Archive for Morning Links

Motorists behaving badly, possible parking protected bike lane on San Vicente, and dealing a blow to 85th Percentile rule

A couple more notes from our anonymous correspondent.

In this week’s edition of Motorists Behaving Badly, accounting for the first thirty minutes after midnight Tuesday morning:

  • A driver rear-ended a CHP officer who’d made a traffic stop on the 105, injuring the officer and totaling a patrol vehicle.
  • On Normandie Ave, a hit-and-runner hospitalized a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk literally in front of Woon’s (fallen bicyclist Frederick “Woon” Frazier) mama’s home.
  • A driver smashed the guardrail at Carmelita Ave & Zaring St (house and occupants remained safe, because a guardrail was installed, probably in hindsight.)

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Random tangent: My Favorite Lawyer™ Christien Francis Petersen (who got stabby with a reporter at a freedumb rally in HB last year, and then got arrested again for bringing a bunch of unregistered assault weapons to another freedumb rally last April) was arrested recently for hit-and-run (property damage) & DUI. Thrilled to know I’m sharing the road with him!

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In personal news, my Surly was stolen Sunday morning. Probably not by someone late for church.

Also, while nothing major was lost in the Great MacBook Air Inferno of 2021, little scraps of lost info randomly irk me, like the names of the accomplices in the Chillandra Bell (hit-and-run vs ped) case, and the specifics of the altercation in the Victor Manuel Romero case. Aurgh. Also, I cannot find Andrea Dorothy Chan Reyes on the CA Department of Corrections site. I lost my inmate number file, but you don’t actually need one to locate an inmate, and she wasn’t (isn’t?) up for parole until next month.

Photo of driver behaving badly by Artem Podrez from Pexels.

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Mark your calendar for the 18th, when you can sample a proposed parking protected bike lane on San Vicente Blvd.

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This could be the first, long overdue, nail in the coffin of the deadly 85th percentile rule.

Assuming Governor Newsom signs it, the bill would allow local governments to actually lower speed limits starting in 2024, and take the safety of vulnerable road users, such as bicyclists and pedestrians, in setting speed limits.

The bill has widespread support, passing the Senate with just five no’s and five abstentions.

https://twitter.com/WarrenJWells/status/1436102857510449158

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Pink Bike says pump your way to faster trail speed.

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

No bias here. A Missouri town says a badly worded law bans bikes from the city’s parks, even if it was only intended to prohibit riding on structures; even little kids banned from riding in them.

No bias here, either. A professional driver and self-professed amateur cyclist says many London bike riders have to be protected against their own stupidly, claiming there’d be far more riders killed if it wasn’t for drivers like him. Just wait until someone tells him about the stupid things some drivers do.

A British truck driver will be lucky to keep his job after he was suspended for tweeting that he couldn’t wait to knock down one of those “spandex-wearing fuckers.”

A hit-and-run driver in Kuala Lumpur faces charges for driving off after intentionally crashing into a man on a bicycle, leaving the victim with minor injuries.

And call me crazy, but there just may be more to this story.

https://twitter.com/MikeyCycling/status/1435884147915075589?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1435884147915075589%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2Fcycling-live-blog-9-september-2021-286197

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

WTF is wrong with some people? An Illinois college student reported a couple people on bicycles rode up and coughed on her, after claiming one had Covid.

A British Columbia letter writer complains about silent bike riders who whizz by on the sidewalks without warning. He’s got a point. If you’re going to ride on the sidewalk, give pedestrians the right-of-way and a wide berth, and always announce your presence before passing anyone from behind.

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Local

Take a two-hour guided bike tour of urban art and graffiti in DTLA over the weekend for $19 a person.

Santa Clarita’s Trek Bike Park is adding a number of features to its advanced trail, including an “eight-foot Whale Tail, six-foot kicker ramp, four-foot kicker ramp, 90-degree berm turn and an eight-foot flat wall ride;” it’s expected to be completed by next Friday.

 

State

You’ve got to be kidding. An impasse between the governor and his fellow Democrats in the state legislature means California will miss out on $500 million in funding for active transportation projects, as well as another $1 billion for LA transportation projects for the 2028 Olympics.

LAist examines the recently passed AB 1238, the so-called Freedom to Walk Act, which would eliminate most fines for jaywalking, as well as walking on the wrong side of the street when there’s no sidewalk, noting that the current prohibition disproportionately cracks down on people of color; the bill is sitting on Newsom’s desk waiting for his signature.

Santa Clara is looking for volunteers to serve on the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

A short two-minute film from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism explains how to make the unprotected parts of Oakland’s Telegraph Ave safer for people on bicycles.

San Francisco Streetsblog argues that highways wrecked American cities, leveling some of the country’s greatest neighborhoods. And too often, flattening thriving neighborhoods devoted to people of color.

 

National

Bicycling’s Selene Yeager explains how to avoid common bicycling injuries before they knock you off your bike. And yes, you can read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

A writer for Medium says e-scooters shouldn’t be used, because it doesn’t do any good to go green if you break your neck in the process.

Austin, Texas is halfway through building out a 400-mile connected bicycle network in just ten years. Something Los Angeles could have done by now if it had kept Villaraigosa’s promise to build 40 miles of bike lanes every year.

Another e-scooter maker is getting into the ebike business, with Texas-based GOTRAX introducing a $649 entry-level bike.

Illinois has removed the requirement for local matching funds for roadway projects, eliminating a barrier for building safer streets in poorer communities.

This is the cost of traffic violence. Skins and A Dog’s Prayer actress Kathryn Prescott is in a New York ICU after she was struck by a cement truck while crossing the street on Wednesday, narrowly avoiding paralysis after breaking her pelvis in two places, both her legs, her foot and her left hand, according to her twin sister.

It looks like New Yorkers can get their confiscated bicycles back, after city leaders said “oh no, you didn’t” to the NYPD, slapping the department for cutting the locks off non-abandoned bikes chained to traffic signs.

New York police busted a 21-year old man for assaulting and robbing a 68-year old man in a vicious attack as he was riding a bikeshare bike in Queens.

She gets it. A DC woman says it’s time to stop waging a block-by-block battle against safer streets in the era of global warming.

 

International

More on the international bike parts shortage, as Forbes says the wheels could come off the booming bike industry if it can’t keep up with demand.

Road.cc offers advice on how to build a better bike, with 23 upgrades for your roadie for under the equivalent of $68.

A new book shares the story of a researcher’s 10,201-mile journey by bicycle following the annual monarch butterfly migration from Mexico to Canada. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

An Ontario cop has been cleared of wrongdoing for using his patrol car to block a bike rider fleeing from police; the brakeless rider suffered a broken kneecap crashing into his car.

A British company has introduced combination head and tail lights and bike cams, similar to the popular Cycliq Fly 6 and Fly 12, for the equivalent of $138 for one, or $250 for both.

Bike and scooter riders get blamed for the City of Light’s mediocre walkability score, as a Parisian website argues “a Paris stroll has now become a hazardous balancing act for pedestrians trying to dodge screeching wheels and aggressive bicycle bells.”

Swedish electric vehicle maker Polestar introduced plans for a three-wheeled e-cargo bike for delivery companies, although it’s really more of an oversized scooter.

Tragic news from South Africa, where a driver faces charges of culpable homicide, drunk driving and reckless and negligent driving for running down and killing two men in their 50s as they rode their bikes.

Malaysian social media users tracked down a hit-and-run driver who ran down a bike rider faster than the cops could.

 

Competitive Cycling

Hats off to England’s William Bjergfelt, who at 42 became the second-oldest cyclist to compete in the Tour of Britain — and the first paracyclist, after he was told he would never ride a bike again when his shattered leg was reconstructed with three titanium plates following a head-on by a driver in 2015.

 

Finally…

Nothing like a bike-riding kitty in dark glasses. Is it trading down to leave a stolen bike behind to take a Jeep, instead?

And that feeling when they want to name a bike path after you, but you’d rather pass.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Guilty verdict in Scarpa DUI murder trial, bicycle parts in short supply due to bike boom, and a look back at LA bike history

That didn’t take long.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, 27-year old Mission Viejo resident Stephen Taylor Scarpa was convicted of murder for running down Costa Mesa fire captain Mike Kreza in 2018, as Kreza rode his bike on Alicia Parkway while training for a triathlon.

Or rather, on the sidewalk next to the parkway, which still didn’t keep him safe from Scarpa as he drove with a veritable cornucopia of drugs in his system after three days of partying.

According to the Orange County Register, Scarpa got at least some of his drugs from the same pill-prescribing Dr. Feelgood who allegedly supplied the gunman responsible for killing 13 people in the Borderline Bar massacre.

Which puts at least 14 deaths at the good doctor’s bloody feet.

The DA confirmed that Scarpa had participated in a drunk driving prevention program, which justified the murder charge.

Scarpa faces 15 years to life behind bars when he’s sentenced on December 10th, after jurors spent just four hours deliberating before reaching a verdict.

Which is just enough time to select a foreman, go over the judge’s instructions, and take a vote.

This is what our anonymous courtroom correspondent had to say.

Closing arguments for the Scarpa case were heard this morning. Alas, I am graveyard tonight, so I only got the morning events.

I haven’t written up the closing arguments because I’m a zombie, but they involved the Defense displaying an optical illusion, and the People reiterating every bit of evidence presented. Both sides defined legal terms and invoked the importance of impartiality and justice.

I don’t expect a lengthy deliberation.

I report with cringe that I previously misidentified the Deputy DA as Michael Feldman. I dunno how, it’s Dan Feldman in all my notes.

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Further testimony provided last week by OCSD investigators revealed a number of pill vials found at Scarpa’s home and in the minivan searched after the collision. Each prescription was in Scarpa’s name. The gabapentin prescription was ostensibly to control seizures after Scarpa had sustained a TBI. (Consider: a man prone to seizures due to physical brain trauma, and under the influence of gaba, who believes he is ever okay to drive.)

The Defense asked the traffic investigator on the witness stand to confirm that a motorist traveling on Alicia Parkway at or near the posted speed limit would need only a fraction of a second to veer off course and traverse the lateral distance covered by Mr. Scarpa’s Windstar, and that this could occur if the driver merely fell asleep. He went on to bring up Scarpa’s previous collision, in which he had “blacked out” and smashed a parked car or two, and for which he was never charged.

The Defense attempted to have the traffic investigator admit that Scarpa had no priors. The People’s objection was sustained. The Defense then asked vaguely about Scarpa’s driving record, and after another objection, the parties briefly retreated to chambers. Upon returning, the Defense had the investigator confirm Scarpa’s lack of prior DUI arrests. For his part, Mr. Scarpa looked hopeful that “never havin’ been caught before” reflected well on him.

The People asked about the violation of CVC 21107 (an “unsafe turning movement”), to which the Defense objected. The DA changed tack, asking instead whether the cause of the collision was the Defendant’s use of drugs prior to driving. The Defense objected, citing a demand for speculation on the deputy’s part, and the Judge sustained. The seething DA’s frustration was evident, and finally both the People and the Defense again headed to chambers with His Honor. Upon returning, the People reworded the question, and the witness answered in the affirmative: yes, intoxication was absolutely a possible direct cause.

The People immediately confirmed with the traffic investigator that Scarpa had been at fault in his prior collision, and although he had not been criminally charged, the DMV chose to revoke his privilege to drive. In fact, the DMV paperwork had been discovered in a search of Scarpa’s home, along with vials of assorted prescription pills.

The maximum lawful speed at the site of the collision is 50mph. Cyclists are protected from errant two-ton machines by a 2 millimeter high wall of thermoplastic, or, if they feel this is not enough, also by an 8-inch high concrete curb. Mr. Kreza had been riding on the sidewalk prior to his untimely landing in the number three lane of Alicia Parkway. He had not been wearing a helmet, and his dad cap was found among the embankment’s shrubs.

People’s Exhibit #33 was the toxicological exam performed on blood drawn from Mr. Scarpa four hours after the collision. The OC Crime Lab pathologist, whose thesis had been on the subject of gabapentin, expounded as questioned on the use and abuse of each drug found in Scarpa’s system, and on the effects and side effects of each. The People specifically asked whether gabapentin was useful to prevent blackouts. In fact, it is not.

