Archive for Streets and Infrastructure

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Morning Links: Universal bike path on a five-year plan, and Koretz and Cedillo face challengers for LA Council in 2017

Good news, as the May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive now has resulted in a lucky 13 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, which means we still have 87 to go to reach the goal of 100 new members by the end of May.

So please, take a few moments to sign up now to lend your support to the leading voice for bicyclists in the LA area. Not to mention you’ll get free bike swag when you sign up, through a special arrangement with the LACBC just for BikinginLA readers.

And my deepest thanks to all those who have signed up already!

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Don’t hold your breath waiting for that new bike path to open along the LA River through Universal Studios.

After I received an email asking about the path, which was promised by Universal in exchange for approval to open the new Harry Potterville, I contacted the LA County Department of Public Works.

And eventually, after the email was passed from person to person until it finally found someone who could answer my query, I got the following response.

A condition of the development agreement between NBC Universal and the County requires NBC Universal to provide funding to the County for the design and construction of a bike path along the Los Angeles River that will connect Lankershim Boulevard/Cahuenga Boulevard to Barham Boulevard.  The bike path requires a bridge crossing and ramps at either end in order to connect to the roadways; this requires coordination with and approval from multiple agencies, such as the Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Los Angeles.

Because the project is complex, construction will probably occur in stages as plan approvals and permits are secured.  The bike path will not be open to the public until all project components are constructed, which could take at least 5 years.

So yes, it’s moving forward.

And no, you won’t be riding it anytime soon.

Then again, considering Universal had long fought any suggestion of a pathway behind the studio lot for fear aspiring writers would sue them after tossing their screenplays over the fence, this is progress.

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It looks like CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz will get some competition as he runs for his final term on the city council, as a 30-year old lawyer representing homeless veterans has thrown his hat in the ring. No word on whether he’ll offer more support for bicyclists than Koretz, who has dedicated his time in office to stamping out bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

The same story also mentions that Josef Bray-Ali, a long-time community advocate and owner of the Flying Pigeon LA bike shop, has taken out papers to challenge CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who singlehandedly killed shovel-ready plans for a much needed road diet on North Figueroa.

I’ve known Bray-Ali for nearly a decade, and found him to be a tireless advocate for safety for all on our streets, regardless of how you travel, with a deep concern for the entire NELA community.

He also has a detailed knowledge and understanding of city spending that few can match, with an uncanny ability to ferret out where the money really goes, as opposed to where it’s supposed to.

Which is why he’ll have my unqualified support in next year’s city election.

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More big hearts in the news.

The Santa Ana police association and a non-profit community service program pitched in to buy a new adult tricycle for a man with cerebral palsy after his only source of transportation was stolen. The Orange Cycle bike shop provided the new bike at a sizable discount, while also pitching in a new helmet, bell and bike lock.

And a young Birmingham AL boy is so grateful when a cop stops to fix the chain on his bike, he gave the officer a pat on the head.

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Sad news, as 21-year old Dutch cyclist Gijs Verdick died a week after suffering twin heart attacks while competing in an under-23 race in Poland.

Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin takes the pink jersey away from Germany’s Marcel Kittel in the Giro.

The first stage of the Amgen Tour of California will cover 106 miles through East San Diego County, while CiclaValley looks at Stage 2 through the iconic roads of the San Fernando Valley.

Bicycling talks with UC Berkeley law professor Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, who briefly held the women’s hour record last year.

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Local

The LA City Council Transportation Committee meets today to discuss proposed anti-bike amendments to the city’s Mobility Plan. I can’t make it due to prior commitments, so speak loudly on my behalf if you go.

The Eastside’s Ovarian Psychos have become LA’s unapologetic two-wheeled feminist powerhouse.

Santa Monica Spoke invites everyone to discuss women’s biking issues over donuts Tuesday morning.

 

State

The latest podcast from Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with the newest member of Calbike’s board of directors.

A Santa Barbara family takes a weekend road trip by bike.

An Olympic road cyclist from San Mateo urges people to join her for the Bay Area’s Bike to Work Day this Thursday. Meanwhile, Cyclelicious asks if we focus too much on bike commuting to promote bicycling at the expense of other trips that can be taken by bicycle. Short answer, yes.

Caltrain and BART are adding more capacity for bikes by the Bay.

A cyclist in Calaveras County thanks the 99% of considerate motorists who pass safely, and reminds the other 1% why they need to.

A Sacramento writer says plans for a bike-friendly new development have turned out to be just the opposite as city budget problems cause cutbacks in promised bikeways.

A Chico letter writer complains about cyclists with their “smug biker gang mentality” who refuse to get out of her damn way no matter how much she honks. Even though the cyclists in question were riding to remember a much loved rider who died following a brief illness, after a 2007 collision left him paralyzed when the group he was riding with swerved to avoid a pedestrian. Big effing heart she’s got there.

 

National

A graphic from NACTO shows just how inefficient private motor vehicles are if you want to move more people without widening streets; a two-way protected bike lane can move nearly five times as many people per hour.

Remarkably, Anchorage AK police don’t keep stats on hit-and-runs, and have no idea how many drivers have fled the scene after hitting bike riders.

A 65-year old Des Moines bike rider has died after being assaulted by two men earlier this month.

An 18-year old Wisconsin bike rider gets just a $187 ticket for crashing into a woman while riding on the sidewalk, even though the victim died later as a result of hitting her head on the pavement. If we expect drivers to be held accountable for their actions behind the wheel, we have to expect bike riders to be, as well.

