Archive for Streets and Infrastructure

Morning Links: Planning Comm says Westwood and Central are out; 626 Golden Streets postponed due to fires

Something stinks in City Hall.

As expected, the LA City Planning Commission gritted its teeth and went along with amendments to remove Westwood Blvd and Central Ave from the city’s Mobility Plan, clearly against their better judgment.

This, after rumors have circulated that councilmembers have made an agreement to throw bike riders on those streets under the bus. Perhaps literally.

I’m told the commissioners seemed to get the absurdity arguments that the best way to deal with the dangers along those corridors is to keep them dangerous, while making an attempt at social engineering by trying to shunt cyclist onto side streets where they clearly don’t want to go.

Which is the best way to ensure the failure of any bikeway.

And that, of course, leads to the same old circular thinking that says “see, we gave cyclists a bike lane and they didn’t use it, so clearly bike lanes don’t work and there’s no reason to build any more.”

Fortunately, the commissioners had the sense to make sure the removal of these lanes from the Mobility Plan doesn’t preclude studying, and perhaps building, them at a later date.

Like when Paul Koretz is out of office, which can’t happen soon enough.

Now the amendments go back to city hall, where they will be rubber stamped by the council, though we can hope at least a few councilmember have the courage to vote no.

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman offers a great report from commission meeting.

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626 Golden StreetsDisappointing news, as the long-planned 626 Golden Streets open streets event scheduled for this Sunday has been postponed to due to smoke from a pair of fires in the San Gabriels, as well as the need to keep streets clear for firefighters.

The event, which would have been the longest ciclovía in the US, is expected be rescheduled for another date, although the logistics of working out a schedule with seven cities may make that challenging.

Sorry, Gabe.

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Let’s catch up with some other upcoming events.

Dine for a great cause today, when Burbank’s Bob’s Big Boy is the site of a fundraiser for Ride 2 Recovery; the restaurant will donate 20% of your meal ticket if you present the flyer you can pick up at the fundraiser booth outside. Fifteen-year old Michelle Morlock is raising $3,000 in donations to take part in next year’s ride, which helps veterans and active duty military personnel recover from emotional and physical wounds through bicycling. If you can’t make it, send ‘em a few bucks — or maybe a lot of bucks — at the address on the link.

This is the last Friday of the month, which means it’s time for LA Critical Mass, billed as the largest community bike ride in the US.

The LA Design Festival is teaming with Flying Pigeon LA for the eighth annual Design-n-Dim Sum bike ride this Sunday.

Helen’s Cycles is holding their Monthly Group Ride next Saturday, complete with an optional dirt section to kick off your 4th of July weekend.

Finish the Ride and Velo Studio are hosting the free community ride Tour de Griffith Park: An Introduction to Safe and Fun Riding on Sunday, July 3rd.

The Eastside Bike Club and Stan’s Bike Shop will host the second annual Tour de Tacos on Saturday, July 16th; the 25-mile family friendly ride promises at least four taco breaks along the way.

Former LACBC board member and Laemmle Theaters president Greg Laemmle invites you to ride with him on the third annual Tour de Laemmle on Sunday, July 24th. Greg will ride 125 miles to visit all nine Laemmle Theaters in a single day; you can register to join him for all or part of the ride.

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Yesterday we shared a photo of what was left after thieves pried open a U-lock securing a bicycle on my block; today, the other bike locked up on my block suffered the same fate.

This is all that was left.

SAMSUNG

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Taylor Phinney and Brent Bookwalter will represent the US for road cycling in the Olympic games, along with Megan Guarnier, Kristin Armstrong, Evelyn Stevens and Mara Abbott on the women’s side.

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Local

Metro votes to put a transportation sales tax extension on the November ballot, which would including bicycling and walking projects along with transit and highway work.

East Long Beach is dealing with the same increase in homelessness being seen throughout Southern California; residents are warned to secure their bikes to protect them from chop shops popping up in the area.

 

State

Menlo Park backpedals on plans to install bike lanes and make other needed safety improvements on El Camino Real.

Facebook’s new Frank Gehry-designed Menlo Park headquarters will also include a bicycle bridge designed in Gehry’s typically asymmetrical style. Although it looks more like it was designed by Picasso. Or maybe just someone who has never ridden a bicycle before.

The mayor of San Francisco was outraged by Wednesday’s twin hit-and-runs that left two cyclists dead; however, the SF Bicycle Coalition called his words hollow. Meanwhile, there was a third fatal bike crash in the Bay Area on Thursday morning, this time in Pleasanton.

 

National

Lifehacker offers a beginners guide to picking the perfect first bike.

A new reflective, neon-colored bike safety triangle is now raising funds on Kickstarter. It will probably make you more visible, but shouldn’t the onus be on drivers to look where they’re going, rather than on cyclists to light themselves up with virtual neon signs to get their damn attention?

Denver cyclists were welcomed to that city’s Bike to Work Day with a series of blocked bike lanes.

Even though Ohio allows bicyclists to ride two abreast, a Cincinnati suburb considers requiring them to ride single file.

 

International

Bike Radar offers tips on how to convert your existing ride into an ebike.

New bike path surfaces could help you bounce back from a fall. No, literally.

A British Columbia letter writer says a tourist guide is right that bicyclists will be “challenged and amazed” riding on a local highway — challenged to stay on it in the heavy traffic, and amazed they survived the experience.

A writer in the UK says she used to be one of the good ones back when everyone obeyed the law, but now that she doesn’t ride a bike anymore, people on bicycles have somehow morphed into a horrifying menace that threatens all those poor, bike-afflicted motorists and pedestrians.

Life is cheap in Ireland. A speeding, unlicensed driver gets a whole two and a half years in jail for the hit-and-run death of a cyclist he struck while attempting a four-wheel drift around a turn; the 27-year old driver, who never bothered to get a driver’s license, had been barred from driving three times in the previous five years, but still managed to stay behind the wheel until he killed someone.

China’s Xiaomi unveils a $450 folding ebike, which you can get there, but not here.

 

Finally…

Who needs a kite eating tree when Idaho has a bike eating one? Anyone can carry groceries home on a bike; try towing a sofa.

And make your getaway on the back of a bicycle after robbing a donut shop, and you could end up in the trash.

And then behind bars.

 

Morning Links: Homeowner opposition to Westwood bike lanes may be a lie, and the CHP gets it wrong again

As I write this, the LA City Planning Commission is just hours away from a vote that could lead to the removal of Westwood Blvd and Central Ave from the city’s Mobility Plan, over the strenuous objections of virtually everyone who rides a bike on those streets.

Westwood resident Calla Wiemer has written a detailed, insightful and highly persuasive letter to the Commission arguing for keeping Westwood in the plan, which she has kindly agreed to let me share with you.

Regardless of how the commission votes, you should forward this to your councilmember before the city council takes up the matter in a few weeks.

Especially since only 42 of the roughly 3,000 homeowners in the area were concerned enough to oppose removing parking or traffic lanes to make room for bike lanes.

But those 42 are the only ones Paul Koretz seems to care about.

Dear LA CPC,

The proposed amendment to remove Westwood Blvd from the Mobility 2035 Plan and to replace it with a Gayley-Midvale route is ill-conceived. The argument in favor of such a change to the plan was articulated in a 6/22 email “Blast” from the Westwood South of Santa Monica (WSSM) Homeowners Association. The flaws in the case presented in this email Blast, however, are numerous. First, the claim that the alternative route “both maintains and respects the connectivity of the Bicycle Enhanced Network” is false. Westwood Blvd provides a through connection directly from UCLA to Westwood Station on the Expo Line and on to points south. Midvale, by contrast, truncates with a T-intersection at Santa Monica Blvd from which point riders moving in a north-south direction would need to make their way to or from Westwood Blvd to continue on course.

Second, the suggestion that a “growing presence of bicycle commuters on Westwood”, which will “slow traffic” and “create added conflicts”, can be averted by designating an inconvenient alternative route is a fantasy. A growing presence of bicycle riders on Westwood Blvd is the reality. Bike riders choose Westwood Blvd because it’s the most direct route to their destinations – destinations which are often located on Westwood Blvd for the many who shop, work, or live there. As much as non-cyclists might wish to impose an alternative route on those who ride, they simply do not have the authority to do so. The best way to avoid the conflicts the WSSM leadership is so concerned about is to provide accommodation for bike riders.

