Archive for Streets and Infrastructure

Morning Links: El Monte rider victim of vicious attack, hit-and-run rewards passed, and why sharrows don’t work

Not too long ago, it was hard to find enough bike news to post. Now some days. there’s just too much news.

Like today, for instance.

So let’s not waste any time and just get started.

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An El Monte bike rider was critically injured in a frightening attack earlier this month.

Security camera footage shows the April 6th assault, as five men beat and stabbed the 36-year old South El Monte man for a full 45 seconds before getting back in their car; one of the men can’t resist the temptation to turn back for one last kick.

Most disturbingly, there appears to be no reason for the attack.

Police report the victim, who remains hospitalized, was an innocent bystander who was simply riding his bike on Elliot Ave at 12:15 am when a car passed him in the opposite direction, and one of the passengers shouted at him. The driver then made a U-turn, following the rider before stopping alongside his bike to confront him.

He tried to run away, but his attackers caught up and repeatedly hit, kicked and stabbed him.

Anyone with information is urged to call the El Monte Police watch commander at 626/580-2109.

Thanks to Megan Lynch and BikigninLA sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the heads-up.

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As expected, the proposal to offer standing rewards in hit-and-run cases passed the LA City Council on Wednesday.

Witnesses providing information that leads to a conviction in a hit-and-run case will now be eligible for rewards ranging from $1,000 for a property damage collision up to $50,000 for a hit-and-run resulting in death.

However, as with the city’s anti-harassment ordinance, the new law only applies with the Los Angeles city limits.

So if a driver leaves you lying broken and bleeding on the street in Beverly Hills, East LA or Compton, or anywhere else outside the LA city limits, you’re on your own.

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If you’ve ever wondered why I think most sharrows aren’t worth the paint they’re made from, Michael Schinderling, aka Mykee Steen, provides graphic proof.

The video was taken on Fountain and Avenues in Hollywood and Los Feliz, which is my new bicycling territory. And clearly demonstrates the lack of comfortable riding routes in the area.

Schinderling notes that Hollywood Councilmember that ‪Mitch O’Farrell told him that the sharrows were low-flow and safe, and that bike lanes are unnecessary.

Right.

Actually, I think the real purpose of those arrows with a bike symbol on such busy streets is just to help drivers improve their aim.

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Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers a great interview with new LACBC Executive Director Tamika Butler, who explains her focus on equity and social justice.

Nice to see a growing commitment to the whole community from SoCal’s leading bike advocacy group.

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Great ad from Cycling Canada shows bikes riding themselves to urge potential riders to just hop on. An accompanying video explains how it was done.

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Too much sad news today.

BikeSD reports that one of their founding members passed away; Hans Wangbichler was just 54.

The three-year old Kings County boy who was seriously injured when the bike trailer he was riding in was rear-ended by a driver doing at least 50 mph has died; no word on the condition of his father, who was riding the bike.

A 54-year old Pleasanton cyclist died while riding just weeks before he was due to retire; friends who were planning a retirement party will now be attending his memorial.

And a Humboldt County bridge has been renamed as a memorial for a cyclist who was killed in a February collision.

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Local

Bicycling offers a great interview with LA cycling legend Road Block, aka Don Ward. If you ask me what riders and bike advocates I admire most, local or otherwise, he’d be pretty near the top of the list.

CiclaValley attends the mayor’s State of the City speech; evidently, everything is awesome in the city of Angels.

The CSUN Sundial looks at the new protected bike lane on Reseda Blvd; not all bike riders are in favor.

RadPad’s blog explains how to avoid gridlock with breezy, mostly off-the-street biking in the east end of the SFV.

The South LA bike rider caught on a security camera allegedly being beaten by police claims that LAPD officers are harassing him in retaliation for his lawsuit.

BikeSGV is raising funds for the San Gabriel Valley’s first Bicycle Education Center and Co-op.

Long Beach police bust two bike thieves after they fall for a bait bike; the suspects already had two other suspected stolen bicycles in their possession at the time of their arrest. And yes, LBPD recommends using a U-lock and registering your bike.

 

State

Cyclelicious discovers Calbike has lost sponsors as a result of its successful fight against the proposed mandatory helmet bill. Anyone would pull their support from the state’s leading advocacy group over that needs to seriously rethink their commitment to bicycling.

That triangle curb protruding into a new San Diego protected bike lane is being removed, after a new paint job failed to pass muster.

Paso Robles hosted an Italian mayor last weekend as part of this country’s first L’Eroica. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Caltrans installs barbed wire next to a San Mateo County bike path in an apparent effort to keep people and deer off a freeway — or possibly ensure painful injuries to anyone who falls or rides off the path.

A Sausalito councilwoman continues to push for a limit on rental bikes, evidently preferring that all those people drive and take up even more space instead. I guess creating space for those tourists to safely ride and park their bikes is out of the question. 

 

National

The Federal Highway Administration finally gets serious about helping local transportation planners count bikes and pedestrians; needless to say, LA is left out of the first round of the pilot program.

Nice to have bike lawyer Bob Mionske back online; today’s advice is to stay out of the door zone. But you knew that already, right?

A Portland paper explains why cyclists are attempting to get the bike-friendly ranking for the former-bicycling paradise downgraded.

Even Boise gets bike share before LA.

Minneapolis votes to keep their 10 mph speed limit for bicycling in parks, even if it’s unenforceable.

A Chicago alderman tries to force the city to move a protected bike lane from a busy street. Unlike LA, he apparently doesn’t have the near-dictatorial power to kill it all by himself.

Once again, a Florida-based gym co-opts the ghost bike movement by placing orange copies around Ann Arbor MI to promote their new location. Maybe they should place orange tombstones, instead; the message to cyclists would be about the same.

A suspected drunk driver is charged with the head-on collision that killed a popular Vermont cyclist after the driver drifted onto the wrong side of the road; in addition to the fatality, he’s charged with his fifth offense for driving with a suspended license. Once again, the system allowed a dangerous driver to remain on the road, legally or not, until he killed someone.

A New York councilmember comes out against a proposed ban on texting while bicycling. Gothamist notes that it’s actually already illegal, but rarely enforced; however, they’re wrong about it being illegal in California, where a proposed ban failed to pass.

Writing for the Washington Post, New York’s Bike Snob says they’re trying to turn us into cars. And that mandatory helmet laws and glow-in-the-dark spray paint show who really owns the roads.

The Atlanta Braves encourage bike riding instead of driving to their new stadium, due to open in 2017. Maybe the Dodgers should demand safer cycling routes to encourage more people to leave their cars at home.

 

International

British cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins lines up to be the next in a long string of riders to attempt the hour record.

Swiss cyclists will now have to dodge Segways in the bike lane.

Ride recklessly in the UAE, and your bike could be seized by the state; police in one Emirates city took 117 bikes from cyclists in just four days.

An Aussie paper looks at the controversy over Volvo’s reflectorized Life Paint, and why bike riders aren’t rushing to spray themselves before riding.

 

Finally…

Two Arizona teenagers are arrested for trying to smuggle 3.5 pounds of marijuana across the border hidden in their bike tires; but how was the ride? Mazda is the latest car maker to design a bike, which appears to be a disc-wheeled single speed; I look forward to the day when the Cannibal introduces a new car model.

And yes, it is possible to ride a bike with a Corgi in a backpack.

No, I’m not going to try it.

 

Morning Links: Bike the vote in Pasadena election; cyclists urged to defend Mt. Hollywood Wednesday

There seems to be an endless round of elections in the LA area these days.

While LA waits for the CD4 city council runoff next month, Pasadena prepares to elect a new mayor a week from today.

Boyonabike checks in with a detailed analysis of both candidates, concluding that current councilmember Terry Tornek is the best choice to bike the vote in the Rose City.

And Bike the Vote LA concurs.

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All hands on deck.

Anyone opposed to opening Mt. Hollywood Drive in Griffith Park to cars or trams is urged to attend Wednesday’s meeting of the Recreation and Parks Commissioners on Wednesday to speak on a public non-agenda item.

The meeting starts at 9:30 am at the Expo Center next to the LA Coliseum; you’re urged to arrive at 9 am to discuss strategy and ensure you’ll be allowed to speak at the meeting.

