Archive for Morning Links

Stolen bikes and the jerks who take them, 9-year old San Marcos BMX bike flipper, and South African bicycle hip hop

Today’s a holiday, in case you hadn’t noticed. Which is easy to do if you didn’t get it off. 

But my wife did, surprisingly enough.

So we’re going with sort of a Morning Links lite today, with most of the weekend’s bike news, so I can get a little sleep before she wakes me up too damned early in the morning; we’ll catch up on the rest tomorrow.

Today’s photo is what’s left of a bike after thieves stripped it, leaving its mangled carcass behind. 

………

Today’s common theme is stolen bikes and the jerks who take them.

A Santa Cruz man got his bike back three years after it was stolen, after deputies recovered it when the wanted criminal they were chasing abandoned the bike he was riding, and they were able to track down the real owner.

Oregon sheriff’s deputies bust a major schmuck who scammed people out of bikes they were trying to sell online — including a 12-year old boy. See hell, special place in.

Gotham’s ebike crime wave continues, as a 20-year old delivery rider was stabbed in both legs and robbed of his bicycle, cellphone, jacket, around 70 bucks and a pizza.

………

Online viewers are flipping over nine-year old San Marcos BMX rider Connor Stitt.

………

Introducing my new favorite South African hip hop video.

Seriously, who can top rhymes like this?

When I hop on the metal and push on the pedal, there’s a certain peace that I get that’s really good for my mental.

……….

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on. And on. 

A Willits CA woman intentionally ran over a man on a bike who she had been arguing with; she was arrested after fleeing the scene, along with her husband and son-in-law, who were booked as accessories after the fact for helping with her coverup.

The New York Post’s notoriously anti-bike columnist says car culture could be squashed and America covered with bike lanes if Michael Bloomberg gets elected president. But somehow seems to think that’s a bad thing.

Some jerk Down Under was apparently proud of himself for tossing a drink on a woman riding a bike from a passing car, posting the video online.

Sometimes, though, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

A bike-riding man dressed like an old-time railroad engineer injured two women on San Francisco’s Embarcadero in a pair of unrelated, seemingly random attacks.

The bike-riding serial groper in Davis CA is still on the loose after attacking a third woman.

………

Local

No bias here. A Pepperdine University professor, who should know better, repeats the unsupported myth that more people will die because emergency personnel can’t get through traffic, than will be saved by LA’s Vision Zero and Mobility Plan 2035. Never mind that no one has shown it has actually happened anywhere. Or that the mobility plan is about modernizing the city’s transportation plan, not reducing traffic deaths.

CicLAvia is returning to Glendale and Atwater Village this summer, with a short 3.5-mile route.

South Pasadena Councilmember and AQMD (Air Quality Management District) board member Michael Cacciotti gets it, fighting the battle for clean air by riding his bike and taking the bus everywhere.

A Brea motorcycle dealer is branching out into ped-assist ebikes and accessories.

 

State

Good for him. After a 14-year old Turlock special needs boy was beaten up and had his shoes and bike by group of boys, he responded by organizing a bike ride calling for an end to bullying.

Sacramento’s popular American River bike path finally reopens, three years after it was closed by a landslide.

Residents of Arcata are raising funds for a woman who suffered a serious spinal injury when she was struck by a driver while riding her bike; the crowdfunding page has raised nearly $29,000 of the $33,000 goal in four days.

 

National

A writer for HuffPo calls for better bike and pedestrian planning and infrastructure to make it safe for people of any age to walk and bike, to reduce the decline in children riding bikes.

A Honolulu writer calls for fixing a 750-foot gap in a pair of bike paths that makes it dangerous to ride a bike between two side-by-side neighborhoods.

A Portland family proves that yes, the entire family can ride their bikes to church every week. Maybe someday we’ll get to a point where that not surprising to anyone.

The Washington state senate voted overwhelmingly to approve a partial Idaho Stop Law, allowing bike riders to treat stops as yields, but not red lights as stop signs.

Thousands of Colorado residents ignored the snow on the ground, and took to their bikes for Winter Bike to Work Day.

J. Patrick Lynch calls our attention to a little automotive schadenfreude, as thousands of Colorado hockey fans demand refunds after major traffic jams forced them to miss large parts of an outdoor NHL match. Or are they really just mad LA’s Kings beat the hometown Avs?

An upstate New York town supervisor calls for a bike path leading to a new bridge after two deadly crashes. Yet somehow assumes most bicyclists don’t get that riding in traffic can be dangerous, despite being one himself.

New York is installing concrete barriers that beautify the city and protect bike riders at the same time.

After a New Jersey man suffered a major brain injury when he was hit by a drunk driver, and got tired of living on food stamps, he set out on a recumbent to ride across the country; he’s now on his sixth trip across the US in just over two years.

A Jacksonville, Florida sports writer takes part in the Champions Ride with a peloton made up of NASCAR drivers and crew members to promote traffic safety. And gets a hand to the finish line from ride founder Jimmie Johnson.

 

International

Shimano has come out with an updated electronic gear shift you can retrofit your bike with for a cool $2,300.

No bias here, either. A Toronto columnist says the city’s Vision Zero isn’t failing because drivers need more safety education, but rather, they break the law because they’re frustrated by gridlock caused by all those bike lanes and lower speed limits. Which doesn’t explain why drivers broke the law before all those things, though.

British foldie Gocycle is re-entering the American market, offering magnesium frame bikes starting at $2799, and carbon frames at nearly twice the price.

A writer for The Guardian takes a 600+ mile ride along bike trails through the Seine, Loire and Rhône valleys, experiencing a view of France inaccessible by cars.

An Indian man rode his bike nearly 375 miles to meet his favorite Bollywood star at an awards show, even though the actor may not even attend it; he also holds a certificate for riding his bike 24 miles in one hour — with no hands.

If you’re looking for Asian connections to get a leg up in your career, you could do worse than an early morning ride with Singapore’s Rapha Cycling Club.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews looks at the long road back for Olympic silver medalist Rigoberto Urán following his crash in last year’s Vuelta, which left hm with a broken collarbone, broken ribs, shattered scapula and a punctured lung.

Eighteen-year-old Turkish cyclist Azize Bekar is making the jump to a Belgian road cycling team, while aiming her sights on representing her country in Olympic mountain biking.

 

Finally…

Bikes are a great way to get to your train — but stop riding once you get on. Drinking in public and biking under the influence, but at least he wasn’t driving this time.

And the next time you think it’s too windy to ride a bike in LA, watch this.

 

 

Bike and civic giant George Wolfberg dies at 82, Mariah Kandise Banks prelim a bust, and anti-bike bias in CA Senate

Happy International Winter Bike to Work Day.

Oh, and Valentines Day, too. 

And sorry if I leave a tear or two on your screen today.

………

Giants are usually invisible.

You seldom notice them hiding among the rest of us, doing the same things we do.

Until one falls. And it’s felt all over the city.

Like my friend George Wolfberg, an invisible giant of the Los Angeles bicycling community.

And virtually every other community in the City of Angels.

It was just yesterday, flipping the pages of the LA Times, that I recognized Wolfberg’s face looking back at me from the obituary pages, and learned he’d passed away last week after an extended illness at the age of 82.

His death did not go unnoticed in Pacific Palisades, where he was a longtime resident, chair emeritus of the community council, and the former leader of the Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association.

I first met the longtime bicycle and community advocate nearly a dozen years ago, when he was fighting a battle to extend the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path to Malibu.

One he ultimately lost to a group of fellow advocates who preferred the danger of keeping bicyclists on deadly PCH to the optics of such an expensive bikeway project.

But George quickly got me involved in other projects, from joining the PCH Task Force to represent the needs on bike riders on the dangerous corridor, to connecting me with just the right people in the city and county governments to get finally piles of sand swept off the beachfront path months after a storm.

Which wouldn’t have happened without Wolfberg’s help.

Because George Wolfberg knew almost everyone at every level of the city, county and state governments. And even set up meetings with state Assembly Members and Senators to present my approach to halting hit-and-runs.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to convince them at the time that hit-and-run was that big a problem.

I wonder if they get it now.

For years, I could count on finding links to some bicycling story or another from the Wall Street Journal or New York Times popping up in my inbox on a regular basis, with the email address invariably leading back to him.

And he never missed contributing to this site’s holiday fundraiser every year; it breaks my heart to think this last one was, in fact, the last one.

But that’s the funny thing about giants.

They don’t always tell you they are one. Or why.

I’d known for some time that George Wolfberg was one of the first members of the Los Angeles Bicycle Advocacy Committee.

But it wasn’t until yesterday that I learned he’d also served on the LA County BAC. Or that there even was an LACBAC.

I was familiar with the late LA bike legend Alex Baum’s work to bring the ’84 Olympic Games to Los Angeles, and that he was instrumental in bringing women’s cycling to the Games for the first time.

But I never knew Wolfberg had worked hand-in-glove with him, writing the original proposal for the Games that forced the International Olympic Committee’s hand by including women’s cycling as a demonstration sport.

Or that he was instrumental in bringing the World Cup to Los Angeles in ’94. Let alone that he fought the horrific South African apartheid by working to get the city to divest from the racially divided county, later earning thanks from Nelson Mandela himself.

And worked just as hard for the residents of South LA, setting up a meals program for soccer playing kids who didn’t get enough to eat at home.

George never told me any of that. Or the countless other civic and athletic accomplishments on his resume that have made this city a better place for all of us.

Because that’s not what giants do.

I am poorer today, because I lost a friend and ally.

But more importantly, this city is poorer because it lost a true giant of a community leader. A man who did everything Los Angeles asked of him, then kept on doing more.

We will all miss George Wolfberg, even if most of us will never know it.

May his memory be a blessing for all of us.

Photo from Pacifica Palisades Community Council

………

Our anonymous courtroom correspondent attended yesterday’s hearing for Mariah Kandise Banks in the hit-and-run death of fallen bicyclist Frederick “Woon” Frazier, which turned out to be a prelim, rather than the actual trial.

But for no apparent reason, as it turned out.

Banks’ public defender couldn’t get herself extricated from another case that’s currently at trial (these things happen), so today’s preliminary hearing was delayed until March 17th, and I’ll be there.

A film crew from USC was there to cover the proceedings, which were brief. Bogart was there, Spencer was there. I met a budding activist, new to LA from Chicago, who had lost his fiancee of 8 years, and another activist fresh from Corvallis.

Nobody’s bike was stolen during the hearing, but Bogart et al were in the elevator (with Courtroom 38’s bailiff!) when it jammed, so their arrival was delayed for 20 minutes.

Woon’s mama was there and holding it together as best she could, which of course meant rivers of tears. She wore a t-shirt with a picture of young Woon and his bike, from which his face beamed. She repeated the words he said to her as he walked out the door for the last time, and I could just about hear them in his voice. Then her body heaved with sobs. So many arms were there to comfort her, but there’ll never be enough.

After Banks accepted the motion for continuance, the Assistant DA spoke to us in the hallway, providing a basic overview of the prosecution process and a chronology of expected future events. Woon’s mama indicated that she’s unlikely to actually be in the same room with Ms. Banks.