The People brought Mr. Scarpa’s former colleague to the stand, an HR employee of Beachside Recovery, an addiction treatment facility where Scarpa had been employed as a Behavioral Health Technician. As part of her duties in human resources at the facility, she was responsible for “onboarding” Mr. Scarpa, including training and situating him as a new hire. To this end, she made it clear that the workplace had a zero tolerance policy for drug use and required random drug testing. People’s Exhibit was Beachside Recovery’s job description document, which stresses the importance of sobriety in carrying out the duties required of BHT’s (including driving), and which Scarpa signed. After several months of employment, Scarpa resigned suddenly, stating that he had relapsed.

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In 2011, Scarpa’s high school held an “Every 15 Minutes” event. As part of the event, a “memorial” video is created. A video montage shows DUI crash “victims” in happier times. A young lady sprints down the track straight towards the camera. As the image freezes, her name and date of death caption her smiling face. Another pretty girl dances with her friends. Her eyes lock on the camera. Her gentle smile twinkles, frozen in time as her name and death date appear on screen. A healthy young man swims powerfully toward the camera. He splashes up poolside, elbows resting on the concrete, beaming broadly. As his name pops up, jurors’ eyes whip over towards the defendant.

The video captures the aftermath of a simulated DUI collision, set up at the campus. Participating are local law enforcement and fire agencies. Scenes show the Jaws of Life in action. Shocked, gawking students. A moulaged young Stephen Scarpa. A “dead” victim immediately tarped over. Empty beer cans in the car. The teenage suspect breathalyzed and handcuffed. The ride in the back of a police cruiser. The tearful call from the jail phone. The tiny holding cell. The ambulance transport of an unresponsive young patient. Blood. Futile chest compressions. The sobbing mom in the ER.

The video is poignant and there was sniffling in the courtroom.

Throughout the school day, an actor dressed as the Grim Reaper comes into classrooms to collect the dead. The crash victim’s obituary is read aloud. (People’s Exhibit #37 is the obit written by Stephen’s mom.) That student is removed from school for the rest of the day, and a black shroud is placed over his or her desk.

The “dead” don’t return home that night. They’re taken for an overnight field trip to a local hotel, where speakers inform them of the statistics, dangers, and consequences of impaired driving. The kids retreat to their rooms, where they write a “Dear Mom/Dad, Today I Died” letter to their parents. Back at home, the parents are also writing to their “dead” child. The next day, the students gather for an assembly. The dead and their parents share the stage with a casket, and read their letters in front of the entire student body.

The video wasn’t shown in its entirety in the courtroom. As played at the school assembly, it concludes with the conviction of the teenage perpetrator. In questioning Esperanza High’s activities director on the witness stand, the Defense inexplicably pointed out that this fictional defendant had received (don’t be shocked) eight months for her felony DUI and felony manslaughter charges. The People, who had chosen to play the video in its truncated form, then inexplicably objected. His Honor overruled, and the Defense went on to ask the witness to confirm that the fictional killer had not been charged with murder.

After both sides rested their cases, the Defense requested a dismissal. His Honor did not hesitate to reject this motion.

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Today’s common theme — the effect pandemic bike boom is having on the global supply chain.

Despite an ongoing worldwide shortage of bike parts, at least some ebike prices are starting to come down. Others are boosting prices while improving quality, like this Chinese ebike foldie.

Meanwhile, Cycling Tips offers advice on how to keep your bike running, despite the parts shortage.

And Britain’s biggest bike retailer says the shortages in the global supply chain are dragging on its bicycling business.

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Evidently, dooring is nothing new.

And neither is decorating your bike for a parade.

Never mind that one of those guys with the flower-draped bikes could be your great — or maybe great, great — grandfather.

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This is who we share the road with, as police look for yet another, particularly heartless, coward.

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

New York’s Department of Transportation chief won’t commit to whether people can legally lock their bikes to street signs, even after the police confiscated a number of bicycles they claimed were locked to signs illegally. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the city’s mayor declared an end to car culture;  we’ve already seen how that worked out in Los Angeles.

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

Leading GOP California recall candidate and conservative talk show host Larry Elder was hustled into an SUV after a failed egging from a bike-riding, gorilla-masked woman, who needs to work on her aim.

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Local

The Long Beach Marathon says it’s quickly selling out; the race is preceded by a 20-mile bike ride along the marathon course.

Billions actress Malin Akerman is one of us, as she went for a ride through the streets of LA on a massive fat tire ebike with her son on the back.

 

State

Cypress police will conduct a bicycle and pedestrian safety operation this Saturday — but during the day, not at night, regardless of what the headline says. Ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits, so you’re not the one who gets ticketed. And remember the law allowing bike riders to roll stops may have passed the legislature, but it’s still not legal until the governor signs it. 

Traffic deaths went up in San Francisco despite the pandemic-light traffic, just as they did in Los Angeles.

General Motors credits bike-riding employees with working to ensure the company’s autonomous cars are programed to be aware of people on bicycles as they test them on the streets of San Francisco. If they’ve cracked the code for recognizing bike riders, let’s hope they share it with the other self-driving car makers who’ve struggled with exactly that.

 

National

Pink Bike once again takes a very tongue-in-cheek look at things that could have happened in the bike world last month, but probably didn’t. Unless they did.

A Colorado website offers four routes to experience the state’s spectacular fall colors, whether you’re on a roadie, ebike, gravel bike or mountain bike. Speaking of which, an Aspen writer calls for opening up the area’s singletrack trails to ebikes “before we’re all too old” to ride them.

The former owners of the now-defunct American bike brand Ross Bicycles pled guilty to hoarding PPE in Oklahoma last year, agreeing to pay a $1 million fine for buying over $1.2 million surgical masks from China, then reselling them to the state at a 900% markup; meanwhile, the Ross family reclaimed their original trademark for the bike brand after the federal trademark office ruled it had been abandoned.

A cruiser bikemaker came to the rescue of stranded students in Rochester NY, donating around 150 bicycles, helmets and locks to students and parents at three schools affected by a shortage of school bus drivers.

Brooklyn bike riders — and their dogs — get an early jump on the official opening of new bike lanes on the iconic Brooklyn, with one pronouncing it “stinky,” while his dog gave it three and a half paws. Out of four, presumably.

New Yorkers scrambled for alternate forms of transportation after the remnants of Hurricane Ida flooded subway system, setting a new record for usage on the city’s Citi Bike bikeshare system.

A Pennsylvania nonprofit dedicated to promoting mountain biking in Afghanistan will likely hold its signature annual event in the state’s Lehigh Valley, instead of in Afghanistan in the shadow of the towering Buddhist statues destroyed by the Taliban in their earlier incarnation.

 

International

Time Out ranks the world’s best cities, with San Francisco coming in on top, followed by Amsterdam and Manchester, England; Los Angeles checked in at a surprising #11, as they celebrated the city’s outdoor lifestyle while politely ignoring all the people forced to live there.

Road.cc looks at the best high-end, lightweight road bikes for weight weenies with money.

A letter writer from the Virgin Islands expresses his disgust at the islands’ dangerous drivers. He’s preaching to the choir.

Calgary attempts to slow drivers along a bike route by painting colorful animals onto the street, while improving the area for bike riders and pedestrians.

A former London reporter says it’s time to take a stand following the death of his friend and neighbor, a pediatrician who was killed riding her bike on a notoriously dangerous junction that is still waiting for a safety makeover promised to be finished two years ago; over 7,000 people have signed a petition demanding popup plastic barriers until permanent changes can be made.

A writer for T3 says the new relatively low-cost ebike from English scooter maker Pure Electric could be the ebike bargain of the yearAlthough it seems like Burbank-based Pure Cycles could have a decent copyright infringement case on their hands. 

You still have time to get to Limerick, Ireland in time for next week’s Bike Week.

Ride your bike eye-to-eye with ducks through a Belgian lake.

Berlin announces plans for a more than 1,800-mile bicycle network, with a three-tiered network like Los Angeles was supposed to build, and a commitment to build it out as quickly as possible. Unlike Los Angeles, where bike plans are merely “aspirational,” and the city gives itself 25 years to build them. Or not.

To the surprise of no one, the Taliban announced plans to ban women’s sports — which is why 25 members of the Afghan girls’ cycling team crossed over to Tajikistan on Monday. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the link.

Add this one to your bike bucket list — exploring Jerusalem on a rental ebike.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cyclist looks back at the memorable moments from this year’s Grand Tours.

 

Finally…

What it feels like to be a Peloton widow. That feeling when you appreciate a driver mistakenly insisting you have to stop at the stop sign, because he said it in a kind voice.

And evidently, vehicular cycling is nothing to monkey around with.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Calling out carmakers deadly lies, Biking While Black in Los Angeles, and reimagining what Ventura Blvd could be

Let’s start with a couple powerful pieces more than worth a few minutes of your time this morning.

First up is a Gainesville, Florida op-ed comparing the auto industry to big tobacco — and the lies tobacco companies told that kept killing their own customers for decades.

Sort of like carmakers keep building deadly machines designed to protect the people inside, while becoming increasingly lethal for people outside.

Not to mention building flashy distractions into the dash, which can take a driver’s attention off the road for as long as 40 seconds — enough time to drive a half mile at 50 mph, virtually blind.

Here’s just a small taste of what op-ed writer Emily Hind had to say.

To achieve change, it’s going to take more than my energy spent yelling at drivers from the safety of the sidewalk. Just like the smoking cessation advocates who took on big tobacco, I’m up against billions of dollars in advertising for the automotive industry.

In 2019, the automotive industry in the U.S. spent $13.8 billion on digital advertising and $70 million on lobbying in this country. Who is funding that big money? You are, sucker. And you’re dooming our children to climate-changed ruin, not to mention robbing them of a childhood of outdoors mobility.

I don’t dare transport my child to most of the places we go on the bike because I’m afraid one of you will murder him by car. Vehicles are more lethal now: The higher off the road they sit (thanks for nothing, SUVs and trucks), the higher the odds that an impact on the human body will be fatal.

She concludes, in part, with this.

If the fight against big tobacco is any indicator, we’re in for a long slog against the obvious untruths spun by the automotive industry. Like smokers before them, drivers are likely going to defend self-defeating habits by standing up at public meetings and railing about the “right to drive” and “right to park” no matter whom it hurts — or kills.

Seriously, it’s more than worth the click to read the whole piece.

And maybe get a little mad about it.

Artwork by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.com.

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Next up is a short film about the difficulty of Biking While Black in the City of Angels, which comes off as far less than angelic.

A number of Black bike riders talk about things like giving up biking to work after getting stopped repeatedly by the same cops. Or deciding that it just wasn’t worth the hassle to ride through Beverly Hills, day or night.

Yet they somehow continue riding a bike.

It’s a reminder that for far too many of us, distracted drivers aren’t the only dangers we face on the streets. And that everyone deserves to be treated like a human being, regardless of the color of their skin, or how they travel.

Go ahead, watch it. I’ll wait.

The nine minute documentary was sponsored with a grant from SCAG’s Go Human campaign.

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This is what Los Angeles streets could look like.

If — and only if — our elected leaders ever took their own words seriously about reducing traffic, fighting climate change and improving livability.

As the saying went, they’re great at talking the talk, not so much at walking the walk.

Or making it safe and enjoyable for anyone to walk. Or bike.

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A Low Traffic Neighborhood in the UK — the equivalent of a Slow Street in the US — demonstrated benefits throughout the neighborhood.

Results that would probably be replicated here, if anyone bothered to do the studies.

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

A road raging Irish driver faces charges for pushing a man off his bicycle and repeatedly kicking him in his head and body, resulting in at least one fracture and significant bruising.

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

Ventura police busted a 28-year old man accused of attacking a woman for no apparent reason as he rode his bike past her on a bike path.

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Local

The LAPD has released video of the vehicle driven by a hit-and-run driver who killed a woman riding circles around a Venice intersection last month; police are looking for a black, large-sized SUV, possibly a Chevrolet Suburban.

This is who we share the road with. It’s bad enough that so many people have to live on our streets. Worse that their lives are at risk from overly aggressive, distracted, drunk, stoned or merely careless drivers who can’t manage to keep their cars from banging together.