Third, the premise that “Most local residents do not feel comfortable riding through Westwood Village on Westwood Blvd” is true enough but serves better as an argument for bike lanes than against them. Westwood Blvd in its present form is a dangerous and scary place to ride a bike. Making it safer will raise the comfort level of local residents. Consider as well that most local residents similarly do not feel comfortable riding a bike on Midvale or Gayley as those streets are currently constituted. The concept in designating these alternative streets as bike routes would be to make them more inviting for bike riding. But we are better off applying such effort to Westwood Blvd which already has the cycling presence to justify it.

Fourth, continuing to speak for “most local residents” the WSSM leadership’s presumption that our ranks “have looked to our City’s planning and transportation experts to fashion” a biking alternative to Westwood Blvd is not borne out by the Association’s own survey research. The survey was conducted in June of 2014 and garnered 135 responses from the roughly 3000 homeowners in the neighborhood. Asked to express opposition to or support for “Removal of traffic or parking lanes on busy arterials for dedicated bike lanes”, only 42 respondents ticked opposition to the degree of “important” or “very important”. The number in support of removal was 18 while 59 declined to respond to such a broadly worded question and 16 others who opposed removal did not see the issue as “important” or “very important”. A more telling manifestation of local opinion on bike lanes for Westwood Blvd has been the consistently large turnout of advocates at public hearings conducted by government and civic organizations over the last few years. Of particular note, the Westwood Village Improvement Association (BID) held a series of three public hearings drawing packed houses of supporters and only a few opponents. As a result of that consultation with the community, the BID submitted a request to the city government and Councilmember Koretz that a study be conducted of bike lane designs for Westwood Blvd.

What in truth can be said about most local residents is that we are exasperated by the traffic, and yes, we look to the city’s planning and transportation experts to come up with strategies to mitigate it and to improve safety. Please let us not exclude Westwood Blvd from that process. If any street is in need of a re-envisioning, it is Westwood Blvd. Do let us keep it in the Bicycle Enhanced Network so that the planners can give us a vision of a street that works for people and businesses, not just one that is clogged with motor vehicles.

Respectfully,

Calla Wiemer

Homeowner, Westwood South of Santa Monica

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Once again, the CHP gets bike law wrong when a San Luis Obispo driver asks for advice on whether to cross the yellow line or slow down to obey the three foot passing law, forgetting that drivers are allowed to pass closer than three feet as long as they slow down and pass safely.

And despite the officer’s assertions, there is no requirement under California law that cyclists have to ride single file — especially not in a bike lane.

Nor are they required to ride to the right in a bike lane under any circumstances, ever.

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Not surprisingly, the Kalamazoo driver who ran down nine bicyclists has been charged with five counts of causing death while operating a motor vehicle under the influence, as well as four counts of causing serious injury while intoxicated; blood tests showed he was under the influence of an undisclosed substance.

Meanwhile, another survivor has been released from the hospital; two other victims remain hospitalized.

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Now that’s a close pass. Credit the rider for staying upright rather than overreacting to it.

My apologies to whoever sent this to me; unfortunately, I’ve lost any record of who that was.

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A driver of one of London’s famous black cabs records himself chasing down and apprehending a hit-and-run driver who knocked a cyclist off his bike. Although he must have scared the crap out of all the other riders as he cut in and out of a bike lane to catch up to the fleeing driver.

Thanks to Richard Masoner for the heads-up.

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Yesterday there was a bike attached to this lock on Hollywood Blvd; today there isn’t. A reminder to buy a quality lock, and lock your bike securely.

And register the damn thing, already.

SAMSUNG

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Lael Wilcox smashes the women’s record to win the Trans Am race across the US. The Alaskan cyclist becomes the first woman and the first American to win the solo, unsupported 4,200 mile race, finishing in 18 days.

Not to be confused with the better known, fully supported RAAM, going on now.

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Local

Organizers of Sunday’s 626 Golden Streets event say it may have to be postponed if unhealthy air quality caused by the San Gabriel Complex fire doesn’t improve. Let’s hope not; the logistics of arranging another date with seven separate cities could prove challenging.

Universal announces plans to reorient their production facilities, including making way for a park and the previously announced extension of the LA River bike path through their property.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson says city council committee meetings are Dante’s tenth circle of hell; but in this case, a successful one, as the Rancho Palos Verdes Traffic Safety Committee votes to formulate a bike plan to improve safety and connect with other cities in the area.

LADOT reminds everyone to submit their rides and other activities to the department’s calendar of upcoming bike events. Come back tomorrow, when we’ll have our own list of bike events.

A British cyclist takes a “blockbuster” ride through the San Gabriels before making his way up Mt. Baldy.

 

State

Now that’s more like it. Orange police impound 16 high-end cars for street racing after a GoPro shows one that hit a bike rider was traveling at 50 mph, rather than 25 mph as the driver claimed. It’s also a reminder to always assume you’re injured following a collision; the cyclist initially said he wasn’t hurt, but later found out he had a broken clavicle and finger, as well as cuts and bruises all over his body.

A bighearted Tustin cop buys a new adult tricycle for a woman with cerebral palsy after hers was stolen last month.

San Clemente plans a number of changes to improve bike safety, including a two-way bikeway on El Camino Real, sharrows on the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route and buffered bike lanes on Avenida Pico.

Palm Springs police are trying to identify a thief who stole an $1,800 bicycle; fortunately, the bike was eventually recovered.

The family of Ventura teenager Jonathan Hernandez files a wrongful death suit against the tow truck driver who kept going after hitting him as he rode his bike last February, leaving him in the road to be struck by another driver, who also fled the scene. The Ventura County DA still hasn’t filed any charges against the driver, who has close business ties with city and county, and the Ventura PD. Leaving us to wonder once again if the DA is justice challenged when it comes to traffic victims.

Tragic news from San Francisco, as two bike riders were killed by hit-and-run drivers in separate incidents. A suspect was arrested in one crash in which a driver ran a red light before striking the rider, while a woman was killed by a speeding driver who hit her bike head-on in Golden Gate Park.

Streetsblog talks with the new executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

Davis approves 36 housing units to provide funding for a bike path, even though the city is having trouble negotiating a necessary easement.

A Sacramento paper offers suggestions on taking the train to ride Bay Area bike trails.

 

National

VeloNews looks at a form of arterial disease that is increasingly affecting cyclists, including pro racer Joe Dombrowsky.

HuffPo offers five tips for better bicycling.

Bicycling provides nine tips from readers on how to get your family and friends hooked on bike riding.

An Illinois teacher and her husband were killed when they were struck by a car driven by a 16-year old boy, who turned out to be one of her former students.

An unlicensed and uninsured Louisville KY driver faces two murder charges for running down three girls who were standing in a bike lane; he had a BAC two and a half times the legal limit following the crash.

It’s back to the drawing board for New York’s DOT, as the debate over bike lanes in the city’s Clinton Hill neighborhood was won by the side that yelled the most. And needless to say, it wasn’t the bike riders.

A $4,200 e-cargo bike races a New York subway.

A pair of medical professionals say a contentious bike lane on a Charleston SC bridge would enhance livability and health; evidently, you don’t have to convince local bicyclists.

 

International

A Montreal writer says vehicular cycling is dead, even if it isn’t.

The UK’s Cyclist magazine examines the research behind bike helmets, concluding that whether you wear one or not is up to you.

Australia’s Canberra region finally makes it illegal to throw things at bike riders. Which doesn’t seem to stop anyone here.

An Aussie writer discovers bicycling can help with grief and depression after his own father died of cancer.

 

Finally…

Evidently, not even the dead are safe from bike thieves. Who needs wheels when your bike can have spider legs?

And no, Leonardo da Vinci did not invent the bicycle.

But he probably wishes he did.

 

Weekend Links: One near miss caught on video, and one that didn’t; cops already parking on LA Street bike lane

I didn’t plan on writing a new post this morning. But there’s just too much bike news we need to share today.

And who needs sleep anyway?

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Now that’s a close call.

Weshigh shares video of a driver who dangerously buzzed him on Venice Blvd after he signaled to move into the traffic lane. And apparently didn’t care.

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Ohio bike lawyer Steve Magas forwards dashcam video of a cyclist nailed in a left cross. He reports the driver had a stop sign, while the rider faced an uncontrolled intersection with the right-of-way.

Fortunately, the rider is relatively okay, suffering a broken ankle in the crash. And he’s got a good lawyer.

