars off the roads. She just doesn’t want bikes on them, either. Or bike lanes. And thinks cyclists should all pass a test and carry a license plate because she’s quite sure none ever stop for traffic signals.

Like the writer above, readers of New York’s Daily News seem convinced bike riders are the problem. Because it can’t be the people in the big dangerous machines that kill over 30,000 people a year in the US, right?

A New Jersey man faces up to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to vehicular homicide in the hit-and-run death of a bicyclist; he faces a murder charge in another case.

Newark NJ parents are peeved that police have suddenly begun enforcing the city’s bike registration law. The LA city council repealed a similar law several years back after police used it as a pretext to stop, search and ticket bike riders.

The Baltimore Orioles honor Cal Ripken, Jr. for his 2,131 consecutive game streak, a day after he pulled an endo while riding his bike.

 

International

Former Calgary Flames pro hockey player Cory Sarich is looking for work 14 months after a horrific collision with a truck while riding his bike.

British advocates question why safety improvements made to London trucks to protect bicyclists shouldn’t be applied everywhere else. Good question.

London’s bike seat-melting office tower has been named Britain’s worst building for 2015.

There’s a special place in hell for anyone who’d steal a bike rider’s lights and wallet while he lay unconscious in the street after crashing his bike.

Dubai is planning the world’s largest indoor bike park, with nearly 9,000 square feet of trails, obstacles and walls built from recycled materials.

 

Finally…

Your next taillight could flash multi-colors and call for help in an emergency. Cycling caps move from hipster fashion statement to haute couture on the catwalk. Full disclosure, I own three myself; I don’t know if that makes me a hipster or a fashion model.

And a new British e-bike appears to be a 20 mph cross between a recumbent and an egg.

 

Morning Links: New study says bike injuries increasing, but without context; comedian rants riding through LA

Another study attempts to paint bicycling as a dangerous activity, especially for riders over 45.

The study from UC San Francisco shows that bicycling injuries have nearly doubled over a 15-year period ending in 2013, which they acknowledge coincides with the boom in bicycling.

Looking at it another way, the rate of injuries per 100,000 people has increased 28%, with the biggest increase coming among riders over 45, which jumped to 42% of reported injuries.

On the other hand, the number of people riding bikes has increased dramatically, rising as much as 32% in LA in a recent three year period, and 174% in Minneapolis in just five years, according to stats from People for Bikes.

And much of that increase has come from people over 45, as bicycling has become the new golf, as the press loves to tell us.

So it’s only natural to expect that both the rate and number of bicycling injuries would go up. It’s just as likely that the injury rate among cyclists, rather than the general population, may have gone down or stayed the same.

More troubling is the news that the most serious types of injuries have increased. According to the study, the rate of hospitalization due to bicycling injuries more than doubled, while the proportion of head injuries increased 60% over that period, and torso injuries jumped 21%.

That would imply that more bike riders are getting hit by cars, perhaps due to more people riding in an urban environment, as the author of the study suggests.

Which means the solution is not urging greater caution among older riders, or frightening them off their bikes, but improving safety for all cyclists in our cities.

But until someone takes the extra step of placing bike injuries in context with solid ridership stats, studies like this are interesting, but ultimately, meaningless.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

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This one’s worth checking out, as a bike riding comedian Mario Joyner captures his rants on GoPro while riding the streets of LA.

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Aussie rider Michael Rogers will get the Olympic bronze medal he didn’t win in Athens in 2004, after gold medalist Tyler Hamilton was stripped of his medal for doping three years ago.

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Local

Who says LA wasn’t a bike city? As this photo shows, they were the perfect way to get to a 1940s cowboy matinee. Looks like bike corrals are nothing new, either.

Bike SGV wants your support to help turn the massive Puente Hills landfill into LA County’s first bike park.

Examined Spoke questions why Milt Olin’s death has never been reported to California’s official SWITRS database. Why, indeed?

Vancouver’s Modacity will present Observations from an Emerging Bicycle Culture in Santa Monica and Echo Park next month.

 

State

The mayors of seven California cities, including LA and Lon Beach, call on the state to act now to fix our crumbling roads and bridges, including the need for comprehensive bike networks. Let’s not forget bad roads pose a greater risk to the safety of bicyclists than they do to motorists.

To no one’s surprise, Coronado’s NIMBYs have succeeded in killing a proposed bike path along the beach. The way residents reacted, you would have thought someone had suggested rerouting the 5 Freeway through their bucolic burgh.

Maybe bike collisions wouldn’t be rising so fast in Hanford if police would stop blaming the victims and focus on the people in the big, dangerous machines.

The LA Times provides more details on the San Francisco U-lock attack, in which a salmon cyclist breaking the rules of Critical Mass whacked a car with his lock after the driver bumped his bike.

A writer for the Sacramento Bee says a beautiful network of bike lanes will mean nothing if people are afraid to park their bikes out of fear of bike thieves. She’s right; LA’s efforts to encourage more people to ride instead of driving will be doomed if their bikes are gone when it’s time to ride back home.

 

National

Bicycling’s Joe Lindsey says our bike-riding president has done a lot to aid bicycling, but your voice is needed to ensure further progress. Meanwhile, the Feds tell risk averse traffic engineers to get off their ass and stop using them as an excuse.

Sarah Goodyear explains why we call crashes “accidents” and why we need to stop, while bike lawyer Bob Mionske explains what to do if you’re in one.

People for Bikes says protected bike lanes are seven times more likely to encourage people to ride.

Now that’s more like it. A Portland man apologizes for an ill-advised tweet, and says he doesn’t really believe anyone should run over people on bikes.

The cast of Breaking Away will reunite at Interbike in Las Vegas this month, including Dennis Christopher, Jackie Earle Haley, Paul Dooley and Dennis Quaid. If they can get Robyn Douglass to show up, I’m in.

In Houston, cycling concierges will deliver virtually anything you want directly to your door.

This is so wrong in so many ways. A Boston writer, who has evidently never met a bike rider, says bikes don’t belong on urban roads. Note to Jeff Jacoby: Like most bicyclists, I have a drivers license. And we pay the same taxes you do.

A New York bike website talks with the man riding a bikeshare bike from NYC to LA.

Washington DC will teach all second grade students how to ride a bike, which used to be standard practice for schools around the country. Growing up in Colorado, every kid received bike education in elementary school, ensuring that they all grew up knowing the rules of the road.

A South Carolina website gets it, saying motorists must respect the right of bicyclists to use the road on equal terms, but bike riders should assume most drivers don’t know that.

Alabama’s Tuskegee University has partnered with a local bank to give students a free bikeshare program.