Streetsblog looks at Monday’s celebration of Streets4All and the LACBC meeting their $25,000 goal for the city’s first public/private partnership; the money will fund initial engineering and outreach to reimagine dangerous Sunset Blvd as a complete, livable street.

Walk Bike Glendale is hosting their first post-pandemic bike ride this Sunday. Although Delta and Mu might beg to differ with that description.

 

State

San Diego’s KPBS wants to know why the city is still widening roads when they’ve promised to shift away from cars.

The San Francisco Chronicle considers whether lower speed limits would save lives on the city’s most dangerous streets — if you can get past their paywall, that is. Short answer, yes. Longer answer, hell yes.

An 18-year old Chico woman suffered “significant” leg injuries when she was apparently right hooked by a garbage truck driver while riding her bike; her injuries aren’t considered life threatening, so let’s hope she recovers quickly and completely.

 

National

A provision in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that recently passed the US Senate provides $1 billion to restore urban neighborhoods by removing highways or lessening their impact on the community; too many Black and Brown neighborhoods were destroyed building them.

Morgan Stanley says the death of the American city has been highly exaggerated, although Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose are lagging in growth due to the high cost of living.

Interesting idea. A new Kickstarter campaign is selling flat pedals with LED lights to make you more visible from the front, side and rear. Now if they’d just make them for cleats, we’d have a deal.

More on the driver who somehow couldn’t resist zooming along Chicago’s DuSable Lake Shore Drive, dangerously weaving in and out of the bike riders enjoying the ostensibly carfree Bike the Drive on Sunday.

Chicago Streetsblog wants to know why no one has been arrested for the hit-and-run death of a 70-year old entertainment lawyer, despite three witnesses, police camera footage, a license plate number, and the name of the vehicle owner. Good question.

A couple Indiana boys reportedly hopped off their bicycles and stood at attention as a funeral procession for an 89-year old military vet passed by, and remained at attention until the final gun solute before getting back on their bikes and riding off.

Nice. New York will remove parking on one side of the city’s Navy Street and replace it with a two-way protected bike lane, while keeping an unprotected bike lane on the other side of the street.

There’s a special place in hell for the heartless coward who refused to stop after knocking an 83-year old Florida man off his bicycle in the country’s largest retirement community. Never mind that hitting a bike rider with the passenger side mirror is a pretty clear violation of the state’s three-foot passing law.

 

International

A new bikeshare company hopes to undercut London’s famed Boris Bikes and Lime by offering app-based dockless ebikes with no fee to unlock, and the first ten minutes free.

Scotland’s newly-appointed active transport minister — the first anywhere in the UK — is coming under criticism for not wearing a helmet when he rides a bike, saying wearing one makes him feel like he’s competing in an extreme sport. We could use someone like that in an official government capacity here, with or without a skid lid.

Heartbreaking followup to the story of India’s Bicycle Girl, who gained worldwide fame for carrying her injured father 700 miles to their home on the back of her bicycle at the beginning of the country’s pandemic lockdown; her father died of a heart attack a year later, and the funds she received for her feat are exhausted after helping her family weather the pandemic.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling Australia is already looking forward to the world road championships coming to Wollongong, New South Wales next year, even though this year’s worlds in Flanders is still over ten days away.

 

Finally…

How wasted do you have to be to hear a gunshot while sitting on a bike path, and realize you’ve been shot — without realizing you did it yourself?

And nothing like a crustacean bike traffic director.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Windshield-biased Ocean Beach victim blaming, PCH project back on Malibu agenda, and unsafe Venice bike lanes

This is who we share the road with.

In a truly awful piece, a writer in San Diego’s Ocean Beach neighborhood complains that bike advocates are lying about this years rash of bicycling deaths to foist an anti-car agenda on the car-driving public.

He has the shameless audacity to go through each death one by one, pointing out how the victims were, or could have been, at fault, but from his windshield-biased perspective.

Never mind that he’s relying on newspaper accounts for his information, which as we’ve seen, too often don’t contain the salient facts and leave far too many blanks to fill.

And all too often, are based on police reports, which can, and usually do, reflect the officer’s windshield bias, and a basic lack of training when it comes to bike laws.

I had intended to open today’s post with a lengthy rant dissecting his arguments. But soon discovered that Peter Flax had beaten me to the punch.

Writing for Medium, Flax took the writer — and the bike-unfriendly OB Rag, which published the shameful piece — to task for the obvious victim blaming.

Obvious to anyone but the author, anyway.

The central premise of Page’s story is that bike advocates and city leader in San Diego have dishonestly tried to leverage the spate of riders being killed there to get more bike lanes built — “to further the cycling agenda” as he puts it. In his argument, the connection between people dying and the need for better riding infrastructure is mostly fictious and totally overblown. And then to prove his hypothesis, Page does some light googling and sets out to demonstrate that nearly all the cycling deaths that have occurred in San Diego were likely the riders’ own fault. It’s an eye-opening exercise in victim blaming.

Above all, the story is inhumane and recklessly presumptive. Imagine thinking that you could spend an hour on Google, read a handful of day-one news stories, and then feel equipped to pronounce that strangers in your community have been killed because of their own errors or bad judgment. Imagine being an editor or publisher and thinking you want to publish that kind of a hot take on your site.

Then Flax did something remarkable.

He reached out to the man who penned that awful piece, and held a non-judgmental online discussion — nonjudgmental on his side, anyway — on why he wrote it.

Here’s just a brief sample of the conversation.

In your story, you state quite firmly that five of these deaths were the fault of the cyclists, and that several made “poor choices” and several more died in circumstances where blame cannot be assigned. This adds up to nearly all the deaths in San Diego. Can you see how many people felt like you were engaged in victim blaming?

I did not blame any victims. I recounted that the news stories on five of these clearly showed the cyclist was at fault, that was not me making a decision based on the facts. The facts in five more do not say who was at fault, not a conclusion I came to. I have responded to several comments asking for a specific instance of victim blaming in my article. Nothing.

It’s not victim blaming these folks are upset about. They are upset because I had the temerity to challenge the cycling narrative to the public by debunking their claim about what these 12 deaths meant. My target was dishonesty.

Unfortunately, the conversation accomplished exactly what you’d expect, with the author unbudging in his unbridled victim blaming, and accusations of some subversive cyclist agenda.

But you have to give Flax credit.

That could not have been an easy conversation to have. And he went out of his way to understand the other man, and to be fair.

But this kind of attitude is, sadly, all too common.

One where we are seen, not as ordinary people simply trying to stay safe on the streets, but as wild-eyed activists pushing a radical anti-car agenda to force the unwilling car-driving public onto bicycles.

When the truth is, we’re just trying to get from here to there in one piece.

And too often, failing.

Photo from the bike path in Santa Monica, which will have to stand in for Ocean Beach.  

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Malibu’s continually rescheduled discussion of a plan to widen the shoulder on a two-mile section of PCH, instead of building bike lanes, which will presumably put bike riders in the door zone — unless maybe they won’t — is back on the agenda for tomorrow night.

Unless it gets postponed once again.

Here’s the notice from Streets For All

Ask the City of Malibu to add safe, protected bike lanes to PCH

There is a special Planning Commission Meeting (RESCHEDULED) in Malibu this Wednesday at 630pm where they are going to discuss approving a plan to widen the shoulder on 2 miles of Pacific Coast Highway between Webb Way and Puerto Canyon Road to add MORE parking.

Their proposal really only benefits cars and puts people on bikes in the “door zone.” We need them to do better – it’s time for Caltrans and Malibu to add protected bike lanes to PCH.

EMAIL THE MALIBU PLANNING COMMISSION BY TUESDAY (9.7)

Maybe the ‘Bu is just hoping we’ll all stop paying attention if they postpone it enough times.

Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.

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The author of this tweet sent it to my attention to point out a dangerous condition on the bike lanes on Venice Blvd.

To be honest, it’s hard for me to get too worked up about this simply because it’s been going on for so long.

Whether’s it’s RVs, illegally parked semis and construction trucks, or some other obstacle, the Venice bike lanes are frequently blocked in one place or another from one end to another, and have been for years.

Enforcement doesn’t seem to do any good. Ticketing or towing drivers for parking illegally only seems to work in the moment, until they come back a day or two later.

If not the same day.

The only solution I can see is to install protected bike lanes from Downtown to the coast. And preferably designed so drivers won’t just park in it anyway, like the LAPD and delivery drivers already do in DTLA.

Which should have been done already.

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Sunset4All held a successful celebration of LA’s first public/private partnership to transform one of the city’s most dangerous streets.

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Join Tern and New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie for a Reddit chat on the two-wheeled future of transportation.

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Here’s your reminder that the annual worldwide Fancy Women Bike Ride will roll later this month.

Unfortunately, I haven’t heard anything about rides planned for Los Angeles, or anywhere in Southern California.

So let me know if you’re planning anything here.

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A Scottish driver escaped a close call when a bicycle fell off the rack of another car on the highway, and lodge in his windshield.

Maybe there really is a war on cars, and the bikes are finally striking back.

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GCN says you’re probably killing your ebike, if you have one. So stop it, already.

Meanwhile, a writer for Treehugger says she gets so many questions, she feels like a celebrity when she rides her ebike. And recommends getting one “a million times over.”

………

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

Nothing like an LA driver intent on sending a message. Or worse.

https://twitter.com/EntitledCycling/status/1434327524004163588

Evidently, there’s no such thing as a carfree event where drivers are concerned. Like the schmuck who decided to weave his car around participants in Chicago’s Bike the Drive on Sunday.

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

Probably not the best idea to repeatedly fire an antique gun for no apparent reason while riding along an Iowa bike path.

A New York State man is under arrest after using his bicycle as a weapon when police attempted to take him in on a couple outstanding warrants, before pulling a knife on them after a foot chase.

A Virginia bike rider refused to exchange information and demanded money from a driver after a minor collision; the driver wisely called the police instead, and the man on the bike rode off before they arrived.

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Local

This is who we share the road with. A 22-year old Los Angeles man is dead following a road rage confrontation after a minor fender bender. He chased the other driver when she left the scene, then was thrown to the street after somehow ending up on her hood during a second confrontation.

Streets For All is hosting another virtual happy hour a week from tomorrow, with special guest LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds. Which makes it the perfect opportunity to ask why the bike plan is still just “aspirational,” and why Vision Zero and the city’s Green New Deal seem to have been pushed so far onto the back burner they’re in danger of falling off entirely.

Mark your calendar for the Los Angeles edition of the World Naked Bike Ride on September 18th, where you can go as bare as you dare except for your face, which will need a mask.

 

State

Police in La Jolla busted a suspected serial burglar and bike thief who had been raiding back yards and garages for months; he’s now being held on $300,000 bond.

After talking with other people who’d done it, a San Francisco writer decides to try riding a bike up the area’s steepest hill, with grades as stiff as 30%

A pair of looters were arrested for stealing bicycles from South Lake Tahoe homes after the town was evacuated because of the Caldor Fire.

Oops. A Chico man was busted after police stopped him riding a $5,000 mountain bike, then searched his home and found several stolen bike frames and parts, along with a few grams of meth.

 

National

Your next bike helmet could come loaded with an augmented reality and artificial intelligence-enhanced heads-up display, complete with a 360-degree camera.

After walking away from his IT job, a Portland man is devoting himself full-time to cleaning up the city’s pathways, collecting trash in a trailer towed behind his bike.

Reno bike advocates are up in arms after the city calls for a $100,000 study to reroute a planned bike lane, because the casinos complained that they don’t want one in front of their businesses. Apparently failing to grasp that bike riders are used to gambling, since we have to do it on a daily basis.

Nice gesture from Denver Bronco’s general manager, the rest of the front office and the coaching staff, as they built 75 bicycles for underprivileged second grade students at a local elementary school in honor of former Bronco’s coach Greg Knapp, who was killed in a Bay Area bicycling collision in July.

Kansas police insist they’ve got the right man now, after arresting a motorist for shooting and killing a man, apparently to steal his bicycle, after they’d both visited the same business; another man was cleared of the crime after being arrested earlier, but was still being held on outstanding warrants.

Sometimes, the sound of gunfire is just a bike tire popping in an Arkansas Walmart.