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Streetsblog celebrates the opening of the new protected bike lanes on Los Angeles Street, while KNBC-4 talks with BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen about the new bicycle traffic lights.

LADOT explains how the new protected lane works, including the new two-stage left turn bike boxes.

But so much for the hope that the protected lanes would keep cops from parking in it.

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The Hollywood Reporter stages a three-way Starbucks to Starbucks race from DTLA to Santa Monica by car, train and ebike.

Needless to say, the Expo train to the coast finished last, but surprisingly, the car beat the ebike rider by four minutes.

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The leader of the group of nine Kalamazoo cyclists run down by an out-of-control driver last week turns the other cheek, saying she has no ill will towards the man who killed five of her friends while wounding herself and three others.

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Local

Los Angeles Magazine says a proposed new NoHo development includes an elevated cycle track through the property.

Richard Risemberg says road diets don’t impede emergency vehicles, but the lack of them does.

KPCC looks at LADOT’s hiring of sound artist Alan Nakagawa to work on Vision Zero.

Burbank approves stop signs, and possibly bike lanes, on Edison Blvd despite the reservations of one councilmember over whether bike lanes would improve safety. Maybe he could look at some of the many studies showing just that next time.

County supervisors Shiela Kuehl and Hilda Solis call for more parks in LA County.

 

State

San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies are looking for a Montclair man who allegedly stabbed another man several times in a dispute over a bicycle. It’s an effing bicycle, for chrissake. It’s not worth trying to kill someone over.

Here’s your chance to go on a 50 mile bike ride with Kawasaki motorcycle racers at the famed Laguna Seca raceway.

Any East Bay bike riders who haven’t licensed their bikes are probably breaking the law.

Nice piece from bike scribe Peter Flax — the ebike rider in the above mention race from DTLA to the coast — about the peace that comes from riding a century in wine country.

 

National

Surly may have some problems, but the popular bike maker isn’t going under.

The NFL’s Ryan brothers are two of us, as the Buffalo Bills coaches are spotted riding a tandem bike — which the writer aptly describes as “the Corgis of the transportation world – ­adorable, and hard not to love.”

Instead of fixing a dangerous intersection, Denver authorities say bikes shouldn’t even be there — despite a sign saying just the opposite.

Two cyclists participating in Colorado’s Ride the Rockies pause along the nation’s highest continuous paved road in Rocky Mountain National Park to spread their father’s ashes; their dad had participated in the ride 18 times himself.

This is the cost of traffic violence, as a San Antonio mother mourns the loss of her 15-year old son in a bicycling collision. Thanks to Steve Katz for the heads-up.

Now that’s more like it. An Iowa drunk driver gets 34 years in prison — yes, 34 — for the death of a cyclist; he was already barred from driving for a previous DUI conviction, and had another eight misdemeanor drug and traffic convictions in just 16 months before the fatal crash. With good behavior, he could see his kids again in another 17 and a half years.

What the hell is wrong with Michigan drivers these days? A hit-and-run driver faces 15 years for running down a bike rider on a charity ride after allegedly snorting coke, huffing and inhaling nitrous oxide.

A Michigan sheriff says he only stopped a bike rider and cussed him out because he was worried the “road-raging” rider may have been clipped by a driver who flipped him off. Sure, let’s go with that.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An Ohio cyclist is still winning bike races at 92 years old.

A Rhode Island man “borrowed” a bike to get home, but was so drunk he couldn’t remember where he left it.

Caught on video: Apparently, a New York bike lane is just a way for drivers to get around traffic.

Caught on video 2: A motorist, a bike rider and an unidentified woman come to blows in a three-way brawl on a New York street for undisclosed reasons.

A road-raging Maryland cyclist smacked a driver in the face with his U-lock; of course, judging by the article, the driver did absolutely nothing to provoke it. Seriously, no matter what a driver does, never resort to violence. If this rider is found, he could face a charge of aggravated battery, with a potential jail time measured in years, not months.

NPR looks at how Atlanta’s architecture can make the city friendlier to bike riders.

A group of African American cyclists embarked on a three-day ride from New Orleans’ Congo Square to AfricaTown in Mobile, Alabama.

 

International

Mexican researchers develop phosphorescent cement that could allow bikeways to glow in the dark to improve safety.

A Vancouver bicyclist calls for cyclists to show more courtesy to others on the streets. And says the same goes for drivers.

New suicide barriers dangerously narrow a bikeway on an Edmonton bridge.

A Toronto website lists the many condescending anti-bike statements from the city’s councilors, such as we’re dangerous psychos who cause anxiety among those poor, innocent drivers. Well, okay then.

A new British bike taillight flashes brighter when you ride through hazardous situations, crowdsources road data, sends an alert if someone tries to steal your bike and texts your next of kin if you wipeout.

A UK paper lists ten lesser known benefits of bicycling. All of which are pretty well-known to anyone who rides.

No, Dublin, a ghost bike is a memorial, not an abandoned bicycle.

Probably not the best idea to hitch a ride by grabbing ahold of a speeding English tram.

 

Finally…

If you’re carrying dope and a loaded handgun on your bike, put a damn light on it. No, seriously, put a damn light on your bike if you’re planning to use it as your getaway vehicle after burglarizing some homes.

And we only have to worry about dodging tourists on the bike path, not a bear darting into your path.

Morning Links: LA finally gets bike traffic lights, Garcetti say no to Veep, and it’s a bike safety weekend

For once, LA bike riders are being treated like we actually belong on the streets.

On Thursday, the city officially unveiled the new protected bike lanes on Los Angeles Street, complete with LA’s first bicycle traffic signals.

Although the LA Weekly’s Dennis Romero can’t resist getting a little anti-bike dig in.

As he suggests, the bike-shaped signals are designed to tell riders when to stop. As well as when they can proceed, independent of the traffic signals for motor vehicles.

Sort of like walk signals tell pedestrians when they can cross the street, whether or not the traffic signal is green.

They could definitely use some on the bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd through Westwood and Century City, where bicyclists are expected to stop at red lights on T-intersections even when there’s no cross street.

And many don’t.

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After yesterday’s surprising news that Eric Garcetti is on Hillary Clinton’s Vice Presidential short list, the first-term LA mayor says not so fast.

Then again, that’s exactly what he’s expected to say, unless and until he actually gets the nod.

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Evidently, it’s a bike safety weekend.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department will step up enforcement of traffic violations that can lead to collisions between motor vehicles and bicyclists or pedestrians today. So obey the letter of the law, because you don’t want to be the one who goes home with a ticket.

And the Santa Monica Police Department will conduct yet another of their bike and pedestrian safety crackdowns on Saturday.

So we should all feel safer on Sunday, right?

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VeloNews says if America’s Tejay van Garderen doesn’t win the Tour de Suisse, he’ll be carrying water bottles for Richie Porte at the Tour de France next month.

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Local

Metro board committees unanimously support the proposed Measure R sales tax extension, which could mean significantly more funding for bike and pedestrians projects.

The LA Times calls for making the pilot program to install interlock devices on the cars of convicted drunk drivers permanent and expanding it statewide. What we really need to do is impound the vehicles of DUI drivers while their licenses are suspended to keep them from getting behind the wheel. And let’s not forget that interlock devices do nothing to stop drugged driving.

CiclaValley says riding to the top of Mt. Baldy is a must.

Members of my college fraternity will depart from Long Beach this morning on one of three cross-country routes to raise over half a million dollars for disabled people nationwide.

 

State

Santa Barbara approves moving a contentious bike lane to a back street in order to preserve precious parking through a commercial zone. Because no one would never dream of riding a bike to go to a restaurant or retail store.

Sacramento increases fines for riding a bike on the sidewalk from $5 to $250, despite a lack of safe alternatives in many areas.

Changes to the bike path on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge will add $6.5 million to the project, which has already seen $24 million in cost overruns.

 

National

Nice move from Polar, as all the proceeds from their new Rainbow Pride water bottle will go to support victims and families of the Pulse shooting rampage in Orlando.

The Huffington Post says cyclists shouldn’t have to risk their lives just to use the road.

A Seattle cyclist gets her stolen bike back, thanks to registering it with Bike Index. Which you can do for free at the top of this page.

After two years of denials, new evidence shows a Spokane sheriff’s deputy really did crash into a teenage bike rider as they both maneuvered to avoid the collision, after an outside investigator found the imprint of the victim’s hat embedded on the bumper of the patrol car. Which raises the question of why police investigators couldn’t find it themselves with a two year head start.