A Birmingham AL grand jury will be convened to investigate the death of a prominent African American businessman killed when the driver of a pickup plowed into three riders with the Black People Run Bike and Swim group; the other two were airlifted to a local hospital. Traffic crimes don’t normally go to a grand jury; so the question is whether the DA is just covering his ass, or if there’s something they’re not telling us.

 

International

A British soccer player is banned from driving and gets a year of community service for DUI after plowing into three cyclists who stopped on the sidewalk to fix a broken chain. Yes, they were on the sidewalk when he hit them.

Famed Italian automotive designer Pininfarina has teamed with DeRosa to produce a lightweight, low-drag carbon racing bike.

Denmark will send its first astronaut into space today. To test bike parts, of course.

Syrian refugees are exploiting a legal loophole by bicycling across the border between Russia and Norway, which bans crossings by foot or car.

A South African website offers a photo essay on bicycling in Eritrea.

New Zealand is considering requiring a 1.5 meter passing distance for bicycles, the equivalent of nearly five feet.

 

Finally…

Now that’s a different looking bike, although it doesn’t look like something an Imperial storm trooper would ride. Your next water bottle could be a bike light; then again, your next foldie could be, too.

And you know you suck as a driver when even a car enthusiast website says you should lose your license for doing a massive burnout after an argument with a cyclist.

 

Morning Links: LA signs off on new pilot bikeshare system for DTLA, and a wild weekend at the Vuelta

It’s official.

Bikeshare is coming to Downtown LA.

A pilot project consisting of 1090 bikes and 65 docking stations is projected to open next year, in a partnership between Metro and LADOT.

Metro is picking up the $5.8 million tab for the bikes and docking stations through a pair of grants, while the estimated $5.2 million in operating costs for the first two years will be split 35%/65% between Metro and the city.

Metro retains the naming rights for the system, while LA will have advertising rights for the docking stations.

The system will be operated by Bicycle Transit Systems, Inc. (BTS) and partner BCycle, chosen in part for a promised ability to incorporate payment through Metro’s Tap Card system. However, the system will likely be incompatible with Santa Monica’s new Breeze bikeshare, and the coming systems in West Hollywood, Long Beach, Beverly Hills and UCLA.

It’s hoped the program will eventually expand to other areas, such as Hollywood, Mid-City, North Hollywood and Venice.

Maybe that will force the city to build out the newly passed Mobility Plan in those areas to give users a safe place to ride.

………

The Vuelta a España lived up to its wild reputation on Saturday.

The Euro Sport website bizarrely accused Peter Sagan of sulking and having a meltdown worthy of the Hulk after he was knocked down by a race moto just 10 km from a possible stage victory, and forced to withdraw due to his injuries just a day later. Under those circumstance, even Gandhi would be pretty pissed off.

Meanwhile, Belgium rider Kris Boeckmans is in a medically induced coma after a multi-rider pileup that began when he hit a pothole; he suffered severe facial trauma, as well as a concussion, broken ribs and bleeding in one of his lungs.

American Teejay van Garderen’s hard-luck year continued, as he was knocked out of the race with a broken shoulder in the same wreck; two other riders were forced to withdraw, as well. The injury will keep van Garderen out of next month’s world championships in Richmond VA.

Trek rider Jasper Stuyven won the day on Saturday, despite finishing with a broken wrist, while Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin came back to beat Chris Froome at the wire in Sunday’s stage to regain the winner’s jersey.

………

In other racing news, Britain’s Lizzie Armistead wins in Belgium to successfully defend her title in the Women’s World Cup; her victory wasn’t determined until the last lap of the year’s last race.

An Alaska woman set a new record in the grueling 2,745 Tour Divide, as she beat the previous women’s record by two days. Despite riding with bronchitis. And despite it being just her second long-distance race. And despite riding 2,100 miles from Anchorage to Banff before she even got to the starting line. Then she did it again two months later, beating her own record by another day and a half.

Twenty years after the county’s mass genocide, a team from Rwanda will be competing in the world championships in Richmond.

And a pair of university professors say maybe it’s time to legalize safe doping in professional sports, since cheating is going to happen anyway. Although a new study from a Spanish University suggests you should be doping at your local Starbucks.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman suggests the first step in LA’s Vision Zero should be to stop cops and parking enforcement officers from parking in bike lanes.

A man was stopped by Santa Monica police while riding one bike and pulling another behind him; he claimed he had bought the second bike, which doesn’t explain a backpack full of burglary tools and stolen documents.

Mind your bike Ps and Qs in El Monte on Monday, as the police plan a crackdown on traffic violations by motorists, pedestrians and cyclists to improve bike/ped safety.

As we mentioned last week, Ryan Seacrest is one of us now.

 

State

Southern California Bicyclist profiles Calbike board member and bike blogger Janet Lafleur.

Another group of San Diego bike riders were harassed while riding on sharrows, just days after police there ignored harassment of a group of shadow-riding cyclists, and hit-and-run that followed.

Coronado’s council will reconsider a study to determine if the town should build a bike path along the beach in the face of vocal NIMBY opposition. Meanwhile, a local paper shows other SoCal city’s have built bike paths on the beach without the world coming to an end.

A Palm Springs man gets 15 years behind bars after pleading guilty to the drunken hit-and-run death of cyclist Edward James Shaieb when prosecutors agreed to drop a felony murder charge. It was the second offense for Brandon Royce Melton, who had gotten off with just three years probation for driving with a BAC nearly twice the legal limit in 2007. More evidence that lenient sentences for DUI only serve to keep dangerous drivers on the road until they kill someone.

Cathedral City wants to speed up construction of their segment of the CV Link, a proposed 50-mile bikeway looping through the Coachella Valley.

A Bakersfield writer faces the moral dilemma of whether to give away his only spare tube to a stranded rider.

San Luis Obispo honors a 70-year old bike advocate by naming a bikeway after him.

This gives a whole new meaning to hybrid bike, as Clovis police are looking for anyone crazy enough to steal a rusted, homemade bicycle-rotating mower.

A San Francisco woman completes a solo, 80-day journey across the US on an e-bike powered by a 10-pound solar panel.

Robin Williams was a frequent visitor of Marin County bike shops; now his heirs are fighting over his collection of high-end bicycles. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

The Jensie is hosting his own Gran Fondo in Marin County this October. Which will give people up there one more thing to complain about, in addition to objecting to tourists on bikes.

 

National

People for Bikes suggests what better Census data on bicycling could look like.

Bicycling offers advice on bike riding etiquette for shared pathways.

A new study tells us what we already knew. Drivers respond better to signs saying “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” than “Share the Road.”

A Portland cop borrows a bike to chase down a hit-and-run suspect who crashed into the Thai restaurant where the officer had just finished eating.