A New York man pleads not guilty to felony charges for failing to secure the boat he was towing after the trailer broke lose, fatally striking a young woman riding her bike last fall.

Sad news from the Police Unity Tour, as a retired New Jersey cop was critically injured on the ride to honor fallen police officers, and isn’t expected to survive.

Baltimore chefs get on their bikes to support a program that brings meals to patients with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

 

International

Nice piece from the Register’s Dan Whiting on Saturday’s 50-mile Rosarito to Ensenada bike ride, and a bike-riding East LA native who refuses to give up.

An Argentinian man traded his backpack for panniers 10 years ago, and hasn’t looked back since; he’s currently touring Africa after visiting 85 countries.

A pair of teenage salmon cyclists bring a major British highway to a complete halt, but slip away before they can be stopped.

A Manchester UK bike lane has been paved over just seven weeks after it opened, following complaints from bicyclists that it actually made the road more dangerous.

 

Finally…

If you want to go faster on your bike, just hang onto a car, only ride downhill or go through really scary neighborhoods. Bone up on excuses for your next failed drug test.

And when you’re riding Down Under, it’s bad form to punch the cops if they try to stop you for riding without a helmet.

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Don’t miss today’s guest post about Team LACBC and the 2016 edition of the California Climate Ride. 

Morning Links: Mobility Plan back to Transpo Comm, and Caltrans hosts bike/ped plan meeting few can attend

Our first ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive stalled yesterday at 11 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, which means we still have 89 to go to reach our goal of 100 new members before the end of this month.

So drop what you’re doing and sign up now, because the LACBC may be Southern California’s leading voice bicycle advocacy organizations, but it’s only as strong as its membership. And they need your support.

Not to mention you’ll get free bike swag when you sign up, with special discounted memberships starting at just $20.

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LA’s Mobility Plan 2035 comes back before the city council’s Transportation Committee on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, the city Planning Commission unanimously rejected proposed anti-bike amendments to the plan, including proposals to remove Westwood Blvd and Central Ave from the plan.

Now those amendments will be discussed by the committee, which includes Paul Koretz, who unilaterally stopped implementation of the Westwood bike lanes, and is the author of the amendment to remove them from the plan.

Opponents of the plan are likely to be out in force, so your voice needs to be heard, as well.

If you can’t make it, you can email the committee members at the addresses below.

You can find contact information for the rest of the city council here.

………

If you’re not doing anything this afternoon, Caltrans is hosting a public forum to discuss the first California State Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, immediately followed by a stakeholder’s meeting.

Hats off to Caltrans for their brilliant strategy to avoid overcrowding by holding the meeting at a time when most people can’t attend.

………

In Bike Month news, Santa Monica will formally proclaim May as National Bike Month at tonight’s council meeting.

Multicultural Communities for Mobility will host an Eastside Mural Ride this Saturday, which should help you get in the mood for Sunday’s CicLAvia.

CICLE hosts the 10th Annual Bike Week Pasadena next week, including a Pasadena Restaurant Tour, Women’s Bike Night and a Bike-In Movie Night.

A Santa Clarita hospital will work with the city to co-sponsor five pit stops for Bike to Work Day on the 19th.

The Orange County Transportation Authority officially kicks off bike month with a morning bike rally this Thursday; OC’s Blessing of the Bicycles will be held on the 16th, followed by the annual Ride of Silence on the 18th.

And evidently, it’s National Protected Bike Lane Week.

………

Giro d’Italia riders and fans pause to remember Belgian rider Wouter Weyland five years after he lost his life during the third stage of the 2011 race.

Meanwhile, teams are gearing up for the Amgen Tour of California, which kicks off at San Diego’s Mission Bay on Sunday; CiclaValley provides a preview of the race.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers a visual look at Sunday’s Los Angeles Bike Festival at Grand Park in DTLA.

The LACBC profiles former pro mountain biker Neil Shirley, editor of Road Bike Action Magazine.

A man rode his bike up to a South El Monte business Monday and fatally shot a 22-year old co-worker; he was wrestled to the ground by his fellow employees and held until sheriff’s deputies arrived.

 

State

Not even motorcyclists are safe in San Diego bike lanes. Not that he should have been riding there to begin with.

San Bernardino opens a bike co-op operated by the Inland Empire Biking Alliance.

That didn’t take long. An automated San Francisco bike counter was vandalized less than a week after it was installed.

A San Francisco cyclist suffered a shattered clavicle in a hit-and-run when a motorcyclist tried, and failed, to pass him on the right while traveling with a group of four other motorcycle riders, none of whom stopped.

SFist offers advice on bike etiquette the City by the Bay. And surprisingly, gets it right for the most part.

 

National

Nevada officials approve the first steps in a planned three-mile bike and pedestrian path on Lake Tahoe’s east shore.

A writer for the LA Times visits Moab UT for a little mountain biking, finding even the beginner trails tougher than advertised.

A Wisconsin town embraces an ex-con, despite a life of crime that began with stealing a bicycle and a candy bar when he was just eleven years old; he spent all but six months of the last five decades either on the run or behind bars.

A Massachusetts professor says it’s time to stop treating bicyclists and pedestrians like second class citizens. Amen.

Around 2,000 bicyclists ride down a deadly upstate NY highway in the Slow Roll Buffalo to call attention to plans to convert the road to a parkway.