Sad news, as the woman who helped start my hometown on the path to becoming one of the nation’s most bike friendly cities has passed away from Alzheimer’s at age 76.

Hats off to Kansas and Missouri, where authorities no longer consider crashes accidents.

A “hesitant” Chicago bike rider sees the world from a windshield perspective, as she calls for testing and licensing cyclists to improve safety, while complaining about road diets and bike lanes designed to do just that.

Cleveland drivers are confused by new bike lanes on two of the city’s busiest streets, but a bicyclist says they’re not so bad.

Nashville plans a left side bike lane along a center median to eliminate the risk of doorings and right hooks.

Both Streetsblog and Gothamist say the NYPD needs to stop targeting cyclists and start focusing on the people in the big dangerous machines.

Why wait? Residents of a DC suburb are protesting bike lanes that haven’t even been proposed yet.

 

International

Cycling Weekly offers advice on how to overcome setbacks, from losing a race to getting hit by a car.

Toronto drivers who kill or injure pedestrians or bicyclists too often avoid charges. In other words, just like drivers virtually everywhere.

Britain’s Jo Cox was one of us; the British Labour Parliament member was assassinated Thursday, by a supporter of an American neo-Nazi group.

A London bike rider became the latest victim of anti-bike sabotage when a group of teenagers strung a rope at neck level across a Hyde Park pathway.

A British writer learns that a 30 kilometer ride through Provence — 18.6 miles — isn’t that far, and can be enjoyable.

A couple from the UK celebrated their 60th anniversary, after they met when he stopped to help fix her bike.

 

Finally…

No motor scooter for you; get around campus the old fashioned way — on a bicycle. Don’t leave a suspicious package in your Metro bike locker.

And seriously, don’t punch a cop who tries to stop you for riding in the middle of the road. But feel free to correct him if you were just riding in the middle of a non-sharable lane.

No, seriously, they love that stuff.

 

Morning Links: Garcetti on Veep list, LA’s people-friendly transformation has begun, and Lance visits Kalamazoo

Bernie Sanders isn’t being considered as Hillary Clinton’s running mate.

But our own LA Mayor Eric Garcetti reportedly is.

At least, that’s what I’m told the story says, since the Wall Street Journal won’t let me read the damn thing, despite numerous attempts to log in.

It’s far too soon to worry about what our current mayor becoming a heartbeat from the presidency might mean.

But let’s not forget that LA’s Great Streets program and commitment to Complete Streets originates from the mayor’s office. And popular LADOT director Seleta Reynolds serves at the pleasure of whoever occupies that office.

Chances are, Garcetti won’t get the nod. California’s Democratic stronghold is probably already in Clinton’s pocket, so the choice will more likely go to someone from a swing state.

So he may have to settle, for now, anyway, for the honor of simply being considered for the nation’s second highest office.

But if he did get it, it could mean some big changes in the City of Angels.

And not necessarily for the better.

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Speaking of changes made under Garcetti’s leadership, PBS looks at five spaces that urban designers have transformed into pedestrian paradises.

Not surprisingly, the first three are in New York, where former DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan worked to shift the city’s focus from cars back to people.

But the next one is right here in DTLA, where Broadway has gotten a makeover to be more inviting to people on bikes and foot. Although I’d call it a work in progress, rather than paradise found just yet.

Now just imagine if Hollywood and Highland was transformed into a pedestrian plaza like New York’s Times Square, taming one of the city’s most dangerous streets overnight. And sending commercial sales and property values skyrocketing, while giving tourists the Hollywood experience they expect, but seldom find.

Maybe Garcetti can make it happen before he moves to DC.

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The four people injured in last week’s Kalamazoo crash continue to recover from their injuries. One of the riders has already been discharged from the hospital, saying it still seems surreal.

Lance Armstrong — yes, that Lance — visits Kalamazoo to finish the ride the nine victims didn’t get to, and explains in his own words the emotional impact of talking to the victims and their families, while riding past five ghost bikes on the side of the road.

………

The US qualified fewer spots for the men’s Rio Olympics cycling competition than Iran and Morocco.

South African U-23 rider Keagan Girdlestone is off the ventilator and out of a medically induced coma, yet remains in critical condition after a collision with a team car while racing in Italy 10 days ago.

An Aspen CO bike racer and skier makes a remarkable comeback from a brain aneurism that typically kills 70% of sufferers within 24 hours, winning a hill climb while competing with a small clip securing a blood vessel in his brain.

A New York cycling champ describes what it’s like to come out of the closet as a gay cyclist.

………

Local

LA city prosecutor Andrew Said looks at how California’s outdated speed laws guarantee our streets remain dangerous.

A Santa Clarita resident complains that the city’s McBean Parkway has been converted to a high-speed superhighway, and calls for a road diet, lower speed and better sidewalks to protect bicyclists and pedestrians.

Milestone Rides goes bike camping and rattlesnake dodging in Henninger Flats, in the Angeles National Forest above La Cañada.

 

State

Newport Beach will consider safety improvements near schools, including crossing guards and buffered bike lanes, following the death of eight-year old Brock McCann as he rode home from school last month. It shouldn’t take the death of a child to prompt improvements to protect children on their way to and from school.

The CHP says a Bakersfield bus kept going after hitting a bike rider; the bus company says oh no we didn’t.

A Fresno driver has been arrested in the February hit-and-run that nearly killed a local surgeon as he rode his bicycle; the 23-year old driver has reportedly confessed.

 

National

USA Today lists ten open streets events around the country, starting with our own CicLAvia.

Gizmodo rates the best bike rack, basket and panniers for bike commuters.

A Colorado letter writer says demonizing cyclists doesn’t help anyone.

A cyclist is taking part in Colorado’s 400-mile Ride the Rockies bike tour for the fifth time. But just the first time since losing his vision in both eyes.

Next time you visit the original Coors plant in Golden CO, you can check out a bike from the town’s Bike Library for free for the first two hours. Meanwhile, a 25-bike Castle Rock CO bikeshare system will be free all summer thanks to a local hospital.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A Kansas paper offers a heartbreaking look at California native Steven James Lewis, a bike tourist who had traveled throughout the world before losing his life, along with one of the rescue dogs he was towing behind his bike.

In a case reminiscent of our own Dr. Christopher Thompson, an Illinois driver is on trial for brake-checking a group of cyclists and forcing one into a ditch; the driver claims he had to brake to avoid another vehicle after passing the riders. Sure, let’s go with that.

Authorities credit a 12-year old Michigan boy’s helmet with saving his life when he was hit by a van and landed on his head.

Charleston SC councilmembers will have to decide if the safety of bike riders is worth just 48 seconds, as a temporary road diet and bike lanes over a bridge angered drivers by delaying them less than a minute at rush hour. I think we all know what certain LA councilmembers would say under the same circumstances.

 

International

Most female Strava users say there are no barriers to women’s bicycling. Of course, they are the ones already doing it, not the ones afraid try or unsure if they can make it work.

Rio will reopen the bike path that collapsed in February killing two people; plans are to open the path in time for the Olympics.

If vehicular cycling had never caught on in the 70s, would every North American city look like bike-friendly Montreal?

A British bike rider was the victim of a random attack by a large group of youths, apparently just for the hell of it since nothing was stolen.

A Kiwi truck driver slammed into a parked car. And naturally, blamed a bike rider.

Sydney, Australia police believe the person seen sabotaging a bike path in his boxers may be a local resident; as many as 800 flats have been caused by tacks over the past two years.

Forget protected bike lanes; Kyoto has a two-third mile arcade for bike riders.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to ride a bike to OC’s famed Trestles surf break, do it upright with a board under your arm like any self-respecting surfer. A writer asks what bike would Ramsey Bolton ride, although he seems more like the massive SUV type to me.

And no matter how pissed off you are after a driver cuts you off, don’t slash his tire with a knife.

And if you do, make sure he’s not a cop first.

 

Morning Links: Last stand for Westwood and Central Ave bike lanes, and Elly Blue comes to town

Mark your calendar.

The LA Planning Commission is scheduled to take up plans to remove the much-needed Westwood Blvd and Central Ave bike lanes from the Mobility Plan a week from Thursday.

Both at the whim of local councilmembers, without any studies or statistics to back up the decisions.

Even though that means shunting riders away from businesses that could benefit from their support, while keeping dangerous city streets riskier for everyone.

And even though the best way to guarantee the failure of any bikeway is to put it where bike riders don’t want to go.