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Local

Ted Farber offers photographic proof that the long-discussed separated bike lanes near the Redondo Beach pier are about to become a reality.

Anthony Kennedy-Shriver will team up with the Beach City Cycling Club to promote the upcoming Special Olympics with four free rides in the South Bay this Saturday.

The two adults charged with mugging people on Santa Clarita bike paths last summer have been convicted after pleading no contest; three of the five youths arrested in the case have been placed in juvenile camps.

 

State

Cyclelicious asks if bike counts that only measure commuters undercount bike use. Short answer, yes.

The CHP is called out to investigate as someone tried to sabotage Sunday’s San Diego Gran Fondo by strewing hundreds of thumb tacks on the course. Let’s hope they take it seriously, since this sort of assault could result in serious injuries to a rider.

Phil Gaimon takes the men’s title in the Redlands Classic, while three-time runner-up Mara Abbott wins the women’s race; Gaimon also won in 2012.

A bike riding Hanford father and his three-year old son in a trailer behind him suffered major injuries when they were rear-ended by a driver doing an estimated 50 to 55 mph.

 

National

Bad stats never die. The National Law Review picks up on the highly flawed report on bicycling safety and fatalities from the Governors Highway Safety Association; those same states lead to the introduction of California’s proposed mandatory helmet law, which was recently withdrawn.

A new organization hopes to help guide cities in forming Vision Zero policies.

A Portland bike commuter learns what it’s like to be the one behind the wheel, while a petition drive seeks to strip the city of its platinum bike friendly status.

There’s a special place in hell for the jerk who stole a newly restored Stingray bike before it could even be given to an autistic Utah boy for his birthday.

Duluth MN attempts to brand itself as an urban mountain biking destination.

 

International

A Canadian website discusses why bike licensing programs simply don’t work.

Bike Radar looks at eight innovative ideas in bike security.

The head of Cycling Scotland calls for bicycle superhighways in the country. We could use a few of those right here.

If you need a good smile, Scot bike blogger Town Mouse races a little kid and nips him at the line.

The French state railway wants to give a legal spanking to the cyclists who rode through a crossing barrier moments before a high speed train blew by, while cycling’s governing body wants to know what the hell happened.

Caught on video: Three Russian cyclists are lucky to be alive after being sideswiped by a tanker truck; a car website wants to know who was at fault.

Great story as a young Rwandan is inspired to take up bicycling after seeing the national team riding by. And now rides for it, as the country struggles to put the 1994 genocide behind it.

The president of the Australian Cyclists Party insists the new political party made a difference in the country’s recent elections, even if it didn’t make a dent in the vote.

 

Finally…

British university town Cambridge posts a No Bike Parking sign, but only if you can read Latin or pseudo ancient Greek; so do you fail your course in ancient languages if you park there? A trailer has been released for bike racing’s equivalent to the Fast and Furious franchise from a Hong Kong director, although the original title of Breaking Wind has been changed, for obvious reasons.

And London’s Guardian tells the history of cities around the world by examining fifty buildings. So naturally, they choose a freeway interchange to represent LA.

 

Morning Links: Evidently, Great Streets require skinny street sweepers; bike share moves forward in Beverly Hills

Reseda Blvd Flyer_Workshop2_April-11__colorLA’s first official Great Street could get even greater.

A workshop will be held this Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm to show off the new sidewalk patterns and benches lining Reseda Blvd in Northridge, and discuss what improvements will take place in Phase 2 of the project.

Thanks to the BAC’s Glenn Bailey for the heads-up.

Speaking of Reseda, I’m told the topic of the city’s first parking-protected bike lane lining one side of the boulevard came up at the meeting of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee earlier this month.

Specifically, the question of how LA intended to keep rocks, glass and other debris from piling up, since none of the city’s street sweepers are narrow enough to fit between the bollards and the curb.

Which is exactly the argument commonly used against having a physical separation the parking lane and the bike lane to keep cars out. Although even that hasn’t been effective with confused LA drivers.

Apparently, it will require the purchase of a skinny new street sweeper.

Using funding from the bikeways program, of course.

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The Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills may need a new moniker after approving a bike share pilot program.

The city approved buying docking stations and 50 smart bikes from the same manufacturer that will be used by Santa Monica’s coming Breeze bike share.

Although placing tourists on the city’s unwelcoming streets may be problematic.

Beverly Hills might want to rethink the decision not to widen Santa Monica Boulevard to make room for bike lanes before they thrust tourists on slow bikes into the already jammed traffic lanes.

Thanks to Better Bike’s Mark Elliot for the news.

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Local

Flying Pigeon says the force isn’t with you when the LAPD is leaving their patrol cars in what’s supposed to be a buffered bike lane, not a parking lot.

The Daily News says California needs more focus on older people. But they get it wrong in suggesting downtown lofts and bike paths are strictly for young people; older adults benefit from vibrant, walkable neighborhoods as well, and many improve their health and happiness by riding bikes. And need a safe place to do it.

New LACBC Executive Director Tamika Butler is featured on the This Is The City podcast.

Nice. The Los Angeles Circuit Race on Sunday, April 18th will honor fallen Bahati Racing pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado.

An 81-year old bike rider suffered life-threatening injuries in an El Monte collision on Tuesday night; by Wednesday morning he was in stable condition.

 

State

CABO joins Calbike in coming out in opposition to SB 192, the proposal to require all California bike riders to wear a helmet when they ride, with reflective hi-viz at night.

The annual Redlands Classic kicked off on Wednesday, offering one of the country’s top amateur stage races. Sadly, one rider didn’t make it, as 23-year old Erica Greif was killed in a car collision on her way to the race; thanks to Erik Griswold for the tip.

 

National

People for Bikes says you don’t need to travel to some exotic location when the best riding is in your own back yard. New York’s Bike Snob might agree, as he takes a casual fried ride through the Bronx.

Seriously? Money magazine offers advice on how to beat the high cost of bicycling, even though it only costs a lot if you want it to; many riders get by on almost nothing.

Bicycling lists the nation’s 29 best bike shops, including LA’s Golden Saddle Cyclery, Pedalers Fork in Calabasas, The Unlikely Cyclist in Costa Mesa and Irvine’s A Road Bike 4U.

What to do if you hit an animal while riding your bike.

Bike riders are told to be on their best behavior, as Denver grants them a whole extra weekend day of riding on the city’s iconic 16th Street Mall.

 

International

It was a police officer behind the wheel of the service car that took out New Zealand cyclist Jesse Sergent during the Tour of Flanders; frighteningly, the cop has no memory of the incident or why he tried to pass when there wasn’t enough room.

An Indian newspaper seems amazed by a 22-year old’s nearly 3,000 mile, 49 day “crazy” journey across the country, noting that he has never been a professional cyclist or had specialized training in long-distance riding.

 

Finally…

Anyone can descend. But how many cyclists can do it backwards at 50 mph? And a ticket for riding without a bike bell comes back to haunt a Canadian bike rider five years later.

 

Morning Links: Survey asks what residents really think about Westwood bike lanes; cars vs. cyclists in Flanders

Enough with the posturing.

A new group called Westwood for All wants to know what local residents really think about bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

This is from the press release announcing the questionnaire.

A community group called Westwood4all has released an online questionnaire to advance the discussion about bike lanes on Westwood Blvd. The aim is to provide accurate numbers about local support for bicycle facilities on Westwood Blvd. Results will be shared with elected officials so that they can make an informed decision.

When planning a transportation network, the opinion of local residents is just one factor in a very complex equation. An informed decision by elected officials will also consider the network as a whole, the effects on the neighborhood, on business, safety, parking, environment, congestion, public health, etc. But if the general attitude of the local community towards bicycle infrastructure is known, then a controversial issue can be settled more easily.

So far, the cycling community has posted a petition with 500 signatories. A number of UCLA stakeholders have also called for bike lanes. The Business Improvement District in the Westwood Village has recently voted for bike lanes in the village. One the other hand, the leadership of some local homeowner groups and of the Westwood Neighborhood Council have objected to the plan. Our effort may help to resolve this conflict by documenting local attitudes for or against bicycle infrastructure on Westwood Blvd.

You can take the short survey here.

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The first LA bike has been reported stolen using our new Bike Index stolen bike notice. So be on the lookout for a gold Rocky Mountain Bicycles full suspension mountain bike.

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Italian rider Elisa Longo Borghini won the women’s Tour of Flanders, while Alexander Kristoff took the men’s title. And an Irish rider won his weight in beer.

Although in the aftermath of the race, the story is more about who didn’t win than who did.

The real story, though, is that Shimano service cars took out two riders, one in a collision with another race vehicle; evidently, you’re not even safe from hit-and-run drivers in a bike race, as the video below shows.

Injured New Zealand cyclist Jesse Sergent is expected to be out about a month after successful surgery for a broken collarbone.

Meanwhile, American pro Peter Stetina will be out for the foreseeable future after he breaks his leg, kneecap and four ribs in a peloton pile-up in Bilbao, Spain.

And Jaguar and Pinarello came up with a unique suspension system to ease the discomfort of riding the cobbles, reducing road vibration 50% without adding significantly to the bike’s ultralight frame.

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Local

KCBS-2 looks at Reseda Blvd’s new protected bike lanes.

Evidently, close bicycle access to Mulholland Drive is now an amenity for new housing developments.

WeHo council candidates discuss whether bikes should be kicked off the city’s sidewalks.

A Pasadena mansion up for sale originally belonged to a man who made his fortune by inventing a more comfortable leather bike seat in 1892.

Metro, Bike SGV and CICLE invite you to take a tour of art, bikes and history in El Monte on April 26th.

 

State

In California, bicycling is somehow seen as a greater risk than polio and measles. Yet the state’s mandatory helmet law for kids, unlike voluntary vaccinations, shows no obvious benefit.

San Diego advocates call on the city to emphasize bicycling, pedestrian and mass transit infrastructure in the next budget. Meanwhile, the city gave approval a new retail development catering to cyclists and pedestrians.

Not exactly instant karma, but close. A San Diego County shooting victim was arrested, but evidently not convicted, in a 2006 head-on hit-and-run that seriously injured a cyclist.

A new three-mile stretch of the Coyote Creek Bikeway adds another link to the 66-mile OC Loop.

The popular Tour de Palm Springs could move to January.

This is why you always carry your cell phone when you ride. A Loma Linda mountain biker is rescued after injuring his head; a call to his wife following the fall triggered the search effort.

Santa Barbara will open a new bicycle skills park on April 19th.

Porterville residents pitch-in to buy a new bike for a Navy vet after the bike his great-grandson gave him was stolen.

A San Jose road diet gets mixed reviews, even though it seems to be working. I love this quote from a local resident, which should be recited at every public meeting to discuss one: “I suspect that folks truly wanting to speed are simply finding alternate routes, but who cares about them anyway?”

The Easter Bunny brought bicycles to 24 Suisun City kids at the annual egg hunt.

 

National

The right on red law, which was pioneered here in California, may make life easier for motorists but it raises the risks for everyone else.

The biggest thing keeping Americans from bicycling more is a fear of being hit by a car.

The Department of DIY gets to work in Salem OR as cyclists post their own homemade Bikes May Use Full Lane signs.

A Minneapolis writer says Pittsburgh should embrace bicycling because it makes a city more welcoming. Even though he won’t get on one for fear of being killed.

A Detroit man was killed when he was run over by a bus as he was trying to remove his bike from its rack.

A Muncie IN bike shop celebrates its 150th anniversary, although the shop has changed names, locations and owners. But other than that, it’s exactly the same, right?

Seriously? A Pennsylvania letter writer says bike lanes are a bad idea because they have to be maintained — unlike the rest of the roadway, evidently.

Florida police are ticketing drivers for violating the state’s three-foot passing law, but the courts are letting them off.

 

International

Bicycling looks at the race to the year record.

Two UK candidates blame immigrants for clogging the country’s bike lanes.

Two women are riding from London to Hong Kong to call attention to global food waste.

City Lab looks at the steps Paris is taking to become the world capital of cycling.

A new Spanish collapsible bike helmet appears to flatten down to the size of a large dog dish.

Indian villagers riot after police kill a cyclist while chasing down a driver who failed to stop for a DUI checkpoint.

An Aussie study says riding a bike at least once a week will lead to a higher quality of life. As long as you’re a man.

Bicycle sidecars remain a popular mode of transit in Myanmar.

China’s Flying Pigeon bike maker collaborates with a video website to introduce a “super” smart bike, which will incorporate a music player, navigation, social networking, health monitoring, anti-theft lock and turn signals. Or you could, you know, just ride a bike.

 

Finally…

Seven very tongue-in-cheek tips for urban cyclists, from always strapping a baby onto your bike, to politely taking up as little space as possible when you’re sprawled on the pavement. A Kiwi cyclist pedals to work in a giraffe-print onesie to calm aggressive driving; a requirement for adult animal-print onesies is no doubt being added to California’s proposed helmet and reflective clothing law as we speak.

And before you impatiently honk your horn and buzz a group of cyclists while shouting obscenities out the window, make sure it’s not a group of bike cops on a training ride.

Just a suggestion.

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Thanks to John Hall for his generous donation to help support this site. If the mood strikes, you can contribute here

Weekend Links: Parking protected biking finally comes to LA; gunman guilty in shooting of San Diego bicyclist

LA takes a big step forward, as Northridge gets the city’s first parking protected bike lane.

The new Reseda Blvd bike lane uses the parking lane, and the cars in them, to form a protective barrier between bikes and motor vehicle traffic on the busy street. Even if some drivers don’t seem to get the idea.

The sidewalk got a makeover, too.

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The man accused of shooting and killing a developmentally disabled San Diego bike rider just for the hell of it has pled guilty to first degree murder.

Twenty-two-year old Humberto Emanuel Galvez leaned out of a car window and shot Jordan Hickey with a shotgun as Hickey was just blocks from his home as he rode home from visiting his girlfriend four years ago.

Galvez will be sentenced to life without parole for the shooting; by pleading guilty, he took a possible death sentence off the table.

His partner in the crime, 24-year old Juan Ignacio Gomez, also faces life without parole after being convicted last week.

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Local

Routing bike riders onto alternate back streets that don’t form a complete grid isn’t the right answer, a lesson CiclaValley says ostensibly bike-friendly CD4 candidate Carolyn Ramsay needs to learn.

Flying Pigeon explains why the upcoming school board election should matter to you, whether or not you have kids.

KPCC correctly notes that LA’s incomplete bike network makes it impossible to cross the city using designated bikeways. Although they could have found a more current map.

Good ideas are contagious. The success of CicLAvia prompts Glendale to consider their own ciclovía on Brand Blvd this September.

 

State

A 13-year old bike rider suffers non-life threatening injuries when he’s apparently right hooked by the driver of a car.

Build it, and they will come in droves. Buffered bike lanes in San Diego result in a 347% increase in ridership since 2012.

Former baseball great Curt Schilling joins with other San Diego residents to help replace the 18 custom bikes stolen from wounded vets; so far, they’ve raised $25,000 to replace bikes valued at $45,000.

San Diego cyclists will gather on April 19th for the second annual 35.5-mile memorial ride to honor long-time cyclist and bike advocate Gordy Shields. We’re still waiting for LA to do something, anything, to memorialize our own Alex Baum after his passing.

Plans for a 48-mile bike path through the Coachella Valley could be jeopardized as Rancho Mirage threatens to pull its support.

San Francisco’s bike share program could expand from the current 700 bikes to 7,000 bikes in cities throughout the Bay Area.

A San Francisco bike theft victim gets his $7,000 ebike back when the built-in GPS pinpoints its location.

Police are looking for a hit-and-run driver who plowed into three SF cyclists, seriously injuring one, as she fled after rear-ending a car and before hitting another one.

 

National

I want one. Or maybe two. Trek’s Bontrager line introduces a new tail light designed for daytime use, said to be brighter than a car taillight and visible for over a mile away.

A Harvard study says police are still using outdated collision report forms, missing out on vital data that could help prevent bike collisions; Los Angeles cyclists have been asking the LAPD to improve their forms for years.

Despite complaints, a Portland road diet slows drivers an average of just one minute per trip.

Nice story. A 12-year old boy in my hometown who was born without arms will soon be able to ride a bike for the first time, thanks to the efforts of his new friend.

A Milwaukee writer says it’s not riding a bike that’s hazardous to your health.

A Minnesota public library is introducing The Book Bike, a bicycle-towed trailer designed to bring books to local kids.

Even the Motor City is getting its first parking-protected bike lane.

Some people just don’t get it. A Syracuse paper says parking is more important than bike lanes, even though getting more people on bikes could reduce the need for it.

A New Yorker who helped paint the city’s first ghost bike says he’ll keep building them until they aren’t needed anymore.

The Baltimore bishop accused in the drunken hit-and-run death of a bike rider has pled not guilty; she faces trial on June 4th. So much for confession being good for the soul.

New Orleans cyclists turn to social media to track down suspected bike thieves.

No bias here, as a Florida rider died after being doored, yet the local press blames him for running into it. Note to Tampa Bay Times: If someone dies of his injuries, they were life threatening, even if they didn’t appear that way at first.

 

International

Montreal cyclists say the city has a long way to go to improve safety; a new bike path could have only been designed by someone who doesn’t ride.

A two-year old Brit boy is the proud owner of perhaps the world’s only penny farthing balance bike.

Paris plans to double the size of its bike lane network to over 860 miles in the next five years, including protected bike lanes on the Champs Elysees and other major avenues. Seriously, if they can do it there…

VeloNews looks at Easter Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.

At least Mercedes AMG didn’t build yet another high-end racing bike, like so many other car makers dabbling in bicycling. They built a mountain bike instead.

Bystanders join together to lift a car off a Chinese cyclist when she’s pinned underneath following a collision. For some reason, though, they illustrated the story with a photo from CicLAvia, and a caption about LA’s planned bike share program.

 

Finally…

Someone stole the new sign asking people to stop pooping on an Illinois bike path; to be honest, given the opportunity, I might have taken it myself. When you’re wanted on two outstanding warrants and carrying nine packets of heroin on your bike, put a damn bell on your bike if that’s what the law requires.

And yes, biking under the influence is illegal in California, as a San Raphael rider blows twice the legal limit after blowing a stop sign.

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Please accept my best wishes for a happy Passover, a happy Easter, or just a damn fine weekend, whatever you may observe.

 

April Fool-free Morning Links: Maintaining Griffith Park for the many; traffic planning problems in Calabasas

Welcome to today’s April Fool-free edition of BikinginLA, which is either very late or a little early, depending on your perspective.

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The media has discovered the dispute over Mt. Hollywood Drive.

A little late, but still.

KABC-7 reports on the trial opening of the Griffith Park roadway that has been closed for decades, in order to provide tourists with a closer view of the Hollywood sign. And more importantly, direct them away from the twisting narrow streets of Beachwood Canyon.

The Times says that canyon residents think they’ve already seen an improvement, quoting PR consultant Tony Fisch as he invokes Star Trek’s Spock in saying “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

The problem is, he has that backwards.

The needs of the many — that is, the people of Los Angeles, who own Griffith Park — outweigh the needs of the relatively few people who can afford to live in the canyon. Even if they do have a legitimate complaint.

Although I question whether Beachwood Canyon residents knew the streets were narrow and winding when they moved there. Or that they were living under LA’s most prominent tourist attraction.

Maybe an earthquake shook up the canyon’s previously straight roads. And they bought their homes during the bad old days when LA’s infamous smog obscured the hillside sign, only to discover it looming over their heads once the air cleared.

It could happen.

That’s not to say they don’t need some form of relief.

Websites and GPS systems have directed an ever-increasing number of tourists onto those narrow streets, raising fears of what might happen if an ambulance or fire truck were unable to gain access, or if a brush fire required a rapid evacuation — something that is always a risk for anyone living near undeveloped SoCal hillsides.

But is it reasonable to shift the risk from homeowners, who presumably accepted it to at least some degree when they moved in, to the countless people who use the park to escape the traffic and congestion down below?

Without warning, those people were forced to share an equally narrow roadway with confused tourists focused more on the scenic views and finding a place to park than on the vulnerable people and horses in the way of their cars.

Never mind the increased risk of igniting exactly the kind of wildfire Beachwood Canyon residents fear, as hot engines could light tinder-dry brush. Or that people from outside Southern California, who may not be aware of the danger, could carelessly toss their cigarettes out car windows as they drive.

The latter isn’t an idle fear.

I’m told by other riders and hikers that they’ve already seen it on multiple occasions since the roadway was reopened; it’s only a matter of time before one of those burning butts sends the entire hillside up in flames.

And there’s nothing that says tourists are entitled to take their selfies in the shadow of the sign. Or that they have an inalienable right to park on a roadway that local residents have no problem hiking or biking; the goal should be to reduce the number of cars in the park, not funnel them into it.

As Angelenos, we have an obligation to help Beachwood Canyon residents to find an answer to their problem, just as we would any other part of the city facing a similar situation. One that works for everyone — homeowners, tourists and those of us who enjoy the all-too rare undeveloped wilderness that lies in the heart of this massive city we call home.

But opening up Mt. Hollywood Drive to cars on a permanent basis isn’t it.

You can click here to sign the petition to keep Mt. Hollywood Drive closed to cars and shuttle buses.

I did.

Full disclosure: I spent too much of the previous two days locked in a lengthy and unproductive Twitter conversation with the above referenced Mr. Fisch, who was offered, and refused, the opportunity write a guest post here with no restrictions on content. And who somehow felt compelled to include CicLAvia’s Twitter account in virtually the entire conversation, for no apparent reason.

Update: This great piece from the Hollywood Reporter fills in the background on the Beachwood Canyon dispute, making it clear that funneling tourists onto Mt. Hollywood Drive is just the last in a long list of efforts to appease a relative handful of angry homeowners. Thanks to Peter Flax for the link.

……..

Reader danger d sends word that things could be better Calabasas.

First, he reports that the traffic flag of surrender, aka crossing flags, are taking hold as the city capitulates to the almighty automobile, as evidenced by this photo from Mulholland Hwy and Freedom Drive, not far from where Milt Olin was killed in December, 2013.

Crossing_Flags

As he puts it,

I am sure that someone thought that this would be a good idea to make the crossing safer for the many students from the surrounding schools, and that is great but I am afraid that the idea of pedestrians having to wave a flag to cross the street is spreading and will take hold in more areas. Then when a pedestrian is run down without one, the police will use this as an excuse for the motorist just like “he was not wearing a helmet” excuse for running over cyclist.

So let’s make this perfectly clear.

If people have to wave little flags to get drivers’ attention just so they can cross the damn street, your traffic planning has failed.

He also sends evidence of what appears to be a clearly substandard bike lane, which he discussed with a traffic engineer for the city.

In the photo you can see what appears to be a bike lane with cars parked in it. Oddly there are “no parking on Wednesday” street signs posted here also. The fact that there were bike lane signs painted on the road and parking within this area seemed odd to me. With the parked cars in the lane there was about 18 inches from the white stripe to the left. This seemed very confusing and ambiguous.

I asked the engineer about this and he told me that as long as the lane is 12 feet wide they can mark it as a bike lane and have cars parked in it.

Don’t get me wrong, he was a nice guy and said that he would go out and measure the width of the lane, since I informed him that it could be a liability issue for the city. He seemed like he would love to help make it safer and was glad that someone came in to let him know about it.

I don’t think there was 4 feet for the bikes though, not as it is now.

Bike_Lane_or_Parking_Lane

……..

Local

Downtown News encourages the city to think big with planned improvements to 7th Street in DTLA, which could include protected bike lanes. Meanwhile, Downtown’s Fig at 7th Shopping Center has added bike racks in front of the grand stairway.

It’s bad enough we have to share the roads with dangerous drivers; the Eastsider reports someone was driving on the LA River bike path Saturday night, and not for the first time. Evidently, the idea is spreading to other cities, as Chicago workers find a car abandoned on one of theirs.

Plans have been unveiled for a new and improved Crenshaw Blvd, including a bike lane that briefly follows a portion of the street before meandering on to other alternate streets. Maybe someone can explain that one. Thanks to the BAC’s David Wolfberg for the link.

Car Free SFV calls on everyone to pledge to leave your car at home on April 26th.

Congratulations to bike and planning advocate Carter Rubin on his recent appointment to the Santa Monica Planning Commission, despite the apparent reservations of the local press.

 

State

Red Kite Prayer’s Padraig weighs in on California’s proposed mandatory bike helmet law, and concludes government should focus on letting drivers know we’re vulnerable on the streets, and here in increasing numbers.

Drivers have long been able to avoid fines by going to traffic school; California bike riders may finally have that option if a new bill passes the state legislature.

Sad news from San Diego, as the bike rider who was shot in the city’s East Village on Saturday has died; family members say he was a peace keeper in the neighborhood. An arrest was made in the case on Monday.

There’s a special place in hell for the subhuman scum who stole 16 custom-made adaptive bikes from wounded San Diego vets.

CyclingSavvy will hold training classes in Orange County on the weekend of April 24th.

What happens when a paper assigns someone who doesn’t know bike racing to write about the upcoming Redlands Classic? They not only fail to mention the date — which is April 8th through 12th, thank you. And no, the Tour of California is not a popular women’s race, though they do get four stages this year.

Coachella bike riders, pedestrians and motorists are asked for their input for the region’s active transportation plan.

I like this guy. A San Francisco reporter looks at people behaving badly by blocking or illegally driving in a bike lane.

 

National

Forbes writes about bikes getting smarter as companies compete to build-in advanced technical features. Other than flat-free tires, I think I’ll pass.

Women’s racing takes another step forward as Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge adds a three-stage women’s race for 2015. But will any of it, or the women’s ATOC, be televised?

Philadelphia is just the latest city to get bike share before LA, while Fargo’s is doing even better than expected.

Twenty-six cyclists are riding from Newton to DC to advocate for stricter gun controls.

 

International

A Toronto cyclist complains about male riders who insist on cutting in front of her at red lights or passing because they’re embarrassed to be behind a woman.

The hit-and-run epidemic spreads to Great Britain, as authorities look for the driver who killed a 15-year old bike rider. Thanks to David Wolfberg for the heads-up.

A writer for the Telegraph says it would be easy to make fun of Brompton riders, except their bikes are just so smart.

Maybe there’s some justice in Putin’s Russia after all. A Russian driver gets three years for killing an American round-the-world cyclist in a drunken collision.

A judge gives a Kiwi man who killed a cyclist permission to drive tractors on his farm despite being stopped twice for driving with a suspended license since he was released from jail.

A cyclist doored Down Under learns the hard way to always ask for ID rather than just trusting the driver who did it.

A Chinese man creates an entire bicycle from 3D-printed plastic, even if it does look like it should come with a Happy Meal.

 

Finally…

Oddly, it’s no funnier when a cyclist talks about running down runners than when a driver jokes about doing it to one of us. That spray-on reflective paint for cyclists is nothing new; Cyclelicious points out it’s already available for glow-in-the-dark horses and dogs, although it’s not coming within 10 feet of mine.

And Road.cc asks if this Cher the Road video — get it? — complete with badly rapping white guys is the worst safety video in human history?

Probably not, but it should rank in the top 100 or so, anyway.

Weekend Links: Bicyclist voices heard in Griffith Park flap, but not in San Diego; Seattle driver doesn’t give a f***

They got the message, anyway.

The LA Weekly covers Thursday night’s meeting of the Griffith Park Advisory Board, which discussed the controversy over the ill-advised test project to turn Mount Hollywood Drive, which had previously been closed off to cars, into parking for tourists visiting the Hollywood Sign.

The predictable outcome was a promise to look into the matter, though it’s clear board members got the message from hikers, equestrians and bike riders that another solution has to be found. What, if anything, they’ll do about it after the project’s planned April 12th closing remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, an online petition asks the city to keep cars and trams off the road, but KTLA-5 says pity the poor tourists who just want to get a close-up view of the sign.

And CiclaValley offers video evidence of what all the fuss is about.

………

Bike SD offers a report on Wednesday’s meeting to discuss planned bike lanes in the city’s Hillcrest neighborhood, where the Urban Planners group voted unanimously to protect parking spaces instead of human lives; the OB Rag says passionate pleas for safer streets fell on deaf ears.

Even though a new study shows complete streets not only result in improved safety for everyone, but also lead to increased sales, higher employment rates and greater property values.

But sure, keep fighting for those parking spaces while you chase potential new customers away.

………

If, like me, you had to miss Thursday’s discussion between former NYDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and our own LADOT transportation maven Seleta Reynolds, you can watch it again for the first time. Thanks to Dennis Hindman for the link.

………

Clearly, not all cyclists oppose the proposed law that would require all California cyclists to wear bike helmets, as well as reflective gear after dark. Even if Bike Snob calls anyone who supports a helmet law a traitor and a heretic.

A new temporary clear spray paint from Volvo could solve the reflective problem. Maybe if you just spray your head it will look like you have a helmet on, at least after dark.

……..

The Bike League is calling on you to contact your Senator to help preserve federal funding for biking and walking.

Meanwhile, over 120 organizations joined together to call for increased funding for active transportation in California.

………

A Seattle driver tells a bike rider she literally doesn’t give a fuck about anything he has to say after she parks in a supposedly parking-protected bike lane. And right next to a sign saying she can’t do it, no less.

Although, I think she meant figuratively, not literally, unless she was actually declining a free sexual encounter.

A writer for c|net asks if the rider, while right, might have been a tad sanctimonious.

See what you think.

………

More transportation clickbait, as Thrillist ranks the 10 best cities to get around without a car.

LA checks in at a surprising number nine, despite ranking lowest among the top 10 for bikeability, and second from the bottom for walkability.

………

Local

A Los Angeles woman makes chandeliers out of used bike parts; her work can be seen at Sunset Plaza, as well as Neil Patrick Harris’ New York home, if he lets you in.

Big improvements are coming to North Broadway in DTLA.

A new Glendale greenway will connect three parks in the city via bike lanes and sharrows.

Join Metro, From Lot to Spot and CICLE on Saturday for the Hot SPOTS bike tour of formerly blighted lots that have been converted to urban green spaces.

 

State

A La Mesa cyclist was critically injured in a horrific wreck when he was hit by an armored car, which proceeded to run over him with both sets of tires.

A trio of Palm Springs thieves are arrested after apparently trading a possibly stolen bike for the SUV they’re accused of taking.

San Bernardino students get bikes for perfect attendance. If they’d done that when I was a kid, I might not have faked a fever so often.

A 32-year old bike rider becomes the year’s first, and hopefully last, traffic fatality in Salinas.

A Silicon Valley bicycling movement is powered by wine, women and chocolate. None of which my wife will let me have these days.

San Francisco police are once again accused of conducting a crappy investigation and unfairly blaming the victim of a bicycling fatality.

 

National

A new documentary examines the conflict between bikes and cars — or more precisely, the overdependence on the latter — including LA voices like Wolfpack Hustle’s Don Ward and Don Koeppel, founder of the Big Parade.

Smart move. To reduce costs and build better relations with the community, Albuquerque police plan to take officers off their inexpensive bikes and put them in expensive patrol cars, where they will be isolated from the public.

The Dallas Observer says a new bill to ban texting while driving will only give cops an excuse to pull drivers over; evidently, they expect people to stop texting behind the wheel on the honor system, which has clearly worked well so far.

A former Mad City mayor calls for a Wisconsin bike highway system.

A Pittsburgh bridge gets a road diet and bike lanes, even if a local carpenter calls them useless.

Showing a rare skill for making a bad situation worse, a Tampa Bay man faces a burglary charge for attempting to get his impounded bike back.

 

International

Welsh police needs at least four cops and a helicopter to arrest a wine drinking bike rider.

A new 700 space bike parking structure gives a whole new meaning to Stockholm syndrome; thanks to joninsocal for the heads-up.

A new documentary looks at Italian Jews who survived WWII and the goys gentiles who helped them, focusing on legendary cyclist Gino Bartali, who should be on a fast track to sainthood already.

A West Australia driver gets five years for killing a cyclist in a wreck he was too drunk to remember.

Thailand will build bike lanes leading to two international airports, while a 14 mile bike path circling another airport will get toilets, lights and security cameras provided by a local bank. We have a lot of banks in LA, right?

The mayor of Kuala Lumpur promises to build more bikeways if enough buildings turn their lights out for Earth Hour. So if they don’t, bike riders get screwed?

 

Finally…

A new women’s jersey is designed to carry your choice of concealed weapon while you ride. If you’re carrying three kilos of coke and heroin in the trunk of your car, don’t obscure the license plate with your bike rack.

And an Illinois town asks bike riders to please stop pooping on the bike path.

 

Morning Links: Carfree Griffith Park could be sacrificed for well-healed homeowners; LA beats New York

It’s your park.

But that could change, as Streetsblog explains more about the plan to open Griffith Park’s previously car-free, and carefree, Mt. Hollywood Drive to cars.

In fact, the street has already been partially opened in an experiment to provide additional parking near the Griffith Observatory.

As many surmised, it appears to be a plan to divert tourists wanting a close-up view of the Hollywood sign from the pricy Beechwood Canyon neighborhood, in effect trading their privacy for the safety of cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.

Although I wonder how many of those homeowners knew the sign was there when they moved there.

While I understand the problems caused by the sudden influx of internet-driven tourists, it’s kind of like Parisians in the last century demanding the streets be closed because they had no idea passenger jets would bring so many tourists to see the Eiffel Tower.

We need to find a solution that works for everyone, not just the those wanting to protect their streets; shuttle buses along a mutually acceptable route is just one possibility.

The park is one of the few places in this city that belongs to people, not cars.

CiclaVally asks you to invest 45 seconds to send an email to help keep it that way.

………

The BetterDoctor website ranks the most bike-friendly cities, with four of the top 10 — Portland, Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco — on the Left Coast.

Needless to say, LA checks in at a relatively modest number 23. Yet somehow, we’re still two notches above New York, Bicycle magazine’s number one city for bike friendliness.

Which suggests that these sort of clickbait lists should be taken with a grain — or maybe a 10-pound bag — of salt.

………

Local

Just five years ago, LA cyclists had to fight to preserve bike lanes that were promised for Reseda Blvd. Now the street is scheduled to get the city’s first parking-protected bike lane as part of the Great Streets program.

Speaking of parking-protected bike lanes, I haven’t given up the fight to put one on the uphill side of Temescal Canyon, where Australian tourist James Rapley was killed by an allegedly intoxicated and possibly distracted driver just before Christmas 2013. There may not have been enough cars there to save his life on that Sunday morning, but it might keep it from happening again.

New County Supervisor Hilda Solis tells Downtown News she supports bikeshare and its automotive equivalent, suggesting there may not even be a need for private cars in DTLA.

 

State

A new Oso Creek trail gets unanimous approval; the three-quarter-mile pathway will have a 12-foot asphalt bike path along with a 10-foot wide decomposed granite horse and pedestrian trail. Which means pedestrians will choose to use the paved path, of course.

The battle for bike lanes in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood sound a lot like the fight for bike lanes on Westwood Blvd — intense opposition that ignores the benefits and insists the lanes go somewhere else, but fails to come up with any viable alternatives. No bias in the San Diego media, either, as a local TV station says the plan would take streets away from drivers and give them to bicyclists.

San Francisco gets three more visible bike counters, bringing their total to four visible bike counters and 24 hidden counters buried in the pavement along popular riding routes. That compares favorably to LA, which has exactly zero that I’m aware of.

 

National

AAA says drivers continue to take needless risks even though crashes affect one out of three motorists. And too often, it’s the people who aren’t encased in two tons of glass and steel that pay the price.

Why the bike bell everyone remembers is nearing extinction on American streets.

The OC Register says riding the Oregon coast is a slice of heaven, except for 11 miles of hell.

A Portland station looks at bike chop shops in homeless camps, where stolen bikes are dismantled and sold for parts.

Washington moves forward with a proposed dead red law, which would allow cyclists to ride through red lights that don’t change for them.

Chicago alderman candidates raise the question of licensing cyclists, which refuses to die no matter how many times it’s refuted.

An Ithaca NY bike cop says officers on bikes are less threatening, stealthier and can go where cars can’t.

 

International

City Lab says Woonerfs are wonderful, citing six places where everyone successfully shares the streets without traffic controls.

Saskatoon approves a long debated protected bike lane through downtown, including funds to clear winter snow from the lane.

A road raging Brit driver punches a cyclist, knocking him into the path of an oncoming car; needless to say, the jerk didn’t stick around to take responsibility for his actions.

The leader of Britain’s Near Miss Project, which collects anecdotal accounts of close calls and road rage incidents involving bike riders, says the country’s roads call for constant vigilance.

Stockholm improves safety and livability by virtually eliminating motor vehicle traffic through certain neighborhoods. Here in the US, we take the opposite approach, virtually eliminating safety and livability by routing countless cars and trucks through ours.

Evidently, life is cheap in Hong Kong, where a cargo van driver gets off with a $5,400 fine for killing a British bike rider last year.

 

Finally…

Would you use an edible water bottle made from an algae-based gel? No, really, you first. An Arlington VA bikeshare bike rider is doored by an Uber passenger when the car stops next to a bike lane, which is only news because it involves Uber, unlike the countless other bike riders who get doored every day.

And writer and cultural critic Fran Leibowitz says seeing men in shorts is disgusting, questions why people need special costumes to ride bikes, and asks why you need a helmet if you’re not an astronaut.

I’m may not be an astronaut, but I have been a space cadet at times.

……..

Thanks to Tai Wan Kim for a generous contribution to help support this site

(Late) Morning Links: Griffith Park road under attack, more on Sunday’s CicLAvia, and stupid Scot cop tricks

LA doesn’t have many carfree places where people can walk and ride carefree.

And right now, one of the most popular ones is under attack.

I’ll let CiclaValley’s Zachary Rynew explain.

I’m not going to mix words. Griffith Park is the greatest urban open space in the country.

Bar none.

While the park is filled with many attractions that would take days to frequent, the star is its natural beauty.

Many homes are blanketed across the Santa Monica Mountains, but Angelenos have been eternally blessed to be gifted this land that largely preserves its original character.

In what seems to be a move to placate those living below the Hollywood Sign, the Griffith Park Advisory Board is considering opening up Mount Hollywood Drive to vehicular traffic. I don’t have specifics, but cars would be allowed to travel and park close to the peak of the road.

While we already have examples of these traffic problems across the park, this move would pave the way for trams taking tourists up to the Hollywood sign, impacting yet another prized local resource.

Speaking as a cyclist, Griffith Park has the only paved accessway that climbs the hills of Los Angeles without the threat of vehicular traffic. The road is used by cyclists of every age, skill level and bike style.

To the many hikers and horse riders that also utilize the same paths, we share the same plight.

Not only does the addition of cars ruin this stretch for those that frequent it, but it would also add congestion to both stretches of Vermont and Western Canyon.

Please come to the Griffith Park Advisory Board Meeting this Thursday at 6:30pm at the Ranger Station on Crystal Springs & Fire Rd to show your support to preserve the nature of the park.

Griffith Park is our park. It should never be anything other than that.

There are very few places in this city that have been given over to people, rather than cars. Griffith Park needs to remain one of them.

The Sierra Club agrees.

……..

Writing for HuffPo, Joel Epstein makes the point I’ve been trying to drive home — CicLAvia is good for business.

I was particularly impressed by the car dealer who handed out lip balm to passing riders, as well as the pet store employees who called out to ask people going by if they owned a dog or cat, then gave out pet-specific shopping bags to anyone who said yes.

Just two examples of smart marketing that will undoubtedly result in more sales later. Which beats the hell out of complaining about any possible negative impact on sales for a single day.

I was also impressed by an 80-something grandfather I met who rode to Studio City from Sylmar to meet his grandson to bike the full CicLAvia route, and planned to ride back home afterwards. Then again, he said he barely drives anymore, preferring to take his bike everywhere — despite, or perhaps because of, a hip and knee replacement.

I want to be like him when I grow up.

CiclaValley explains what CicLAvia means to the Valley, and provides great photos of the day, as does Curbed LA and LA Magazine. Streeetsblog offers an open CicLAvia thread, allowing anyone to voice their mostly positive opinions on the day.

LA’s wildly popular open streets event even makes an appearance in fictional Springfield.

Meanwhile, CicLAvia visitors give a thumbs up to a temporary parking-protected bike lane demonstration; unfortunately, it had been taken down by the time I got there. And Boyonabike paraphrases Che in saying we need “one, two, many CicLAvias” to overthrow the tyranny of the automobile.

Note to press: ‪CicLAvia is not a bike festival, it is a human festival, open to all regardless of travel mode, as long as they leave their motors behind.

……..

Somehow, Scotland cops manage to get it unbelievably wrong, as cyclist picks up a cup a littering driver had tossed out, and tosses it back into the man’s car.

The driver responded by getting out of his car and demanding to know if the rider wanted to fight.

So instead of citing the driver for littering or threatening the bicyclist, police naturally threaten to file assault charges against the cyclist for instigating the incident.

I’ve often wanted to do the same thing to jerks besmirching our planet.

Then again, I may, in my younger days, have politely attempted returned a lit cigarette or two to those who tossed one out of an open car window, inquiring if the driver had lost it.

The response was usually an embarrassed apology. Though on occasion, the reaction may have been an offer to break my face, which I invariably declined.

These days, it’s just not worth the aggravation.

But I’m glad someone, somewhere, picked where I may have left off.

Let’s just hope the local Scottish authorities manage to get their heads out of their collective posteriors and do the right thing.

……..

Local

A writer for calls for banning right turns on red rights in the City of LA to protect pedestrians and bike riders.

Peloton takes the day off for a casual 27-mile, five stop ride through the LA area.

Bike SGV holds their monthly meeting tonight.

New bike lanes make their appearance on Mission Street in South Pasadena.

A Lennox bike rider was killed when he was shot repeatedly by a man who exited a car to fire before getting back in and being driven away.

An El Segundo surfer encourages wave riders to bike to the breaks instead of driving.

 

State

An Orange County mountain biker was airlifted to safety after suffering serious facial injuries while riding in Crystal Cove Park.

A teenage girl suffers minor injuries when she’s the victim of a hit-and-run driver while rider her bike in Stanton. Thanks to BikinginLA sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the link.

Someone is apparently sabotaging signs calling for a community meeting in opposition to planned pedestrian and bike improvements in San Diego’s Hillcrest; things like that only convince people we’re exactly who they think we are.

Despite a threatened $50 impound fee, San Diego State students continue to lock their bikes to railings instead of the school’s bike racks; which suggests that the bike racks are either inadequate or in the wrong damn place.

A San Diego bicyclist offers a classic retort to the standard complaint about unemployed cyclists on five-figure bikes ruining everything for people who have to get to work.

A project to widen the 101 Freeway from Ventura to Carpenteria, which includes a bike path on the ocean side of the highway, finishes ahead of schedule. Let’s hope it’s more successful than the effort to widen the 405 through the Sepulveda pass, which didn’t even include bike lanes despite the more than $1 billion cost.

A Lompoc bike rider suffers life-threatening injuries, despite wearing a helmet, when a mechanical failure caused him to go over his handlebars. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Scofflaw bike riding children somehow take to a San Francisco freeway, apparently by mistake, in a case reminiscent of LA’s Crimanimalz, who did it entirely on purpose.

San Francisco police refuse to explain why they blamed the victim in a bicycling collision, even though a witness saw the driver blew through the red light.

 

National

Just one day left to get in on an interesting Kickstarter campaign for a new and improved kind of air pump head that promises to be easier to connect and disconnect to your tires; for $180, you can get a new bike light that’s as bright as a car headlight.

Grist says the most ecologically sound material for your bike frame is anything as long as you actually ride it.

Yuma AZ cyclists want more bike lanes in unincorporated areas of the county.

That wasn’t a gunshot that prompted a lockdown of the St. Cloud MN sheriff’s office, it was a bike tire blowout.

A Connecticut man gets eight years in prison for the hit-and-run death of a cyclist, proving to California authorities that it is possible to take the crime seriously.

New York’s Daily News makes a truly bizarre argument in favor of drivers being able to kill without legal consequences.

 

International

Five thousand cyclists rode through Lima on Sunday to promote bicycling as a way to travel between Peru and Columbia, and bring the two nations closer together.

Bike officials take the doping hunt to the next level, unsuccessfully searching 36 bikes used in the Milan-San Remo race for hidden motors; next they’ll be inspecting the riders for cyborg implants.

That’s more like it. North Vancouver agrees to widen an existing causeway to make room for bike lanes and better pedestrian access. They could give lessons to Alaska’s DOT, which robbed Anchorage cyclists of $1.3 million intended for bikeways in the city.

In the latest episode of a near-universal argument, Edmonton business owners question the removal of parking to make room for bike lanes, despite studies showing it’s good for business.

A London man is punched and pushed off his bike in an attempted bike jacking; he got it back when the thieves abandoned the bike after other riders gave chase.

A Yorkshire writer asks if cycling to work is really worth the risk, despite having apparently survived his commute.

 

Finally…

Anti-bike Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson was spotted riding one himself as he awaits discipline for punching a producer on the popular BBC show; maybe if he rode one more often he wouldn’t be so angry. A Brit bike thief with 41 previous convictions explains the presence of shoe prints matching his by saying he loaned his loafers to someone else that day.

And a Euro triathlete site offers advice on how to turn yourself into a cyclist. Actually, to be a cyclist, you just have to get on your bike; to stop being one, simply get off.

……..

Allow me a brief personal note.

When I returned home from Sunday’s CicLAvia, I received word that a woman I knew had died after a long and devastating battle with dementia.

The first time I met her, long before her disease took its toll, I observed a small, frail woman with a heavy accent and a number tattooed on her arm.

In an attempt to make casual conversation, I asked how she came to this country.

Instead of the brief answer I expected, I got a fascinating, hours-long recitation of a journey that began as a child in Hitler’s death camps, followed by a voyage to what was then British Palestine as part of the flotilla that included the Exodus. As a young woman, she carried — and used — a rifle in the fight for Israeli independence, knew the legendary Gold Meir on a first name basis, and founded a successful kibbutz before migrating to the US to raise a family.

The world is a poorer place today.

As this older generation slips away, we lose a measure of greatness our world may never see again. Or at least, let’s hope we never again see a time that demands such greatness.

My heart and prayers go out to her husband, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and all those who loved her.

Weekend Links: Witnesses wanted in El Segundo death, Westwood votes for bike lanes, and more Valley CicLAvia

You’d think the life of a bike rider would be worth more than a single paragraph in the local paper.

Not to mention running it a month late — and incorrectly, at that.

The Daily Breeze has finally gotten around to mentioning that 25-year old Ricky Montoya was killed while riding in El Segundo on February 21st. And even then, only in the context that the police are looking for witnesses.

Never mind that Montoya was killed as he rode on Aviation at night, not 11 am as the paper reports.

Anyone with information is urged to call Officer Jeff Darringer at 310-524-2296 or email darringer@elsegundo.org.

Meanwhile, I’m told the El Segundo police have been conducting braking tests using what appears to be the same PT Cruiser the driver was in when he hit Montoya; you can see one of the tests below.

The same source tells me she overheard an officer tell a bystander the driver had to have been doing at least 60 mph in the 40 mph zone when he hit Montoya.

Note to the El Segundo Police Department: If you’d bothered to return my call asking for more information last month, it’s just possible we might have been able to find a witness already.

I’m just saying.

……..

Westwood bike advocate Calla Wiemer provided a short update on Thursday’s meeting of the Westwood Business Improvement District, which considered the much-needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

Here is a quick rundown on what happened at the Westwood Village BID meeting yesterday morning.

  • The board voted unanimously to request an LADOT engineering study of bike lane options for Westwood Blvd through the Village, and the message to Councilmember Koretz’s deputies was that they want it expedited and they want to make a decision quickly to endorse a plan once they get a report.
  • They ruled out requesting study of any alternatives to Westwood Blvd in order to laser focus city resources on the street that most needs improvement.
  • They took a straw poll to gauge sentiment on endorsing protected bike lanes – the more ambitious of two proposals put forth in Ryan Snyder’s “Remove Nothing Plan”, and five of ten board members indicated support even without the engineering study; the others want to see results of the study

A large number of bike lane advocates turned out, but the opposition was represented too. The results of the LADOT study will get careful scrutiny.

……..

A rider who prefers to remain anonymous emailed to report stumbling upon a new semi-separated and, apparently, mostly useless bike lane on Los Angeles Street in DTLA.

Don’t remember hearing/reading anything about new bollards & armadillos on Los Angeles St between First & Temple, but there they were! At first, I didn’t see them, because a texter in an SUV had pulled over to the curb (in his defense, he had his emergency blinkers on). I passed on his left, and swung back into the bike lane with enough time to swerve to the right of the bollards. There are several bollards, then several intact armadillos, then a couple smashed armadillos, then more cars parked in the bike lane which forced me back out into the “car lane.” Fun ride! I stopped in the middle of the bike lane to take pictures, ’cause you’re supposed to stop right there in the bike lane, that’s what it’s for.

I’m just gonna take the lane from now on.

……..

Game, set, match.

A Seattle road diet reduced high-end speeding (10+ mph over the limit) by up to 70% and reduced crashes by 45%. And at the same time, traffic volume actually increased without slowing travel times.

Show that to the next person who fears that eliminating a traffic lane will result in unspeakable disaster.

……..

The LA Times says there’s not enough data to mandate bike helmets, and recommends that SB 192, the proposed law that would require all bicyclists to wear helmets, be amended to require California to study whether a helmet law would even do any good.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog vets the Times’ editorial, and Calbike offers a list of Quick Facts explaining why the proposed law is off base.

……..

Bobby Close emailed to report that a member of his cycling club barely avoided a dangerous crash when some teenagers buzzed him, in clear violation of the three-foot passing law, as he rode on PCH. And that one reached out to smack the rider on the ass.

While the kids no doubt thought it was a pretty funny a prank, they actually committed an assault, which could have left them subject to prosecution.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get the car’s license, which is almost impossible to do when a riders is struggling to maintain control of his or her bike.

And it probably wouldn’t matter anyway; unless there was an independent witness, police would consider it a matter of he said/she said, except in the unlikely event the kids admitted what they did.

Close’s suggestion is that cyclists should use a bike cam to record such situations; he recommends the FLY6 and FLY12 bike lights that also incorporate an HD cam, including audio.

The FLY6, a taillight/cam combo is currently on the market — though sold out — while the headlight/cam FLY12 has already far exceeded its Kickstarter goal.

……..

If the media coverage is any indication, CicLAvia’s first-ever visit to the San Fernando Valley this Sunday could be one of the biggest ever.

Bike Walk Glendale is hosting a feeder ride with special guest US Congressman Adam Schiff; here’s your chance to ask for more bike funding in the federal budget, though I suspect you’d be preaching to the choir.

KPCC offers the top five things to know about CicLAvia.

The Daily News reports on the Valley’s first open streets event, citing the official CicLAvia Neighborhood Guide and Walk With Me app, along with links to comprehensive guides from CiclaValley and the Militant Angeleno.

CiclaValley adds to his intensive coverage with insider travel and business tips, aa well as a guide to where to eat and drink along the route. And yes, that includes booze; just remember BUI is against the law in California.

Speaking of which, Studio City’s Flask Fine Wine & Whiskey will be hosting a beer tasting from 11 am to 5 pm; 10% of the proceeds will benefit the LACBC.

……..

Let’s squeeze in a quick listing of upcoming events while we’re at it.

San Diego’s BikeSD will benefit from the Bikes & Beers ride on Saturday, March 28th; just remember the link above about biking under the influence when riding home.

It’s not quite a ciclovia, but the Orange County Transportation Authority invites you to celebrate the Coyote Creek bikeway on Sunday, March 29th.

If you’re one of the first 35 people promising to bike to Santa Monica’s April 16th Sustainability Awards, the Santa Monica Bike Center will pick up your tab.

While there won’t be another CicLAvia until October, Long Beach will step into the breach with Beach Streets Uptown along Atlantic Ave on Saturday, June 6th.

……..

Local

Ron Milam, one of the founders of the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition, talks mindfulness while bike riding and discusses the founding of the coalition in a Pedal Love podcast.

Flying Pigeon lays the blame for the latest collision in which a driver hit a bicyclist and a pedestrian on North Figueroa at the feet of Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who unilaterally killed a planned road diet for the street. Someone should show Cedillo the results of the Seattle road diet mentioned above, although facts and studies haven’t seemed to have influenced him yet.

Rick Risemberg observes that Huntington Drive is badly in need of a diet. Speaking of Risemberg, he now has a Facebook page devoted to his fiction writing.

If you’ve got a few extra bucks for a great cause, the East Side Riders Bike Club is raising funds on Indiegogo for BEAST — Bicycle Education and Safety Training — for kids in Watts. So far, they’ve only raised $45 out of a $2,500 goal; this would be a great opportunity for some business to step in with a sponsorship.

 

State

Laguna Beach votes to create the city’s first complete street, while the police, community and city council work to improve safety.

Camp Pendleton restricts access to the base by visitors arriving by car, but thankfully, the rules don’t seem to apply to bike riders.

Caltrain will add an extra bike car to accommodate their triple digit rise in bicyclists on board.

 

National

As if texting drivers weren’t bad enough, 27% of teens surveyed said they changed their shoes or clothes while driving. Do I really have to explain why that’s a bad thing?

City Lab’s Sarah Goodyear examines the recent report on bike lanes and social equity, with a decidedly SoCal spin.

Collecting Schwinn Sting Rays isn’t child’s play.

A tweeted tip leads to the arrest of two Seattle bike thieves, and the recovery of over two dozen stolen bikes.

A Kentucky congressman promises to keep the federal Highway Trust Fund solvent by restricting gas tax revenues for highways, and banning funding for bikeways, sidewalks and transit. Yes, it’s all those bike lanes that have busted the system, not the failure to increase the tax since gas prices were a buck a gallon.

A Massachusetts cyclist gets a $300,000 settlement after breaking his hip when a loose dog ran into his front wheel; no word on whether the dog was injured or or if it countersued.

Kill a New York cyclist, and lose your license for a whopping six months.

New York Vision Zero advocates call for redesigning the city’s major arterial streets to improve safety. Something that’s long past due here in LA.

A Florida writer says the key to safe bicycling is to minimize the risks you can, and prepare for the risks you can’t.

 

International

Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy calls on British political parties to make ambitious pledges to boost bicycling, saying bikes should be at the front of the queue when designing new roads and junctions. Or redesigning old ones, for that matter.

A new Kickstarter project promises a lightweight, flexible bike lock that withstands up to five minutes of hacking; the project is fully funded with over a month to go.

New headphones promise to improve safety by allowing riders to listen to music without blocking their ears.

There’s something seriously wrong here, as British school kids are being taught self defense to fend off bike-jackings.

UK police blame the victim, declining to pursue charges against a driver who couldn’t explain why she didn’t see the cyclist she ran down, because the rider wasn’t wearing hi-viz or a helmet.

Dutch rider Thomas Dekker retires from pro cycling when he can’t find a team to sign with after failing to set the hour record.

Is New Zealand’s new Bike Tree sculpture great public art, or a waste of bikes that could be fixed up and donated to those who can’t afford one? I love art, but bikes were made to ride.

Dahon unveils a new folding electric bike built in collaboration with Ford, and based on the 107-year old Tin Lizzy. At least it’s not yet another unneeded hi-end hi-tech concept racing bike.

Vietnam is hosting its inaugural mountain bike stage race.

 

Finally…

Seriously, you can’t make this shit up, as a Key West bike rider was arrested for duct taping three live iguanas to his handlebars. A study shows men who bike more than 8.5 hours a week have a higher risk of prostate cancer than those who don’t, except it doesn’t really.

And once again, Bikeyface nails it.

 

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