Des Moines IA risks falling behind as other cities become more bike friendly, such as the nearby suburb of Johnson, which just opened the state’s first protected bike lane. Meanwhile, the Des Moines paper bemoans the lack of bike helmet laws in the state, mistakenly equating them with seatbelts.

Amtrak finally allows cyclists to roll their bikes onto the train. But only as a demonstration project on the Chicago to DC line. And with a $25 ticket surcharge.

A hero cyclist visiting from Argentina puts out a burning car and rescues the driver after it went off the road in Maine’s Acadia National Park.

A New York man is going to owe a huge late fee after checking out one of New York’s bikeshare bikes and riding to Los Angeles; he’s already been gone three and a half weeks, which is just a tad over the usual 45 minute limit.

Bicyclists aren’t even safe from hit-and-run drivers when they’re not on the road. A New Jersey rider was hit by a car when he stopped to fix his bike on a grassy median.

In a rare victory for common sense, a Charleston newspaper says rather than fighting over a bike lane on a local bridge, just try it out and see if it works.

Tampa Bay police have cut back on ticketing cyclists for biking while black.

 

International

It takes major chutzpah to strip a locked bike down to its frame right outside the local office of the Royal Canadian Mounties, who didn’t bother to get their man in this case.

Two British brothers will spend the next few years behind bars after headbutting a bike rider and beating him senseless with a crowbar over a long-standing grudge.

Bike cam-using Brit cyclists are accused of self-righteously goading drivers into misbehaving so they can post the video online. Sort of like the case of a road raging Scottish driver who became a victim of instant karma by rear-ending the car ahead after an argument with a cyclist.

Two of the eleven people killed the recent UK air show disaster when a fighter jet crashed into a highway were just out for a Saturday bike ride.

Maybe it’s time to take a tour through the wine country. Like in France’s Loire Valley. Or Australia’s Barossa and Eden Valleys.

An Aussie website offers advice on selling bikes to women.

 

Finally…

Cycling Weekly lists the five best bicycle songs, before concluding that there really aren’t any decent ones. LA cyclists only have to worry about angry drivers; Denver bike riders have to contend with angry bears.

And you, too, can have an ultra lightweight limited edition bike with 24-karat detailing if you have a spare $27,773 lying around.

 

Morning Links: Honked at for riding sharrows, Vision Zero lost in Mobility Plan fallout, and upcoming bike events

Digital Slurry offers video evidence of what we already know.

Many drivers just don’t get sharrows.

And don’t have a lot of patience when they find a bike riding legally in front of them, regardless of whether there’s a picture of a bike with an oversized pointy hat painted on the street.

His bike cam video was shot while riding in Venice. But anyone who has ridden on sharrows in Hollywood, or most anywhere else in LA, has probably had the same experience.

Meanwhile, On My Bike LA offers a video response to Bruce Feldman’s Op-ed in the LA Times complaining about the Mobility Plan.

………

The big news this week was the announcement of LA’s Vision Zero to eliminate traffic fatalities in just the next 10 years.

Or at least, it should have been.

*crickets*

Instead, everyone still seems to be shocked! shocked! that LA would possibly consider removing traffic lanes in order to improve mobility. Let alone safety.

At least the LA Times has remained rational, turning the new Mobility Plan into a very cool interactive map that allows you explore the road changes proposed as part of the plan.

The Los Feliz Ledger, on the other hand, says everyone was taken by surprise by the passage of the plan, even though it had a four year public process — even longer of you count the 2010 bike plan, which was incorporated into it — along with a dedicated website and 20 public meetings.

Then again, 91.4% of Angelenos couldn’t even be bothered to vote in the last election, never mind actually get involved in a process that will shape our streets and city for the next 20 years.

Seriously, if you don’t get involved with your own local government, who’s fault is that?

………

Time to catch up on upcoming bike events.

Metro is offering more free bike safety classes throughout the LA region this weekend.

Join the Eastside Bike Club to walk or bike this Saturday to trace the footsteps of LA’s first settlers.

A memorial ride will be held in Huntington Beach this Saturday to remember fallen cyclist and hit-and-run victim Michael Vega.

Bike riders are invited to join the Inland Empire Biking Alliance and Caltrans to ride the Santa Ana River Trail on Saturday to show the need to finish the trail.

Bike SGV is hosting the last bike train of the summer this Sunday starting at Santa Fe Dam.

The LACBC’s September Sunday Funday Ride rolls through Long Beach, with a 25-mile guided tour of parks, lagoons and universities.

Metro’s new El Monte Bike Hub — the first of what will hopefully be many throughout the region — has its grand opening on September 14th.

Pedal for Parkinson’s will raise funds to support Parkinson’s research in Solano Beach on September 27th.

Bike SGV is hosting a family friendly ride back to the 1920s in El Monte on October 3rd.

………

Johan Esteban Chaves took his second stage of the Vuelta on Thursday to move back into the leader’s jersey. After getting booted from the race for hanging onto a team car to rejoin the peloton, Vincenzo Nibali is barred from racing anywhere else until the Vuelta is over.

Meanwhile, Peter Sagan is taking aim at next month’s worlds in Richmond, Virginia once he’s done with the Vuelta, where every stage seems to have his name on it.

Domestic cycling teams complain about the strong-arm tactics of the WorldTour teams at the recent USA Pro Challenge.

And here’s someone to keep an eye on, as a Del Mar track cyclist wins four silver medals at the USA Cycling Elite and Junior Track National Championships.

Especially since she’s just a nine-year old fourth grader.

………

Local

A Santa Barbara podcast discusses itineraries for touring Los Angeles car-free by foot, bike and public transportation.

The LA Weekly looks at the Spoke Café along the LA River bike path in Frogtown, and its owners’ struggles to get city permits to sell their own food and beer.

 

State

Calbike offers their monthly update, including news that they have a fleet of shaft-drive bikes to sell, along with the company that made them. Anyone want to start a Kickstarter so I can buy a bike company? Didn’t think so.

Santa Ana is opening three Bike Huts to provide secure bicycle parking safe from thieves and the elements.

The San Diego Free Press says the region’s transportation plan is stuck in reverse.

In the wake of the San Diego “bike mob” that chased down an angry hit-and-run driver, BikeSD explains what sharrows are, and how to deal with a road raging driver. And no, shooting them in self defense is not an option.

Coronado’s apoplectic NIMBY attack on a proposed beach bike path goes on… and on. Seriously, people, it’s just a bike path.

UC Santa Barbara had to pay out of their own pockets through student fees to build a bike roundabout to improve a dangerous intersection.

No bias here. After a San Francisco bike rider suffers a life-threatening head injury in a right hook, a local TV station says he tried to overtake the car on the right.