Bicyclists have been fighting to keep these streets in the bike plan, with little or no support from city officials, elected or otherwise, other than the Planning Commission and its staff. This is likely to be our last stand, as the city council will either vote to accept or override the Commission’s decision, probably without any public discussion.

After all, why listen to us when they’ve already made up their minds?

The meeting is scheduled to start around 8:30am in the John Ferraro Council Chamber, Room 340, City Hall, 200 North Spring Street.

If you can’t attend in person, written comments can be submitted to the City Planning Commission, Room 532, City Hall, 200 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 or emailed to James Williams, james.k.williams@lacity.org.

Thanks to Danila for the heads-up.

………

Popular Portland bike writer and advocate Elly Blue is very busy these days.

First up, she’ll make a stop at the Wheelhouse in DTLA on Thursday to discuss her new book Bikenomics, sponsored by Metro.

That will be followed by a visit with the Santa Monica Spoke this Friday for Dinner & Bikes + Cupcakes, along with producer/director Joe Biel and vegan chef Joshua Ploeg.

And finally, she offers advice in Bicycling on how not to get your bike stolen.

………

That explains it.

Last week we linked to security video of a bike rider being run down by a hit-and-run driver, as an automotive website speculated that it appeared to be on purpose.

It was.

It turns out the driver was the man’s girlfriend, who had just found out he’s HIV-positive.

She now faces charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and leaving the scene of a collision.

………

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay visits Kalamazoo, and writes movingly about the crash that left five riders dead last week, and another four injured; the driver faces five counts of second degree murder.

The ghost bikes for the five victims are turning into beautiful flower sculptures as mourning community members cover them with love notes and mementos.

A Taiko drum group performed at the funeral of one of the victims, who was a member of the group.

………

Vavel previews the five stage women’s Tour of Britain.

Cycling News reminds us of some of the pioneers of women’s cycling, from a 16-year old world record holder in the 1890s to the first female vice president of UCI. And it turns out women can compete on equal terms with men — and did at the Giro d’Italia over 90 years ago.

Men’s Journal offers a brief history of the Race Across America, aka RAAM, which kicked off in Oceanside this morning.

A British whistleblower says doping is endemic in cycling.

Look for still more doping scandals, as a judge has ordered blood bags linked to Spanish doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes as part of the ten-year old Operation Puerto turned over to anti-doping authorities.

………

Local

Great news, as CiclaValley reports the LA River bike path has finally been reopened through Elysian Valley after being closed most of the winter and spring for flood control efforts that went unneeded when El Niño fizzled.

The LA Weekly visits The Cannibal, the new bike and meat centric restaurant in Culver City, where bicyclists get their second beer free. Am I the only one who never heard of a free second anything referred to as a kit, though? Or did the Weekly confuse it with what riders have to wear to get one?

 

State

A Medicare Advance program allows Seal Beach seniors to borrow a Pedego ebike every Tuesday for a free spin along the beach. Speaking of Pedego, they’re trying to set a world record for the most ebike riders in a parade when they move to a new headquarters in Fountain Valley.

San Diego’s Uptown District once again demonstrates they prefer parking to business from bike riders.

Oxnard police give new bicycles to two elementary school students with perfect attendance.

Merced authorities double down on the violent arrest of a bike rider that was caught on cell phone video, by charging the man with resisting arrest. They may be prosecuting in hopes that a plea deal will derail the inevitable civil suit.

Sad news from Modesto, as a bike rider has died after being hit by a train yesterday.

Specialized partners with Stanford researchers in hopes of demonstrating that bicycling provides a natural remedy for ADHD.

Mark Zuckerberg is one of us, as the Facebook CEO breaks his arm training for a triathlon in Menlo Park.

 

National

A 13-year old Utah girl rides a bike for the first time after being blinded in a car crash caused by a drunk driver.

A Wisconsin professor studies bike and pedestrian crashes in hopes of creating safer streets and reducing traffic fatalities to zero.

An Indiana city proposes requiring new buildings to have at least two covered bike parking spaces, and showers for the people who use them.

The NYPD cop who pulled a gun on a bike messenger and taunted him after cutting a group of cyclists off in a bike lane is a decorated 23-year veteran of the department; the rider, who was arrested on criminal mischief, weapons and menacing charges — despite being the apparent victim — considers it a case of Biking While Black and plans to file a civil suit.

Philadelphia cyclists call on the city to finally get started on a network of fully funded protected bike lanes.

Contrary to the bizarre claims of a pro-car Pennsylvania writer, speed cameras — which are not currently legal in California — reduce injury crashes up to 25 percent, while red light cameras cut injury crashes anywhere from 21 to 51 percent, according to stats from the NHTSA.

An Atlanta paper gives advice on how to ride safely with your dog in tow. Or better yet, just take it out for a hike after you get back.

 

International

CNN talks with Tim Bridgeman, the British cyclist who is continuing the round-the-world bike tour he started with his wife before she was killed in a collision while riding through Bolivia.

London’s new bicycle superhighways have brought a surge in ridership, boosting rates an average of 60%. Meanwhile, the city opened the first of seven planned Quietways running on pathways and quieter backstreets.

A British fashion site lists seven mistakes you don’t want to make if you’re a total newbie on a bike. Even though countless people do at least some of them, like riding in heels or using a bike basket, every day.

A Dubai-based travel consultant explains how to bike while fasting for Ramadan.

 

Finally…

If you’re carrying a meth pipe and just broke into an elementary school, maybe you should ride in the bike lane — and on the right side of the street. If you’re going to steal a mountain bike from a local bike shop, take the shop sticker off it, and hide the meth.

And if you’re planning to empty your handgun into a fellow cyclist before riding away, probably best not to do it in broad daylight while wearing hi-viz.

 

Morning Links: Bike lane blocking LA CM cuts WeHo ribbon; MI takes fatal crash seriously, Ventura DA doesn’t

No hypocrisy here.

Twitter user fig4all attended the ribbon cutting for the new Fairfax Blvd bike lanes in West Hollywood on Thursday. And was surprised to see LA’s 5th District Councilmember Paul Koretz participating, since the bike lanes connect to existing lanes in his district.

Particularly since Koretz has single-handedly blocked badly needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd at the behest of wealthy homeowners, while leading the fight to have them removed from the Mobility Plan.

Fairfax Ribbon Cutting

Is it just me, to does Paul Koretz looks a little pissed off?

Is it just me, or does Paul Koretz looks a little pissed off?

On the other hand, let’s give credit to the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition for working to get the new Fairfax bike lanes on the street, regardless of who shows up to cut the ribbon.

………

Kalamazoo bike riders say Tuesday’s tragedy is a wake-up call for cyclists to always be aware of their surroundings on the road, while others decry the news coverage focused on telling cyclists how to protect themselves from two ton ballistic missiles, rather than telling drivers not to kill innocent people on bicycles.

Over 700 members of the local community came together to pray for the victims.

Prosecutors have shown they’re taking the case seriously, filing five second degree murder charges against the driver, along with four counts of reckless driving. However, police have still not given a reason for the crash.

The mother of driver Charles E. Pickett, Jr. insists her son is not a murderer and would never crash into anyone on purpose, although his Facebook page doesn’t exactly instill confidence. Thanks to Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious for the Facebook link.

Meanwhile, Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson says another Ride of Silence isn’t going to change anything; we need to stop being silent, start filing police reports and demand changes from our local leaders if crap like this is ever going to stop.

………

Contrast the Kalamazoo case with last year’s Moorpark massacre, in which a distracted driver plowed into a cyclist, then overcorrected to hit a motorcycle rider head-on, killing both men.

Yet somehow, the Ventura County DA’s office inexplicably filed misdemeanor manslaughter charges, rather than the felony charges recommended by the CHP. Guaranteeing that the driver, 26-year old Rachel Hill of Ventura, will receive nothing more than a slap on the wrist, at best.

And eliminating whatever leverage the DA may have had to negotiate a guilty plea requiring any real jail time before the case even starts.

Needless to say, the widows of Maciek Malish and Jesse Cushman are outraged.

As any rational person would be.

KABC-7 reports Hill’s lawyer denies she was using her phone at the time of the collision; they admit she had used it a few minutes prior to the crash, but swear she’d stopped before the wreck occurred. Which fails to explain why she couldn’t manage to see the first victim or avoid either one.

So maybe she crashed into them just for the hell of it.