God damn. I wish I could suffer her pain for her.

………

No bias here.

Streetsblog reports that the Republican Vice-Chair of the California Senate Transportation Committee buys into the myth that bike lanes increase traffic emissions.

Bates has made it clear that she is hostile to taxing people to pay for transportation, and hates the idea of paying for transportation infrastructure that doesn’t involve cars. At the hearing, she said that active transportation projects–“translated as ‘road diets,’ which is the term used these days,” she said, further muddling the topic–contribute to higher emissions by causing “mounting congestion on some of the primary arterials.”

“I think [the Active Transportation Program] had more to do with moving people out of automobiles and onto bikes and things where you create less greenhouse gas and the emissions, but when you’ve got the other two lanes and people are sitting in their cars, running, you have the same problem,” she said.

The transportation site’s Melany Curry had this to say in response.

And a lot more.

This actual data is in sharp contrast with the kind of fearmongering promulgated by groups like Keep L.A. Moving and Keep Pasadena Moving, whose anti-bike advocacy has prevented safety measures in those cities, and resulted in the removal of a road diet in Playa Del Rey before data could even be collected. Those fears are also fed by awful click-bait headlines like the one on the recent story in the S.F. Chronicle blaming bike lanesvery wrongly — for congestion on the Richmond San Rafael Bridge.

Sure, it’s possible for a poorly designed road diet to increase congestion. But that’s not what happens, for the most part. And Senator Bates’ repeating the idea that they do is unhelpful, at best.

And blaming bike lanes for vehicle emissions is just gaslighting. Senator Bates is not alone in doing this, and she needs to stop. And she also needs to stop pushing that as a reason for the state to stop funding active transportation projects.

Seriously, give it a read.

Because we have to know who and what we’re up against out there.

And how to respond to made-up facts with real ones.

………

This is who we share the roads with. And the airspace, apparently.

………

It may not be romantic, but chances are, you’ll still love killing a little time this foggy downhill run.

………

Local

Crosstown LA at USC crunched the numbers, and came up with a list of the most dangerous intersections in Los Angeles; surprisingly, all but three are in the San Fernando Valley, with the others in South LA. Hint: You might want to avoid Sepulveda and Sherman Way. 

Curbed looks at CD14 Councilmember Jose Huizar’s proposal to permanently prohibit cars from a 1.5-mile stretch of historic Broadway in DTLA.

Active SGV will host their first Emerald Necklace Bike Train of 2020 this Sunday.

The Santa Monica City Council voted to approve the bike and pedestrian friendly makeover of deadly Wilshire Blvd.

You can stop waiting for the other shoe to drop, as CiclaValley’s Zachary Rynew unveils his Karate Kid custom hand-painted bike shoe; he showed off the other one earlier this week.

 

State

New polls show San Diego residents want parking more than bike lanes, and stricter regulations on e-scooters — even though the current regs have already chased some providers out of town.

An 11-year old Ventura boy was seriously injured when he was hit by a driver while riding his bike on a private roadway in a condo complex; needless to say, the driver played the Universal Get Out of Jail Free card, claiming he just didn’t see the kid.

UC Santa Barbara’s HOPR bikeshare will be hopping off campus this spring.

The garlic capital of the world considers establishing bicycle parking minimums for apartments and commercial buildings, including both long and short term bike parking.

A Modesto paper welcomes a road diet and protected bikeway, as long as it’s accompanied by affordable housing.

A debunking website says yes, Amazon’s first CFO really was killed by one of the company’s own delivery subcontractors while riding her bike in San Jose.

San Francisco’s shortest protected bike lane could be here to stay — assuming all goes well at a hearing next week, after it was already ripped out once.

 

National

Streetsblog says don’t hold your breath waiting for a Democratic presidential candidate who’s committed to breaking car culture.

Writing for Bicycling, a woman describes how her fellow mountain bike coaches got her through the darkest days of her divorce.

It’s 44 days into Oregon’s new Idaho Stop Law, and the sky hasn’t fallen.

There’s a special place in hell for the bike thief who stole a beautiful, $4,000 custom-made low rider bike from an Arizona barbershop.

Colorado Public Radio offers tips on how to keep riding in the snow. Which is not a problem you’re likely to encounter on International Winter Bike to Work Day here in Los Angeles.

A Michigan School got a visit from professional mountain biker Jeff Lenosky, and every 1st and 2nd grader got a new bike and helmet, thanks to Lenosky and a local nonprofit.

Over 2,000 safety-minded people signed a petition calling for protected bike lanes downtown Nashville TN.

A Boston TV station comes to the rescue of a college student, who got stuck with a $1275 bill when she was unable to dock a bikeshare bike after a $2.50 ride.

Singer and rapper Ray J discusses his Scoot e-bike/scooters on a Gotham morning talk show.

 

International

A red light-running London driver has been convicted in the hit-and-run death of a bike rider, who slipped away after 18 months in a coma; his father, cousin and younger brother were convicted of helping him coverup the crime.

The driver of a commercial skip loader got a well-deserved three and a half years for killing a bike rider while high on coke and cannabis.

A British woman refused to accept the diagnosis when doctors told her she’d never ride a bike again following brain surgery; now she rides a bike, runs, climbs mountains and jumps out of perfectly good airplanes.

A woman in the UK is furious after thieves stole her $1,000 bike, then came back to take her hot tub, too.

Forget CicLAvia. Paris will now ban cars from four arrondissements — aka districts — on the first Sunday of every month, opening the streets to the people.

German bicycle and trucking associations say the country has to do more to improve safety for bicyclists, with over 400 people dying while riding their bikes in Germany every year.

The hit-and-run epidemic has spread to Oman, where a driver was busted for fleeing the scene after running over a bicyclist; no word on the condition of the victim.

 

Huizar calls for carfree Broadway in DTLA, Arroyo Seco Bike Path finally open, and studies support bus and bike lanes

Breaking news: KNBC-4 reported that a bike rider was critically injured last night in a collision at Hollywood Blvd and McCadden Place. However, video from the scene appears to show the victim may have been seated on a Wheels scooter rather than a bicycle.

Unfortunately, nothing has been posted online yet.

………

Outgoing CD14 Councilmember Jose Huizar responds to the question of whether other California cities will close streets to cars — or rather, open them up to people — in the wake of San Francisco’s closure of Market Street.

Huizar called yesterday for the possibility of a complete closure of historic Broadway in DTLA to motor vehicles between 1st and 12th Streets, with the exception of buses.

This comes after years of efforts to revitalize the corridor, including a road diet that cut the number of traffic lanes in half, and reopening or repurposing many of the street’s grand theaters.

Note to KCBS-2: Despite the headline in the above link, the proposed ban is on cars and trucks, not feet. 

………

The Arroyo Seco Bike Path is officially open, after being closed for a year to repair damage caused by last year’s rains.

………

No surprise here.

A new Portland study shows bike riders are safer sharing a bus only lane with transit vehicles than sharing regular traffic lanes with everyone else.

And if you build it, they will come. A new British government reports shows that investing in bicycling pays, as building bike lanes encourages people to bike more and drive less.

………

Former New York DOT Commissioner Janet Sadik-Khan teams with another writer to examine the real global health crisis —

Deaths caused by motor vehicles and the people who drive them.

………

Some things are universal. And definitely worth 35 seconds out of your day.

………

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

It’s a well-deserved three and a half years behind bars for a road raging New Mexico driver who put his car in reverse, floored it and slammed into a group of senior Santa Fe bicyclists; he’ll have to serve at lest 85% of his sentence — and attend anger management sessions. Thanks to Brian Kreimendahl of Bike Santa Fe for the link.

A Kenyan driver takes a punishment pass to the extreme, sideswiping a pair of bike riders and speeding away without stopping.

………

Local

The Daily News provides a look at the race for LA city councilmember in CD4 as three candidates vie to unseat David Ryu.

More on Santa Monica’s plan to give Wilshire Blvd a safety makeover to protect bicyclists and pedestrians, including a ban on left turns onto the boulevard from cross streets.

The Savage Hearts Love Ride 2020 will roll from Marina del Rey tomorrow to provide care packages and love to those in need.

 

State

The community turned out to show their support for fallen bicyclist Kevin Wilson as the hit-and-run driver who killed the beloved postal worker near El Cajon was sentenced; the victim’s wife said his killer got less than four years behind bars, but she got a “life sentence without the love of my life.”

Indio is investing $1.25 million to build four miles of new art and music-enhanced bike lanes.

After a video circulated of a Turlock special needs boy getting assaulted and robbed by three other kids, a Good Samaritan stepped in to replace his shoes and bicycle.

San Jose puts its money where its mouth is, providing $7 million upfront to fund their new Vision Zero plan, as well as forming a task force to curb traffic deaths.

After three Marin County men were charged with building an illegal offroad trail, a Marin paper calls on everyone to work together to create legal multiuse ones.

Healdsburg is installing wayfinding signs to help bike riders navigate the Sonoma County city.

Ten years after a Nevada City bike rider was killed by a distracted driver, the memorial ride and run held in his honor is still going strong, with up to 300 riders participating.

 

National

A must-read from Curbed, which argues that public meetings are broken and offers advice for how to fix them. Anyone who’s been shouted down by traffic safety deniers and NIMBYs in recent years knows just how broken the current system is.

A supercar designer introduces a new autonomous electric car so cute, that will probably be your last thought as it runs you over. Thanks to Mike Cane for the heads-up.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says recent Los Angeles transplant LeBron James is the new hero of bikeshare and bike lanes, saying children need access to bikes and safe places to ride them. Rumor has it he also plays basketball here in LA. LeBron, that is, not Weiss.

They get it. Boulder CO bike commuters say every day is Winter Bike to Work Day; the official international Winter Bike to Work Day is this Friday. Except in Los Angeles, where the weather would be perfect for it. 

A new Pueblo CO bike bank is fixing up bicycles and giving them to homeless people.

A Colorado CEO plans to ride a bike barefoot across the US, from Disneyland in Anaheim to Disney World in Orlando, to call attention to human trafficking; it’s the first known attempt by anyone to pedal barefoot across the country.

A Texas writer explores Fort Worth by bikeshare, and discovers it’s a lot easier and more fun than he could imagine.

An Iowa bill that would require bike riders to wear high-viz and have both front and rear lights is moving forward in the state legislature, even though no groups support it.

New York learns the hard way what happens when a protected bike lane isn’t protected enough.

New York preschoolers are learning to recycle cans to buy a new bicycle for their school gym.

A DC adjacent Maryland county is considering a proposal to make bike registration voluntary, instead of the current mandatory, but usually ignored, requirement.

A DC site says the city can learn from Oslo and Helsinki when it comes to Vision Zero, both of which didn’t have a single bike or pedestrian death last year. Then again, so can every other city.

A Virginia transit system has spent five years and $3.8 million to build two secure bike corrals, and they’re still not done. Give me a million dollars and a few tools, and I’ll build the damn things myself. Seriously. 