A Cincinnati student newspaper calls for keeping a popup bike lane that was installed in a weekend for just fifty grand.

A Connecticut congressman is riding his bike across the state to promote all the state has to offer. Which apparently isn’t much, since his ride will be just a hair over 91 miles. 

A New York man was rescued after spending anywhere from two to eight hours trapped down a shaft in the Queens woods when he somehow fell down it during a bike ride through the park.

New Yorkers are criticized for risking the lives of bicycle delivery riders, who somehow stayed on the job despite the incredible risks posed by the recent Hurricane Ida.

Sad news from New Jersey, where nationally recognized cyclist and triathlete Arland Macasieb was fighting for his life after being run down by the driver of a classic ’59 Corvette as he was riding his bike across a freeway onramp; Macasieb is also a repeat national trial champ and national record holder in the Philippines.

A Philadelphia magazine profiles North Philly’s Bilenky Cycle Works and their high-end, handmade bicycles.

 

International

The shortage of bicycles and parts fueled by the pandemic bike boom is now expected to last through the end of next year.

Credit the Romans with the first Low Traffic Neighborhoods — or Slow Streets, as we call them on this side of the Atlantic.

He gets it. A British writer says there are no winners in the debate over cars versus bikes.

Inspiring story from a 14-year old English boy who was told he could never ride a bicycle due to his autism and hydrocephalus, and not only learned to ride, but raised the equivalent of nearly $14,000 for his scout troop by riding 1,000 mile across the length of the UK. And had to overcome the theft of his bike just days before he started.

What does it say about our streets that there’s even a need for a $1,000 German made backpack that becomes a full torso airbag in the event of a crash?

BMW wants to put you on a ped-assist ebike with a whopping 186-mile range — and a top speed of 37 mph, which would appear to make it illegal under California law. And would require a driver’s license and motorcycle helmet even if it’s not.

Gee, it’s such a relief to know there’s no suspicion of foul play in the death of a Singapore man who was dragged more than 100 feet under a bus, after he allegedly ran a red light on his bicycle and was right hooked by the driver, who claims he never saw him.

Speaking of Singapore, a woman had a far too close call when she fell off her bike and nearly landed in the path of a large truck. Although all the commenters seemed to care about is that the group of bicyclists she was with wasn’t supposed to be on that highway to begin with.

Still in Singapore, a bike delivery rider says why bother with handlebars, and builds an AI chip that can steer his bike for him.

 

Competitive Cycling

To the surprise of no one, Primož Roglič won the Vuelta by a whopping margin of 4 minutes and 42 seconds, after taking four stages in the process.

Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez apologized for giving up and quitting in the middle of the penultimate Vuelta stage, after falling off a possible podium finish when he was dropped in an attack, slipping from third to sixth before abandoning.

Pez Cycling News shares their final rant from, and about, the Vuelta.

For reasons known only to them, media outlets across the US suddenly decided to share a 2013 CNN piece offering fast facts about Lance Armstrong, as if the seven-time ex-Tour de France winner was somehow once again relevant. Which he’s not.

Sad news from Spain, where a competitor in a Córdoba mountain bike race was found dead a short distance off the road after going missing during the race; the cause of his death was unknown.

 

Finally…

You don’t have to wear spandex when you ride, but try not to look like the Michelin man. If you’re carrying a baggie full of crack on your bike — and have an outstanding warrant for murder — put a damn light on it, already.

And if drivers keep blocking the bike lane, just move it to the other side of the street to keep them out.

Right?

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L’shanah tovah to everyone celebrating 5782 today!

Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Ride to letter of the law in SaMo today, police look for hit-and-run bike rider, and Beverly Hills cops accused of racial bias

Apologies for the short notice on this one.

You’ll want to ride to the letter of the law in Santa Monica today while the police are conducting another bicycle and pedestrian safety operation.

They’ll be looking for violations that put bike riders and pedestrians at risk, regardless of who commits them. So just make sure it isn’t you.

And maybe the city can give us a little more notice next time.

Photo of green bike lane on Main Street in Santa Monica.

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Beverly Hills Police are looking for this man for questioning in a hit-and-run collision with a pedestrian.

If you know him — or if it’s you — contact the Beverly Hills Police Department at 310/550-4951. Right now, they just want to talk.

And yes, it’s still hit-and-run if you’re on a bicycle, and ride away from a collision that injures another person. So don’t do that.

Stick around and exchange information, or wait until the police arrive, just like you would in a car collision.

Because you would, right?

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Speaking of Beverly Hills cops, the department is accused of harassing Black people on and around Rodeo Drive, according to a lawsuit filed by a Black couple visiting from Philadelphia, who were arrested for the heinous crime of riding scooters on the gilded street.

They were among the targets of a task force set up in the wake of last year’s George Floyd protests to address fraud in the high-end shopping district arrested 106 people — 105 of whom were Black.

The other man was identified as Latino.

Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

Other Black people were arrested for walking outside of the crosswalk or roller skating, although the police noted that the task force did recover 13 loaded guns and seized $250,000 in cash and ill-gotten debit cards.

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Great idea. A new clamp-on attachment promises to convert a wheelchair to an e-tricycle.

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

No bias here. A Purdue University website says people on bicycles break laws and create danger for drivers. Just wait until someone tells them about the dangers caused by lawbreaking drivers.

Police in Nottingham, England are looking for the driver caught on video calmly driving down a bike lane, as if it was his or her own personal traffic lane.

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

A student at LA’s Santee High School was shot in the leg following a fist fight with another student, who fled on a blue bicycle.

Police in Ventura are looking for a man who randomly attacked a woman walking on bike path near Kimball Park, after he rode his bike past her, then turned around and assaulted her for no apparent reason.

Someone is riding a bike around the Harvard University campus randomly punching male grad students.

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Local

An op-ed in the LA Times examines why people of color are more likely to be the victims of traffic violence, both in Los Angeles and throughout the US, while noting that pedestrian deaths are up more than a third in the six years since the city adopted Vision Zero.

Metro Bike is offering free one-ride passes for Labor Day weekend, and a 30-day pass for just one dollar.

No bias here, either. A writer for Yo! Venice says now that the city has cleaned up the homeless encampments, it’s time to deal with the “scourge” of e-scooters, complaining they’re “out-of-control and everywhere.”

Pasadena approved spending $168,000 on a Slow Streets program by repurposing funds originally budgeted for the 626 Golden Streets open streets fest, but had to return another $162,000 in Metro grant money.

Mike Richards may have lost his short-lived job replacing Alex Trebek as host of Jeopardy, but he’s still one of us, riding with his family on an offroad trail in LA.

 

State

More on the passage of AB 122, which will allow California bike riders to treat stop signs as yields, assuming the governor signs it. And which overwhelmingly passed both houses of the legislature with rare bipartisan support.

Officers from the Westminster Police Department and Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies finished a four-day, 630-mile to Sacramento to honor officers who died in the line of duty earlier this year.

If you were planning to spend the holiday weekend at the China Peak bike park outside Fresno, start making new plans, after it abruptly closed for the season due to the high fire risk.

Campus police at Chico State are urging students to secure their bikes with a U-lock, as bike theft increases on the campus.

 

National

They get it. The American Prospect says it’s time to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the pandemic by building back, not just better, but bike friendly, while noting that not many US cities have done that.

The Verge offers more on the groundbreaking new bike-by-wire system designed to power ped-assist ebikes without a chain or belt drive.

MSN ranks their picks for the best bike computers for all types of bicyclists. On a similar note, Forbes offers their choices for the best bike helmets for different types of riders.

A bike rider in Salt Lake City was lucky to escape with minor head injuries after he rear-ended a stopped van when his brakes apparently failed. A reminder to always check your brakes before you ride, and clean your rims to remove oil or other residue if you have rim brakes. 

Drivers in Texas could now see jail time for killing or injuring a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Now extend the law to bike lanes, and we can talk.

Chicago is installing new protected bike lanes on the “notoriously dangerous intersection” where School of Rock drummer Kevin Clark was killed while riding a bike last summer; 13 years after another bike rider was killed at the same spot. Although the “protection” is nothing more than the plastic car-tickler bendy posts that too often pass for protection in Los Angeles, and won’t actually protect anyone. 

A longtime Chicago community activist and bike and pedestrian advocate was critically injured when he as struck by an SUV driver, after he somehow “appeared in the street” as the driver was turning right. Yet another reminder that no one ever just appears out of nowhere; it’s just another way of drivers admitting that they weren’t paying attention behind the wheel.

Life is cheap in New York, where the operator of a limo company walked without a single day in jail for a “catastrophic brake failure” that killed 20 people; he’ll serve just five years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service despite copping a plea to 20 counts of criminally negligent homicide.

After being feted by Forbes as one of their Under 30 honorees, the founder of Philadelphia-based folding bike helmer maker Kova by AnneeLondon shuttered the business for the sake of her mental health after struggling to keep it going during the pandemic.

A bill to officially designate the 1,300-mile 9/11 National Memorial Trail connecting the three sites of the terrorist attacks, stretching from Pennsylvania to DC, passed the US House by a unanimous vote and now awaits its fate in the Senate.

 

International

The Guardian says bikepacking is the best way to escape the crowds in Cornwall on a new 124-mile gravel trail.

Berlin is making their popup bike lanes permanent, after the city saw a 25% jump in bicycling rates during the pandemic. On the other hand, Los Angeles can’t make any popup bike lanes permanent, because they didn’t install any. And no one really knows if bike riding rates went up during the pandemic, because no one was counting.

They get it. Lebanon residents are fighting to make the country more bicycle friendly as a solution to congestion and rising fuel prices. Exactly why we should do the same thing here, especially if you add combating climate change to the equation.

Atlas Obscura looks back fondly to the golden age of bicycle noodle delivery, when workers would ride with one hand on the handlebars and the other balancing a massive stack of boxed soba noodles on their shoulder.

 

Competitive Cycling

Swiss road champ Marlen Reusser broke away from a six-woman breakaway to win the first day of the Challenge by La Vuelta, with SoCal sprinter Coryn Rivera finishing second; the four stage race serves as the severely truncated women’s counterpart to the 21 stage Vuelta.

Colombian Miguel Ángel López claimed a solo victory after riding away from the pack on the hors catégorie Altu d’El Gamoniteiru in Thursday’s 18th stage of the Vuelta, while Primož Roglič finished second to virtually his seal victory in this year’s race.

Sixty-year old Aussie Paralympic cycling great Carol Cooke was hospitalized with a punctured lung following a “nasty crash” with two other competitors on the rain slicked road cycling course; she’d won gold in the event five years ago in Rio.

Cyclist questions whether this year’s Tour de France was decided by the high number of crashes involving top riders.

 

Finally…

Why settle for a regular ebike when you can have a DIY part-time pneumatic tall bike? That feeling when your bird hates flying but loves riding on your handlebars.

And who needs an ebike when you’ve got rocket power?

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Thanks once again to Matthew R for his generous monthly donation to help support this site. Donations of any size or frequency are always welcome and appreciated. You can also help by telling your favorite local bike shop to advertise here.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Banks trial delayed again, German gets 15 years for killing bike rider Bihn Ngo, and Stop As Yield bill goes to governor

Let’s start with a few more notes from our anonymous correspondent, while we wait for her next update from the Scarpa murder trial.

Well, on October 1st, Mariah Kandise Banks has yet another reset for a preliminary hearing in the hit-and-run death of Frederick “Woon” Frasier. Time to review matters is needed by both the latest Deputy DA assigned to her case AND the counsel Banks has chosen to replace her previous, recently deceased defense attorney. This gives Miss Banks a spell to recover, as she seemed to be under the weather with a deep, phlegmy cough. (I wish I would have double-masked.)

I spoke briefly to the DA. He stated that he had personally spoken to Woon’s mama, and I am skeptical, because if I were the mother of the deceased I would absolutely have mentioned that the perpetrator’s social media shows her in violation of the terms of her bail, but the DA did not forward any such mention to the judge.

Judge Erika Estrada is the new judge presiding over courtroom 38, as Judge Hobbs has been assigned to a different one. I am furious on behalf of the Foltz court staffers who have died of COVID that, last summer, Hobbs chose to let a witness testify without a mask. Especially since the witness was a cop, and local law enforcement agencies have had a statistically high infection rate among their members. Ugh. So disappointing.