The charges in the Kalamazoo case shows what happens when authorities take traffic crime seriously. And this case shows what happens when they don’t.

Hopefully, the justifiable outrage to the misdemeanor counts will convince Ventura County DA Gregory D. Totten to re-file the case as a felony.

If not, maybe Ventura County voters should consider whether he belongs in the job.

Come back next week when we’ll have a guest post from the daughter of one of the victims.

………

If you wonder why LA drivers speed with abandon, it’s because police can’t legally use speed guns on 75% of LA streets, thanks to the city’s failure to conduct speed surveys in compliance with California’s murderous 85th percentile law, which requires that speed limits be set to the rate 85% of drivers speed travel.

Yet conducting the surveys means limits will most likely have to be raised in order to be enforced.

Putting speeding drivers in charge of setting speed limits is like leaving armed robbers in charge of bank security. Contact your state legislators and demand a change.

………

The CyclingTips website asks if professional cycling’s WorldTour is really so desperate for sponsors that it needs a team owned by a Bahraini prince with a dossier thick with human rights abuses and torture allegations; activists threaten to block next year’s Tour de France if the team participates.

Turns out a British extreme cyclist didn’t go missing on the unsupported cross-country Trans-Am Bike Race after all; he was just the victim of dehydration and a broken GPS.

………

Local

Twitter user captainandstoker offers a bike cam view of the new curb-protected bike lane on Los Angeles Street. Meanwhile, groundbreaking is finally scheduled to take place on the long-promised MyFigueroa project this summer.

Richard Risemberg calls for volunteers to help out with Flying Pigeon owner Joseph Bray-Ali’s run for city council against anti-bike incumbent Gil Cedillo.

The Eastsider talks with Bicycle Kitchen founder Jimmy Lizama.

LA Eater examines a quartet of area coffee shops where cycling and caffeine collide.

Forget hi-viz. If you really want to be seen, join the LA edition of the World Naked Bike Ride tomorrow, at a location to be announced later today.

Don’t get that confused with Sunday’s non-clothing-optional LA River Ride, though, with routes ranging from a 15-mile family ride to a century ride around Long Beach and back.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with Bike SGV Programs Director David Diaz about this weekend’s Viva SGV open streets event.

 

State

The annual AIDS/Lifecycle Ride will pass through Ventura and Malibu before ending at LA’s Fairfax High School on Saturday.

A 13-year old eighth grader becomes the youngest person to graduate from Moorpark College; like the genius he is, he enjoys riding a bike when he’s not studying.

A Vacaville man has been selected as the Solano County Bike Commuter of the Year.

NorCal AAA is using ebikes to rescue drivers in San Francisco’s Embarcadero area.

 

National

Elly Blue is back to suggest that the best bike trips start on a train.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. After a bike rider was killed in a collision, Tucson considers how to improve the intersection so it won’t happen again.

You don’t have to see to ride a bike, as a group of Missouri tandem riders volunteer their time and bikes to take blind people bicycling on local trails.

 

International

The Winnipeg Free Press calls the city’s proposed bike helmet law well-intentioned but misguided.

Caught on video: A British cyclist records a number of too-close passes, including one so close you can almost taste the hay bales on a passing truck.

A South African writer complains about “arrogant” cyclists who insist on using the sidewalk — albeit legally — to get around dangerous road construction work. If you’re going to ride on the sidewalk, show some courtesy to other people using it.

A Kiwi website looks at the bike-mounted device developed by the Chattanooga police department to accurately measure a three-foot passing distance. Something the LAPD needs to get its hands on so they can start enforcing the passing law here, even if they can’t use speed guns.

An Aussie writer says your safety on the streets depends on wearing fluorescent hi-viz during the day and reflectorized clothing at night. Because expecting drivers to actually pay attention to what’s on the road ahead of them is just too much to ask.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to use a blowtorch to cut a bike lock on a public beach in broad daylight, leave the controlled substances and drug paraphernalia at home. No, cyclists aren’t safer riding against traffic, and militant bike riders hardly ever interfere with traffic on purpose.

And this is what happens when you try to ride a bike through a presidential motorcade.

 

Morning Links: OC Register writer shows ignorance on road diets, and a look at ghost bikes and bicycle safety

This is the final day of our first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive. And your last chance to get some great bike swag when you sign up or renew your membership with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

We’re up to 29 members who’ve signed up as part of the drive. So we just need two more to make it one a day for the month of May, with 31 members by the end of the month. Or better yet, get your entire riding club to sign up today to help make our original goal of 100 new members by the end of this month.

So don’t wait. Join or renew now to help make this a more livable, bikeable city and county.

………

Let’s keep things short today — relatively, anyway — to kick off the week after a far too busy three day weekend. We’ll get back to our regular link-filled format tomorrow.

………

This is what happens when someone doesn’t have a clue what he’s writing about.

But doesn’t let that stop him.

Fifty-two years after Bob Dylan warned “don’t criticize what you don’t understand,” indignorant Orange County Register columnist Joel Kotkin attempts to create a public panic over road diets, without apparently bothering to understand what they are or how they’re used.

Kotkin warns that Governor Brown has a secret plan to reduce greenhouse gases by making traffic congestion so bad that it will force Californians out of their cars. And into a “high-density, transit-oriented future.”

And the tool to accomplish this “Soviet-style social engineering?”

Road diets.

That’s right, comrades. He’s onto us.

Never mind that road diets have absolutely nothing to do with reducing global warming or getting people to leave their supposedly non-polluting electric cars at home. (Note to Joel Kotkin: Electric cars cause pollution, too. That power has to come from somewhere, like coal and gas-fueled power plants in most cases.)

Despite his extremely off-base protestations, road diets are performed on streets with excess capacity in order to reduce speeding and improve safety. And in many, if not most cases, can actually improve traffic flow, while making the street safer for bicyclists, pedestrians and, yes, motorists. They can even increase property values by improving livability along the street.

In other words, everyone benefits. Even the bourgeois capitalists in their motor vehicles.

Making matters worse, Kotkin apparently thinks the state’s plan to encourage road diets will a) prevent the widening of freeways, and b) actually be used to narrow said freeways. Although it’s hard to tell with his jumbled, nearly incoherent mixing and mangling of unrelated subject matters.

So just to clarify, road diets are used on surface streets. Period.

They have absolutely nothing to do with freeway projects, nor do they in any way increase freeway congestion. Although they may reduce congestion in the surrounding area by providing people with viable alternatives to driving.

All of which he could have discovered with a simple 30-second Google search.

If he cared enough to actually understand what the hell he’s talking about.

Thanks to Mike Wilkerson for the heads-up.

………

Mike also forwards this piece about Southern California Ghost Bikes founder Danny Gamboa.

It tells the story of how Gamboa, a photographer and filmmaker, became involved in the ghost bike movement when his neighbor’s six-year old son was killed while riding his bike.

And how the purpose of the bikes is to call attention to the need to ride safely, and drive carefully around bike riders.

Vincent Chang, who started Bike San Gabriel Valley, remembers two ghost bikes he helped place in Pasadena.

“It’s to honor the individual who passed,” Chang said. “Also, there’s hope that it brings to light the need for safety improvements. They act as a reminder to vehicles that we have to share the road.”

Gamboa’s been asked if he has a morbid fixation. It’s a question he quickly shrugs off.

“Our goal is to be put out of business so we don’t ever have to do this again,” he answered.

………

The author of that story, Steve Scauzillo of the Los Angeles News Group, also wrote a piece about bicycling fatalities in Southern California, in which he quoted me extensively, along with Danny Gamboa and the LACBC’s Colin Bogart.

And got it right.

Despite the scary headline, he offers a fair and balanced piece, making it clear that while too many people die on our streets, the rate of bicycling deaths is actually going down as ridership goes up.

And that the odds of returning safely from a ride are overwhelmingly in your favor.

It’s worth noting that Scauzillo, a bike rider himself, spent over an hour on the phone with me to get the story straight. Unlike, say, his colleague above.

I spend a lot of time talking with reporters about bicycling and bike safety, on and off the record. And it’s nice when a reporter goes to the effort to make sure he quotes me accurately and in context.

So whether or not you like what I said, I said it. And meant it.

………

Hopefully it’s not a spoiler at this point. But if you still have the last few stages of the Giro or the Nats on your DVR, skip this section.

Still here?