Now this I want to see. Folsom, home to the prison made famous by Johnny Cash, is planning eight public art works honoring the legendary Man in Black along the bike path named for him.

An Auburn driver gets four years for the death of a bike rider while under the influence of Vicodin; he pled no contest after the original charge of murder was taken off the table.

 

National

Huffy recalls some of their bicycle shaped objects that have front disc brakes to replace the quick release.

Never a good idea to steal a bike from a gang called Satan Disciples; the theft by another gang led to the fatal shooting of a 17-year old in Chicago.

A Minnesota bike rider says it’s okay to go through a red light, even though it is illegal, if you scan the intersection for safety and go slowly if the way is clear.

Evidently, they take hit-and-run seriously in Michigan; a driver faces up to 15 years for failing to stop, after killing a nurse who was riding across the state as part of a group ride.

Ford says they want to be known as a mobility company, not a car maker, as they unveil their new e-bike in Louisville KY.

After the bike a 10-year old Connecticut girl got for her 10th birthday was stolen, the police dispatchers who took the call pitch in to replace it.

A bike riding writer for New York Magazine says the solution to the city’s rude, spandex-clad cyclists is to build more protected bike lanes.

Caught on video: A Philadelphia mom riding with her kids on a cargo bike is verbally harassed by a driver for going around a pickup parked in the bike lane. If the jerk was so concerned about her kids, maybe he shouldn’t have taught them so many four-letter words.

Removing a traffic lane from a Charleston bridge to make room for bike lanes could actually result in less delay, while allowing the bridge to function at acceptable levels for decades.

If New Orleans can become bike friendly, so can Shreveport.

 

International

Buenos Aires is banning most motor vehicle traffic from 100 blocks of the city’s downtown area.

A Canadian advocate explains why bike helmet laws don’t work.

Ontario drivers will now face fines of at least $490 for distracted driving, and $365 for dooring a bike rider, although cyclists will be fined $110 for riding without lights.

An Ottawa university professor files a $1 million lawsuit after being doored by someone in a car owned by the Japanese Embassy.

British bicyclists are being taken down by potholes and crumbling roads. Sort of like what LA bike riders deal with on a regular basis.

London’s Evening Standard looks at tech solutions to bike theft.

A Canadian writer takes a death-defying two-wheeled tour of Copenhagen while on a business trip,

 

Finally…

Wait. You mean that picture of a bike rider with an oversized pointy hat actually means something? Your could soon lock your bike to a rack made from a forest of flexible poles that won’t chip your paint, as long as you’re okay with having it stolen.

And if you really want to confuse one of Google’s self-driving cars, do a track stand. And if you want to confuse a writer for the Washington Post, point out that people on bikes with gears can do them. too. Thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

 

Morning Links: San Diego police blame bike mob; unconfirmed report of bicycling fatality on PCH in Malibu

No bias here.

Not from the press. And certainly not from the San Diego Police Department.

According to San Diego’s ABC 10 News, a female driver called 911 to report a “mob” of nine or ten bicyclists had chased her down and smashed her car window.

It must have seemed frightening to the people huddled at home watching the broadcast.

But the real story is hidden in the details.

The bike riders were using the sharrows in the city’s Normal Heights neighborhood when the driver came up behind them and began harassing them by honking nonstop, which is a violation of California law. Even though they were exactly where they were supposed to be.

She then broke the law again by passing too close, striking one of the bikes; fortunately, the rider was able to jump off just in time to avoid serious injury.

The riders then chased down the hit-and-run driver as she dragged the bike for several blocks, banging on her window in an attempt to get her attention and keep her from fleeing the scene.

Pedestrians and other motorists are often called heroes when they stop a fleeing driver under similar circumstances.

Instead, these riders were portrayed as a crazed mob, and threatened with prosecution on vandalism charges for punching and kicking the car.

So it’s okay for the driver to mangle a bike after running down the rider. But not for riders to break a window, apparently inadvertently, in an effort to make her stop.

Got it.

Police refused to even ticket, let alone arrest, the woman, despite obvious violations for

  1. harassing the cyclists
  2. breaking state law governing the use of a horn
  3. violating the three-foot passing law
  4. destruction of property
  5. failing to stop and exchange information following a collision

And yet somehow, she’s portrayed as the victim, with the people on bikes her attackers.

It’s sadly reminiscent of a case that marked the first stirrings of the bicycle rights movement here in Los Angeles.

Andres Tena was riding with a group of friends in the spring of 2009 when they were confronted by an impatient Hummer driver, who attempted to flee the scene after striking Tena’s bike and injuring him enough to require hospitalization. The other riders chased the driver down and blocked his way; in response, they were threatened with an unseen gun before the driver ran over their bikes in an effort to escape.

When police arrived, they somehow concluded that Tena had crashed into the side of the Hummer — which would have required backing into it at a high rate of speed, since he was thrown forward by the impact and suffered significant damage to the rear of his bike.

And that the driver was justified in attempting to flee, because he was frightened by all those scary bike riders, despite being safely ensconced within his multi-ton urban assault vehicle.

The cop on the scene took it a step further, saying if the cyclists had surrounded him like that, he would have done the same thing the Hummer driver did.

In fact, the only criminal prosecution that was even contemplated was a misdemeanor charge against a cyclist for “throwing his bike at the Hummer.”

Funny how some things never change.

It took years of sometimes difficult negotiations, but now LA’s bicycling community has a much better relationship with the LAPD than we did back in the dark days of just six short years ago.

But clearly, San Diego police haven’t gotten the memo.

And as this case clearly shows, they have a long way to go before cyclists can feel like they have the same support from law enforcement that drivers have come to expect, and are considered equal road users rather than two-wheeled pirates.

None of us are safe on the streets if we can’t count on the police to be there when we need them. And to do it fairly, without an obvious — and repugnant — windshield bias.

According to a tweet from BikeSD, they’re working with the San Diego Bicycle Coalition to arrange legal representation for the bike riders.

They may need it.

And sadly, the angry hit-and-run driver who started it all won’t.

………

The publisher of the Malibu Times mentioned Tuesday that a bike rider had been killed on PCH near Busch Drive, but didn’t have any details.

However, the report cannot be confirmed at this time.

There have been no other reports in the press, and repeated web searches have turned up empty. And there has been no response yet to a request for information from the CHP.

Meanwhile, he goes on to criticize cyclists for riding with inadequate lighting on their bikes. While he has a point, it is irresponsible to bring it up in response to the unconfirmed report of the bicycling fatality without knowing if a lack of lights had anything to do with it.

Or if it even happened.

It’s no better than if someone went off on a rant against speeding, texting drivers after hearing about a traffic collision without knowing if those were contributing factors in the wreck.