(Ed. note: Peter Flax wrote movingly about Woon’s death, and his mother’s long-delayed fight for justice, which is now two years longer. 

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Repeat drunk driver and former bartender Justin Scott German, who ran down Binh Ngo in 2017, accepted a plea bargain last week. He left Ngo’s broken body and parts of his shiny red Mustang lying in the road. Family members who noticed his incomplete vehicle also noted details in the news of a local crash. They asked a neighbor (a retired police officer) how to proceed, and he called it in.

German has been sentenced to 15 years in state prison; 10 for murder and an additional 5 for hit-and-run, to be served consecutively. Currently he’s chillin’ in county until next week, when he has his arbitrary firearms relinquishment hearing.

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My laptop fried to a crisp last month, and I had nothing backed up.

Nothing.

Most of my court notes are hand scribbled, and my day planner’s good ol’ hard copy too, so there’s some consolation.

But I had been collecting basic info bits for a mapping project, and they are irretrievable.

Several years ago, a nonprofit bike agency back east (Bike Baltimore maybe?) had a map documenting collisions of cars vs buildings. I understand the importance of such an endeavor, because those selfish buildings aren’t licensed, and have you ever seen one wearing a helmet? Ever?!? Every year, these damn buildings inflict hundreds of thousands, probably millions, of dollars worth of damage to vehicles. HOW DARE THEY?!? They must be publicly shamed!

Anyway. I had begun documenting collisions involving buildings and assorted public infrastructure. Like the Edison pole on Huntington Drive that a speeder knocked into a backyard swimming pool on a sunny weekend afternoon. Another collision on Huntington Drive Wednesday involved a collision with an LA County Fire rig, which sent a Toyota into someone’s yard. And the hydrant (one of about 900 annually in LA County alone) that got sheared on Alameda on Sunday. And the fence at the Long Beach DMV that got taken out Monday, never mind the fence at the Hollywood post office. And these apartments, whose occupants should’ve just stayed out of the way. Did I mention some geezer tried to turn my local drugstore into a drive-thru?

These things happen ALL. THE. TIME. and rarely make the news. We just shrug, repair the property, and move on. C’est la vie. So it goes. Pertinent Onion headline.

Photo shows Bank’s alleged victim Frederick “Woon” Frazier in better days.

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Now we can all breathe a little easier.

It looks like AB 122 has been approved by the state assembly, after it was revised in the senate.

https://twitter.com/JeremyBWhite/status/1433185054750953473

Now it’s on to Governor Newsom’s desk for his signature. But even if he’s recalled, it looks like he’ll have more than a month after the election to sign the bill.

So I wouldn’t expect any news until after the September 14th recall election, as he’s likely to avoid action that could give anyone a reason to vote yes.

Even if research does show it’s safer for bike riders to yield instead of stop.

Thanks to Bicycling Monterey’s Mari Lynch for the recall info.

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Yes, former LA Councilmember Marvin Braude was one of us.

And there’s a reason why the beachfront bike path is named after him.

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Nothing like letting a hit-and-run driver get away with it, just because they got away with it.

https://twitter.com/BarbChamberlain/status/1433100471057539080

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

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It looks like there really is a war on cars, after all. But this time, it’s Mother Nature who’s looking for revenge.

https://twitter.com/motorisms/status/1433260352209309699

Seriously, though, let’s all say a few prayers and send some good thoughts to everyone affected by Hurricane Ida and it’s remaining remnants. Even the ones in cars. 

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

No bias here. An Iowa radio personality complains that the state’s bicyclists are dangerously out of control, before noting that it’s just a small minority that causes the problems. But they should stay out of his way.

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

A New Jersey man was lucky to escape with two months behind bars and three years probation for breaking the jaw of a man with a disability, after an argument that began as he rode his bike by the victim. And ended when he circled back on his bike to punch the guy in the face. See hell, special place, for attacking someone with a disability. Schmuck.

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Local

No news is good news, right?

 

State

Spectrum News 1 looks forward to California’s forthcoming $10 million ebike rebate program.

Kern County is hoping to salvage a plan to extend the eastern end of the Kern River bike path by avoiding the golf course that scuttled earlier plans. Or better yet, just seize the place by eminent domain, and build affordable housing on the damn thing. And the bike path.

This year’s Eroica California has been postponed until next year, and the 2021 Mammoth Gran Fondo has been cancelled, due to the closure of national forest lands and the strain on firefighting resources.

 

National

Amazon is recalling 860 TurboSke Kids Toddler bike helmets sold through the site because they don’t meet CPSC helmet standards; only size small helmets are affected.

While European shipping companies have been quick to embrace e-cargo bikes, their American counterparts are dragging their feet. For reason’s that should be obvious to anyone who’s paid attention to the lack of safe infrastructure and the sorry state of our streets. 

A Portland woman discusses how she learned to quiet her demons and keep riding through her pregnancy.

A 16-year old Idaho boy completed the nearly 1,200-mile Silk Road Mountain Race through the mountains of northwest Kyrgyzstan, finishing in 11 days and nine hours. So what were you doing at 16?

There’s a special place in hell for anyone who would steal a custom-made adaptive bike from a Minneapolis man with a disability. Or any other adaptive bicycle, for that matter.

Tragic news from Queens, where a nine-year old boy was killed in a fire started by charging an ebike battery. No word on what kind of bike or battery was involved.

A New Jersey monument preserves the actual brakeless, fixed gear, steel frame, wooden-wheel bicycle ridden to victory in the first Tour of Somerville race 81 years ago.

A Pittsburgh bike rider confirms that when it comes to protected bike lanes, if you build it, they will come.

That’s more like it. A stoned and drinking Pennsylvania driver will spend up to eleven years behind bars for critically injuring a 13-year old boy riding a bicycle; over a year later, the boy still requires 24-hour care for a traumatic brain injury.

A bike-riding Mississippi woman was apparently killed by a sentient, self-driving 30-year old pickup. Otherwise, the story would have mentioned that the damn thing had a driver. Right?

 

International

Road.cc says new theories changing occupational health and safety could improve road safety, as well as eliminating the attitude of us versus them on our streets.

Mérida, Yucatan is moving forward with plans to build a bike lane network equal to 10% of the 2,900-mile road space devoted to cars. That should be the minimal goal for any city, anywhere.

Kate and William’s kids are all one of us, as Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis spent the summer taking long walks, fishing and riding horses and bikes on an extended stay with the queen in her Scottish retreat. Although the 95-year old queen probably didn’t ride bikes with them.

A UK bike mechanic is giving back to the country’s health workers fighting the pandemic by repairing stolen bikes recovered by the police, and giving them to National Health Service staffers who’ve had their own bikes stolen.

No surprise here, as Copenhagen is once again ranked the world’s most bike-friendly city, followed by Tallinn, Estonia and Amsterdam. Mad City was the only American city to make the list at #27, just behind Ottawa, Canada.

Dutch ebike maker VanMoof has raised a whopping $182 million over the past two years — not counting crowdfunding campaigns — making it the world’s most funded ebike company.

Proof of concept. An Austrian industrial design student has put over 620 miles on his bizarre looking circular-framed touring bike that folds out into its own camper.

A Malaysian website remembers the legendary Lion of Malaya, who fought the Japanese during WWII by smuggling leaflets hidden in the hollow tubes of his bicycle.

 

Competitive Cycling

To the surprise of no one, Primož Roglič is back in the Vuelta’s red leader’s jersey as the race returned to the mountains for a couple intense stages, over two minutes ahead of second place Enric Mas. American Sepp Kuss is five minutes back after fighting off challengers to finish second in yesterday’s 17th stage.

Oddly named Norwegian cyclist Odd Christian Eiking probably won’t have to worry about making sure they get his name right on the Vuelta trophy anymore, after slipping off the red jersey and out of the top ten.

USA Cycling announced the roster for the road world championships in Flanders later this month; Amber Neben is questionable after she was left-crossed by a driver while riding on PCH in Corona Del Mar two weeks ago, breaking her pelvis in three place.

American paracyclist Oksana Masters won two road cycling golds in two days at the Tokyo Paralympics, despite never having won a previous road race.

Red Bull looks back at the rapid evolution of mountain bikes over the 20-year history of the Red Bull Rampage.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike might not have a chain, belt or anything else connecting the crank with the wheel. If it doesn’t have pedals, it ain’t an ebike.

And why you should never mess with a Victorian woman on a bicycle.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Day one of Scarpa murder trial, tell LA to stop street racing and loud engines, and CHP responsible for East LA hit-and-run

Our anonymous Orange County correspondent is back to cover this week’s trial of Stephen Taylor Scarpa for murder.

Scarpa allegedly ran down popular Costa Mesa fire captain and father Mike Kreza in a drug-fueled crash three years ago, as Kreza was riding a bicycle in Mission Viejo to train for a triathlon.

Here’s what she had to say about the lead-up to the long-delayed trial.

Stephen Taylor Scarpa‘s jury trial starts on Monday. So far, Judge Patrick Donahue has decided to allow the video of Scarpa’s participation in his high school’s “Every 15 Minutes” event, as well as testimony from fellow personnel of the rehab centers he worked at. The People’s exhibits will probably also include the DMV’s letter of license revocation and a diagram (but no photographs) of the victim’s many injuries.

Since Scarpa has a long-standing association with drugs, his medical records might be presented as well. The judge finds that this is not in violation of HIPAA. Despite the lack of a previous arrest for DUI, there is sooo much other evidence, strong evidence, that Scarpa knew the dangers of impaired driving, the DA might not even bother to present these records. Scarpa had jaw-dropping levels of assorted drugs in his system, and his blood was not drawn until 4 hours after the collision.

His Honor has forbidden Kreza’s fellow firefighters to attend the trial in full uniform, and friends & family will not be allowed to wear clothing or badges with the deceased’s likeness. I am sorely tempted to get a T-shirt printed up with “It’s about time” in bold letters, because according to the arresting officer, these were Scarpa’s words as the handcuffs were slapped on.

And this is how she reported on the first day of public testimony in the trial.

Oh, man, I’m not hopeful.

The Scarpa trial began Monday morning. Deputy DA Michael Feldman began opening statements by thanking the victim’s friends and family for coming. As stipulated by the judge, no uniformed firefighters were present inside the courtroom. But they were out in the hallway to provide support for the widow and other family members. There was no mention that Mr. Kreza himself had been a firefighter.

In a PowerPoint presentation bannered by the misspelled name of the defendant, Mr. Feldman tersely listed the basic facts that support the People’s charge, among them Scarpa’s participation in his high school’s “Every 15 Minutes” program, his rehab stints, and his employment as a behavioral health technician. “He’s gonna be the one to tell you first hand,” insisted Mr. Feldman, pointing at the defendant, that he was aware of the dangers and consequences of impaired driving. To this end, the People played audio files of the interrogation, in which Mr. Scarpa tells the investigating deputy, “I do it, but I don’t condone it,” a tacit and unambiguous confession. Mr. Scarpa clutched tissues as the DA played his confession that he’d driven impaired with his own young daughter in the car.

Feldman then went on to use the word “accident” several times during his opening statement. AUUUUURGH. That is the entire premise of the defense. It’s almost like he’s trying to hand Mr. Scarpa an acquittal with a big red shiny bow.

Mr. Lowenstein, for the Defense, insisted that the collision had been an “accident,” and that Mr. Scarpa’s actions did not meet the legal definition of implied malice. He stated that the prescription drugs found in Scarpa’s system do not, as opposed to Feldman’s assertion, have warning stickers telling users not to drive. The defense asked whether Scarpa acted with “conscious disregard” (without underscoring the impossibility because Scarpa was, in fact, unconscious at the time of impact).

The Defense told the jury that Scarpa, though drugged up after a party, drove approximately 25 miles without incident, and there was no evidence that he was speeding. He went on to loftily praise Scarpa’s parking (“snug against the curb”!) after the collision, and reiterated several times that he did not attempt to flee afterwards. The collision was merely “a split second in time, a miscalculation, a perfect storm of events.”  Scarpa’s temporary inattention, “a fraction of a second,” and impaired state led to “a perfect storm of events.” (Lowenstein also mentioned something about a perfect storm of events.)