A New York news site lists the things they hate about bike riders in the city. Most of which you’ve got to be pretty damn cranky to object to.

Hundreds of police officers are riding from the 9/11 Memorial to DC to honor fallen officers.

A Charleston SC bike lawyer says bicycling is a civil rights issue, and as important as any in its ability to positively change lives and communities. As much as I believe in biking’s ability to bring about positive change, I’d suggest voting rights, fighting poverty and equal rights for all minorities ranks a hell of a lot higher.

 

International

In a case of locking the barn after the horses escape, a judge orders the closure of the elevated Rio bikeway that collapsed last month, killing three people. Meanwhile, a Brazilian soccer player advises anyone thinking about attending the Rio Olympics to just stay home.

Toronto plans to invest $200 million dollars over the next ten years to build over 325 miles of bikeways.

London’s new mayor promises to accelerate the bicycling progress the city has already made.

Britain’s 51-year old Countess of Wessex joins with members of the Royal Military Academy to train for a ride from Edinburg to Buckingham Palace. In case you’re wondering, she’s the wife of Prince Charles’ baby brother. And yes, I had to look that up.

A gay Glasgow bike rider gets a round of applause for shutting down a homophobic street preacher.

The Limerick, Ireland man who rode his bike on a body armored shotgun shooting rampage gets a well-deserved five and a half years.

 

Finally…

As if drivers weren’t happy to do it, now your bike jacket can tell you where to go, too. Seriously, if a road raging driver slams into a car on purpose, it’s not an accident.

And congrats to LA, the unofficial road rage capital of America.

But we already knew that, right?

 

Morning Links: Local DUI bicycling death reverberates on the East Coast, and PCH study says OC’s got problems

This is the harm that traffic crimes cause.

The pain of Saturday’s drunken high-speed crash that took the life of 26-year old Tomas Brewer reverberates through his hometown of Gloucester, Massachusetts.

The budding screenwriter came to LA to break into the business; next week his family will come to take him home.

Correction: This piece initially misidentified Brewer’s hometown as Gloucester, England, rather than Gloucester, MA. I apologize for the error; thanks to Phillip, Jay, Sean and Yawfle for the correction. 

………

A newly published $400,000 safety study points out the many safety problems for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians on PCH through Orange County.

And needless to say, the possible solutions — and the willingness to actually do something about it — vary from one town to another.

Like Laguna Beach, where the city manager questions removing or reducing lanes or parking; nice to know a parked car could have more value than a human life.

………

Maybe it’s yours.

Amid the steady drumbeat of stolen bikes registered through this site, news popped up yesterday afternoon about a bike that had been recovered during an arrest in Westwood.

According to the report, it’s a black, 2015 Fuji Transonic 2.5; the serial number has been removed, so they’re asking for distinguishing characteristics to identify the owner.

If you know someone whose bike has been stolen recently, pass the word along. It would be nice to see the owner get their bike back for a change.

………

Even the judge is mad as a 19-year old Michigan driver is somehow allowed to plead down to a misdemeanor for killing a cyclist while high on drugs, resulting in a maximum six months in jail.

His comments are worth considering, since they apply to so many people who injure or kill others while driving impaired, distracted or aggressively.

“You don’t get it,” Alexander said. “You destroyed a life, you destroyed a family and you destroyed another life, yours. You don’t care. You just don’t care.”.

“You just think this is a little inconvenience,” Alexander said. “I don’t think you have any understanding of what you did. You took a life, you took a life and I don’t think you care.”

Maybe it will sink in for someone, somewhere.

………

Still more bighearted people, as a Portland bike shop owner receives a $5,000 carbon bike after being selected as National Retailer of the Year. And promptly gives it to a 15-year old autistic kid.

………

Local

CiclaValley recaps Tuesday’s meeting of the Metro Bicycle Roundtable. Which I can attest was actually more of a semi-circular arrangement.

Richard Risemberg catches the Ballona Wetlands in full bloom, and says ride out to see it yourself for the good of your soul.

The LA Weekly previews the Los Angeles Bicycle Festival coming to Grand Park on May 8th.

Vin Diesel gives his latest co-star a BMX dirt bike for her 30th birthday. Then takes her ax-tossing.

The annual Tour de Cure Ship to Shore ride to benefit the American Diabetes Association rolls through Long Beach this Sunday. As a diabetic American, I’ll have to take part myself one of these days.

 

State

Coronado plans to reward bike riders of all ages with gift certificates and theater tickets for riding safely and following the law. Although they might improve safety a lot more if they rewarded motorists for driving safely around bicyclists and pedestrians.

Sad news from Tulare, as a bike rider was killed in a collision with a big rig truck; police insist the rider somehow crashed into the truck’s trailer.

After suffering serious injuries in a Fresno hit-and-run, a physician and life-long cyclist says bicyclists have a right to the road, and asks if we can all just get along.

A Berkeley bike rider is suing the city and several civic employees, alleging they were aware of dangerous road conditions that led to his injuries when he hit a pothole.

 

National

Men’s Journal explains why you should take your next camping trip by bicycle.

Portland biketavists are joining the Department of DIY to get their point across, from dropping orange cones to mark bikeways, to shaming drivers and posting signs to slow them down.

After supporting a billion dollar transportation tax last year, Seattle cyclists are understandably pissed off that promised bike lanes through the downtown area have disappeared from the implementation plan.