Florida may be the nation’s deadliest state for people on bicycles, but one Central Florida county hasn’t had a bicycling death in two years.

 

International

Four intrepid travelers recount lessons learned from riding fat bikes around St. James Bay in Antarctica. Here’s one more tip: Go in the summer next time.

This is who we share the roads with. A Calgary prosecutor says a driver high on meth chuckled when he learned he’d killed a 15-year old boy riding a bike and injured his companion.

Forget a bike bridge. Local officials are considering opening a bike ferry across the Saint Lawrence River to connect an upstate New York city with another in Ontario, Canada.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says forget that 350 million pounds he promised for active transportation projects in England; he really meant £1 billion for biking and walking.

Once again, a bike rider is a hero, as a man in the UK discovers three barely living lobsters on the side of the road that had apparently fallen off a truck, and carries them back to the sea on his bike to set them free.

An Irish writer says she still gets flashbacks from getting hit by a driver while riding her bike. And that just going for a bike ride shouldn’t feel like going to war.

The Netherlands has fined over 21,000 bike riders for using a handheld phone while riding in the first six months the ban has been in effect. That compares to 98,000 California drivers in all of 2017, with over twice the population.

A new Ai Wei Wei sculpture in Abu Dhabi continues his celebration of pedal power, made from 720 carefully stacked bicycles.

Your next bike could be handmade from bamboo in Kathmandu with seating for three. Or a lot more, judging by the last photo.

Pink Bike looks at the potential impact of the novel coronavirus, aka Covid-19, on the bicycle industry, at a time when most bikes and parts come from the Middle Kingdom.

 

Competitive Cycling

Actor and bicyclist Patrick Dempsey will serve as the honorary captain of the US Olympic Cycling Team at the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

The nation’s largest fat bike beach bike race will be held in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina next month.

Who needs a mountain for downhill mountain bike racing when you’ve got a perfectly good city?

 

Finally…

Your next bike could have skis instead of wheels, but it only goes downhill. Your next saddle could have a rat on it; no, not you.

And sometimes you just have to bust out of preschool and ride your bike.

 

Not guilty plea in Goleta DUI bike path deaths, important bike meetings today, and Pasadena council endorsements

The driver accused of fleeing the scene after killing a Goleta couple walking their dog on a bike path pleaded not guilty after being formally charged in the deaths.

Goleta resident Eric Maurcio Ramirez-Aguilar was charged with felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run causing death, and driving under the influence causing great bodily injury, as well as special allegations of fleeing the scene of a fatal collision and injuring multiple victims.

He was already on four years supervised probation for misdemeanor child cruelty at the time of the crash, with an order to abstain from all drugs and alcohol, and attend AA meetings twice a week.

Needless to say, he didn’t.

Allegedly.

The couple leaves behind four kids, ranging from 10 to 20; a GoFundMe page for their care has raised nearly $170,000 of the $300,000 goal.

………

Today’s LA City Council Transportation Committee meeting includes discussion of the city’s participation in a pair of national bike routes, as well as an update on the nearly dormant Vision Zero program.

Meanwhile, tonight’s meeting of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council will consider proposals to improve safety on the 4th Street non-bike boulevard by adding traffic signals and diverting motor vehicle traffic where it intersects with Highland and Rossmore.

Needless to say, the proposal faces stiff opposition, even though it would greatly benefit local businesses and homeowners.

………

Bike the Vote LA grades their picks in the Pasadena mayoral and council races.

………

This one should be pretty self-explanatory, since it’s clearly up to us to get the hell out of the way of drivers, regardless of who has the right-of-way.

https://twitter.com/EntitledCycling/status/1227293630185914369

………

Shawadli forwards video of this year’s Tour de Palm Springs.

That’s a hell of a lot of bike riders rolling out from the start.

………

Today’s common theme is BMX and mountain biking.

Adam Driver, aka Kylo Ren of Star Wars fame, got his start as an actor after he was medically discharged from the Marines following a mountain bike crash.

After an Oregon bike shop owner died unexpectedly of a heart attack while mountain biking, the bicycling community he fostered rallied around his 18-year old daughter and a 22-year old bike mechanic he mentored to keep the shop open.

A mountain biking coach for an Arizona middle school — yes, they have those, apparently — took the DIY approach, and spent three years building a singletrack practice course on the school grounds.

A nice video looks at a handful of competitors in last year’s BC Bike Race in British Columbia, and forward to this year’s edition in July, as well as a quartet of upcoming public rides.

Bad news from Australia, where a 23-year old Olympic BMX hopeful is in a medically induced coma after suffering a serious head injury while competing over the weekend; Kai Sakakibara has been one of the world’s top ranked riders in recent years.

A former racer gets back on a bike for the first time in three years, after the pressure of performing took all the fun out of it.

………

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

A Portland woman reports that she and her husband were assaulted by the driver of a large pickup. But the police couldn’t do anything about it because they were busy with a KKK rally.

Sometimes, though, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

A Santa Barbara bike rider reportedly harassed and blocked riders on a bike trail for the crime of failing to stop at an intersection.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton applauds Mayor Garcetti’s new climate directive calling for a major shift to green transportation in the next decade, but points out he’s running out of time to get anything accomplished while he’s still mayor. Let’s just hope Garcetti actually reads it.

Los Angeles won a ruling saying the city has the right to suspend Uber’s permit for dockless bikeshare and e-scooters after the company refused to share its user data.

This is who we share the roads with. A Florida woman faces charges for literally running away after shifting a car into gear and running over her friend, who had somehow fallen out and struck a tree following a road rage dispute with a motorcyclist in Hollywood. And yes, that’s every bit as confusing as it sounds.

A new video taken by a mountain biker shows the immediate aftermath of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, along with seven others.

CiclaValley lets his bike shoes do the talking.

 

State

The San Diego Padre’s Pedal the Cause has raised a whopping $13 million to fight juvenile cancer in just seven years, bringing in $3.1 million last year alone.

As expected, Craig Wendell Nelson has been sentenced to four years behind bars for the hit-and-run crash that took the life of bike rider Kevin Wilson east of El Cajon last month.

A Tulare bike rider literally dragged Congressman Devin Nunes’ name through the dirt. There’s no indication the man on the bike was homeless, as the Congressman indicated, although he can undoubtedly expect his subpoena any day

A 32-mile combination light rail and bike/ped trail may finally be making progress in Santa Cruz County, in the state’s latest rail-to-trail conversion. Or in this case, rail-to-rail-and-trail.

Stanford is mapping bicycle crashes on campus, and discovering several locations are as bad, or worse, than the school’s so-called “circle of death.”

A San Francisco letter writer says a proposal to tax and license bicycles would discourage bicycling and disproportionately harm low-income riders.

Bicyclists in San Francisco call for quick-build improvements to improve safety at the Embarcadero, even though a cop illegally broke up their demonstration.

A Saint Helena letter writer complains about “terrible roads and laughingly bad bike lanes,” saying the city has everything it needs to be a great bicycling town, but it’s embarrassingly bad. Sounds like it could be LA’s Mini Me.

A Vallejo police officer will be deposed in a federal lawsuit over the failed traffic stop that led to the shooting of an unarmed black bike rider, after the officer was cleared of criminal charges.

 

National

Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong anti-cancer charity is attempting a relaunch after separating itself from the former doper.

Denver bike advocates say the city is nearing a tipping point for using bicycles as transportation, as they work to connect bikeways into an actual network. But the head of a Denver automobile dealers association says the city is waging a war on cars and drivers. Not that a car dealer would have any reason to be biased or anything.

A Helena, Montana nonprofit is getting local teens into road cycling, providing them with bikes, helmets, shoes and other assorted gear, as well as training, to overcome financial barriers to cycling.

Seriously? Residents of a Minneapolis suburb are fighting plans for a bike lane and parking bays — not because of the loss of trees and parking spaces, but because it would make the street feel “cramped, not as safe and not as livable.” Meanwhile, a letter writer says the bike lanes will be unsafe and no one will use them anyway.

New body cam video shows the controversial arrest of an 18-year old Florida bicyclist for the crime of running a stop sign, as well as allegedly fleeing from police and resisting arrest. Must have been a really sensitive cop, because the video doesn’t appear to show any of those things except blowing the stop.

 

International

Treehugger wants to know why the press reports someone was killed instead of merely died — unless the victim died in a traffic collision.

Bike Radar considers the best Valentine’s gifts for bicyclists. Apparently, if you really love someone, you’ll help them avoid saddle sores and butt rash.

No bias here. A writer for the Guardian blames bike lanes and pedestrian crossings for traffic “grinding to a halt” in central London, despite what he calls a complete absence of private cars — even though by his own admission, they’ve actually declined by just 15%. Never mind that the real cause of traffic congestion is all those delivery trucks, ride hailing drivers and all the other cars and trucks on the streets. In London or anywhere else. 

Cyclist compares the bicycling cities of London and Paris, where both bike-friendly mayors are up for re-election this year.

More proof that Vision Zero is achievable, as Helsinki becomes the second Scandinavian country to go a full year without a single bicycling or pedestrian death.

DIY cycling is growing in Peshawar, Pakistan, as local men — and yes, women — are buying inexpensive Chinese bikes and rebuilding them as racing bikes, while making the rest of their kits and gear themselves.

Australian police want to know why a child’s Spider-Man bike was found next to a murder victim whose body had been dumped after he was killed with a tomahawk; two men were arrested the next day and charged with the murder.

 

Competitive Cycling

A writer for Rouleur says this is cycling’s #MeToo moment, as she uncovers abuse and harassment at the highest levels of the sport.

I want to be like her when I grow up. An 80-year old great-grandmother is still breaking track cycling records for her age group, after taking a 20-year break from competition.

French cyclist Jimmy Turgis was forced to retire from racing due to a heart condition at the ripe old age of 28, 16 months after his brother retired with the same problem; a third brother continues to race.

Cyclist profiles pro cyclist Alex Dowsett, who they say is the only hemophiliac competing in professional sports.

A Philippine bike race sponsored by 7-11 became the latest victim of the coronavirus.

 

Finally…

Watch out for giant bipedal frogs on Ohio bike trails.

And that feeling when the antenna controlling your drone falls off in mid filming.

 

Garcetti orders bold climate plan, couple killed by drunk driver on Goleta bike path, and Corona DIY hit-and-run investigation

Maybe he means it this time.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an executive directive yesterday to enhance portions of the city’s Green New Deal.

Which would be a big deal, if he actually follows through this time.

There’s a lot to like in the plan. Starting with a commitment to active transportation; according to My News LA, the plan would

— promote walking, bicycling and micro-mobility with a comprehensive citywide network of active transportation corridors, including protected bike lanes, paths along regional waterways and low-stress neighborhood bike improvements;

The order also calls for more cool streets and roofs, a congestion pricing pilot program, zero emission buses, and increasing transit speeds by 30% in the next ten years.

More importantly, it calls for reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled through expanded use of transit, walking, bicycling and micromobility.

And of special interest to many of us, more frequent open streets events.