It was a big upset in Friday’s stage 19, as Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali won the stage — and eventually, the tour itself — after Dutch rider Steven Kruijswijk, who seemed to have an insurmountable lead, hit a snow bank and wiped out in spectacular fashion.

Back on our shores, the US National road title was taken by virtually unknown 21-year old Greg Daniel. Megan Guarnier cemented her position as America’s leading women’s roadie by winning her second US road championship, and her third in five years.

And Taylor Phinney completed a nearly impossible comeback from a devastating crash caused by a race moto in the 2014 road championships by winning his second national crit title; doctors weren’t sure he would ever walk again, let alone ride a bike. Carmen Small won the women’s title.

………

Sad news from Spain, as former pro David Cañada died after colliding with another rider in a sportiv, just six years after retiring from racing.

And race motos cause yet another massive crash, as two lead motorcycles collided in a Belgium race, causing dozens of riders to go down and leading to the cancellation of the stage. At last report, Belgian rider Stig Broeckx was still in a coma after suffering a skull fracture in the crash; it was Broeckx’ second wreck involving a race moto just this year.

………

Over the weekend, my wife and I happened to stumble on another new bicycle-themed coffee shop when we stopped to check out a restaurant in West Hollywood.

The Black Bicycle Café opened two months ago on Havenhurst Drive and Santa Monica Blvd; the name comes from the idea that just like bicycles get you where you’re going, coffee fuels you to your destination.

Black Bicycle Cafe

Black Bicycle Cafe Interior

And they make a pretty good cup of joe.

Tell ‘em I said hi if you stop by.

……….

Finally…

Your next bike could be a blimp, if they can actually get it off the ground. Or maybe a lawnmower.

And it’s bad enough when a kangaroo knocks you off your bike; worse when it ruptures both your breast implants.

 

Guest Post: Law Enforcement Needs to Understand Traffic Laws

Despite years of effort, we still have a long way to go in educating police officers on the rights of bicyclists. 

It seemed like we had solved the problem, in Los Angeles at least, five years ago when the LAPD worked with bike riders and the City Attorney to clarify the laws governing bicycling, and create a bicycle training module that all street level officers were required to complete.

Yet bicyclists still encounter officers who seem to have missed, or forgotten, that training. And as architect and bike commuter Michael MacDonald learned the hard way, we still haven’t made any progress with the Sheriff’s Department. 

lasd_interaction

By Michael MacDonald

I’m frequently the recipient of harassment, insults, and aggression from drivers who don’t understand that riding on the street is perfectly legal. Commuting by bike around Los Angeles — with little-to-no bike infrastructure within a 5-mile radius of my house, I’ve come to expect the regular rage-fueled driver. And yet as frustrating as this aggression is from the motoring public, it is even more demoralizing to receive similar harassment from law enforcement personnel. Too many officers in Los Angeles aren’t familiar with the fact that a person on a bike is perfectly within their rights to control a travel lane on almost all Los Angeles streets, and that cyclists take the lane for safety.

Before I started riding a bike in Los Angeles, I had thankfully had very few interactions with law enforcement. But then in 2013, I was detained in the back of a Sheriff’s Department squad car because 2 deputies thought that a person riding a bike on the street in Rosemead didn’t look right.

Over the last 2 weeks, motorcycle officers have twice stopped me – for riding in the street, legally.

The first incident was on returning from the wonderful CicLAvia Southeast Cities on May, 15 2016. On my way home by bike, still on a high note from the event, I took Central Avenue. Despite its lack of bike lanes, Central is a critical North/South connector within South L.A. Proposed bike lanes on Central are included in the City’s Mobility Plan 2035, have widespread community support, and are needed to address Central’s horrific safety record. But frustratingly, Councilmember Curren Price has blocked the bike lanes from being installed and is working with Councilmember Paul Koretz to try to get them removed from the Plan, so they won’t even be considered in the future.

While I was waiting at a red light in the rightmost travel lane on Central at 27th Street, an LAPD motorcycle officer approached at a rapid pace and stopped inches from me. He proceeded to aggressively explain, “This isn’t your lane – you can’t ride in the middle.” I have been riding long enough to have nearly memorized California Vehicle Code, not just CVC 21202(a)(3), but 21656, 21760, and 22400 too. I knew he was wrong. And yet his tone and demeanor made it clear this wasn’t a conversation. This was a stern demand with the threat of a ticket seconds away.

As he pulled off, I wasn’t even clear on how he expected me to ride since the lanes on Central are so narrow. I stopped and took some time to compose myself after this demoralizing experience of state-sponsored harassment. Then, I continued to ride in the middle of the lane: where it’s safest when bike lanes aren’t provided, and where California’s Vehicle Code says I have the right to ride.

……..

10 days later, I was again confronted with a similar situation – but this time I had my helmet camera rolling. During the Tuesday evening rush hour on May 24th, a Sheriff’s deputy pulled up alongside me as I rode in the Wilshire Blvd bus/bike lane through Koreatown (Wilshire & Kingsley). Just as before, the deputy clearly wasn’t familiar with relevant California traffic laws, but still felt the need to tell me what I was doing would not be permitted and that I would receive a ticket if I continued on.

First, as an aside, I will say that these Wilshire bus/bike lanes are so frequently filled with dangerous scofflaw drivers that it’s a tiny bit refreshing to see them actually being patrolled, and I commend Metro/the Sheriff’s Department for efforts to try to speed up the 20 & 720 buses on this route. But this deputy seems to be completely unaware that these lanes are also for the use of people on bikes, just as the lane’s signage says.

Photo of Los Angeles’ peak hour bus/bike lane signage, credit: Marc Caswell

Photo of Los Angeles’ peak hour bus/bike lane signage, credit: Marc Caswell

He started by claiming that cyclists are not permitted to use the bus/bike lane whatsoever. After I pointed out the sign ahead saying, ‘Bikes OK,’ he said that cyclists must ride the curb edge, which is dangerous and without legal basis. Finally, he claimed that cyclists are required to get out of the way of buses. Of course, how people on bikes are supposed to accomplish this feat within this tightly sized lane with no turnouts is a mystery to me.

Just to state the obvious: this deputy is wrong on all counts. First, LADOT has designated these lanes for the use of bicycles and accordingly posted signs stating “Bikes OK.” Second, there is no requirement to ride along the curb as CVC 21202(a)(3) applies, since the lane is too narrow to for a bicycle to be safely be ridden side-by-side with a vehicle, let alone a bus. Metro’s own “Bike Guide” even instructs people on bikes to ride at the center of the lane when proceeding straight. Third, there is no requirement for bikes or slower vehicles to turn-out on a multi-lane roadway. CVC 21656, the law requiring vehicles to turn out, only applies on 2-lane highways – and even then, it only is triggered when there is a queue of 5 vehicles behind.

This isn’t the first time someone has been pulled over by LASD in a bus/bike lane in Los Angeles. In 2014, my friend, Marc Caswell, was wrongly ticketed by a Sheriff’s deputy for legally riding in a bus/bike lane on Sunset Blvd. In the end, the deputy failed to appear at the hearing, so the ticket was dismissed.

But it isn’t just being pulled over. Twice last year, I was aggressively instructed by Sheriff’s deputies to ride up onto the sidewalk to let a bus pass while in the Sunset Boulevard bus/bike lane. And when I called to report Tuesday’s incident on Wilshire, the LASD Watch Commander also appeared to be completely unfamiliar that bikes might be permitted to ride in bus/bike lanes or centered within a lane.

If I have been the recipient of these types of incidents three times in the last year, how many other Angelenos have received the same dangerous misinformation, been ticketed incorrectly, or had an unwarranted traffic stop trigger other policing problems? If we are to look to officers to enforce traffic laws, it seems only reasonable to expect that they would understand the law. And, certainly, we should not accept these officers instructing people to endanger themselves by riding in an unsafe way just to speed up motor vehicle traffic.

……..

It’s obvious to me at this point that LADOT, Metro & the Sheriff’s Department need to sit down and get on the same page about bus/bike lanes and the Vehicle Code. There is a simple fix: Sheriff’s Department deputies, who are acting on Metro’s behalf, need to understand the laws they are sworn to enforce. Since these patrols are funded by Metro, the Agency has the responsibility to ensure that these deputies are performing enforcement in compliance with Metro policies.