Yes, we should all ensure that we are visible to those we share the road with, especially after dark or in the late dusk or early morning hours when it can be most difficult to see.

But it’s wrong to imply, intentionally or not, that it may have had anything to do with a wreck that can’t even be confirmed.

………

I don’t even know what to think about this.

TMZ reports the DA’s office is unlikely to file charges against Caitlyn Jenner for a fatal collision on PCH last February, since they wouldn’t even file charges against the sheriff’s deputy who killed Milt Olin while using his onboard computer.

………

Just like anyone else, Alejandro Valverde used Google to plan his route to victory in stage four of the Vuelta.

And after the Feds drop fraud charges against the other disgraced former Tour de France champ, Floyd Landis — remember him? — still has to repay nearly half a million dollars to the 1,700 people who donated to his defense fund when he was still pretending he hadn’t doped.

………

Local

A Texas study says LA has the second worst traffic in the US, costing commuters 80 hours a year lost to traffic delays. To which bike commuters respond, “So?”.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks Vision Zero with LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds in the latest #DamienTalks podcast.

For those who read español, a nice profile of Carlos Morales and the Eastside Bike Club; Morales saved his own life by losing 250 pounds riding a bike, and now works to spread the gospel of bikes and health to others. For those who don’t, Google Translate offers a passable translation.

 

State

Congratulations to the newly announced Bicycle Friendly Businesses in Southern California, including Santa Monica ad agency Ruben Postaer and Assoc, Giant Santa Monica bike shop, and the San Diego Association of Governments.

San Diego police bust a bike-riding bank robber. Or maybe they just assume everyone on a bike is a criminal.

Apparently, not everyone in Coronado opposes a bike path along the beach. Nice to see a rational, non-NIMBY response for a change.

The El Cerrito Planning Commission approves an Active Transportation Plan, including bike boulevards, traffic calming on narrow streets and a bike route providing access to the Bay Trail surrounding the San Francisco Bay.

 

National

Bicycling offers tips on how to avoid helmet hair, as well as advice on meditating to get more out of bicycling. Meditation will also improve your health. And life. Trust me.

A Utah man is ordered to pay a whopping $8,000 restitution for intentionally running down a man on a bike over a property dispute. Twice.

Turns out that despite vocal opposition, 57% of Boulder CO residents support the right-sizing of a city street to make room for protected bike lanes; bike traffic is up 38% in just the first three weeks, while average vehicle speeds have dropped from 39 mph to 37 mph — in a 30 mph zone.

Colorado transportation officials plan to improve bicycle safety on a major street by turning it into a high speed virtual freeway and forcing bikes off it. Memo to Colorado DOT: The auto-centric ‘70s are over.

In a bizarre assault, a Boise man who was driving erratically shouted at a bike rider at an intersection, then made a U-turn, drove up on the sidewalk and punched the rider in the face before driving over his bicycle.

A Wisconsin driver faces charges for running over a bike and a child’s bicycle attachment following a dispute after passing a father and his two kids too closely; the driver claims the father threw his $2,000 bike in front of the truck’s wheels. Sure, that’s credible.

No bias here, either. Two people were killed and eleven injured in seven separate Chicago shootings, yet the headline only mentions the one involving a bike.

It’s bicycle back to school time. Indiana’s Purdue university opens its own bikeshare system, while the University of Florida is offering to rent students a bike, helmet and lock.

Pittsburgh’s transit system will open its third bike garage, which will hold up to 80 bikes on pneumatic, spring-loaded double-decker racks.

Over 800 Philadelphia bike riders are planning to participate in a PopeRide when the city’s downtown streets will be shut down for the papal visit.

A Staten Island website questions whether bikes, recreational or otherwise, should ply the island’s narrow colonial-era streets. Never mind that bikes are better suited for narrow streets than cars and SUVs, or that they could provide an alternative to heavy traffic.

The mayor of an Alabama town lost his bid for a fifth term two weeks after he was bopped in the head with a baseball bat for schtupping the wife of a bike riding attorney.

 

International

A Quebec cop is charged with killing a bike rider last September; he faces charges of reckless driving and criminal negligence, even though witnesses say he backed into the victim’s bike on purpose.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 90-year old British man still rides every day on the 1939 Triumph bicycle he got for his 14th birthday.

People get killed or injured by being passed too close, and some post video of those dangerous passes online. Evidently, a group of British filmmakers who posted a YouTube style parody online think that’s funny.

Caught on video: A Brit bike thief makes off with a bicycle in less than a minute after casually joking with the staff at a gym, where the owner had gone in to take a shower.

A writer from the UK says she belongs on the road as much as any man, and despite the harassment she faces, the freedom of bicycling more than makes up for it. All cyclists are subject to harassment, but the added sexual component woman face is one of the factors that helps keep bicycling a predominately male form of transportation.

The Smithsonian recommends touring Kaohsiung City, Taiwan by bike, calling it one of Asia’s best cycling cities, with a world-class bikeshare program.

 

Finally…

Painting eyes over a bike rack helps prevent thefts, although the thieves just seem to go somewhere else. If you’re going to “borrow” a bike to get to work, make sure it’s not a cop’s patrol bike first.

And a Baltimore writer finishes dead last on what the Smithsonian calls the world’s “most difficult feat in uphill cycling.” But he finished.

Then again, they probably never heard of LA’s own Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer.

 

Morning Links: More on Monday’s Vision Zero event, and a rider’s eye view of the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix

More on Monday’s Vision Zero announcement, as KNBC-4 says LA Mayor Eric Garcetti is determined to bring the city’s more than 200 yearly traffic fatalities down to zero.

Although LA Observed seems more interested in the desk Garcetti left behind after signing the order.

………

Somehow, this one flew under the radar earlier this summer, as David Wolfberg forwards a first-person riders-eye view of the last five laps of the Manhattan Grand Prix, courtesy of LA’s own former national crit champ Rahsaan Bahati.

It’s a shame Bahati never got a chance to show what he could do on the international stage.

………

Alejandro Valverde announces his presence at the Vuelta by winning stage four. A rider with the IAM team describes the carnage of the race.

American rider Joe Dombrowski considers the race a rite of passage, while fellow American Ben King learned you have to watch out for bike thieves everywhere, after spectators try to make off with his Garmin, and possibly his bike, after a minor crash.

This is what it was like to ride in the inaugural women’s USA Pro Challenge.

And as it stands now, the seven-event national cyclo-cross competition won’t get any closer to Southern California than Reno.

………

Local

If LA gets the ’24 Olympics, we could see mountain biking events in Griffith Park and road racing down Hollywood Blvd. That’s a big if, however; Paris is the odds-on favorite to win the Games.