A New Mexico private security guard is charged with intentionally running down a bike rider with his car, then beating the crap out of him.

Fargo ND police take to a tandem to promote bike security.

Bob Mionske looks at the case of the Michigan rider illegally convicted of impeding traffic, and the $10,000 pro bono legal brief that got the $200 ticket dismissed on appeal.

After a witness proves them wrong, the NYPD finally gets around to correcting their report that said a woman was riding her bike against traffic when she was struck by a car; the witness also says the driver lied about the victim running a red light.

A North Carolina TV station offers a reality check for calls to license, register and tax cyclists; one commenter says riding a bike on the road “is dangerous, not too logical, actually disrespectful to every auto driver the roads were designed for.” But really, it’s bike riders who think they’re entitled, right?

A Florida mom is raising awareness of bike helmets for kids after her son suffered a skull fracture and brain hematoma that went undiscovered for two days, nearly costing him his life.

 

International

Experts say the Rio bike path that collapsed recently, killing three people, was destined to fail and should never have been built in the first place.

Vancouver disability advocates say plans to remove parking spaces near the city’s General Hospital to make room for protected bike lanes would make it too difficult for people to access healthcare services. Evidently, it’s the only major hospital in North America without onsite parking or drop-of zones.

The new law school dean at the University of Windsor, Canada walks the walk by riding his bike to work and meetings at the courthouse, year round. Shouldn’t that be pedals the pedals?

A Toronto columnist aptly observes that traffic tie-ups due to road construction are just a fact of life, but a project to test bike lanes on a busy street has everyone up in arms.

An Oxford, England bookseller returns home after a two-year, 20,000 bike trip around the world, motivated by the cyclists’ travel diaries he sold in the shop.

Evidently, telling a British women’s track cyclist to give up riding and go have babies can be detrimental to your career.

Afghanistan’s Nobel Prize-nominated women’s cycling team falls victim to the country’s notorious corruption; along with the loss of 40-newly purchased bicycles worth $100,000, the team’s recently dismissed coach was accused of using it as his “personal piggy bank and love playground,” marrying — and divorcing — three of the team members.

Aussie police urge bike riders to carry liability insurance in case they crash into someone.

 

Finally…

If your SUV has a blind spot so big it keeps you from seeing a five-year old riding her bike with training wheels, maybe you shouldn’t be driving it. Your long wait for fresh bicycle anime may soon be over.

And it’s about damn time we had a bike riding saint.

Morning Links: CHP says oops about I-15 ticket but not cuffs, and Hollywood once again used to fight bike lanes

Oops.

It was exactly a month ago that we discussed the case of Jerry Counts, the 75-year old man who was handcuffed and ticketed for riding his bike on I-15 north of San Bernardino.

Even though that’s one of the sections of freeway where bikes are legally allowed.

And even though few, if any, motorists are ever pulled from their cars and cuffed for a simple traffic violation.

Now Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious forwards word from Caltrans that the CHP has agreed to rescind the ticket. Though apparently, not the indignity of being handcuffed on the side of the road in full view of hundreds, if not thousands, of passing motorists.

They also offer a map showing where you are legally allowed to ride on a freeway in Caltrans District 8, along with a list of freeways in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties where bike riding is prohibited (see below).

That list was sent to the CHP to distribute to all of their officers in the area in hopes of avoiding another fiasco like the Counts case.

Still, if you plan to ride in the area, you might want to print it out and take it with you to avoid riding where you shouldn’t.

And to show any officers who try to stop you where you can.

District-08--Prohibiting-Bicycles-on-Freeway---2-Counties

………

Once again, Hollywood is being used as an excuse to fight bike lanes.

In a case reminiscent of LA’s first green bike lanes on Spring Street in DTLA, London city barristers have complained that planned bike lanes will make it impossible to film movies in a section of the city that has played host to productions like Harry Potter, Mission Impossible and Silk.

Never mind that New York’s protected bike lanes and Citi Bike bikeshare docks seem to pop up in movies and TV shows with ever increasing frequency, without hurting filming in the city one bit.

In the LA case, Hollywood production companies successfully argued, over the objections of bicycling community, that the bright green paint initially used for the bike lanes on Spring would be impossible to remove in post production, and would forever ruin the street as a filming venue.

Even though it took a film editor all of 20 seconds to do it.

But in a city that places a higher value on pimping itself out as a movie set than on livability and the safety of its citizens, city leaders kowtowed to the studios and agreed to strip the paint off. A darker and less visible shade of green was then used to repaint it in sections, rather than the entire lane.

Not satisfied with their victory, filmmakers complained that even that would be a problem and argued for the complete removal of the bike lanes, more because it interfered with parking their trucks than the actual effect it had on the filmmaking process.

But as anyone who has ridden a bike in Downtown LA can attest, the bike lanes haven’t seemed to limit movie shoots in the slightest.

And haven’t kept studio trucks from parking in them, either.

………

Colorado pro cyclist Lauren De Crescenzo has lost her memory, as well as suffering numerous broken bones, following a major crash in the final sprint of the San Dimas Stage Race here in California.

According to her father, she barely remembers being a cyclist, let alone what she had for lunch.

A gofundme account to help with her medical expenses has raised nearly $40,000 of the $75,000 goal.

………

Local

LA considers traffic calming measures, including bike lanes and safer crosswalks, on Culver Blvd in Playa del Rey.