Both Feldman and Lowenstein brought up the words Mr. Scarpa uttered upon his official arrest: “It’s about time.” The People assert that this indicated Mr. Scarpa’s acceptance of a long-anticipated outcome. The Defense suggested that Mr. Scarpa had been expecting an arrest only for the duration of his lengthy interrogation.

First to testify was widow Shana Kreza, who identified a photo of her late husband, and briefly described the family’s Saturday morning, getting ready for their daughter’s soccer game. Mr. Kreza had left on his bicycle, but never arrived at the soccer field.

Next on the witness stand was the first responding officer, who described taking initial command of the scene, Mr. Kreza’s broken body, the agitation of the suspect, and the actions of the Good Samaritans.

The next two witnesses had been in the car behind Scarpa. Ragan Hill and her nephew, Cage Morgan, were putting up garage sale signs in the neighborhood. Hill saw Scarpa’s minivan leave the roadway. As it took out shrubs and saplings on the embankment to the right of the sidewalk (where Kreza was riding his bicycle, despite the adjacent bike lane), she saw a body fly off the top of the minivan.

Morgan described his aunt yell, “Oh my god, look at that car!” He diverted his attention from his phone to see Scarpa’s minivan returning to the roadway, with a trailing cloud of debris. He watched as a man fell off the minivan’s roof onto the road. Hill hit the brakes, stopping about 5-10 feet from Kreza’s prone, bloody body. Morgan called 911, and both exited the vehicle to assist.

Scarpa had parked by the curb and exited his minivan as well, but didn’t approach his victim or the witnesses. Instead, he sat on the curb, fidgeting. “My first thought,” testified Hill, “was that he was impaired.”

Both Hill and Morgan described the same aspects of the scene: Scarpa’s agitation, Kreza’s bone sticking out of his lower leg. Morgan was afraid to initiate CPR, fearing it would exacerbate Kreza’s injuries. Because Morgan was unsure the collision was accidental and did not know whether Scarpa was dangerous, he didn’t approach the suspect, but gestured questioningly from a distance, with palms up. He kept an eye on Scarpa, who appeared disoriented, because “I was afraid he would flee the scene.”

Deputy Christian Servin was called to the scene to perform a field sobriety test. He first approached the twitchy suspect and asked what was going on. He was apprehensive about asking Scarpa to perform some of the physical field sobriety testing tasks because his lack of balance and coordination might subject him to falls. Deputy Servin’s search found six 800mg gabapentin pills on Scarpa’s person, and Scarpa confirmed he had no prescription. Though Servin had difficulty with communication because Scarpa was “in and out” of it, he was able to determine that Scarpa had not slept for two days, had smoked .25g of meth 36 hours prior, had fresh tracks from injecting a fentanyl/meth mixture, had taken Suboxone at a party that morning, and had taken lorazepam. Scarpa stated that he had no medical conditions, and (and) that he was under a doctor’s care. (This doctor, perhaps?) Scarpa also stated he knew he should not have been driving, because he was “upset,” and he believed that he had crashed into a tree and several people.

At this point, court recessed for lunch, and I had to split ’cause I have graveyard shifts, but I’m all free for Day 2.

Meanwhile, the Daily Pilot says the case will hinge on intent, and whether Scarpa intentionally committed the act that resulted in Kreza’s death.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

………

Our anonymous correspondent also added this note.

EMT students are required to attend one rotation in a hospital emergency department. I did this.

The morning started off slow, and the nurses had zero interest in talking with me, so I poked my head into an exam room and announced to the patient that I was there to check her vitals. She consented and while I took her pulse, I asked what brought her to the ER. She stated that she had passed out while making a left turn (in a major intersection, btw) and had crashed into a fire hydrant. I sympathized with her awful morning, and then asked what she’d had for breakfast. Nothing. I suggested that it was always a good idea to fuel up to start your day. Then I asked whether she was on any medications. She had taken a prescription narcotic analgesic before she took her kids to school. “And you drove?” She confirmed this. I informed her that it was dangerous to drive under the influence, and her pill bottle even had a warning sticker added to the prescription label. She insisted there was no such warning, so we pulled the bottle out of her purse to look at it.

I read the warning out loud: “Do not operate heavy machinery.”

She protested, with frustration at my stupidity, “I wasn’t operating heavy machinery. I was just driving my car.”

(Ed. note: Because evidently multi-ton cars aren’t, well, you know…)

There are warnings of “Don’t drive until you know how this drug affects you,” even though said drug impairs your cognitive abilities such that you cannot ascertain how the drug impairs you. In the absence of quantification and/or memory, your brain just lies to you: “Everything’s fine.”

Why appropriate phrasing hasn’t been legislated, I don’t know.

………

Streets For All is urging you to take action to support a couple of motions on the agenda for this afternoon’s meeting of the LA City Council Public Safety Committee.

Make your voice heard on two key issues this week.

There are two key issues being considered this week at City of Los Angeles Public Safety Committee.

1 – The first (Council File 21-0870) is a motion at the Public Safety Committee to consider re-designing streets to prevent illegal street racing. As much as we fight for lower speed limits, the best way to slow cars down is by redesigning streets all together.

2 – The second (Council File 20-1267) is a motion to reduce illegal exhaust noise in the City of Los Angeles. Modified mufflers disturb the peace and evenincrease our stress hormones and risk of heart disease. While we don’t want more armed officers doing traffic stops, we can solve this by clamping down on the shops that make these illegal modifications.

Here’s how you can help in 2 easy steps:

1) Make public comment using the council file system

If you are unable to make live public comment, the next best thing is writing a message in the council file management system. We have made this easy with a pre-filled template and links.

MAKE PUBLIC COMMENT IN ADVANCE

2) Make public comment live at the committee meetings

The Public Safety Committee is on Wednesday, September 1, at 330pm. Here is the agenda. Call into this meeting to comment on the re-designing streets to curb racing and the illegal exhaust noise issue.

CALL IN INSTRUCTIONS + TALKING POINTS

………

Speaking of Streets For All, the political nonprofit is calling on you to fill a vacancy in your local Neighborhood Council if you live in any of the following areas.

………

In a Twitter thread, the LACBC calls for accountability from the CHP for the hit-and-run that injured a 14-year old boy in East LA over two months ago.

Despite catching the crash on video, and multiple news reports, they’ve apparently done nothing to hold the officer responsible, or compensate the bike-riding boy for his injuries.

Click on the tweets for the full thread.

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This is who we share the road with.

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

Utah’s Zion National Park is looking for public input on new bike and ebike regulations that would allow bikes in groups of no more than six spread at least a quarter-mile apart, require riders to pull off to the side of the road for buses, and have a bell on your bike to warn people and wildlife. Because everyone knows cougars, skunks and bighorn sheep will politely move aside to let you pass if they hear the dulcet tones of a bike bell announce your presence.

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

San Diego authorities are looking for a bike-riding arsonist who set a series of small fires in the city’s North Park neighborhood earlier this month.

Probably not the best idea to leave a “sanctimonious, passive-aggressive” note on a Portland driver’s car calling out the expired plates, and suggesting they get rid of it and start riding a bicycle.

Police in Lincoln, Nebraska busted a man who stabbed another man in the back in a dispute over an alleged stolen bicycle, then tried to break into an apartment using lock pick tools.

………

Local

Bloomberg considers UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup’s call to stop subsidizing drivers at the expense of everyone else, arguing that free parking is killing our cities.

Monrovia’s new “Biking for Bucks” program promises to reimburse people who live or work in the city up to $350 for the purchase of bikes and ebikes, whether for adults or children, as well as bicycle accessories, purchased between July 1st and September 30th of this year. So start shopping, already.

Active SGV teamed with Alhambra and SCAG to install a new popup bike lane, high viz crosswalks and curb extensions on Popular Boulevard in the city to gather public feedback. But hurry of you want to check ’em out, because they’ll be gone this time next week.

 

State

LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds teams with San Francisco Transportation Director Jeffrey Tumlin to pen an op-ed for CalMatters in support of AB 43, arguing that speeding drivers should not set speed limits.

 

National

It looks like Outside and VeloNews are joining Bicycling in hiding their stories behind a draconian paywall, on the mistaken assumption that preventing people from reading them will make more people want to. However, unlike Bicycling, the Outside and VeloNews stories don’t appear to be available on Yahoo.

Schwinn’s new I Am A Cyclist ad campaign focuses on marginalized members of the bicycling community to show what kind of people really ride bicycles.

Consumer Reports explains the steps they take to rate bike helmets, while InsideHook looks at the best commuter bike helmets for people who hate to wear one that won’t make you look like a total dork.

Best Buy is jumping head first into the ebike business by selling ebikes, e-scooters, mopeds and electric dirt bikes on their website, as well as in some stores.

A writer for Shape raves that her new Rad Power bike actually makes her comment enjoyable. And no, Best Buy doesn’t sell it.

Police in Colorado are looking for a hit-and-run driver who abandoned his SUV, then fled on foot before stealing a bicycle from a nearby school to make his getaway.

This is who we share the road with, part two. South Dakota’s killer Attorney General was hit with yet another speeding ticket — his seventh in seven years — just days before he was scheduled to go on trial for the hit-and-run death of a pedestrian while on his way home from a fundraiser last year. Yet he’s still allowed to stay on the roads to kill someone else, never mind that the $177.50 fine for a simple speeding ticket is nearly a fifth of what he was fined for actually killing someone.

A new Illinois law will require the state to pick up 100% of the costs for bicycle and walking infrastructure on state roadways; the state had previously required the local community to pay 20%.

A four-year old Michigan girl is able to ride a bicycle for the first time, after a fundraiser brings in enough to buy her an adaptive bike, and cover the cost to buy a bike for someone else, too.

Like drivers everywhere, motorists in Dayton, Ohio seem to have trouble figuring out how the city’s new parking protected bike lanes are supposed to work, parking in the bike lane next to the curb while leaving the parking lane empty.

 

International

Wired says Covid-19 means it’s finally time for the 15-minute city, where living, shopping and work are all within walking distance in the same neighborhood. Unless you live in Los Angeles, that is, where city leaders seem to be firmly committed to keeping everything within an hour and a half drive. Except at rush hour, of course.

Bosch says their new upgrades to ebike batteries and motors promise to make your new ebike ride smarter and farther.

Probably not the best idea to try to steal a bike from inside a British police station.

Life is cheap in Australia, where a driver was sentenced to seven years for the meth-fueled hit-and-run that seriously injured five bike riders last year — but with time served, he’ll be eligible for parole in less than a year.

 

Competitive Cycling

Twenty-year old American cyclist Quinn Simmons refuses to limit his options, dividing his plans for next year between the WorldTour and American gravel races.

Red Bull talks with two-time European mountain bike champ Lars Forster about how he went from riding with his dad to riding with, and beating, the world’s best.

 

Finally…

When your status in the local bicycling community hinges on finding the right bike basket. Get your very own bicycle umbrella for your next rainy ride.

And you’ll have to wait another year for a zombie bike ride in Key West.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Stop as yield bill passes state senate, Sunset4All meets public/private funding goal, and LA’s bike lane parking lot

Now it’s up to the governor.

Or maybe not.

Reports indicate that AB 122, aka the Bicycle Safety Stop Bill, passed the California State Senate yesterday, after passing the assembly in April.

The bill would allow a modified version of the Idaho Stop Law in the state, following the lead of several other states that have passed it in recent years.

It allows someone on a bicycle to treat a stop sign as a yield, preceding through the intersection only when it is safe to do so after yielding to other traffic and pedestrians.

In other words, it legalizes the way most people on bicycles already ride. However, it does not allow the rider to roll a stop when someone else has the right of way.

It also does not allow bike riders to go through red lights, as the full Idaho Stop does, by treating them as stop signs.

You will still be legally required to come to a full stop behind the stop line until the light turns green, just as you would in a car; failure to do so can result in a ticket, whether on two wheels or four.

The bill was also modified in the Senate to clarify that it does not change a driver’s liability in the event of a collision. Which as I read it, means drivers won’t be able to claim they’re not at fault in a crash because someone on a bicycle legally rolled the stop.

However, that minor change to the text — along with revisions to the existing law changing “which” to the grammatically correct “that” in the absence of a comma — likely means it will have to go back to the state assembly for what should be a pro forma vote for final approval.