But as always, the devil is in the details.

It remains to be seen whether that implementation plan for an active transportation network means we’ll finally get around to building out the hard-won 2010 Bike Plan that was unanimously passed by the city council when Garcetti was still council president.

Or if they intend to re-invent the wheel yet again, with or without our input.

Curbed reports the mayor at least struck the right sense of urgency.

“Can we make this happen?” Garcetti asked Monday, speaking broadly about the city’s sustainability goals. “We don’t have a choice.”

But they added —

It remains to be seen whether this will be enough to achieve one of the key goals laid out in the city’s Green New Deal: A nearly 50 percent reduction in the number of miles LA residents drive daily.

Although it’s not a bad sign that the NRDC is on board with it.

The problem, of course, is that we’ve been here before.

Any progress on the bike plan, or the mobility plan that subsumed it, ground to a near complete and total stop after Garcetti took office as mayor.

And any real progress on the mayor’s own Vision Zero plan came to a halt the first time drivers complained about a road diet.

The result that not only have bike and pedestrian deaths not declined by 20%, as the plan called for by this year, they’ve actually gone up.

So this could be the beginning of the groundbreaking, tide-turning movement to re-invent the City of Angels into the more livable — and survivable — city so many of us have fought for.

Or it could be just another bold plan that will soon by gathering dust on the shelf.

It’s all up to Mayor Garcetti.

And whether he’s suddenly found the political will to see it through.

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels.

………

This is who we share the roads with.

Or in this case, a bike path.

Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk website reports that a married couple was killed in a collision while walking their dog on an offroad Goleta bike path Sunday evening.

The driver, later identified as 39-year old Eric Mauricio Ramirez Aguilar of Goleta, fled the scene on foot.

A writer for the site estimated that Aguilar had to have driven at least 100 yards on the bike path before coming to a stop, slamming into his victims somewhere along the way.

Police took the alleged drunk driver into custody three hours later in nearby Carpinteria. He was a passenger in a car, whose driver was returning from Ventura County after learning that Aguilar was a wanted man.

Authorities threw the book at him, and deservedly so.

According to the site,

Aguilar was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving while intoxicated causing injury, hit and run causing death or injury, fleeing the scene after committing manslaughter, and driving while intoxicated, with an enhancement for causing the deaths of more than one person.

He remained in custody Monday night, with bail set at $100,000.

Fortunately, the dog somehow survived the crash, and was turned over to a family member.

Let’s hope Aguilar gets the hard time a crime like this calls for.

But let’s face it.

As long as drunks continue to get behind the wheel, we’re not safe anywhere. And no amount of jail time can bring back the lives they take.

………

This is who we share the roads with, too.

After a Corona mother was killed in a hit-and-run while riding her motorcycle last week, leaving behind eight kids, her husband made it his mission to track down her killer.

Remarkably, he found the car parked in a nearby apartment complex, with passenger side damage matching the details of the crash.

Police arrested the 85-year old driver, Tashiro Isa, on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter.

Once again raising the question of how old is too old to drive.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the heads-up.

………

The LAPD is asking for your help to find the heartless coward who fled the scene after backing into a 92-year old man, leaving him bleeding in the street.

………

Or as we call it here in balmy Los Angeles, Friday.

………

After a British truck driver knocked a bicyclist off his bike in a left hook, the equivalent of our right hook, the driver refused to admit he was behind the wheel — and walks with just a fine and points against his license.

………

Take a quick break with mountain biker Greg Williamson doing “dusty laps” on a dry and dirty Kiwi singletrack trail.

I think Dusty Laps will be the name of my new cowboy alter ego, although Twitter user Mumen Rusto suggested that could be my porn name.

But no one wants to see that anymore.

………

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

An Aussie state department of transportation posts a simple question about bicycling rules online. And opens the floodgate for an avalanche of bike hate.

A Tokyo bicyclist catches a punishment pass and a brake check from a school bus driver on his bike cam — while riding in a bike lane, no less.

Sometimes, though, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

Sacramento police are looking for a man who fled on a bicycle after robbing a business and threatening the employees at gunpoint.

………

Local

Streetsblog adds its voice to those calling out against plans to widen dangerous Magnolia Blvd, which is already on the city’s Vision Zero High Injury Network.

Bike riders aren’t the only ones being inconvenienced by the closure of the Arroyo Seco pathway; horse people are calling for the equestrian trail to be reopened, as well.

While Los Angeles talks about safer streets, Santa Monica is actually doing something, as the city announces plans to make over deadly Wilshire Blvd to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians.

Sad news, as longtime bike industry vet Jim Whitsett died of an apparent heart attack before South Bay Cycle, his new 2,100 square foot Manhattan Beach bike shop, could open this coming weekend.

 

State

My point exactly. A writer for California Streetsblog argues that the state is missing a significant opportunity to fight climate change by failing to offer the same sort of rebates for ebikes that they do for electric vehicles. Except we should go further, and offer them for any bicycle intended to replace at least one car trip a week.

They get it. An editorial in the Times of San Diego says driving like maniacs is the root cause of bike and pedestrian collisions.

Fifty-six-year old Julian resident Craig Wendell Nelson faces up to four years and eight months behind bars after pleading guilty to the hit-and-run death of Kevin Wilson as he was riding his bike on a rural road east of El Cajon last month; police eventually found Nelson hiding under some bushes after abandoning his car.

It takes a major schmuck to steal a ghost bike, like the one that was installed for fallen bicyclist Raymundo “Ray-Ray” Jaime following the Palm Springs hit-and-run that took his life; the killer of the 30-year old father is still a large.

Palo Alto considers fixing a “terrifying” intersection used by around 4,000 cars and 20 bicycles per hour during the morning rush. Maybe more bike riders would use it if it wasn’t so scary.

San Francisco bike riders are calling for a concrete barrier along the Embarcadero bike lanes.

Uber says Sacramento ranks second in the world for shared rides, if you include bikeshare and e-scooters along with ride hailing.

 

National

VeloNews says 2020 is all about gravel and e-bikes and smart-bikes and materials and versatility.

Bicycling says blame a stiff neck for your numb hands.

New York bike riders can’t use the city’s bike lanes because they were built wide enough for street sweepers and snow plows, which makes them wide enough for people to drive and park in, too.

New York is finally getting around to questioning whether dangerous drivers should be taken off the road before they kill someone. Not after, like the woman with eight speeding and red light violations who killed a couple kids as they were walking in a crosswalk.

Florida bike riders are up in arms after an 18-year old bicyclist was cuffed and arrested after allegedly running a stop sign; the officer says he and another bike rider refused to stop when ordered to, while the riders say they just didn’t hear him. Advocates also want to know why the kid from Puerto Rico was the only one to get busted. Thanks to Victor Bale and J. Patrick Lynch for the links.

 

International

Canadian Cycling Magazine unveils the secrets bike mechanics don’t want you to know, like maybe you’re putting your bar tape on wrong.

The English city of Coventry just got Britain’s first bicycle mayor. Meanwhile Los Angeles, with ten times the population, is still waiting.

I want to be like her when I grow up. A French woman who may have been the world’s oldest person was still riding her bike as she approached 100.

The Netherlands ranks second in Europe for bicycling fatalities. Which isn’t too surprising, considering they also have one of the continent’s highest rates for bicycling.

An arrest warrant has been issued for an Aussie man who failed to show up for sentencing after pleading guilty to killing a bike rider; the victim frequently posted videos of close passes while calling for a safer passing distance.

Macau leaders shut down hiking trails and bike lanes to combat the novel coronavirus, telling everyone to just shut yourself in and exercise at home.

 

Competitive Cycling

Twenty-three-year old Tour de France champ Egan Bernal will lead the Ineos team in this week’s Tour of Columbia.

New Zealand’s Georgia Williams is making a comeback to the women’s pro cycling tour after being knocked off her bike by the increasingly common Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport, aka RED-S, which prevented her from getting enough fuel for her body while making her bones more brittle.

 

Finally…

Your next bike helmet could fold up to fit in your briefcase or backpack; let’s hope it also protects your head. Now you, too, can compete in the world’s greatest bike races without risking all that road rash and broken bones and stuff.

And apparently, Los Angeles used to be a lot better for bicycling.

91-year old actor killed on Venice Blvd, LA Times endorses Ryu in CD4, trash cans in bike lanes, and bike videos

Is this really the Los Angeles traffic safety deniers want?

According to the LA Times, 91-year old actor Orson Bean was killed crossing dangerous Venice Blvd near the Pacific Resident Theatre Friday night when he was struck by first one, then another, driver.

The longtime television star was crossing to the theater, where his wife was volunteering as an usher.

“Many of us do this, including the audience,” (theater publicist Judith) Borne said. “The crosswalk is out of the way. Many people … just cross” the lanes.

And there’s the problem.

The street is designed to maximize traffic flow, with pedestrians expected to walk at least a full block in either direction to use a crosswalk to cross the wide, four-lane street.

Except people usually won’t do that.

Most people tend to take the most direct and convenient route. Which in Bean’s case, meant crossing without a crosswalk.

And no, that’s not jaywalking.

Under California law, every intersection has a crosswalk, whether or not it’s marked on the pavement.

Which is often what it means when the police say, as they did in this case, that someone was crossing outside a marked crosswalk.

However, it’s also perfectly legal to cross in the middle of the block, as long as it’s not controlled by a traffic signal on both ends; in this case, the only traffic signal is on Oakwood Ave on the east end of the block.

What’s missing from the street are the safe, convenient crosswalks, and narrowed streets at intersections to slow speeds and reduce crossing distances, that advocates have long been calling for.

And which are exactly the sort of safety improvements that groups like Keep LA Moving and Restore Venice Blvd have been fighting, in an attempt to prioritize the convenience of drivers over the lives and safety of human beings.

If something like this had been in place on every block, rather than just some parallel painted lines where they pose the least inconvenience to drivers, Orson Bean might have lived to see his 92nd birthday.

And if that’s not a tragic waste, I don’t know what is.

Bean deserved better. So do the rest of us.

………

The LA Times endorsed incumbent David Ryu for re-election in my council district, despite the presence of two candidates with better safety and planning credentials in Sarah Kate Levy and Nithya Raman.

Even though, like our current president, Ryu apparently likes to take credit for work done by the previous office holder.

He is also responsible for blocking a desperately needed, shovel-ready road diet and bike lanes on 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea, despite the support of the local neighborhood council, because it would have inconvenienced drivers who use the narrow street as a bypass for busy Wilshire Blvd.

Both Levy and Raman have been endorsed by Bike the Vote LA. And either would be a better choice in next month’s election.

However, the Times did at least endorse Loraine Lundquist in CD12.

………

If you have any questions about your vote in the March 3rd election, Bike the Vote LA will help answer them tonight.

………

Yes, placing trash cans in a bike lane is illegal under state law. But good luck trying to find someone to enforce it.

………

Let’s hope LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, the new world climate mayor, understands French.