An apparel website recommends taking your bike or walking through the Fashion District for the next several days, as MTV takes over for their annual Video Music Awards,

LA Metro’s planned bikeshare system will extend to USC next spring; not surprisingly, it will probably be incompatible with the Santa Monica/West Hollywood system that will open on the UCLA campus.

CiclaValley explains what’s involved in becoming a League Cycling Instructor from a first-hand perspective. You can attend a bike safety class this weekend in Culver City to learn the same skills the LCIs were taught to teach.

 

State

Coronado residents fear a simple bike path on the beach will somehow turn it into Venice, drawing hordes of tourists to destroy their pristine community. Sure, that could happen.

San Bernardino County approves plans to extend the Santa Ana River bike trail another 3.8 miles from San Bernardino to Redlands.

A Hanford couple out for a ride on their BMX bikes were struck from behind by a speeding hit-and-run driver; the man was thrown 176 feet by the force of the impact, while thankfully, the pregnant woman rider was not seriously hurt.

Forget a bike bell; sometimes even an air horn isn’t enough to get people to make room for a bike on a shared San Jose path.

A Berkley man gets one of his two stolen bikes back, in part thanks to registering it with BikeIndex. That’s the same free bike registration and bike theft reporting service you’ll find at the top of this page.

A driver in Shasta Lake does the right thing the wrong way, driving off after driving an 11-year old boy home, after she crashed into his bike. That’s still considered hit-and-run, though, since she didn’t exchange ID and insurance information.

 

National

Caught on video: A Portland driver was ticketed for careless driving and unsafe passing after a high-speed close pass that nearly took out another rider coming in the opposite direction.

The rich get richer. Portland considers approving plans for five new neighborhood greenways, aka bicycle boulevards, as well as improving six additional bike routes.

Seriously, what kind of city would approve a road diet to widen bike lanes like they did in Boulder CO, without anticipating that some people would be pissed off about it?

So wait. Did the bike collide with the car in Omaha, or did the car collide with the bike? Or did they collide with each other?

This is why you should always just ride away. After a Mississippi cyclist kicked a Jeep during a road rage dispute, the driver pulled out a gun and shot him; fortunately, the rider didn’t suffer life-threatening injuries. I should talk; I’ve gotten into it verbally with a-hole drivers more times than I care to admit.

If you’re planning to be in Rhode Island any time soon, five pretty nice sounding bike paths await you.

New York police are looking for a hit-and-run bike rider who left the scene after slamming into a toddler on a shared pathway.

City Lab says the threat by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and police chief — and former LA chief — Bill Bratton to tear out the hugely popular pedestrian plazas in Times Square shows a fundamental misunderstanding about the impact of public space. It’s also a ridiculous overreaction to a relatively minor problem — costumed characters and body-painted boobs — which calls the mayor’s judgment into question.

Atlanta’s rail system is installing bike repair kiosks at seven train stations.

 

International

Bicycling is the third most popular fitness activity worldwide, after walking and running. Evidently, sitting on your ass behind the wheel of a car is not considered a fitness activity.

A cool looking Kickstarter project promises to make your bike smarter, with directions, metrics, alarm, automatic headlight and text notifications. Another project promises you may never have to lube your chain again.

Caught on video: In a frightening assault, an angry pedestrian catches up to a bike rider and pushes her down in front of oncoming traffic; the jerk later turned himself in after police released the video.

A British couple get their stolen 76-year old Olympic style tandem back after they spotted it for sale on eBay.

Northern Ireland unveils a 25-year plan to turn the UK country into a cycling society.

NPR says riding a bike in India is a little different than in the US. Like fewer cows to bump into, and tune-ups cost a lot more.

Google plans to provide 1,000 internet-connected smart bikes to women in remote Indian villages.

The poor get poorer. Sydney, Australia is said to be decades behind other cities when it comes to providing for cyclists, even as the state roads minister moves to rip out a $5 million protected bike lane.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to use your bike as a getaway vehicle after burglarizing a few houses, don’t leave it in a driveway where someone could back over it. We only have to watch out for LA drivers cutting us off; a Minnesota bike rider t-boned a deer that violated his right-of-way.

And whatever you do, never repeatedly punch a teenage boy — or anyone else, for that matter — in a bike rage assault after colliding in the rain.

 

Morning Links: Caltrans may remove dangerous Topanga Cyn reflectors; Vision Zero becomes official LA policy

Maybe there really is a new attitude at Caltrans.

A few years ago, if the state transportation agency installed something that increased the risk for cyclists on any given roadway, chances are, it would fall on deaf ears no matter how much we complained.

But this time may be different.

Anthony emailed on Monday to warn about newly installed reflectors on one of the area’s most popular riding routes.

At some point in the last couple of weeks, Caltrans installed raised reflectors on the both shoulder lines of Topanga Canyon Boulevard (SR-27) between the PCH and the town of Topanga. This was apparently part of a “safety enhancement project” for the steep, twisty section of road between the town and the coast—but, of course, the only safety being enhanced seems to be that of drivers!

The raised reflectors protrude about an inch above the road surface, and create quite a jolt if you ride over them—especially if you ride over them unexpectedly. This could cause crashes for unsuspecting cyclists.

More pressing: Upon riding the section of road today in both directions, because of the dense placement of the reflectors (every 4-5 feet) I found myself unable to easily move back and forth between the traffic lane and the shoulder—something that I’d come to take for granted on TCB, as it allows for overtaking car traffic to pass safely. I ended up occupying the traffic lane exclusively, which lead to a number of angry motorists passing me unsafely.

I’m guessing that Caltrans didn’t even think about the fact that TCB is heavily used by cyclists. It’d be great to figure out a way to get them to replace the raised reflectors or remove them!

And this on a road where drivers already complain about cyclists taking the lane to anyone who’ll listen.

But almost before I could respond, he forwarded an email exchange with a representative from Caltrans,* who gave the following response when asked if the reflectors could be removed or replaced with something a little safer.

According to our operations and construction engineers, the raised pavement markers will likely be removed very soon.

After further questioning, the Caltrans rep explained a little more.

The installation wasn’t made by mistake.  Occasionally, Caltrans engineering standards have flexibility for users, in this case cyclists.

However, when I commented about the reflectors on Twitter yesterday, Caltrans District 7 was quick to respond that they may be removed, but nothing had been promised.

So let’s keep our fingers crossed that this one goes away soon.

*It’s the policy of this site not to name people included in email threads without their express permission, which was not requested in this case.

………

As expected, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed a new Vision Zero directive to reduce traffic deaths in the city by 20% in just two years, and eliminate traffic fatalities entirely by 2025.