And it’s important to note that the law contains a sunset provision, which means it would cease to be in effect as of January 1, 2028, unless it’s extended by the legislature.

Let’s hope they move quickly, so Newsom can sign the bill before the recall vote on September 14th, in case he’s removed from office.

Correction: Even if Newsom is recalled, he’d have 38 days after the election to sign the bill before his replacement can take office. Thanks to Bicycling Monterey’s Mari Lynch for the correction. 

Here’s how the legislative council’s digest describes the bill, as it was passed.

This bill would, until January 1, 2028, require a person riding a bicycle, when approaching a stop sign at the entrance of an intersection, to yield the right-of-way to any vehicles that have either stopped at or entered the intersection, or that are approaching on the intersecting highway close enough to constitute an immediate hazard, and to pedestrians, as specified, and continue to yield the right-of-way to those vehicles and pedestrians until reasonably safe to proceed. The bill would require other vehicles to yield the right-of-way to a bicycle that, having yielded as prescribed, has entered the intersection. The bill would state that these provisions do not affect the liability of a driver of a motor vehicle as a result of the driver’s negligent or wrongful act or omission in the operation of a motor vehicle.

The bill would also require the Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol to submit a report to the Legislature, as specified, regarding the effects of this bill.

So it’s a big win.

But we still need to get it over the finish line.

………

Congratulations to Sunset4All on meeting their $25,000 goal to fund LA’s first public/private partnership to improve safety and livability on our streets.

Better yet, that total will be matched by angel donors, for a total of $50,000.

Which definitely calls for a celebration.

https://twitter.com/SunsetForAll/status/1432524536679854080

 

………

I’m sure the owner is a lovely person, though.

………

It may be touching.

But doesn’t driving alongside your kid while he rides his bike to school kind of defeat the purpose?

https://www.tiktok.com/@thenewtonfamily/video/6995613307377929477?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fdk79lclgtez2i.cloudfront.net%2F&referer_video_id=6995613307377929477&refer=embed

………

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

A San Diego letter writer suggests he’s afraid to ride a bicycle, so we should all just stick to our cars.

No bias here. A Massachusetts letter writer says a new bike lane confuses him, so people should just ride their bikes on the sidewalks, since no one uses them anyway. And get rid of parking meters while you’re at it.

A Glasgow, Scotland writer says everyone has a role to play in making the city safe for people on bicycles, after a bus driver deliberately cut into her to pull into a bus stop as she rode in a bike lane, rather than simply wait patiently for her to move ahead.

………

Local

When is a bike lane not a bike lane? When it’s completely blocked with a massive amount of truck, forcing anyone on a bicycle out into speeding traffic.

 

State

Stephen Taylor Scarpa went on trial for murder Monday in the allegedly stoned death of Costa Mesa fire captain Mike Kreza as he was riding his bike in Mission Viejo three years ago; Scarpa reportedly had meth, fentanyl and several prescription medications in his system at the time of the crash.

Renée Zellweger and Ant Anstead are each one of us, as the celeb couple went for a ride through Laguna Beach on their matching Pedego fat tire ebikes.

San Francisco Streetsblog complains that politicians may talk about climate change, but inevitably revert to that status quo when push comes to shove, using the reopening of the city’s Great Highway to cars while the world is on fire as the case in point. Sadly, LA’s leaders appear to be cut from exactly the same cloth.

 

National

A new survey says walking has bizarrely become part of the culture wars, with liberals wanting walkable communities while conservatives want to drive everywhere.

That’s more like it. The new electric Cadillac Lyric will come standard with a bicycle warning system to alert the driver if there’s someone on a bike in their blind spot.

Outside’s Joe Lindsey offers advice on how to choose a bike for the gravel-curious.

A new Portland study confirms what we already know — speed kills. An analysis of crash data shows that speeding drivers are the leading cause of pedestrian deaths in the city.

This is who we share the road with. An Oregon man got seven well-deserved years behind bars for running a red light while speeding, and killing an 11-year old boy walking in a crosswalk on his way to school, while stoned on “central nervous system depressants and narcotic pain relievers.” Better yet, he will permanently lose the right to drive in the state.

Heartbreaking news from Minnesota, where a deaf father of seven was killed in a collision when he was struck by a driver while lying on the roadway, after somehow coming off his bicycle; he leaves behind a fiancé pregnant with twins.

Cincinnati has put the removal of a successful bike path on hold pending a vote by the city council after a petition was started to save the on-street pathway, which has resulted in a 40% drop in speeding drivers. And that’s probably why they don’t like it.

This is who we share the road with, part 2. A New York man was busted for DUI with a BAC nearly three times the legal limit while driving his riding lawnmower on city streets.

 

International

London skate brand Palace is teaming up with Cannondale to create their first signature hybrid city bike.

An environmentally minded Irish father finds his plans on hold when the new cargo bike he intended to use to ferry his kids to school was backordered; the lack of a viable bus system means he had to rely on the kindness of neighbors to drive the kids to class. Something too many carfree Los Angeles residents can probably relate to.

A Kiwi company says forget aluminum and carbon fiber, your next handlebars should be bamboo. Although what that has to do with Forrest Gump I have no idea.

 

Competitive Cycling

Once and future mountain bike champ Nino Schurter won his ninth world title, becoming the oldest men’s world champ at 35, after the Swiss rider was the youngest when he won his first at 22.

Two-time Tour de France champ Tadej Pogačar says he’s just a bike rider, not a pop star.

 

Finally…

Yes, it’s still bike theft if you’re just trading up. That feeling when your bougie handlebars are replaced with a sickle and hammer.

And Megan Lynch calls this the best recumbent fairing ever.

So who am I to argue?

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Help East Side Riders fix hit-and-run damaged van, help get six critical bills passed, and CHP may have your hot bike

Let’s start with a little bad news from one of LA’s best bike clubs.

Because if you’ve got a few extra bucks lying around, Watts’ East Side Riders could use your help.

The group does invaluable work, using bicycles as a starting point to uplift and feed the community. And they give back far more than they receive.

But that work will be on hold for a least a few days, after someone crashed into their van, pushing it up the street. Best case, it was a hit-and-run driver; worst, someone vandalized their van on purpose.

They haven’t asked for help yet, but they can clearly use it. So give ’em a hand if you can. You can donate directly to them right here.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

And yes, I gave a little, too.

Photo shamelessly borrowed from the East Side Riders Bike Club website.

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Streets For All is once again asking for your help to get a half-dozen bills across the finish line in the final days of this year’s state legislative session.

We need your help to get 6 critical bills to the governor’s desk

The legislative session is about to end do it’s all-hands-on-deck for getting these final bills passed.

We need you to reach out to your state senator because time is running out.

Here are the bills that need to get to Newsom:

  • AB 917 – Cameras on buses to enforce bus-only lanes
  • AB 122 – Bicycle safety stop
  • AB 339 – Requiring local governments to have a teleconferencing option for public comment
  • AB 1238 – Decriminalize jaywalking
  • AB 1147 – Active transportation program for regional agencies
  • AB 43 – Allows cities the ability to lower hundreds of miles of speed limits

AB 43 is important for racial justice as a disproportionate amount of pedestrians killed are in black and brown neighborhoods

Here’s how you can help in 2 easy steps:
1) Email a comment to your state senator as soon as possible!!

If you do not know who you state senator is, don’t worry!

You can easily find out right here.

Use our email template below, but for maximum impact, personalize your message.

CLICK HERE to email your senator

2) Add your name to the I MADE A DIFFERENCE LIST

This helps us keep track of the outreach we have made and where we need to focus our efforts.

CLICK HERE to add your name

………

The good news is the CHP may have recovered your stolen bikes.

The bad news is they apparently weren’t registered or reported stolen, so the state police don’t know who they belong to.

And it’s yet another reminder that registering your bike now, before something happens to it, is your best hope of getting it back if anything does.

………

Kittie Knox was also one of the first women to join the League of American Wheelmen, today’s League of American Bicyclists, aka the Bike League.

She joined just a year before it changed the bylaws to Whites Only, but since the rule was not made retroactive, Knox was grandfathered in and allowed to remain.

And went on to become a trailblazer for Black women on bikes, and all women.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the heads-up.

………

We’ve often linked to stories from British bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid, as well as his internationally bike touring son.

But this one hit him close to home, as his son’s girlfriend totaled her bike, but was lucky to escape with minor injuries, when she hit a massive pothole hidden by standing water.

Which is another reminder not to ride through puddles, because you never know what is — or isn’t — underneath. Like pavement, maybe.

………

Today’s common theme is celebrities and their kids on bikes. And one little girl who should be one.

Credit a bike ride with the success of Michael Jackson’s multi-platinum Thriller album. The gloved one took a ride on a borrowed bike to ride to a Los Angeles schoolyard to watch the kids play after concluding the recording was “crap,” then returned to the studio with a clear head to remix and fix it.

Ben Affleck’s nine-year old son Samuel is one of us, after dad upgraded him to a new Co-Op bike from REI.

Ava Fouts is one of us, too. The ten-year old Tucson girl has done over 200 rides totaling more than 2,500 miles, despite a surgically repaired congenital heart defect. Seriously, if you need a good smile, read this one.

Orlando Bloom has been one of us for a long time, as the British actor posts a photo of himself riding a bike while wearing a back brace after a dangerous fall in his 20s. Oddly, I did exactly the same thing by riding my bike wearing a back brace back in the day. But my broken back resulted from a cracked car jack.

Evidently, British paparazzi never give up, turning out to capture former comedian Lee Evans riding an ebike, seven years after he walked away from his comedy career to spend time with his family.

Luxury car marque Rolls-Royce was founded by one of us; Charles Stewart Rolls started his career as a racing cyclist at Cambridge in the 1890s. Too bad he didn’t just stick to bikes and build a luxury bicycle, instead.

………

GCN has advice on how to ge the most out of riding with your family.

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

No bias here. A Kansas City man got the blame for crashing his bike into a van, even though the driver clearly violated his right-of-way by left-crossing him. Never mind that the story doesn’t mention the driver.

No bias here, either. The New York Post somehow thinks maintaining a smoggy, dangerous and traffic-choked boulevard on 5th Avenue is good for business, and returning the street to a more human scale means declaring war on cars. Right. If LA’s elected and appointed leaders had half the courage and imagination of their New York counterparts, we’d already see this on Wilshire Blvd, and a half dozen other major corridors, as well. 

A Welsh driver was fined the equivalent of over $500 for a dangerously close pass of a group of bike riders, which appeared to clear them by a matter of inches.

A British bike rider unwittingly and painfully demonstrated the dangers of overly close passes, when he suffered serious injuries after a driver ran him off the road, and head first into a set of wrought-iron gates.

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Local

West Hollywood’s massive Melrose Triangle project promised to “coordinate” designated ride share and passenger loading areas with the existing bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd. Let’s hope that works better than it sounds, because it sounds like a nightmare.

Something must be in the water in Culver City, where another massive 1800-word NIMBY screed decries plans to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians at the three-way intersection of Overland, Kelmore and Ranch, fearing that a planned refuge island for bicyclists and pedestrians would require dangerous mixing of the two, and that the best solution is just to put up a sign banning street crossings entirely.

 

State

Sad news from Bakersfield, where a man was killed in a hit-and-run while riding his bicycle early Saturday; police are looking for the driver of a possibly red, late model small to mid-sized SUV. Although it would have been nice if the Bakersfield Californian, which should know better, even mentioned that the car had a driver.

Speaking of Bakersfield, you can thank the local golf course and a funding shortfall for killing a “whimsical” proposal to extend the Kern River Bike Path.

A San Francisco writer decries the city’s “inability to address madness and criminality on public transit and on the streets.” And complains about what she calls “whimsical” plans to put bike lanes on the Bay Bridge, saying most would only “undertake the slog” as a last resort, while insisting that biking is a non-starter for small children, seniors, and others with mobility challenges. Clearly, she’s never heard of ebikes. Or met many older bike riders or paracyclists. And what’s with that whimsical word all of the sudden?

 

National

It was a big weekend for naked people on bicycles and chaste camera views, as the World Naked Bike Ride was marked in Mad City, Philly and even Amsterdam.