Then again, you don’t need to read it to get this one from the current Paris mayor and previous climate mayor.

https://twitter.com/Anne_Hidalgo/status/1225776654213144577

………

Like Volvo’s misguided glow-in-the-dark spray paint, Ford thinks we’ll all be better off with happy face emojis and turn signals on our jackets. Instead of, say, building safer trucks and SUVs that aren’t designed to kill on impact.

https://twitter.com/FordEu/status/1225364514289352704

………

How about a little music for your next ride?

And yes, the lyrics seem to sum it up pretty well. Just don’t wear earbuds in both ears.

………

Looks like someone is fed up with cops parking in bike lanes.

Although, while I appreciate the anger, the wording on that one seems to go a little too.

Thanks to Erik Griswold and W Corylus for the heads-up.

………

As Horace Greeley might have said, “go left, young man.”

………

A new video suggests maybe Los Angeles doesn’t suck for cycling, after all.

………

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

Police in the UK are looking for a driver who intentionally knocked a teenage boy off his bike. Note to Southern Daily Echo: The car didn’t “nudge” the victim’s tire, the driver did using his car as a weapon.

Sometimes, though, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

After leading a Washington deputy on a slow speed chase when he refused to pull over for a traffic stop, a Minnesota man threw his bicycle at the officer, took a fighting stance, and said he was baddest man in the world and was going to beat the cop up, then threatened to burn the cop’s home down and kill him after the deputy tased him. But other than that, he seems like a perfect ambassador for the sport, right?

………

Local

The San Francisco bike rider who was convicted for killing a pedestrian in a crosswalk while allegedly racing through the streets trying to claim a Strava KOM is now running attack ads against George Gascón, the DA who charged him, as Gascón runs for the same post in Los Angeles. Which seems like a damn good reason to vote for Gascón, if you ask me.

LAist examines the push to reform the deadly 85th Percentile Law and lower speed limits to safer levels in the City of Angels. Although maybe the City of Angeles could just stop making so many of them.

CicLAvia points out some of the high points on historic Central Avenue through South Central, Florence-Firestone and Watts, site of the next CicLAvia on February 23rd. Meanwhile, an op-ed in the Times discusses the importance of the area once known as the Eastside to the black community. Which explains how the East Side Riders got their name, even though they’re nowhere near East LA.

Classy move by Duarte, which renamed a bike and pedestrian path in the city for the San Gabriel Valley’s first African American council member and mayor, and his wife.

Tonight’s Malibu City Council meeting will include discussion of proposed bike and pedestrian paths to improve safety on Civic Center Way, along with the possibility of adding a traffic lane.

 

State

Baby steps. The first state bill in response to a recent study criticizing the outdated and deadly 85th Percentile Law would merely extend the time between required traffic surveys, while creating a statewide traffic safety program to monitor pedestrian and bicycle crashes. Meanwhile, speed surveys have finally been completed on all LA streets, allowing full speed enforcement for the first time in several years.

Evidently, Cleveland isn’t the only place where rivers catch on fire; Riverside firefighters were mopping up the remains of a 64-acre blaze that ignited on the Santa Ana River bottom, forcing the closure of the bike path that parallels the river.

The thoroughly discredited concept of bike licenses and registration once again rears its ugly head in San Francisco, thanks to a candidate for city supervisor. Most people who call for it are really far less interested in licensing than they are in just getting bikes off the streets.

It only took one day for bike ridership to boom on San Francisco’s newly carfree Market Street.

A Bay Area bike rider describes how he gladly broke the law by riding an ebike on a trail through the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

A trio of Marin mountain bikers face prosecution for building an illegal trail though an open space reserve, allegedly causing $72,000 in damage.

 

National

Harley Davidson’s new $30,000 electric motorcycle could face unexpected competition from more modest ebikes.

Finally, someone gets around to the really important stuff, as the Chicago Tribune examines what to look for in a dog bike trailer and offers their picks.

The VP of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy says America will need bicycling and walking included to pass a major transportation bill.

Tragic news, as the president of the Utah-based Children’s Miracle Network of hospitals was killed in a bicycling crash; unfortunately, there’s no word on where or how the crash occurred.

A British tabloid gets it right, saying the breathtaking views of Colorado’s Crested Butte is best seen from the seat of a mountain bike.

A kindhearted Colorado man is using his spare time to turn “junk into jewels’ by refurbishing bicycles to give to homeless people.

An Iowa woman wants to know why her husband was killed in a violent fall when the experienced bicyclist was wearing a helmet and riding uphill. And why police discount evidence that he may have been clipped by a passing driver.

Actress Selma Blair bought a $2,000 mobility bike for a Massachusetts stroke victim when the woman couldn’t afford to get it herself.

An Alabama man lay dying in a ditch for over an hour after his bike was struck by a hit-and-run driver who didn’t call 911. And neither did a state legislator or the local police chief, who both knew about the crash but didn’t bother to call for medical help.

The Montgomery, Alabama Bicycle Club will host a bike ride from Selma-to-Montgomery later this month, following in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King on his historic march.

Nothing to worry about in this Orlando, Florida neighborhood, where an eleven-year old neighborhood watch captain patrols the streets by bicycle.

Newly released bodycam video shows a Florida cop tasing a teenage bike rider for the crime of popping wheelies last year; the cop was censured for his actions.

 

International

They’re some of us, too. The Spanish language edition of GQ looks at the bikes preferred by Barack Obama, Brad Pitt, Jude Law, Justin Timberlake and Matt Damon; the first two were also Oscar winners last night.

In a case of life sort of imitating art, an unidentified Reddit user says she stopped speaking to her fiancé when he bought her a Peloton bike, after pleading with him not to get her one.

A Kiwi woman is bicycling 1,250 miles across the length of Mexico, accompanied by a man riding from Alaska to Argentina.

A British Columbia lawyer warns that a switch to no-fault insurance in the province could harm bike riders involved in crashes.

Saskatoon, Canada considers axing a must-use requirement for bike lanes, allowing bicyclists to ride in traffic lanes and make left turns, almost like real people.

An Englishman offers advice on how to ride a unicycle 21,000 miles around the world in three years, which is exactly how he did it. Step one: Don’t fall off.

It takes a real schmuck to steal a Scottish doctor’s bicycle as she was making a house call to visit an elderly patient.

Who says bike riders aren’t tough? A 72-year old British man got back on his bike and rode nine miles home after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver — despite suffering four broken ribs, a fractured hip and a head injury.

A Tunisian woman rode her bike to the Saudi Arabian holy city of Mecca, becoming the first woman to make the pilgrimage by bike; she was allowed into the city, even though she wasn’t accompanied by a male guardian on the 53-day journey, as required by Saudi law.

The former chief-of-staff for Guyana’s defense forces was arrested for a crash that killed a well-known bicyclist; the retired rear admiral failed a roadside Breathalyzer test.

 

Competitive Cycling

Riders in the Netherlands pick an appropriate time to hold the Dutch Headwind Cycling Championships, with no drop bars allowed, as Winter Storm Ciara pummels Europe.

VeloNews discusses why American bike racing needed the late, great Amgen Tour of California; the race is on the sort of one-year hiatus from which most bike races and other events never seem to return.

 

Finally…

If you insist on riding inside, skip the two-grand Peloton and build your own DIY version. Your next Lyft driver could be a 15-time Grammy winner.

And if dinosaurs had just worn helmets and hi-viz, they might still be here today.

………

Thanks to Domus Press for a very generous and unexpected donation to help keep this site coming your way every day. Donations are always welcome, in any amount and for any reason. 

 

LA blames Vision Zero fail on texting drivers, anti-bike bias on Bay Area bridge, and Arroyo Seco repairs underway

The Los Angeles Times pretty well sums up LA’s Vision Zero failure in two short paragraphs.

Last year, 244 people were killed in traffic collisions on city streets, a decrease of 0.8% compared to 2018, according to preliminary figures from the city. The victims included 134 people who were walking and 19 people biking.

The data may change slightly with additional analysis, officials said. But the early figures suggest another year of lackluster progress for Vision Zero, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s initiative to eliminate traffic deaths on city streets by 2025.

That’s two more bicycling deaths than I showed in my records. Which isn’t too surprising, since too many fatal crashes never make the news.

But instead of placing blame on the city’s insistence at nibbling on the edges of traffic safety, rather than making the wholesale changes to LA streets that define a true Vision Zero program, the city insists on pointing the finger at texting drivers.

Which is a major problem, of course.

But Vision Zero is supposed to be about accepting that people will always make mistakes behind the wheel — like texting, for instance. And designing roadways in such a way that those mistakes don’t become fatalities.

According to the story,

The Transportation Department made more changes to streets in L.A. in 2019 than in the prior two years combined, said spokeswoman Connie Llanos. Those 1,529 modifications to crosswalks, traffic signals, intersections and other elements of the street are designed to improve the safety of the street.

Yet none of those modifications included a single road diet or protected intersection.

Or, to the best of my recollection, a single new protected bike lane.

Rather than making simple changes to intersections, the city needs to take aim at changing the city’s car culture, said John Yi, the executive director of Los Angeles Walks, a pedestrian advocacy group.

If zero deaths is really the city’s goal, “we need to have a visionary plan that matches the scope of that goal,” Yi said. “We have failed to do that.”

There is every argument for making those kinds of wholesale changes to the streets, from saving lives to reducing traffic congestion and fighting climate change.

And only one reason not to — city leadership that fears angry voters, and lacks the political will to do what they know must be done if this city, and the people in it, are to survive and prosper.

As exemplified in the mayor’s action in unceremoniously ripping out the Playa del Rey road diets and bikes lanes less than a month after they went in, before they had a chance to prove themselves and drivers could adjust to the changes.

Yet they were elected, not to follow the will of those who scream the loudest, but to actually lead their constituents by making the hard choices to do the right thing, and build a city that works for all of us.

Not just impatient drivers. Or wealthy homeowners.

And not one that continues to kill too many of it’s most vulnerable road users.

Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush from Pexels.

………

Just in case anyone wants to argue that Vision Zero doesn’t work, Helsinki, Finland didn’t have single pedestrian death last year, following a slow decline from a high of 60 in 1970.

………

He gets it.

Then again, Peter Flax always does.

This time, the former editor-in-chief of Bicycling and near-daily bike commuter goes on a polite rant over a recent highly biased article blaming bike lanes on the Bay Area’s Richmond–San Raphael Bridge for making poor, suffering teachers late for work.

Not, say, all those other drivers on the bridge.

This is how efforts to build safe and convenient places for cyclists are demonized—as something that screws up the lives of motorists struggling to get somewhere important. This is how American car culture operates in 2020, when record numbers of cyclists are killed by drivers and efforts to do something about it are viewed as impractical and an attack on the driving public’s way of life.

Swan’s story is better reported than its clickbait headline might suggest, but upon close examination it reads like inadvertent propaganda. Though she name-checks the real problems plaguing miserable commuters, the central premise of her piece lends credibility to the absurd idea that the basic needs of embattled, working-class commuters are being trampled upon by people riding bikes…

He goes on to point the finger where it really belongs.