What wasn’t expected is that it appears to have real teeth, requiring city agencies to work across departmental lines to study and fix streets where fatalities and injury collisions occur — something we’ve been calling for here since this site was founded over seven years ago.

The city’s Vision Zero website is already online.

And you can now add LA to the yes category.

………

Last week we featured an email from a rider who had passed out from heatstroke after running out of water on the San Gabriel River trail at the height of the recent heat wave.

Now Sam Kurutz forwards a photo of a sign thanking the person who came to her rescue.

Thanks to Sam Kurutz for the photo

Thanks to Sam Kurutz for the photo

Let that be a reminder to always carry enough water when you ride, especially with the temperatures predicted for the end of this week. And always check the forecast before you set out to avoid any surprises.

Thanks to Sam Kurutz for the photo.

………

Peter Sagan gets his first grand tour stage win of the year by capturing the third stage of the Vuelta in a mass sprint.

USA Pro Challenge champ Kristin Armstrong is letting the world know women’s cycling is the next big thing, although this could possibly be the last year for the race. Personally, I’d like to see the Pro Challenge merge with the Amgen Tour of California to create a truly epic two week race.

VeloNews looks at the best American rider not on a WorldTour team.

………

Local

Bikeshare may be coming to LA sooner than we thought, as WeHo’s planned network could have hubs at The Grove and Hollywood and Highland. Speaking of Vision Zero, better get bike lanes on Hollywood Blvd fast, before tourists try to navigate that dangerous street on two wheels.

Meanwhile, Global Green USA looks at the newly installed Santa Monica Breeze bikeshare system. Appropriate source, given the hue of the bikes.

Downtown News says LADOT’s DASH buses will soon be getting bike racks.

 

State

Even on a San Diego freeway, they find a way to blame a bike for a crash.

Police say a 72-year old Fresno driver was drunk when he fled the scene after allegedly killing a bike rider.

West Berkley residents tip police to the location of a bike thief who had fled earlier after police had tried to make an arrest.

Anonymous artists install cute little swing sets on San Francisco bike racks, but promise you can still lock your bike to them.

Support is growing in San Francisco for a Bike Yield Law, aka an Idaho Stop Law, which would allow people on bikes to treat stop signs as yields, although riders would still be required to observe the right-of-way.

Some schmuck has stolen the recumbent bike an elderly Modesto couple used for shopping and doctor visits; the bike was their only form of transportation.

The Marin paper says a new local bike park is a promise kept by county commissioners. And evidently, a place to get a few bumps and bruises.

 

National

The Feds say it’s time for state and local DOT’s to stop using them as an excuse for crappy infrastructure.

Bike Radar’s Angry Asian says the vocal warnings that are common courtesy among cyclists aren’t always understood or appreciated by non-riders, so use a bike bell. My take is just the opposite: A bell can only tell you a bike is present, or that an angel just got its wings. But a human voice can tell other path users where you are, where you’re going, suggest what they should do — politely or otherwise — and say please and thank you. Let’s see a damn bell do that.

A Seattle cyclist used his bike to block traffic and stood over an injured bike rider to protect her after she was hit by a car.

A 20-year old Colorado driver faces a long list of charges after killing a cyclist when he passed two vehicles on the wrong side of a double yellow line, around a blind curve, and with an open container of alcohol in his car. There’s a gofundme site to raise money for the victim’s family.

A writer in my hometown says we need to include all types of bike riders in the cycling community, even moms herding kids on bikes.

Un-effing-believable. An Austin DUI driver walks free after ending the productive life of a former firefighter. The driver was on Ambien when he plowed into the victim’s bike as he rode on the shoulder, but that information was kept from the jury due to an improper police search. Thanks to Steve Katz for the heads-up.

The fastest bike mechanic in Texas won’t be riding anytime soon after he’s the victim of a hit-and-run.

An Ohio hit-and-run driver appeared highly intoxicated when he was arrested after running down a cyclist from behind; he lied twice about who was behind wheel, and claimed he thought the car hit a deer. And to top it off, he was driving on a suspended license.

The Motor City will soon become the latest bikeshare city.

Un-effing-believable too. Vermont police investigators never examined the car a DUI driver — who just happens to be married to a cop — was operating when she killed a bike-riding dentist; they missed parts of his bike shoes still embedded inside the hood.

New York’s mayor wants bikeshare on Staten Island, stat. Meanwhile, the days for former Mayor Bloomberg and ex-DOT Director Janet Sadik-Khan are clearly over, as the city’s DOT is now leaving gaps in bike networks rather than confront local community boards.

That’s more like it. A distracted Maryland driver got five years for killing a bike-riding father while she was texting.

 

International

Some vehicular cyclists are complaining about Calgary’s new system of cycle tracks. Proving there are all sorts of cyclists, and one solution seldom works for everyone.

People constantly say you can’t ride to work in a suit — even fashion magazines that should know better. But the family of a Northern Irish bike advocate is going to ride around the county wearing suits in honor of their father, who always wore one when he rode to work.

The anti-bike Roads Minister in Australia’s New South Wales has set out to dismantle Sydney’s system of protected bike lanes, over the objections of the mayor.

Bangladesh authorities file charges against 10 men who tortured and murdered a 13-year old boy for allegedly stealing a bike — which his family denies — then posted the video online.

 

Finally…

Now that’s what I call a fat tire e-bike. When you’re riding with an illegal drug 40 times more potent than heroin, don’t run a stop sign. Or get hit by a car.

And caught on video: The long predicted apocalypse has begun with a uniquely Down Under twist, as an Aussie bicyclist rides through a field of zombie kangaroos.

 

Morning Links: Tragedy in Santa Clarita, LA announces Vision Zero, and too much racing news for one day

Sad news from Santa Clarita, as a man apparently rode his bike to commit suicide Sunday morning.

According to the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, the unidentified man jumped to his death off the bridge on White’s Canyon Road at Via Princessa in full view of several people. Deputies said an overturned bicycle behind the yellow sheriff’s tape belonged to the man who jumped.

As others have said before me, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

No matter how bad things may look today, it will change. Maybe not now, maybe not soon. But it will. That’s the way life goes.

Hopefully the good, in the end, will outweigh the bad.

And you are not alone.

There are people who care. If you need help, call. Or talk to someone you know. Not tomorrow, not next week.

Now.

I want to see you back here tomorrow. And many more tomorrows after that.

NOTE: I heard from a relative of the victim who complained that the line about the permanence of suicide was glib. It was not intended that way; I learned it from a psychiatrist who specialized in treating depression. And it has helped me get through some very bad days.

I didn’t say this last night in my rush to get this online, but my heart and prayers go out to the victim and all his family and loved ones. Regardless of how he died, he was one of us.