A kindhearted cop raised funds to buy a new bike and helmet for a Gloucester, Massachusetts teenager, after he was unable to recover the boy’s stolen bicycle.

Three people were injured when their bikes collided at a bottleneck in New York’s annual Five Boro Bike Tour, which was limited to “just” 20,000 riders as a pandemic precaution.

It takes a major schmuck to push a 74-year old Pennsylvania man down after threatening to steal his bicycle, and only making off with the man’s water bottle.

A group of Baltimore volunteers are delivering meals by bicycle to families in need during the coronavirus crisis.

A man on a cross-country bike tour tries to outrun a hurricane, scurrying just days ahead of Ida’s landfall in Louisiana on Sunday.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A man in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is celebrating his 80th birthday by riding his bicycle 80 miles a day for 10 days straight, for a total of 800 miles. Although he might have to take a break for a day or two until Hurricane Ida blows itself out.

Seriously? A Florida man faces felony charges for stealing $2.67 worth of soup and some crackers after crashing his bicycle into a patrol car while trying to flee from police; the petty theft was escalated to a felony due to his previous theft convictions. Anyone who steals something like that does it because he’s hungry, not for financial gain, regardless of his record.

 

International

Treehugger takes a look at surprising ways e-cargo bikes are being used for low-carbon commerce.

Cycling News recommends the best bidons, otherwise known as water bottles for us plain folk.

After a bighearted Saskatchewan boy got a new bike to replace his stolen bicycle, he passed it on to another kid whose bike was stolen, when a Good Samaritan found his purloined bike and returned it.

She gets it. A London physician says she should be able to ride her bike to work without worry, but that we will continue to see more people killed as long as we continue to prioritize the people in the big, dangerous machines. 

Never mind the cars, England’s Countess Sophie got a scare from big-horned stags on a tandem ride with a blind stoker.

A university lecturer in the UK asks if ebikes are ruining mountain biking.

The Dutch may ride at home, but Great Britain’s Dutch ambassador set off a firestorm by saying he doesn’t dare ride in London.

An Aussie business professor puts his expertise to work opening a bicycle-themed hotel in the heart of Belgium’s Flanders region, where “bicycling is practically a religion.”

Calcutta regresses into an auto-centric past by banning bicycles from major streets; an Indian magazine calls it a “warped idea of planning and an antipathy towards the working classes.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Pink Bike considers what’s next for Afghanistan’s growing mountain bike community, over fears of a crackdown by the Taliban; one rider complains he feels like they’ve been dragged into a black hole.

Road.cc says ongoing Covid lockdowns in Asia continue to adversely affect bicycle supplies in Europe.

 

Competitive Cycling

No change in the leader’s standings, as Rafal Majka rode a 56-mile breakaway to victory in Sunday’s 15th stage of the Vuelta.

Twenty-four-year old Evie Richards became British woman to claim the mountain bike cross-county world championship on Saturday in Val di Sole, Italy.

Openly gay Canadian cyclist Kate O’Brien took silver in the 500 meter time trial in the Paralympic Games, just five years after competing in the Rio Olympics, and four years after she was nearly killed crashing into a race moto.

Aussie cyclist Caroline Buchanan became the first woman to land a mountain bike front flip onto a dirt surface.

 

Finally…

Sharpen your pocket knife while you sharpen your riding skills. Your next bike light could be powered by the wind.

And watch out for cars when you stick your imaginary landing.

I would’ve made it if the car wasn’t there :/ from GrandTheftAutoV

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Scarpa trial Monday for killing Costa Mesa fire captain, wrist slap for killer SD AG, and Malibu postpones PCH meeting

The allegedly stoned driver who killed a popular Costa Mesa fire captain will finally face justice next week.

The Daily Pilot reports that 27-year old Stephen Taylor Scarpa will go on trial for murder on Monday for fatally running down 44-year-old Rancho Santa Margarita resident Mike Kreza as he was training for a triathlon in 2018.

According to the paper,

Kreza was off duty and riding his bike in Mission Viejo on Nov. 3 when a van driven by Scarpa drove off the roadway at Alicia Parkway and traveled 8 feet across the curb line, a sidewalk and an embankment, striking Kreza.

Police found Scarpa sitting on a curb following the crash, apparently intoxicated. He admitted to investigators he had shot up a combination of methamphetamine and fentanyl while at a party, along with taking an anxiety medication.

Kreza died two days later, leaving behind his wife and three young children.

The murder charge suggests this wasn’t Scarpa’s first DUI arrest, and that he had probably signed a Watson advisement indicating he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while intoxicated, following a previous conviction.

The paper reports Scarpa has remained in county jail for 1,032 days since his arrest — nearly three years — by the time he goes on trial Monday.

Chance are, he’ll end up serving a lot more than that.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

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If you want to get away with killing someone, use a car.

Or better yet, get elected attorney general.

South Dakota AG Jason Ravnsborg was sentenced Thursday for a fatal hit-and-run crash. And walked without a single day behind bars.

The judge gave Ravnsborg a gentle caress on the wrist, allowing him to plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts for a total of $1,000 in fines.

Which is apparently what a human life goes for in South Dakota these days.

Even an order to do some sort of public service to mark the anniversary of the victim’s death was put on hold, when Ravnsborg’s attorney argued it wasn’t allowed under the statute.

Authorities allowed Ravnsborg to claim he kept driving because he thought he hit a deer, rather than a man walking along the roadway. Even though the victim did a face plant in the AG’s windshield, leaving his glasses in the car where investigators found them the next day.

You’d think most people would have recognized a human face staring back at them through the windshield. Or at the very least, stopped to see what they hit.

But apparently, that kind of logic isn’t required for elected office in the state.

By continuing home, Ravnsborg may also have escaped a DUI count by delaying a blood alcohol test until 15 hours after the crash, by which time any alcohol consumed at the political fundraiser he attended would have been safely out of his system.

And it was.

Ravnsborg capped it off his extremely minimal sentence with a very self-serving statement.

The state’s governor and at least some legislators are calling for Ravnsborg to be impeached, since he refuses to step down.

We can hope, anyway.

Thanks to Pat Benson for the heads-up.

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To be continued.

Malibu pulled the plug on last night’s planned discussion on widening the shoulder on a two-mile segment of PCH, rescheduling the meeting for next month.

Supporters describe the proposed project as improving safety for people on bicycles. But others fear it would just move us into the door zone, instead.

I’m told that the wider shoulders will allow plenty of room for both bikes and parked cars, without posing a risk to the people on two wheels.

But let’s get serious.

That would require at least seven to eight feet to the right of the roadway and the left of parked cars. Anything less would be in the door zone.

So if there’s that much space already built into this plan, why don’t they just install bike lanes, instead?

Or better yet, a parking protected bike lane.

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CD14 Councilmember Kevin de León wants to know what you want to see on Huntington Drive.

You know what to tell him.

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Good news for anyone who walks. Or crosses the street.

https://twitter.com/LosAngelesWalks/status/1430988640298012672

On the other hand, the legislature killed AB 1401, which was murdered died in committee; the bill would have allowed cities to reduce parking minimums for new buildings near transit stations.

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This is what you call expert level trolling.

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A brilliant solution for locking your bike.

Unless the thief has a chain tool.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for forwarding the tweet.

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

Two British men have been charged with murder, and a third with assisting them, for intentionally running down a man as he and a woman were riding bicycles; the men allegedly abandoned and burned the car they used in an attempt to coverup the crime.

An Australian man faces charges for deliberately ramming three people on bicycles in three separate incidents just minutes apart as they were riding in a bike lane earlier this month; fortunately, none of the victims was seriously injured.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton politely takes LADOT and the LA Bureau of Engineering to task for a number of missed opportunities to install bike lanes, or protect the ones they did install.

Climate Resolve considers Eagle Rock’s resident-driven Beautiful Boulevard plan to remake Colorado Blvd into a green, safe and vibrant street, calling it an opportunity for climate action.

The Los Angeles Times suggests 13 parking hacks they say every driver should know. Although the best hack is to just take transit. Or ride a bike.

LA firefighters have made it to the halfway point in St. Louis on their cross-country ride to the former site of the World Trade Center to honor the victims of the 9/11 attack.

 

State

A tandem-riding San Diego couple are fed up with the trash lining the city’s Kearny Villa Road, saying nothing has been done despite repeated complaints to the city. On the other hand, when Phil Gaimon got tired of seeing all the trash and litter on Mulholland in the Hollywood Hills, he organized his own volunteer clean-up operation.

A Monterey County writer makes an impassioned defense of an unfinished “bike path to nowhere,” insisting it will be worth it once it’s completed and connects to other bikeways.

A Chico man got his bicycle back six months after it was stolen when police noticed it in a homeless camp, because he had recorded the bike’s serial number and reported it to the police. Although an even better option is to register your bike now so you have all the information before anything happens to it.

 

National

Cycling Tip’s Caley Fretz wants to know where his stolen bike was for the past three years, after it suddenly showed up locked to a Boulder, Colorado fence, mostly intact, not far from where he lived when it was taken.

Boise, Idaho will host a “wonderfully weird” pedal-powered party to celebrate the removal of the dreaded bike tire-puncturing Goathead plants.

How to explore Kansas City by bicycle on your next BBQ pilgrimage.

Continuing with this week’s theme of restoring our faith in humanity, a firefighter foundation in Wausau, Wisconsin bought a new bike for a teenage boy after the bicycle he used to deliver newspapers and care for lawns was trashed in a collision.

Someone is targeting Chicago bikeshare riders by stealing their bikes at implied gunpoint after they unlock them.

A Cleveland website says the only risks you face on Michigan’s carfree Mackinac Island are horse poop, bike traffic and distracted pedestrians.

Speaking of Cleveland, a 58-year old man had to relearn how to walk after shattering his leg in a motorcycle crash, and celebrated his recovery by riding a bicycle 3814 miles through 14 states.

New York is moving forward with plans for congestion pricing, after reaching an agreement with the Biden administration to conduct an environmental review of charging drivers a toll to enter central Manhattan; it would be the first such fee in the US. Meanwhile, Los Angeles officials are doing what they do best, conducting a study of Metro’s congestion pricing proposal. Which usually results in studying it to death.

 

International

Bicycling can be a pain in the back, literally. So read this Cycling Weekly story about the causes of lower back pain, and how to prevent it.

Toronto bicyclists demand immediate improvements after an 18-year old man was killed by the driver of a dump truck, after he was forced to ride through a construction zone when a bike lane ended and dumped him into busy traffic; a bike advocate had warned something like that was likely to happen just two days before it actually did.

Treehugger responds to the same Toronto death by arguing that it’s time for the construction industry to prioritize the safety of people who walk or bike.

Los Angeles becomes the poster child for bad scooter behavior, as a Dublin letter writer uses it as a bad example of what he hopes the Irish city won’t become.

Paris continues to make huge strides towards safety and livability, by reducing speed limits on most streets to just 18 mph.

A former Afghan government minister is happy just to have a job, working as a bicycle delivery rider after moving to Germany in hope of a better future.

Cycling News reports on efforts to get women cyclists out of Afghanistan over fears they will be targeted by the Taliban for breaking traditional taboos.

Dozens of bicyclists took to the streets of Yemen’s capital to call for peace in the war torn country.

One hundred people faced road rage charges in Japan last year, with 24 tagged for brake checks and 20 sudden lane changes; four of the cases were blamed on bike riders.

 

Competitive Cycling

Surprisingly, two-time defending Vuelta champ Primož Roglič lost more time in Thursday’s stage 12, now standing almost two minutes behind oddly named leader Odd Christian Eiking of Norway.

LA-based Continental cycling team L39ION of Los Angeles lived up to their usual winning ways in the team’s first-ever stage race, taking both the men’s and women’s races in the opening stage of the Fayetteville, Arkansas Joe Martin Stage Race.

VeloNews dives head first into the debate over whether there should be separate categories for elite women gravel racers.

 

Finally…

Think of it as a fondo where you reduce your time by eating donuts. That feeling when your winning breakaway is suddenly halted by a car fire.

And it turns out Dutch kids aren’t born on bikes, after all.

https://twitter.com/NLinSF/status/1430600351028191235

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

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