Let’s be frank. The congestion on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (and roadways in every U.S. city) can really suck. But it doesn’t suck because of cyclists or bike lanes. The traffic sucks because of sprawl and cheap gas and Americans’ love of cars. The traffic sucks because cities and states don’t put enough effort into housing, carpooling, telecommuting, micromobility, and financial tools like congestion pricing (in which motorists pay a modest surcharge to use roads at busy times, a tactic that has decreased traffic in European cities). These systemic problems—less suited to cranky populist headlines—are the real cause of traffic.

As with anything Flax writes, it’s a good read.

But more to the point, it’s an important one. Because we face this same sort of seemingly innocuous bias on a daily basis, with drivers failing to the real traffic problem is facing them back in the mirror.

And it’s not caused by bikes, bike lanes, or the people who use them.

………

Repairs are finally underway on a storm damaged section of the Arroyo Seco Bike Path.

………

The LA Daily News is hosting another candidate forum in CD12 on the 17th.

………

The 2020 Regional Bike Summit kicks off today, hosted by the San Diego Bike Coalition. The mayor of Encinitas, in North San Diego County, will be taking part.

Then again, so should every other mayor in the area.

………

A beautiful handmade lowrider bike takes first place in a bent wood competition.

………

Sometimes, though, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

Edinburgh, Scotland police are looking for a sidewalk-riding “bike thug” who got off his bike and beat a total stranger for no apparent reason, sending him to the hospital with facial injuries.

………

Local

Congratulations to Sunset For All, after the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council voted to support protected bike lanes on dangerous Sunset Blvd.

Voice your opposition to plans to widen deadly Magnolia Blvd — one of the city’s Vision Zero High Injury Network streets — next Monday at the North Hollywood Neighborhood Council meeting

 

State

Uber’s self-driving cars are on their way back to California, three years after the company got its hand slapped by the DMV for unleashing them in San Francisco without permits.

As we noted earlier, San Diego’s popular Ocean Beach bike path will be closed for construction work for the remainder of this month.

Nice gesture by a Santa Maria man, who returned a Kobe Bryant jersey that belonged to a fallen teenage bike rider to the boy’s mother nearly 13 years after he was killed in a collision; the boy had left it at the man’s apartment shortly before his death.

The Vallejo police union blames the victim after a cop is cleared in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager who fled a traffic stop.

A new San Francisco report contradicts the usual narrative from motorists, finding that drivers were responsible for two-thirds of collisions with pedestrians in the city last year.

Lime Bike wants to make a comeback in the Bay Area, despite pulling out of other cities in favor of e-scooter rentals.

Plans are underway to link 15 towns in Sierra, Plumas, Lassen and Butte County with more than 300 miles of new motorized and non-motorized trail bike trails in the Lost Sierra region.

 

National

The New York Times says new digital data streams are driving new approaches to transportation, using LA’s data-sharing requirement for e-scooters and dockless bikeshare as a prime example.

On the topic of bikes going nowhere, Flywheel cops to ripping off Peloton’s patented streaming technology.

Specialized has a new e-mountain bike for you, if you’re willing to fork out $6,500 — or $16,500 for the carbon model.

Life is cheap in Washington, where a man walked with time served after copping a plea to vehicular homicide for fatally right-hooking a 75-year old bike rider while driving stoned, despite a commitment to never drive after using medical cannabis for a bad neck. Evidently, DUI and homicide is just no big deal up there.

This is why I love the bicycling community. When the owner of a Cincinnati mom-and-pop bike shop had to go to the hospital, ten bike mechanics from other shops offered to fill in for him. And a crowdfunding page raised over $9,000 since Sunday night — nearly double the modest $5,000 goal.

Chicago Streetsblog says the city needs a Rapid Response Team, arguing that inaction in the wake of tragic crashes is unacceptable. Which is exactly what I argued for before and after Los Angeles announced its Vision Zero program; every death should be immediately investigated by a multi-disciplinary team to determine contributory causes and prevent another one.

Speaking of the Windy City, the Department of DIY struck once again, spray painting bike lane markings at a Chicago intersection where a woman was killed, after the city failed to maintain them.

New York City could soon require side guards on large trucks to prevent bike riders and pedestrians from being pulled underneath. These should be mandatory everywhere, for reasons that should be obvious.

Pennsylvania votes to allow protected bike and pedestrian lanes on state roadways.

A DC website questions whether “war on cars” is a useful term, after a WaPo reporter insists the district is waging one. Probably not, considering only one side is dying, and it ain’t the people in motor vehicles.

A local website discovers that some people actually like an Alexandrian VA road diet that’s being maligned by very vocal opponents.

 

International

Treehugger confronts the recurring myth that fuel for a bike rider causes as much CO2 emissions as someone in car. Short answer, no. Longer answer, hell no.

They get it. A column in Cycling Industry News says if the bike industry wants to draw new customers, people need to feel safe riding their bikes. Which is the best argument for why bikemakers and bike shops should get involved in local advocacy. But few do.

Even the Cayman Islands need better bike lanes.

Bicycling offers five tips from the world’s coldest bike ride, Canada’s Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra, to help keep you warm here in frigid Southern California.

Saskatoon, Canada, could soon remove a requirement for bicyclists to ride in bike lanes, arguing that faster riders should be allowed to ride in traffic lanes if they feel more comfortable.

Great Britain is debating whether to allow e-scooters in the country, where they are currently banned; a Swedish professor argues that cities should embrace them.

One place you can cross off your bike bucket list — the mean streets of Gaborone, Botswana, where bicycles are unwanted and unwelcome, along with the people who ride them.

A teenage Aussie driver faces multiple charges for killing two men out for their usual early morning bike ride while driving on the wrong side of the road.

 

Competitive Cycling

The San Diego Union-Tribune says USA Cycling CEO Rob DeMartini is taking the organization in bold new directions after years as an afterthought, as the sport went its own way without its help or oversight.

VeloNews says they already miss the Amgen Tour of California, which was cancelled this year after a 14-year run.

 

Finally…

If one shade of bikeshare doesn’t work, just keep going through the colors until one catches on. If you’re going to steal a bikeshare bike, at least be casual about it.

And world famous bike rider LeBron James wants to get you on a bicycle; rumor has it he also plays basketball or something.

 

Breaking news — California report says deadly 85th Percentile Law has to go, and new UK study say hi-viz doesn’t help

The report is in.

And it’s not good news for heavy-footed drivers.

A statewide Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force, created under Burbank State Assembly Woman Laura Friedman’s AB 2363, has examined the deadly 85th Percentile law, and determined it needs to go.

F-S1: Existing law does not provide enough flexibility in urban areas to set speed limits that are appropriate for these complex environments.

Current procedures for setting speeds limits in California rely mainly on the 85th percentile methodology, an approach developed decades ago for vehicles primarily on rural roads. Although California’s population, roads, and streets have changed significantly, reflecting different modes of transportation including bicycling and walking, the method for setting speed limits has not. While the way that speed limits are calculated has remained essentially static, vehicles and street uses have evolved over time. CalSTA’s vision is to transform the lives of all Californians through a safe, accessible, low-carbon, 21st-century multimodal transportation system. Yet the 85th percentile methodology relies on driver behavior. Greater flexibility in establishing speed limits would allow agencies an expanded toolbox to better combat rising traffic fatalities and injuries.

The report goes on to conclude that posted speed limits are effective in reducing traffic speeds without the time and expense required for infrastructure changes.

And that cities need more flexibility to adjust speeds without conducting traffic studies, to reflect current circumstances and save lives.

Especially when it comes to people not protected by a couple tons of glass and steel.

F-S5: There is consistent evidence that increased vehicle speed results in an increased probability of a fatality given a crash. Vulnerable road users are disproportionately impacted by the relationship between speed and crash survivability. State and local agencies would benefit from additional classes of locations eligible for prima facie speed limits which do not require an engineering and traffic survey.

Prima facie speed limits are those that are applicable on roadways when no posted speed limit is provided. They do not require an engineering and traffic survey to be enforceable. Current law defines two prima facie speed limits covering six classes of locations. The first speed limit is 25 mph and is applicable to business and residential areas, school zones and areas around senior facilities. The second speed limit is 15 mph and is applicable to railway crossings, uncontrolled intersections and alleyways. Some allowances are currently provided to reduce these speed limits further, for example, to 15 mph and 20 mph in school and senior zones. State and local agencies on the Task Force stated that additional classes of locations should be eligible for prima facie speed limits especially in areas that have high concentrations of vulnerable road users.

In addition, the report calls for legalization of automated traffic cameras to supplement, but not replace, the work of traffic cops in enforcing speed limits.

F-EF1: International and U.S. studies have shown that automated speed enforcement is an effective countermeasure to speeding that can have meaningful safety impacts.

Automated speed enforcement systems work by capturing data about a speed violation, including images and license plate information, which is then reviewed and processed at a later time to determine if a violation occurred. Currently, automated speed enforcement is used extensively internationally and in 142 communities in the U.S. Numerous studies and several federal entities, including the National Transportation Safety Board, have concluded that automated speed enforcement is an effective countermeasure to reduce speeding-related crashes, fatalities, and injuries.

F-EF2: Automated speed enforcement should supplement, not replace, traditional enforcement operations.

According to the Federal Highway Administration’s Speed Enforcement Camera Systems Operational Guidelines, automated speed enforcement is a supplement to, not a replacement for, traditional traffic law enforcement operations. Automated speed enforcement systems can effectively augment and support traditional enforcement operations in multiple ways. Automated speed enforcement systems serve as a “force multiplier” that allows limited law enforcement resources to focus on other public safety priorities. ASE can be operated in areas where in-person traffic stops would be impractical as well as on higher speed roadways where traffic calming devices may not be appropriate. While ASE does not provide an educational opportunity nor afford the exercise of judgment in issuing a citation that an officer would have from an in-person stop, it may also provide for more consistent and impartial enforcement. Examples of cities that have deployed automated speed enforcement programs without reducing law enforcement staffing levels include Seattle, Portland, and Washington, D.C.

In other words, the report takes 68 pages to sum up what bike and pedestrian advocates have been arguing for years.

The 85th Percentile method currently enshrined in state law allowing speeding drivers to set their own speed limits is outdated and dangerous.

And it’s got to go.

Now.

………

In news that should surprise absolutely no one, researchers in the UK have concluded that wearing hi-viz clothing doesn’t seem to make a damn bit of difference.

Neither does wearing casual clothing, as opposed to a spandex kit, when it comes to how close drivers pass.

Contrary to the researchers’ expectations, there was no marked difference between ‘experienced rider’ kit, and a vest marked ‘Novice Cyclist’, nor between ordinary clothes and hi-viz kit.

Irrespective of any of the kit worn, 1-2 per cent of overtakes were within 50cm (Ed: roughly 20 inches), suggesting that nothing a rider wears makes any significant difference to the incidence of very close passes.

Unless that hi-viz happens to identify you as a police officer, that is. And even then, it’s only a gain of about two inches.