Update: The victim has been identified as 23-year old Phillip Michael Griffin; a search had been underway since he went missing on Wednesday. 

………

This is a big day in LA.

According to Los Angeles Walks, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will formally announce the city’s Vision Zero initiative to end traffic deaths in the City of Angels within the next 10 years. He’s set to make the announcement at the intersection of Cesar Chavez and St. Louis in Boyle Heights at 12:30 pm.

Of course, the question is whether the city is willing to make the tough choices that will require. As the recent controversies over Westwood Blvd, North Figueroa and the Glendale-Hyperion bridge make clear, many Angelenos — and a handful of elected representatives — still favor convenience over safety, and maintaining the automotive hegemony on our streets.

And are more than willing to twist that safety argument to preserve the status quo and keep our streets dangerous.

It will take strong leadership to make a dent in the number of deadly collisions in our city, let alone eliminate them in 10 years. And it can’t be done if we continue to carve out certain streets, neighborhoods or council districts.

We haven’t seen that yet from our city leaders. In fact, we haven’t heard from the mayor on any of those controversies, or any of the other streets where opposition to bikes has blocked much needed safety improvements.

Hopefully, that will change today.

In fact, it has to.

………

Way too much racing news today.

Taylor Wiles won the second stage of the women’s USA Pro Challenge; Kristen Armstrong ended up winning the short three-day tour by 29 seconds over Wiles on Sunday. Taylor Phinney’s mom — who was a pretty decent cyclist herself — is thrilled to see how Colorado has embraced women’s bike racing.

Saturday’s men’s stage was taken by Roman Kreuziger after a long breakaway, while BMC’s Rohan Dennis finished with the main pack to hold a 44 second lead. He held that lead to win the Pro Challenge, with teammate Brent Bookwalter taking second.

Earlier in the race, Dennis had chucked his panini at a rider who attacked when the peloton stopped to pee.

Across the Atlantic, BMC won the team time trial on the first day of the Vuelta a España; however, no individual times were recorded due to a dispute over the unsafe conditions of the sand-covered route. On the other hand, at least they didn’t have to outrace a tank.

After all the rumors about motor doping over the summer, Vincenzo Nibali did it old school, getting bounced from the race for holding onto a team car to catch up to the peloton after a crash. Astana teammate Paolo Tiralongo posts a nasty eye injury he suffered in that same crash. All of which supports Deadspin’s observation that the Vuelta is the best race of the season, calling it “as spectacular as a relatively tame sport gets.”

And for future reference, you might want to keep your eye on a 16-year old racer from San Diego’s Torrey Pines High School.

………

Sometimes, cyclists really are heroes.

On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Washington Post tells the story of professional cyclist Ken Bellau, who returned to his New Orleans home after competing in the Tour of French Guyana, hopped in a boat, and saved over 400 people from the flooding caused by the hurricane.

………

Local

South Pasadena neighbors team up to chase down a one-man bike theft crime wave; the thief had been busted three times for similar crimes in just the last 45 days.

Pasadena’s newly passed general plan calls for increased density in the urban core while encouraging people to walk, bike or ride transit.

 

State

A Laguna Beach website asks if it’s possible for hikers, mountain bikers and wilderness habitat to co-exist.

A Coronado letter writer says beaches and bicycles are not at match. A statement disproven daily at pretty much every beach, everywhere.

Those anti-bike Coronado people couldn’t have been happy on Sunday, as 3,400 cyclists rode around the bay, through the town and across the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in a fundraiser for the San Diego Bicycle Coalition.

A reminder from Santa Cruz that drivers are required to make a right turn from the farthest lane to right, which means merging into a bike lane rather than turning across it. But make sure to check for bikes first.

Deb Hubsmith’s hometown newspaper says the late founder of Safe Routes to School showed the impact one person can have in a short lifetime.

The Bay Area’s Bicicletas Por la Paz is a band, bicycle advocacy group, awareness collective and food kitchen rolled into one.

The Sacramento paper says it’s long past time to make safe, easy bicycling a priority.

A South Lake Tahoe cyclist is back home after riding through Iran to meet with school children to promote peace, although not everyone in this country welcomed his efforts. Or in that one, probably.

 

National

Now that’s more like it. A Reno man gets 20 years for the drunk driving death of a 16-year old bike rider; he was nearly twice the legal limit when he was arrested. Similar cases here seldom result in more than a couple years.

A Chicago writer rides Missouri’s 238-mile Katy Trail with her husband, even if their starting point was under water. Meanwhile, the Windy City has a shiny new three-mile elevated rail-to-trail conversion.

The Chicago man who was brutally beaten by five honor students was selling the bike to raise money for school; his attackers reportedly believed the bike was stolen.

Cleveland prepares to paint a buffered bike lane on a newly resurfaced street. And bizarrely puts the buffer next to the curb, instead of next to the traffic lane where it might actually do some good.

Sad news from Massachusetts, as a bike rider hit by a drunk driver in 1996 dies after 19 years in a coma; his family has forgiven the driver, but the DA has yet to determine if additional jail time is warranted as a result of the death.

President Obama and family ride their bikes through the drizzle on Martha’s Vineyard. Although judging by the photo, daughter Malia isn’t too happy about it.

A PA paper offers advice on how to teach someone to ride a bike safely. But despite what they say, might does not make right; drivers don’t have a superior right to the road because they’re in the larger vehicles.

If you really want your employees to ride to work, try offering a free bike valet like this New York company. But discourage them from stealing a bikeshare bike to commute with.

A Baltimore driver hits a cyclist while trying to pass on a curve, then gets out of his SUV and hits him some more. With his fists. Showing how non-seriously authorities take traffic violence, he’s out on just $25,000 bail.

 

International

A musician rides 1,800 miles across Canada to perform, while supporting a movement for clean air, food and water.

Bicycling looks at how Bogotá’s ciclovía changed the world. I’m not sure the new Mobility Plan would have passed without CicLAvia, which is based on the Bogotá event.

Better bike routes and more bicycling could solve the traffic problems in Manchester UK.

A British bike rider was lucky to get away with a broken wrist and hand injuries after someone sabotaged his bike by disconnecting his brakes; the local government councilor crashed into a lamp post after careening down a hill at 30 mph.

A private postal service in Edinburgh delivers the mail by bike for a third less than conventional services; not surprisingly, business is growing by booming 20% a month.

A Chinese tourist who was kidnapped by Taliban militants while bicycling through Pakistan over a year ago has been freed by Pakistani security forces.

 

Finally…

It may not be safe for Florida kids to bike to school, but at least they can pedal at their desks. A new smart helmet could help avoid wrecks. Too bad we can’t get drivers to wear it.

And while the driverless car is still in development, the riderless bike is here today.

 

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