The bigger picture is that all L.A. law enforcement needs to step up their game on bikes. I am not suggesting special treatment, just that officers take some time to better understand the laws they enforce. Different departments have made some commendable strides, recognizing that cyclists belong on the street and don’t deserve extra scrutiny beyond that which is applied to motorists. But we are well past the point where any law enforcement officer patrolling L.A. streets has an excuse to not be familiar with the fact that people are allowed to ride bikes in the street and legally afforded options to maintain their own safety.

The City, County, and State all have ambitious goals to increase bicycle commuting to increase public health and reduce greenhouse emissions. To paraphrase a friend of mine: People are not going to be attracted to cycling as long as you need to be a traffic law expert – capable of citing Vehicle Code chapter, line, and verse – just to ride on L.A. streets.

We need law enforcement to get on board. And fast.

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South Los Angeles-based architect Michael MacDonald is a frequent bike commuter and a steering committee member of local advocacy group, Bike The Vote L.A. His architectural practice, Studio MMD, provided design for Street Beats, one of 8 project teams awarded by the Mayor’s Great Streets LA challenge grant program to re-envision Los Angeles streets.

Morning Links: Climate Riders still need help, ending the war on our streets, and more on the Mobility Plan debacle

We’ve stalled once again at 14 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive.

So take a few moments to add your voice to SoCal’s leading bike advocacy organization. Or if you’re already a member, encourage your family, friends and co-workers who ride, or who simply support bicycling, to sign up today. And get some great LACBC bike swag in the process.

And thanks to everyone who has joined already!

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A couple of Climate Riders for Team LACBC still need a little help with donations to meet their commitment for the ride. Nicole Rostoker and Cesar Garcia only have until the end day today to collect another $500 and $200 respectively. So give them a boost if you can.

Meanwhile, a Climate Ride training ride will be held on Latigo Canyon Road on Saturday; the ride is open to anyone who needs a good workout, regardless of whether you’re participating in the Climate Ride.

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Today’s must read comes from the Wall Street Journal’s bike riding sports columnist Jason Gay, who tells America that bike riders are not your enemy, and calls for an end to the ridiculous battle between cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.

Not to mention making what may be the first known reference to bird-flipping koalas.

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UCLA’s Daily Bruin reports on Wednesday’s meeting of the LA City Council Transportation Committee, which voted to remove Westwood Blvd from the Mobility Plan. Maybe someone should tell Paul Koretz that the solution to a dangerous street isn’t keeping it dangerous.

Meanwhile, LAist’s Matt Tinoco does a good job of explaining the whole convoluted process.

And the LACBC offers their take on the sordid mess as they continue to fight to keep the plan intact, saying the proposed removal demonstrates a lack of engagement with the community, as well as a commitment to build a complete transportation network that works for everyone.

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We’ve got dual Bike Blessings in today’s news.

Katrina Bada forwards a reminder of Tuesday’s 2016 Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Samaritan Hospital, which will honor bike-friendly LA Councilmember Joe Buscaino, as well as featuring special guest Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The future mayor retrieves his bike at the 2005 Blessing of the Bicycles

The future mayor retrieves his bike at the 2005 Blessing of the Bicycles

Dr. Michael Cahn sends word that St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica will host their own Blessing of the Bicycles at 2 pm on Bike to Work Day next Thursday. Although they could have done a better job of promoting it.

In other Bike Week news, Santa Monica Spoke lists SaMo’s Bike to Work Day pit stops, as well as a Bike from Work Handlebar Happy Hour next Thursday.

And the LACBC is hosting their own Bike from Work Handlebar Happy Hour at the Angel City Brewery in DTLA the same day.

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Still more Bike Month news, as the Bay Area celebrated Bike to Work Day a week before LA County.

SFist says San Francisco officials only pretend to care about cycling on the city’s Bike to Work Day.

Napa shows a 25% to 30% increase in bike riders stopping at the city’s energizer stations compared to last year.

Bike to Work Day was probably the wrong day to try to flee the scene after hitting a San Francisco bike rider in front of a group of cyclists and other onlookers, who rushed to grab the driver’s keys and prevent her from leaving. Update: It looks like the wreck was an intentional assault with a deadly weapon. 

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Caught on video: The owner of a Fresno bike shop throws in the towel after a series of smash and grab burglaries, vowing to reopen somewhere else, hopefully a little safer. Thanks to Cristina Rayas for the link.

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Tom Dumoulin extends his lead in the Giro, while Lotto-Soudal rider Tim Wellens wins the sixth stage in a solo breakaway.

South Pasadena prepares to host the second stage of the Amgen Tour of California, while CiclaValley continues his run-up to the race with a look at the riders to watch.

Which can be summed up in two words: Peter Sagan. Thanks to Edward Rubinstein for the link.

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Local

Too little, too late? A deadly stretch of North Figueroa gets a flashing traffic signal. Rather than the fully funded, shovel ready road diet that might actually have saved lives if it hadn’t been stopped by CM Gil Cedillo.

Richard Risemberg says it’s time to say goodbye to Cedillo, as three people announce their candidacy in an attempt to make him a one-term councilmember.

Streetsblog reports a that meeting was held last night to discuss a road diet and bike lanes proposed for Fletcher Drive in Atwater Village; the story says a similar project on nearby Verdugo Road is in the early stages of discussion.

A judge orders a pair of sheriff’s deputies to provide photos of their tattoos to show if they’re members of an LASD gang clique; the officers are being sued in the 2013 fatal shooting of Terry Laffite in South LA.

West Hollywood considers a new list of names for their coming bikeshare system; they also have better streets to ride them on. Personally, I liked the rejected WeHoGo.

The Source explains how to get to the new Expo Line stations, including options for bike share and bike parking; the line officially opens one week from today.

Santa Monica will hold yet another of their bike and pedestrian safety enforcements on Saturday. By now, you know the protocol: Obey the letter of the law until you get outside the SaMo city limits.

Long Beach ranks tenth on Zillow’s list of the ten most bike friendly cities in the US, while another website rates it the eighth most charming city of its size.

 

State

Three Santa Barbara women are being honored for bringing “the joy of bicycling to countless youth” and making cycling safer and more accessible for everyone.

The Fresno Bee looks at next week’s Ride of Silence; last year’s Clovis/Fresno ride was the largest in the state. If you missed it, CiclaValley offers a guest post on next Wednesday’s San Fernando Valley’s Ride of Silence.

A San Francisco public TV and radio station examines the role of data in improving safety for bicyclists.

Berkeley opens a new buffered — not protected, apparently — bike lane where a woman was nearly killed by a stoned driver while riding her bike earlier this year.

The National Park Service suggests reopening a trail that would give bike riders a safer route into Sausalito, while providing expansive views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Davis doctors call for greater bike helmet use, while Treehugger says helmets are the last thing we should be worrying about when it comes to bicycle safety. As we’ve discussed before, I never ride without mine. But helmets should always be considered a defense of last resort when all else fails.

 

National

A new infographic shows the overwhelming benefits of protected bike lanes, including spurring economic growth, improving safety for pedestrians and making driving less stressful. Someone should send this to Paul Koretz. Not that he’s likely to care, of course.

Strong Towns says the economic benefits of bicycling can’t be ignored. Although LA seems to be doing a pretty good job of it; maybe if LADOT did a better job of selling bikeways, local businesses and homeowners would be fighting to get theirs instead of fighting to stop them.

Chicago Magazine offers an insider’s guide to biking in the Windy City.

An X-Games cyclist shares his journey to mental health with Niagara NY area high school students.

A former bike racer walked away from Wall Street to make high-end sport bicycles.

Sad news, as a retired New Jersey cop has died of injuries he suffered on the first day of the Police Unity Tour to honor fallen police officers.

A 17-mile DC ride has already registered close to 6,000 riders with 10 days still to go.

An article in the Washington Post says bicycling is more dangerous than you think, while another site argues that bike commuting is good for you. Actually, your odds of surviving any given ride are over 6.3 million to one; try taking that to Vegas.

A Louisiana driver gets 25 years for the DUI death of a seven-year old girl as she was riding her bike home, although he could be out in as little as three years with time served.

 

International

A proposed revision to Quebec law would require drivers to change lanes to pass a bike rider.

A new police bicycle can read license plates and measure the speeds of passing cars. We need a Kickstarter to buy one for every bike cop on the LAPD. And me, too.

 

Finally…

So if a car exiting a freeway hit a bike rider, why does the headline say the cyclist collided with the car? If you’re going to get run down by a beer truck, try to make sure it’s a decent craft brew and not just hops-flavored water.

And a funeral home billboard drives home the message not to text behind the wheel.

 

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