The researchers found that the only item of clothing that had a noticeable impact on passing distance was a high-vis vest that featured the word “POLICE” on the back. Those riders were also bearing a notice advising motorists that they were being filmed. These conditions increased the average passing distance by 5cm, to 122cm.

The researchers concluded that better infrastructure is a more effective means of improving rider safety than how you dress.

So go ahead and wear whatever feels right for you.

………

The rich get richer, as the Dutch continue to show the rest of us how it’s done.

………

The LACBC released a letter in support of keeping the protected bike lanes installed as part of the Reseda Great Streets project right where they are, for anyone attending tonight’s Streetsblog CD12 transportation forum.

………

The West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition, a very active neighborhood chapter of the LACBC, is meeting tonight.

………

This is who we share the roads with.

After his son was killed in a traffic collision, an Oklahoma man got drunk and got behind the wheel of his pickup — then fled the scene after plowing into several members of a high school cross country team.

Two girls were killed. Four others were injured; at least one remains in critical condition.

There’s just no fucking excuse.

………

Sometimes, though, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

Davis police are looking for a man who fled the scene on a bicycle after coming up from behind and fondling a woman who was unloading her car.

Police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana busted a bike-riding robber who chased a “mildly intoxicated” man before whacking him with a metal pipe and stealing $300 at knife point. Although the thief claims he was just trying to get back money the victim had stolen from him, but he doesn’t really remember because he was too stoned at the time.

………

Local

Streets For All reports the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council will discuss a motion to support protected bike lanes on Sunset Blvd at tonight’s meeting.

Streetsblog takes a look at LA’s newly opened Red Car Bike & Pedestrian Bridge over the LA River in Atwater Village.

A group of San Fernando Valley residents have pitched in to clean up a section of the LA River bike path in Reseda.

 

State

A Davis columnist insists that city, not Portland, is the bicycling capital of the US. Even if it can’t muster a quorum for the city’s Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission. At least they have one; Los Angeles just has a toothless Bicycling Advisory Committee, whose members are usually ignored by the councilmembers who appoint them. Creating an actual commission would give them the authority they currently lack. 

San Francisco supervisors rejected a demand for an environmental impact statement for a bikeway pilot project from a pair of notorious anti-bike crusaders, who blame it for the actions of angry drivers who can’t keep their hands off their damn horns.

 

National

An engineer digs into the data, and discovers that the panic over e-scooters may be overblown, concluding they don’t appear to be any more dangerous than riding a bicycle. Which is good news and bad news, when you think about it.

Kindhearted Utah cops dug into their own pockets to buy a nine-year old boy a new bike after the one he got in a Christmas donation was stolen.

Denver residents ignored the cold weather to ride to work after the city plowed a protected bike lane following a heavy snow. Meanwhile, Los Angeles NIMBYs continue to insist no one will ever commute by bike in the mild SoCal winter, where temperatures sometimes dip all the way into the 60s.

This is why you always carry ID on your bike. Texas police are appealing to the public to identify a man who was killed in a collision while riding his bike. A wallet helps, but can get lost or stolen following a crash. Better to actually carry some form of ID on you, or wear something like a Road ID with your name, emergency contacts and any medical conditions.

Hats off to a kindhearted Omaha, Nebraska Eagle Scout, who is collecting and refurbishing adult bicycles to donate to homeless people.

Chicago decided to make room for humans on the double-decker Lake Shore Drive, and convert one of the lower level lanes to a walkway and protected bike lanes. That’s got to be the only city in the US where it’s okay for drivers to be on LSD.

Great idea. Knoxville, Tennessee opened a new accessible bike trail specifically designed for people with disabilities riding adaptive bicycles.

A proposed New Hampshire bill to require helmets for everyone from bike riders to motorcyclists received overwhelming opposition, with 259 people lining up to speak against it and only four in favor.

New York advocates are up in arms over a secret plan to close part of the popular Hudson River Greenway to make long-delayed repairs resulting from 2012’s Hurricane Sandy.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. New York prosecutors inexplicably let a killer driver off the hook for backing over an elderly woman last year — even though he continues to rack up tickets for speeding and red light violations.

DC finally gets around to banning parking in bike lanes, fining drivers $150 for blocking the flow of bicycle traffic. It’s illegal to park in bike lanes in Los Angeles, too. Which doesn’t seem to stop anyone, especially in DTLA.

New Orleans cops get a firsthand view of the streets from a bicyclist’s perspective, as officers ride with a group of cycling instructors through a variety of problematic locations. That would solve a lot of problems if we could convince every police and sheriff’s department to try that.

 

International

A 51-year old nursery school teacher was one of the victims of Sunday’s terrorist knifing attack in South London as she rode her bike home after meeting friends, saying she’s lucky to be alive.

A pair of British doctors set a new record for riding around the world on a tandem bike, traveling over 18,000 miles in 218 days and 22 hours.

The British government will ban all gas and diesel powered vehicles by 2035, moving the deadline forward by five years. Meanwhile, the US has committed to banning gas powered vehicles by, um, never.

Parisians are staying on their bikes, despite the winter weather, even after a major transportation strike ended; January ridership was up 131% over the same month last year.

An Indian university tells faculty members that bicycling isn’t just for students.

Failed Chinese dockless bikeshare provider Ofo switches gear and reinvents itself as a shopping platform — and decides to keep users deposits anyway. Scroll down past the obnoxious full screen ad to get to the story, when and if you can. 

A globe trotting Indian bike tourist says he’s not worried about coronavirus as he nears the end of his 16 year ride through 154 countries to promote HIV and AIDS awareness; his now in Beijing while riding through China, leaving 37 countries to go.

 

Competitive Cycling

Good news for non-Californians. San Diego’s popular Belgian Waffle Ride, a mixed-surface, ultra-distance race, is branching out to Asheville, North Carolina and Cedar City, Utah this year.

Pro cyclists offer advice on how to beat jet lag. Personally, I’ve never been able to ride fast or far enough for that to be a problem.

Twenty-two-year old world mountain bike champ Kate Courtney is getting a little extra coaching to prepare for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics from her new riding partner, retired NBA player turned mountain bike aficionado Reggie Miller.

 

Finally…

Apparently, dropping your bong while fleeing police on your bike is a bad thing. If you’re carrying nearly three dozen pre-measured bags of meth on your bike, make sure it at least meets legal standards.

And presenting the perfect gift for bicyclists who drink their bourbon through a straw.

No, really.

 

Punishment pass brush-by, CD12 transportation forum, and forget coronavirus — cars are the health crisis

This is what a real punishment pass looks like.

Allyson Vought, the LA Bicycling Advisory Committee representative for Council District 15, forwarded this video to me yesterday.

It’s hard to see from the rear-facing cam, but the driver actually brushes her as he — let’s assume it’s a he — passes as closely as physically possible without actually sending her to the ER.

Or worse.

Which makes it hit-and-run. Not to mention assault with a deadly weapon.

And yes, she reported it to the police; what, if anything, they’ll do about it remains to be seen.

 

But one thing is clear.

In most cases like this, the driver would simply claim he didn’t see the person on the bike. That won’t work here, since he blared on the horn as he passed, indicating he not only saw her, but wanted her to get the hell out of his way.

And that makes it intentional.

………

If you live, work or ride in the San Fernando Valley’s 12th Council District, cancel your plans for tomorrow and attend this transportation town hall instead.

And yes, it’s that important.

Although something tells me regressive short-term incumbent John Lee may skip this one.

………

A new Chinese study confirms what we already knew. If you want to get fatter and out of shape, just get a car.

Which means the real health crisis isn’t coronavirus. It’s driving.

………

We mentioned last week that Mars Volta and Marilyn Manson bassist Juan Alderete was in a coma after suffering a serious brain injury when he went over the handlebars on his bicycle.

Now a crowdfunding page has been established to help pay his medical expenses, raising over $50,000 of the $250,000 goal in just two days.

Alderete suffered a diffuse axonal injury, despite wearing a helmet; several studies have suggested that bike helmets can contribute to, rather than prevent, that kind of injury.

………

Congratulations to Culver City, which voted to protect the lives of children walking or biking to school, after a years-long struggle to improve safety.

………

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

What an effing waste. A Fresno man is dead because a man riding a bike took offense to his support of the 49ers during Sunday’s Super Bowl, and shot him with a homemade zip gun; police found him hiding in a nearby homeless camp.

………

Local

The LA Kings teamed with the Bikes for Kids Foundation to donate new bicycles and helmets to all 65 third grade students at Compton charter school.

 

State

No bias here. The San Francisco Chronicle highlights the suffering of Bay Area teachers, whose lives would be just dandy if it wasn’t for that darn bike lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Because apparently, there was no traffic on the bridge before they installed the bike lane as an alternative to driving. And induced demand isn’t a thing.

About damn time. San Francisco’s port authority finally decides that allowing restaurant valets to block bike lanes in the city’s Embarcadero is a bad thing. Which should have been done after a popular pedicab driver was killed two years ago.

In LA, we have to fight to get bike lanes anywhere; in San Francisco, the question is whether Valencia Street should get protected bike lanes or ban cars entirely.

Tragic news from Sacramento, where a woman riding her bike was killed by a heartless coward who fled the scene after Sunday’s crash.

A couple hundred people decided to skip the Super Bowl and ride a NorCal century instead, a Chico tradition since 1981.

 

National

Yes, ebikes are beginning to infiltrate gran fondos and group rides. I’ve heard of at least one popular group ride that’s been struggling with the issue of whether to allow ebikes for a couple years now.

Seriously, what does it mean when cold and snowy Denver has a Winter Bike to Work Day coming up next week — on Valentines Day, no less — and warm, sunny Los Angeles doesn’t even have one?

A Minnesota professor is trying to improve bike safety by designing a $500 smart bicycle with the sort of $80,000 LIDAR and sensors found on a self-driving car.

After gutting a bill mandating helmet use for bike-riding children, the Indiana legislature revives it to allow a state public safety fund to purchase and distribute helmets to kids. Proving that there are other ways to encourage helmet use besides fining people who ride with bare heads. Hint: The same thing works for bike lights, too.

Speaking of Indiana, an attorney from the state offers tips on what to do before and after getting hit by a car, including always riding with one or more cams on your bike. And if there’s any question why, see the video at the top of this page.

Maybe LA could take a tip from Memphis, which is conducting lane reconfigurations — aka road diets — on six streets to improve safety in the city formerly named the worst bike city in America. Meanwhile Los Angeles, which currently holds that dubious distinction, is currently planning exactly zero.

A New Orleans op-ed makes the case that the city’s docked bikeshare system is a form of public art.

Decatur, Georgia faces a bikelash after a three-year effort to improve bicycle safety and walkability in the Atlanta suburb. Kind of like every other place that’s tried to take an inch of roadway from motorists.

Miami bike advocates call for protected bike lanes instead of a painted green lane on a popular causeway where a woman was killed last year, complaining that the city has done nothing to improve safety following her death.

 

International

Even in bike-friendly Europe, nearly 20,000 people lost their lives riding bicycles in 28 EU countries in the nine years from 2010 to 2018.