CiclaValley and family experience a week of bad drivers. In other words, pretty much like any other week here in the big city.

LA Independent examines West Hollywood’s coming bikeshare system, which will be incompatible with the Metro system planned for DTLA, and eventually, next door in Hollywood.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton questions the value of this weekend’s mini-open streets events in Lawndale and Burbank. Both seem designed to provide the least possible inconvenience to anyone in a motor vehicle, without any significant benefit to the community.

A Santa Clarita cyclist thanks the man who witnessed someone steal his bike, then chased down the thief and got it back undamaged.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune looks at BikeSGV and their monthly family friendly bike trains through the valley, including Sunday’s Love Mother Nature Ride.

The Samaritan Center is hosting the 4th annual Ride for the Homeless in Simi Valley this Sunday, with rides ranging from five to 100 miles. Thanks to Project Hero Ventura for the heads-up.

 

State

A San Diego teacher and triathlete was surprised with a new beach cruiser as promotion for next month’s Amgen Tour of California.

Six hundred cyclists will ride into Santa Barbara Sunday on the final leg of the L’Etape California, following the 106-mile course planned for Stage 3 of the Tour of California.

A Stanford publication asks if the birthplace of mountain biking will become the worst place for mountain biking as Marin County continues to restrict offroad riding.

Bike and pedestrian projects would likely be included in a proposed $3.6 billion Sacramento transportation tax measure, though as much as 75% of the funds would be spent on road projects.

 

National

Men’s Journal says smarter bikeshare programs, including bike libraries and pedal-assist bikes, are coming to a town near you.

Unbelievable. A New York truck driver gets five summonses for various technical violations, but nothing for killing a cyclist earlier this week.

The country’s oldest bike race started in 1939 in New Jersey because the son of a local bike shop owner wanted to sleep in his own bed before a race.

A South New Jersey paper offers advice on how to teach a reluctant child to ride a bike.

Former San Francisco Giants star Barry Bonds rides his bike to work at his new job as batting coach for the Florida Marlins, and takes it with him when the team goes on the road.

 

International

Not surprisingly, anger is growing in Brazil over the Rio bikeway collapse that killed three people, as ties between the contractor and city officials emerged.

A British man is riding the entire length of South America unsupported to raise funds for people in Nepal; however, halfway through he’s raised just $425.

A UK writer wonders why more of his countrymen aren’t captivated by watching men in Lycra battle it out on the barely paved roads of Europe.

A bike-riding Brit serial groper gets a well-deserved four years in prison.

Liverpool, England will use thermal imagery to detect bicyclists at intersections to give the riders an advanced green light ahead of other traffic.

Yet another hero cyclist, as a bike rider in the UK wrestled down a man armed with a machete who was attacking a pregnant woman, and had threatened other people.

My favorite Scottish blogger and bike advocate measures the cycling support of the country’s political parties.

The Philadelphia Sun says Flanders is considered the cycling capital of Europe. Which may came as a surprise to the Dutch.

A 70-year old Aussie bike rider was stabbed by a young woman when he refused to let her use his phone.

 

Finally…

Everything you need to know about motor doping, except how to do it yourself. Evidently, cyclists need to be aware of their surroundings so they don’t follow a bikeway into a lamp post.

And who would have thought a column by a self-described bike-hating dyke would be the funniest thing I read today?

 

Morning Links: Hit-and-run in Harvard Heights, protected bike lane coming to 1st St, and 10-Freeway victim ID’d

Police are looking for the cowardly schmuck who took off after running down a bike rider in LA’s Harvard Heights on Wednesday.

The collision occurred around 3 pm at the corner of Venice and Hobart Blvds as the cyclist reported he was blindsided by the collision. Fortunately, he suffered just cuts and bruises, along with a head wound that required six staples.

The driver was caught on a security camera stopping several blocks away to remove the mangled bike from underneath his minivan before getting back in and driving away.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the LAPD’s West Traffic Division at 213/473-0222.

………

Good news for LA bike riders.

LADOT reports construction has begun on a protected bike lane on Los Angeles Street from First Street to Union Station in DTLA — including LA’s first bicycle-specific traffic signals.

Hopefully, this will finally stop LAPD officers from parking in the bike lane. Though I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Maybe they can have it ready for an official unveiling during next month’s Bike Week.

………

The victim in Sunday’s inexplicable bicycling fatality on the 10 Freeway in Alhambra has been identified as a 40-year old transient named Eduardo Castillo.

………

If you hurry, you may still have time to make it up to the Sea Otter Classic in time to race your Brompton this evening. Coat and tie or dresses are required, although nothing says your attire must be gender appropriate.

Meanwhile, Bicycle Retailer says ebikes abound at this year’s event. And Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious offers his always great photographs of the Classic.

………

Just months after approving them for racing, pro cycling’s governing body has suspended the use of disk brakes following a couple of serious cuts caused by the sharp blades.

Russian cyclist Eduard Vorganov can unretire now that doping officials say he gets a do-over. On the other hand, Italian rider Luca Paolini got an 18 month ban for doing coke during last year’s Tour de France, apparently mistaking the French countryside for Studio 54 in the ’80s.

An Aussie writer says organized teams of weekend warrior MAMILS are ruining amateur bike racing.

A Malay cyclist says there’s more to bike racing than the prize money.

………

Local

Richard Risemberg employs his best WTF! in an attempt to comprehend why the Second Street bike lanes simply stop at Beverly Blvd, dumping riders into a complicated intersection with unforgiving traffic. Not unlike, say, most bike lanes in LA’s disconnected and discombobulated non-network.

LA considers returning a portion of parking revenue to the neighborhoods where it was collected, and where it could be used to fix sidewalks or stripe bike lanes.

CiclaValley takes a ride up upper Los Virgenes Canyon.

How does wehogo sound for the name of West Hollywood’s new bikeshare system?

Two of Bike the Vote LA’s top ranked candidates win in Culver City, with endorsee Meghan Sahli-Wells coming in first by a wide margin.

The LA Sheriff’s Department has made an arrest in the hit-and-run that injured a woman in her 70s riding her bike in Agoura Hills last month; the detective said the juvenile driver was sorry, but he screwed up. Gee, you think?

 

State

Oceanside will study a proposal for a road diet on the Coast Highway, narrowing the roadway from four lanes to two while adding buffered bike lanes.

A Sacramento woman helps recover her own stolen bike after spotting it on Craigslist.

 

National

People for Bikes explains how to raise a bike rider.

A Montana paper looks back on 133 years of bicycling in Yellowstone National Park; the first riders to visit the park were three men from Laramie whose sag wagon actually was one.

The Houston Chronicle says the city’s dangerous road design is killing people.

Caught on video: An Omaha driver claims she was the victim of bike rage, as a man on a bike goes off on her for blocking a bike path.

A Wisconsin woman faces a homicide charge with up to 10 years behind bars for running down a bike rider while texting; she allegedly deleted her texts in an attempt to cover-up her crime.

Good news from Tennessee, as the controversial bill that would have barred the use of gas taxes for parks and bike lanes has been pulled by it sponsor.

Rather than develop compatible systems, Jersey City votes to limit commercial bikes from using city bike racks for more than two hours to keep Hoboken bikeshare users from hogging them. This could offer a hint to LA’s future, as Metro’s coming system won’t compatible with Santa Monica’s or systems planned for Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Westwood.

Security video proves NY cops hit a cyclist as he rode in a bike lane, after which they accused him of riding on the sidewalk, then lied on the accident report to shift the blame to him. Thanks to Michael Byerts for the heads-up.

New York considers a bill that would allow cops to use a device to scan drivers’ cell phones after a crash, and automatically suspend their licenses if they refuse. Checking cell phone use should be standard practice after any injury collision, anywhere.

Bike trails have unexpectedly become Philadelphia’s must-have real estate amenity, as developers are opting for bike paths instead of parking lots.

President Obama uses an air horn to kick off this year’s Wounded Warrior Ride to raise awareness of military vets suffering from physical and psychological disabilities as a result of their service.

Now that’s more like it. Washington DC lowers the cost of an annual membership for their bikeshare program to just $5 for low income residents.

 

International

A Canadian paper offers advice from bike messengers on how to keep yours from being stolen; a teenage Brit bike thief says get a better lock.

The Guardian considers who’s the best bike-friendly candidate for London mayor.

British director and Madonna ex Guy Ritchie is one of us.

A deaf London bicyclist says he grew up with cycling in his veins, and prefers the tranquility of riding without sound.

A British study shows 85% of the growth in bike use over a four year period was due to improved infrastructure.

Caught on video 2: A Brit driver stops and lashes out at a cyclist for flipping him off after an apparent punishment pass.

 

Finally…

When does it stop being a step-through frame and become a step-on? Evidently, Kiwis don’t like bumps and bulges at breakfast; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

And a motorcycle rider takes exception to the elderly man he spotted riding a Penny Farthing through a red light.

Apparently he’s never considered what happens when you stop one of those things.

 

Morning Links: Bike lanes get blame in West Hills, East Side Riders profiled, and Bev Hills goes auto autonomous

Somehow bikes always seem to get the blame.

Even when they’re nowhere around.

In yet another horrible sacrifice to LA’s car culture, a woman and her adult daughter were killed, along with their dog, while attempting to cross Roscoe Blvd in West Hills Monday night.

Yet instead of blaming the dangerous drivers who residents say speed through the intersection, the Daily News points the finger at a recent road diet, saying westbound Roscoe was narrowed to provide a buffer for cyclists.

Except it wasn’t.

That road diet, like every other road diet, was done to slow those speeding drivers and improve safety for everyone. Bike lanes are just a tool to accomplish that; providing a buffer for people on bikes is just an added benefit.

Which means the problem isn’t the bike lanes.

It’s the culture that says it’s okay to drive 10 miles, or 20, or even 30, above the 40 mph speed limit, then cut over at the last second when the roadway narrows.

Police say the driver wasn’t intoxicated, and wasn’t talking on his cell phone. So the question is how fast was he going, why didn’t he see the two women and their Labrador retriever in a zebra crosswalk, and why he couldn’t stop in time.

And why in God’s name is a 40 mph speed limit allowed in a residential neighborhood to begin with.

There may be a lot of factors that led up to this tragedy.

But bike lanes isn’t one of them.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

………

Bicycling Magazine offers a great interview with John Jones III, founder of the East Side Riders bike club, who is using bikes to change Watts for the better.

We have this thing we implemented with the police, the sheriff’s office, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, and the Watts Labor Community Action Committee, called Life Lanes. Basically, it means gang members know not to bother folks on bikes around Watts. We went out and talked to gang members and told them, “You’re gonna see people who don’t look like us riding through here, people from different ethnic groups—don’t mess with them.” And we told law enforcement, “You’re gonna see people from outside the community riding through here—protect them.” And everybody listened! …

Now we ride through some of the projects, and folks don’t bother us. Some of the people in our club are in gangs, but when we’re on bikes, they get a pass from other gangs because they know we’re doing something good for the community.

Nice to see one of LA’s unsung bike heroes get the attention he deserves.

………

Beverly Hills, which fought the Purple Line subway extension tooth-and-nail, is now planning an autonomous vehicle program to solve the first mile/last mile problem with a fleet of self-driving cars once it opens in 2026.

Never mind that they could solve a lot of that by just putting bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd.

Thanks to John Dammon for the link.

………

Cannondale pro cycling team leader Jonathan Vaughters discusses the future of pro cycling in the US.

CNN offers an extensive profile of Lance Armstrong and the movie The Program, calling him a tragic hero.

And see the grueling Paris-Roubaix from the cyclists’ perspective.

………

Local

Streetsblog says Metro bikeshare really is coming to DTLA. Meanwhile, West Hollywood wants to know where you’d put stations for their coming system.

Downtown News looks at plans for protected bike lanes on Spring and Main in Downtown LA.

Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell is one of us, as she tweets about how she loves riding her bike along the beach.

St. Vincent Meals on Wheels is hosting their 21st annual Walk/Bike-A-Thon on Sunday the 24th, including a 10 mile ride along the beach to raise funds for Meals for Wheels. Maybe you’ll see Shay Mitchell there. Or maybe not.

 

State

Concern for equity reaches the state level, as bills in the state legislature would shift priority for transportation funding to disadvantaged communities to ensure everyone has access to safe walking, biking and transit infrastructure.

Streetsblog looks at how the San Diego Association of Governments falsely sold a package of highway expansions under the promise of improving the environment, while kicking bike and walking projects down the road.

The Voice of San Diego says a recent road diet on the Coast Highway in Oceanside marks the end of the road for the car-only highway. We can only hope.

A gofundme account has been established for a Bakersfield 6th grader who was seriously injured in a collision while riding to school on Monday.

Classic bicycle fans from 29 countries took part in last weekend’s three-day Eroica California bike fest in Paso Robles.

San Francisco Streetsblog asks if new paint and phased traffic signals are enough to keep bike riders safe on a dangerous intersection.

A Bay Area website recommends five stunning destinations you can ride to from San Francisco.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is looking for a part-time graphic designer.

 

National

The Atlantic says the absurd primacy of the automobile in American life is insane.

A new study from the University of Duh discovers drunk bike riders are more likely to be injured than sober ones. No, really, they needed a study to figure that out.

The next time you head to Ikea for a bookshelf, you can pick up a unisex, belt-drive bicycle, too. No word on whether you have to assemble it yourself.

Seattle’s Transit Blog tells drivers to relax about cyclists blowing through red lights.

Robin Leach, of the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous fame, calls gambler Dan Bilzerian’s successful $1.2 million bet a “dangerous and nearly impossible ride” through the brutal Mojave desert. Even though countless other cyclists have done it for free.

A Chicago couple quit their jobs to travel 4,000 miles across the US on just $6,000.

Charleston cyclists call for a trial bike and pedestrian lane over a bridge to be made permanent since it’s the only safe and, so far, legal route over the river; the local paper says so far, so good.

Louisiana considers a vulnerable user law with real teeth, establishing a $2,000 fine and three months in jail for injuring a bicyclist, pedestrian or motorcyclist, and up to $5,000 and five years in prison for killing someone who isn’t in a motor vehicle.

 

International

The Times recommends a three-day mountain bike, llama and rafting tour of Peru’s Sacred Valley.

Modacity’s Chris Bruntlett writes in praise of the upright bike.

A Toronto bike blog imagines how treating traffic collisions like we do aircraft or marine disasters, where human life has absolute priority, would change our driving culture. Thanks to Chuck Castillo for the tip.

A British opposition MP says there’s a real gap between the government’s words and their actual support for cycling.

A Brit woman says she was just driving alone minding her own business, giving a man walking his bike plenty of passing room, when he just randomly picked up his bike and threw it at her car for no apparent reason. Sure, that seems credible. Let’s go with that.

Now that’s refreshing. After a London cellist hits a woman riding her bike while on his way to rehearsal — in front of an Aussie actor and recording star, no less — he takes full responsibility and tells other drivers to slow down.

Once again, someone has sabotaged a bike trail in the UK, this time stringing fishing line at neck level on a pathway popular with children.

A Brit bike rider says today’s focus on sportives, carbon frames and Rapha kits is sucking the life out of cycling.

All the world is a bikeway, and all the men and women merely cyclists marking the 400th anniversary of the Bards’ death.

A Malaysian writer says it’s hard to grow cycling in the country if there aren’t any races and little or no support at the club level.

An Aussie driver says the equivalent of a three-foot passing law wouldn’t be necessary if they weren’t such a bunch of Neanderthals behind the wheel. Maybe they should pass a law protecting cyclists from kangaroos, too.

A Chinese man is under arrest for allegedly riding his bike up to a car, taking his clothes off, and lying under it to pretend he’d been hit by the driver and demanding compensation. But can someone please tell me what being naked has to do with it?

The 82-year old founder of the world’s biggest bicycle maker is now the poster boy for Taiwanese bicycling; oddly, he didn’t take up bicycling himself until he was 73.

 

Finally…

Yes, you can draw a bike from memory, but you probably can’t ride it. If you’re going to ride off with an $11,400 bike from a bike shop, make sure it has pedals on it first.

And you’re not a bike rider, you’re a member of the Federali terrorist group.

 

Morning Links: LA’s 4th Street non-bike boulevard to finally be fixed, and taking a stunt break from pro cycling

Fourth Street may finally be getting a little safer.

Those massive cracks, potholes and patches in the pavement along LA’s unofficial 4th Street bike boulevard could soon be a think of the past, as the city has finally agreed to fix the broken concrete through the Hancock Park neighborhood.

Several bike riders have suffered injuries ranging from minor to serious, including broken bones, as a result of bad pavement on the popular riding route. And filed suit against the city as a result.

However, to the best of my knowledge, there are no plans to reopen discussion of actually optimizing the street for bike traffic.

Plans for a bike boulevard were halted by former councilmember Tom LaBonge several years ago, largely because of local opposition to installing a stop light on Highland Blvd. Even though that was not actually part of the plan for the street.

And even though the kind of improvements that were planned have been shown to improve safety and livability, reduce crime, eliminate cut-through traffic and increase property values.

Which was apparently never explained to the local homeowner groups.

Because seriously, who would want that?

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Fox Sports is suitably impressed by these death-defying freestyle bike stunts performed by Tinkoff team pro cyclist Vittorio Brumotti.

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When the course is too muddy for the traditionally muddy Paris-Roubaix, you know there’s a problem. Organizers also changed the race’s start time to keep the peloton from getting stopped by a train, unlike last year.

In other bike racing news, by late June, you too should be able to wear the new retro-style Team USA cycling kit from Assos.

And the Santa Bernardino Sun lists five things you need to know about this week’s Redlands Bicycle Classic; including the tidbit that over 320 cyclists will bunk with local residents.

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Local

Metro CEO Phillip Washington discusses plans for the future of transportation in Los Angeles, including “billions” for pedestrian and bike paths across the city; a writer for the Daily Bruin says Metro should focus their efforts on Millennials to capture the “loyal ridership of the largest generation in American history.” Which makes sense, because unlike older generations, they may still be around to use it once the system is finally built out.

A ghost bike was scheduled to be placed in Studio City last night for the still unnamed victim of Tuesday’s bicycling collision.

A fundraiser will be held this Saturday at MacLeod Ale in Van Nuys to support the LACBC’s entrants in this year’s Climate Ride.

A 12-year old San Dimas boy was airlifted to the hospital, apparently as a precaution because he wasn’t wearing a helmet when he reportedly crashed his bike into a car. Which sounds very strange; paramedics aren’t likely to waste an expensive medevac helicopter trip unless they suspect serious injury.

 

State

Bike racks and benches will be added to access points to the Strand in Dana Point, after a settlement is reached allowing public access to public beaches that have been locked to keep the public out.

Bike theft has become rampant in San Diego’s Pacific and Mission Beach neighborhoods.

A Santa Barbara urban hiking group says bike lanes belong on a quiet side street, not the busier commercial street where the city wants to put it. Which is fine, as long as you don’t want bike riders to frequent the businesses on the street.

Forty top pro mountain bikers will compete at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds this weekend.

 

National

Bicycling suggests ways to get in more regular riding time.

A cool new bike accessory puts an analog face on digital bike computer.

Yoga comes to the rescue for those aches and pains that come from hours on a bike.

Evidently, a new protected bike lane in Salt Lake City violates the fire code.

A Colorado man plans to ride 15,000 miles — just seven months after he had quadruple bypass heart surgery — to promote the James Webb Space Telescope, due to be launched by NASA in 2018.

Seriously, what kind of schmuck would run away after crashing his Jeep into two kids being pulled in a bike trailer in Austin TX? Thanks to Steve Katz for the heads-up, who assures me it would be legal to shoot a hit-and-run driver in self-defense in the Lone Star State.

A Vermont website uses Burlington VT as a prime example of why local residents may not be able to stop moneyed interests from forcing bike lanes on them. Even though the overwhelming majority of voters in a recent election wanted the bike lanes, and those so-called moneyed interests only raised a little over $11,000.

A DC letter writer blames bicycling fatalities on appalling behavior by light-jumping, Lance Armstrong-style cyclists. Because people who ride legally never, ever get hit by cars. Right?

 

International

Maybe you should have that steaming latte while you ride instead of after.

A Calgary newspaper says innovative new ideas are spurring the creation of bikeshare systems almost everywhere.

London’s Telegraph offers 20 quotes that capture the beauty of bicycling.

An alarming Dutch report says the overwhelming majority of young late night bike riders are wasted. But City Lab says not so fast.

A cyclist recently rode his bike over 6,000 miles from Germany to Pakistan.

A new Chinese smartbike is strong enough to lift a Lamborghini. Because apparently that’s something we all have to do on a regular basis.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could be just half of one. Or maybe you’d prefer an internet enabled Brompton.*

And when someone tells you to go jump in a lake, no one says you have to take it literally.

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*The Associated Press announced over the weekend that Internet will no longer be capitalized when their new stylebook comes out in June. I’m just getting a head start on it.

 

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