Evidently, the best way for an ordinary Brit to get on American talk show is to buy a stolen bike and track down the owner.

A British man won’t be driving for the next year, after deliberately running a bike rider off the road for the imagined crime of not using a bike lane.

Evidently, the only thing that stinks in Limburg, Belgium is the cheese. Because anyone on a bike can ride along the city’s architectural artworks through a lake and over a forest, past sights including a 19th-century castle and an open-air museum.

According to a German expert, the top two-wheeled trends in Deutschland are ebikes, custom bikes and gravel bikes. Or if you really want to be on trend, just build a custom gravel ebike.

This is who we share the roads with. Horrible news from Australia, where an alleged drunk driver faces 20 charges after jumping the curb and killing four young children, and seriously injuring another; three of those killed were from a single family.

 

Competitive Cycling

The incomparable Katie “F’n” Compton looks to the future after her 4th place finish at the ‘cross world’s.

Dutch pro Jakob Fuglsang says he ain’t done nothing wrong, despite reports he’s been hanging out with Lance’s preferred doping doc, and the good doc asserts he’s never been convicted of anything. Which is not the same as never being implicated.

Cycling Tips reminisces about the chaotic 2005 Sun Tour, which marked the start of Simon Gerrans rise as a pro, but nearly marked the end of the then 53-year old stage race, which is still going strong.

 

Finally…

Apparently, golf cart drivers are just like any other drivers. How to create traffic jams on Google Maps with a little red wagon full of cellphones.

And if a Tesla Cyberbike doesn’t exist, just build your own. Thanks to Mike Cane for the link.

 

 

New hope for Venice Blvd, entitled drivers and anti-bike bias, and an antidote for overly aggressive car ads

There may be hope for Venice Blvd yet.

Recently formed political advocacy group Streets For All has unveiled a new website to promote — or maybe fight for — a Complete Street plan that goes far beyond the limited lane reduction and parking protected bike lanes in Mar Vista.

The group is demanding that the city live up to the promises it made in approving the city’s mobility plan, Vision Zero and Green New Deal Sustainability Plan, and implement dedicated bus lanes, protected mobility lanes and pedestrian improvements to create a safer, cleaner, and more livable Venice Blvd for everyone.

It’s a worthwhile goal.

Venice is one of the few streets that runs from DTLA all the way to the coast, making it a prime thoroughfare for anyone needing to cross the city.

It also cuts through countless neighborhoods along the way that could experience new life and improved safety for the people living nearby.

And it could — and should — provide safe and affordable mobility options for people who don’t own cars, or who choose not to drive. for whatever reasons.

But the most important thing is, all they’re asking for is what the city already promised to do.

Isn’t it time we held our elected leaders to their word?

………

No bias here.

An entitled Antioch driver says his car should somehow have priority over all those entitled bicyclists who ruined his recreational drive along the coast.

………

No bias here, either.

A Missouri writer complains that the traffic statistics bike advocates cite are just lies, and that the Complete Streets that don’t even exist in his little town cause road rage.

No, seriously.

And he goes on to blame people on bicycles for causing the injuries suffered by pedestrians.

But then concludes this way.

I hope that I’ve dispelled some concerns and encouraged others to give bicycle riding a try. Perhaps we’ll meet soon. I’ll ring my bell!

Um, sure.

I feel much better now.

………

And definitely no bias here.

A writer for a right wing Central California site goes on a tirade about bike lanes and Compete Streets, saying gas tax money is being “stolen” for bike and transit projects.

Even though that’s exactly what the state said they’d be used for.

And accusing governor Newsom of using road diets to force “California residents to reach back to the 19th Century when bicycles and trains were the only transportation, other than horses and wagons.”

Damn. That sounds wonderful.

She’s on to us, comrades.

………

That’s more like it. Or maybe not.

A Belgian bike thief got a well deserved three year sentence after a judge ruled the theft was an ecological crime, because it forced the victim to use a less-clean form of transportation.

But don’t expect him to serve that sentence anytime soon.

He’s already been sentenced to a total of nine years for a massive rap sheet that includes 44 arrests with 17 convictions.

But he hasn’t spent a single day behind bars.

Yet.

………

Curbed’s Alissa Walker takes car makers to task for relying on ads that portray their cars, trucks and SUVs being driven recklessly on the same streets where people keep dying.

But here’s an antidote to those heavy footed, over aggressive Super Bowl ads.

………

Blink and you’ll miss it.

Hidden in plain sight in Jeep’s Groundhog Day Super Bowl ad was the official reveal of their upcoming 750-watt ebike. Or maybe it’s actually twice that powerful, capable of literally ripping a bike chain to shreds.

………

Can’t find the carbon fiber mountain bike frame you want? Just build your own.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.

An Iowa woman got a whopping 40 years behind bars — yes, four zero — for killing a man riding a bicycle in a Cedar Rapids parking lot while driving at twice the legal blood alcohol level; she claimed she was only trying to run over his bicycle, but he just happened to be on it at the time.

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

A New Mexico man was busted after riding his bike up to an undercover cop posing as a prostitute, then asking if he could pay her later because he wouldn’t have the money until Friday. Then finally agreed to pay her with the hamburger he was carrying.

………

Local

Curbed says the proposed makeover of Hollywood Blvd would be a big improvement, but hardly radical compared to San Francisco closing Market Street to cars.

Selena Gomez used to be one of us, but now she’s unloading the bikes she used to ride with ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber.

A writer for the New Yorker apparently thinks you can see the air in LA most days, and just breathing here feels like smoking three cigarettes — let alone riding a bike. Maybe I’ve been privileged living on the Westside most of my time in LA, but in 30 year as an Angeleno, I can count the times I’ve experienced that on one hand with most most of the fingers closed, not counting nearby wildfires. 

Burbank is making traffic improvements around three schools to create safe routes for students who walk or bike to school. Unfortunately, though, those improvements don’t appear to include bike lanes.

 

State

San Diego’s Ocean Beach Bike Path will be closed for construction work most of this month, starting today.

The owner of The Bikesmith in San Diego’s Pacific Beach neighborhood has been wrenching bikes for 50 years, earning the sobriquet Bikesmith Bob. Correction: Somehow Pacific was autocorrected to Pacificas last night. This bike shop is in Pacific Beach, as Robert Leone pointed out.

The annual Tour de Palm Springs rolls this Sunday, bringing riders from 46 states and four countries to the roads of the Coachella Valley.

Speaking of the Coachella Valley, the planned CV Link bike path around the valley continues to move forward, thanks to a $29 million state grant; however, the once 50-mile trail has shrunk to just 40.

Streetsblog says San Francisco’s 28-year old Critical Mass movement deserves credit for banning cars from Market Street, with one of the founders saying the rides made it possible for the “tepid, wimpy bike coalition people to do their thing.” Ouch. Especially considering the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is one of the country’s most successful and progressive advocacy groups.

 

National

CNN suggests Lyft should be doing well, but it keeps shooting itself in the foot.

Life is cheap in Washington, where a possibly impaired driver walks with a ridiculous two days behind bars after copping a plea to vehicular homicide in the death of a 75-year old bike rider — about 14 months and 28 days less than the typical minimum sentence. He claimed he didn’t know his medication could cause impairment, despite being on it for the past four years.

Denver officially shutters its docked bikeshare system after ten years, but looks forward to exploring other forms of micromobility.

A solo bike crash last year left a nationally recognized spinal surgeon in Houston a quadriplegic, after he caught his front wheel while riding in a park and went over the handlebars. It’s a sad commentary on our society that even someone like him needs to crowdfund money for the things not covered by insurance.

A Good Samaritan bought new bikes for two Texas boys after theirs were stolen outside their school; the local police also pitched in some new locks.

Illustrating the difficulty in keeping dangerous drivers off the roads, a Milwaukee driver confessed to the hit-and-run death of a bike rider — even though he’s never held a driver’s license.

No bike helmet requirement for Indiana kids, after a state legislator backed off on his proposal because his peers in the legislature considered it too intrusive.

Data from Atlanta’s pop-up protected bike lane experiment confirms that sharing road space benefits everyone.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a backpack from a Baton Rouge bike rider after he was killed by a pair of street racing brothers.

A New Orleans carnival krewe teams with a local neighborhood to call attention to bike and pedestrians safety, eleven months after an extremely drunk driver plowed into a group of bike riders near a Mardi Gras parade at 80 mph, killing two; Tashoni Toney will serve 90 years hard labor after pleading guilty in the crash.

This is why you don’t just toss old tires away. A Florida manatee has been spotted once again after having a bicycle tire stuck around him for at least a month.

 

International

A Toronto writer goes on an anti-Vision Zero rampage, insisting it was created by leftists to drive traffic down to turtle-like speeds and force drivers out of their cars.

A former British soldier set a new Paralympic hour record nine years after losing a leg when he was run over by a tank.

A driver in the UK got eight weeks behind bars for calling a bicyclist wearing a pink jersey “gay boy” and spitting on him; that was his big mistake since authorities traced his DNA through the sample he deposited on the victim. Unfortunately, the original article is hidden behind a paywall, so scroll down Road.cc’s page for the story.

A writer for the Guardian predicts an epic disaster if Great Britain allows e-scooters to infest the country, both for pedestrians and the people riding them. The scooters, not the pedestrians.

You might want to rethink that dream of bicycling the Emerald Isle. Bicycling fatalities have risen an average of 8% a year over the last decade, four times the rate of the next-worse European countries, France and the Netherlands.

Paris provides a prime lesson in what a real climate mayor would do to reinvent a city before it hosts the Olympic Games. Or even just let it live up to its potential.

How about a family bike tour along the Danube from Vienna to Budapest?

 

Competitive Cycling

Those proclamations that the era of doping is over might be just a tad premature. Danish and Norwegian media are reporting that Jakob Fuglsang, the world’s number two ranked cyclist, has been spotted training with Lance’s alleged doping doc Michele Ferrari, who has been banned for life from working with athletes due to his involvement in Armstrong’s US Postal Service team doping scandal.

Bicycling offers five takeaways from this year’s Cyclocross World Championships — including a surprising medal for the US in the women’s U-23 race.

Spanish cyclist Mikel Landa became just the latest pro to have a run-in with a car bumper while training, after he and a riding parter were both run down by a hit-and-run driver last week; fortunately, neither was seriously injured.

Three time men’s ‘cross champ Mathieiu van der Poel faces a tough choice between mountain biking and competing in the Grand Tours.

Columbian cyclist Egan Bernal is going to have some nasty road rash after wiping out rounding a bend on a high-speed descent during the country’s national championships.

 

Finally…

If you’re carrying meth and a pipe on your bike and riding with an outstanding warrant, put some damn reflectors on it, at least. Same goes for carrying heroin and a loaded gun, with a warrant from another state.

And your next ebike could look like a vintage motorcycle.

But why would you want it to?

………

Ride safe out there. If this wind gets any stronger, we may have to change the name of this site to BikinginOz.

And I don’t mean Australia.

 

%d bloggers like this: