Irish driver says bike riders are always right, crowdfund campaign for 13-year old crash victim, and help set policy in CD4

She gets it.

Today’s must read comes from an Irish columnist who says bike riders are always right, even though she’s a driver.

Well, maybe not always.

She describes being chased off her bike, first by catching a tire in a Dublin rail track, then by a cab driver who leaned on his horn and called her a “stupid bitch,” for the crime of being on the road ahead of him.

And hasn’t ridden it since.

But still, there’s this —

But we are sharing the road. We don’t own the road, we drivers. Paying motor tax doesn’t entitle us to everything from kerb to kerb and baying that “cyclists don’t pay” is childish. Cycling is a sustainable, relatively inexpensive, and health-promoting mode of transport. Do we really want to tax that? What next, pedestrians paying footpath tax?

She sums it up this way.

Back in my spot on the devil’s lap, I must acknowledge that just as there are bad drivers, there are bad cyclists. The weavers, the light-breakers (even though this is often the safest option), the all-in-blacks. Of course they exist, but they can’t be a reason to scapegoat an entire community of cyclists. I guarantee if you see one “bad cyclist” on your journey, a cyclist sees 10 dangerous drivers, two of which unwittingly tried to kill them.

It’s worth a few minutes of your day to give it a read.

If only to see that there really are people who don’g ride a bike, but get what it’s like for us, anyway.

………

A crowdfunding campaign has been set up to help pay funeral expenses for Edward Vazquez Jr, the 13-year old boy killed by a driver while riding his bike in Corona last week.

As of this writing, it’s raised just $1925 of the $15,000 goal.

………

Here’s your chance to help direct policy for my councilmember.

Which is why I want someone who rides bikes to get the job.

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If your bike was stolen stolen in the Rancho Cucamonga area recently, the local PD may have good news for you. Or not.

https://twitter.com/IrvinePolice/status/1482169425402941445

Thanks to David Huntsman for the link.

………

Why would anyone in Ontario, Canada, give a damn about distracted driving when the premier of the province clearly doesn’t?

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A new Quebec ad campaign takes aim at jaywalkers.

Literally.

https://twitter.com/delanightmares/status/1482845798673313792?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1483026563578880002%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es3_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2Fcycling-live-blog-17-january-2022-289555

Maybe instead of wasting money telling people not to jaywalk, they could improve streets with better crossings so it’s not necessary. And safer if they do, anyway.

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Of course there’s a bicycle superhero. Because why wouldn’t there be?

https://twitter.com/CoolBikeArt1/status/1483187849411313670

Then again, this is the real superpower.

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

File this one under be careful what you wish for. A bill in the Vermont legislature would require everyone on a bicycle to ride single file on any roadway without bike lanes. Which would increase the danger for people on bikes by encouraging unsafe passing, while increasing the time, distance and risk involved to pass a large group of riders.

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

An off-duty cop working as a security guard engaged in a shootout inside an Oklahoma  Walmart with a man who tried to pay for a few items while walking out without paying for a new bike.

Police in Queens, NY are looking for the rider of a throttle-controlled ebike who pulled out a gun, and shot out a speed camera.

A conservation group is accusing bike riders of damaging the UK’s New Forest national park, after a six-week study showed 550 people on bicycles riding off designated trails. Seriously, show some respect for the land.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton remembers longtime transit advocate and Streetsblog contributor Dana Gabbord, whose big heart gave out just shy of his 60th birthday.

The Eastsider says county workers want to know what keeps people in East LA from walking and being more active. Hint: They usually have four wheels

WeHoVille talks crime and ebikes with West Hollywood Public Safety Commissioner Danny Roman, owner of Bikes & Hikes LA.

 

State

Sonoma votes for a road diet on a major street, while still forcing bike riders to contend with drivers parking their cars.

 

National

It’s been a big couple years for women’s bicycling, as nearly 56% of women who currently ride bikes either started during the pandemic, or came back to bicycling after a layoff.

A writer for Jalopnik tries to track down the provenance of a bike someone apparently won off the side of a Hi-C drink box.

Some Portland residents responded to calls to use MLK Jr. Day as a day of service by sweeping out bike lanes, while an Idaho group used the day to distribute 50 bikes to people in need.

Seattle may not have repealed its mandatory bike helmet law yet, but the local police have decided they won’t stop riders just for not wearing one anymore, as well as downplaying a number of other minor traffic violations since they don’t have a direct connection to the safety of others.

A Vermont website remembers the bike-riding former state house leader, whose passion for bicycling was matched only by his passion for public service; Willem Jewett was just 56 years old when he died via the medical-aid-in-dying law he helped pass, after struggling for years with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

New York’s new mayor plans to cut the city’s vehicle fleet down to the bare minimum, and encourage employees to ride the subway or take buses instead. Or better yet, just improve the city’s bike network and tell ’em to ride bicycles, instead. 

NBA star Jimmy Butler is one of us, buying a new bicycle so his two-year old daughter can ride in a child’s seat on the back.

Hundreds of Florida teens turned out for the annual, unsanctioned Wheels Up, Guns Down rideout to mark Dr. Martin Luther King’s call for nonviolent protest, including one group that took over the right side of a freeway.

 

International

Vogue Business considers the fashion industry’s recent inroads into the world of bicycling.

If you build it, they will come. Despite cries that London’s new bike network is blocking traffic, it is traffic, as bike riders now outnumber motorists in some areas of the city.

An English serial bike thief will spend the next 21 months behind bars for stealing six bikes worth more than $6,000 after gaining access to three apartment buildings.

A British man tells his harrowing tale of suffering a debilitating stroke at just 39 years old, and how he fought his way back to full mobility with determination and a bicycle.

Good Samaritans kept an alleged stoned driver from fleeing the scene after running down a UK bike rider, punching him in the face and dragging him out of the car he was trying to jack after abandoning his own heavily damaged car.

A retired Irish schoolteacher has become the oldest person to ride a bike around the world, completing the challenge at the ripe old age of…56? Seriously? That’s a ridiculously young age to be the oldest to do damn near anything, let alone anything to do with riding a bicycle.

You know a city is serious about getting people out of their cars when bikeshare is free, like it is in Prague, where a pilot program allowing transit pass holders 15 minutes of free bikeshare, up to four times a day, is going to be made permanent. Especially since rental bikes are a gateway drug for bicycling.

A delivery rider for Uber Eats faces a charge of professional negligence resulting in death after running down a 78-year old man crossing a Tokyo intersection; police blame the speed required by the company for causing the crash.

A new Kiwi study shows that the benefits of walking and bicycling outweighs the costs of building better facilities and educational campaigns by a whopping ten to one, especially in terms of better health and fewer cars on the road.

 

Competitive Cycling

Irish cyclist Sam Bennett says pro cycling has gotten so scientific and technical, it doesn’t even feel like he’s riding a bike anymore.

A new self-supported bikepacking race will take riders on over 1,000 miles of new trails through Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

 

Finally…

How to give your bike an extreme wooden makeover. If you’re planning to pawn a stolen bike, don’t give them all your personal information.

And we’ll know it works when it becomes the latest time trial technique.

………

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

MLK Jr. was one of us — so let’s all try to be more like him today

Dr. King was one of us, too.

So just for today, let’s challenge ourselves to be more like him, and remember that every person we meet today is our brother or sister.

And strive to show each and every one the kindness, courtesy and respect that is the birthright of every human being.

Because if we can do it today, we can do it tomorrow. And every day after that.

And yes, I said we, because I fail at that as much as anyone.

Stay safe and enjoy the ride today.

We’ll be back tomorrow to catch up on al the good, the bad and the ugly from the world of bikes.

Thanks to Ted Faber for forwarding this tweet.

Update: 71-year old Santa Ana man killed riding bike in Fountain Valley hit-and-run; driver arrested for felony DUI

A 71-year old man riding a bicycle lost his life in Fountain Valley early Saturday morning, thanks to a drunken coward who didn’t have the decency stop.

Allegedly.

According to County News TV, police responding to reports of a crash found 71-year old Santa Ana resident Liem Bui lying on southbound Euclid Ave just north of Heil Ave, next to Mile Square Regional Park, around 5:39 this morning.

The Orange County Register reports he was dead when officers arrived.

The driver fled the scene, leaving Liem to die alone in the street.

Police identified the suspect vehicle, locating it in Westminster sometime later with 32-year-old Fountain Valley resident Amanda Martin still in the driver’s seat.

She was arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence, felony hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

It’s not clear if she was driving at the time or had stopped, or whether she was awake or passed out behind the wheel.

She was being held on $100,000 bond.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Traffic Bureau of the Fountain Valley Police Department at 714/593-4481.

This is at least the fifth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first that I’m aware of in Orange County. Three of those deaths have been hit-and-runs.

Update: A Facebook post from the VeloViet Cycling Team indicates Liem Bui was a bike racer and coach in Vietnam, before coming to the US. Thanks to Christian for the heads-up

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Liem Bui and his loved ones. 

Teen killed riding bicycle in Corona crash, victim identified as 13-year old Corona boy

Every death is tragic.

But it always hits harder when the victim is a kid.

That was the case in Corona yesterday, where KTLA-5 reports that a 13-year old boy was killed when he was struck by a driver Thursday afternoon.

According to a press release from the Corona Police Department, the victim was riding his bike at West Citron Street and South Lincoln Avenue when he was run down by a motorist, who has not been publicly identified, around 4:32 pm.

He died after being taken to a local hospital.

The Riverside County coroner identified the boy as 13-year old Corona resident Edward Vazquez.

The driver remained at the scene, and police don’t suspect drug or alcohol use.

Unfortunately, there’s no word on how the collision occurred, or who might have had the right of way at the signalized intersection; there are no bike lanes or any other bike infrastructure in any direction.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Traffic Officer Johnathan Drylie at 951/817-5784, or at Johnathan.Drylie@Coronaca.gov.

This is at least the fourth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second that I’m aware of in Riverside County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Edward Vazquez and all his family and loved ones. 

 

A bike rider’s rant about bad drivers, rethinking traffic enforcement, and Bonin signs on to LA’s 25×25

Let’s start with an email I received earlier this week, which succinctly  captures what too many of us are feeling these days.

Here’s what Steven had to say.

Pardon my rant, but it’s just infuriating out there! While I agree with you that being seen is VITALLY important. Every “encounter” I have had with a car or truck has been with someone that definitely saw me or had no excuse for not seeing me! I am paranoidedly cautious doing my best to anticipate possible situations. I have lights, steady and blinking, I wear bright, colorful clothes, I ride the bike lane where I can and fully take the lane when there is no bike lane.  I have been ‘right hooked’ so many times I can’t count! So far the worst result of a right hook has been some minor scrapes to my bike and some minor ‘road rash’. (However, I did dent the passenger door of a car once!)  There have been a few that I have yelled at and they responded — the most common was “You were going faster than I thought” or just “Sorry” and one woman unbelievably said “Didn’t you see my turn indicator?” The only time I got sent to the hospital was when I was clipped by a side mirror and thanks be to God, released the same day with some major hematoma! The guy, to his credit, did stop. But he did say that “I thought I had enough room” AND THAT IS ON THE POLICE REPORT!!!! It’s getting to the point that I feel like I should start randomly swing a baseball bat and justify it by saying “Well, I didn’t hit anybody”

And just for completeness, I have been left hooked, brake checked, purposely cut off (both from the left and the right!), and have had things thrown at me. The urge to physically fight back is almost overwhelming!

I know that feeling all too well, when the urge to smash someone’s windshield — if not their face — becomes overwhelming.

It’s a natural, and perfectly understandable, reaction to having your life needlessly threatened.

But not exactly helpful.

I have a mantra I save for such situations, repeating over and over The world will not conform to my expectations, until the rage finally passes.

Because, too often, it won’t.

People will continue drive dangerously, despite my expectations that they should drive in a safe and responsible manner. Yet they will somehow blame me for almost getting killed. Or just for being on the road.

Or maybe the planet.

Meanwhile, bad street designs and poor maintenance can be aggravating at best, life threatening at worst. And too often the latter.

And I can’t do a damn thing about any of that.

All I can do is try to control my own reaction to it, and not let the jerks of the world ruin a good ride.

………

Cal Berkeley grad student Ethan Ebinger was honored by the university for his paper on rethinking traffic enforcement, offering a number of interesting proposals challenging current orthodoxy, including —

  • Decriminalize violations unrelated to traffic safety
  • Ban stops of non-vehicular road users
  • Rely on automated technologies
  • Improve data collection of crashes and stops, test for disparities
  • Balance downstream effects
  • Reframe traffic enforcement within Vision Zero
  • Move traffic enforcement operations to the transportation department

Whether or not you agree with him, it’s worth taking a few minutes to read the full paper to challenge your own beliefs, and maybe even start to see it in a whole new way.

https://twitter.com/BerkeleyITS/status/1481730718321446915

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Two down, 13 to go.

Although you can probably add whoever gets elected in CD5, where all of the announced candidates have endorsed the LA 25×25 plan.

LA 25×25 is an “aspirational yet actionable vision” to return 25% of LA’s street space to human uses, rather than motor vehicles, by 2025, and endorsed by a wide range of advocacy and public service groups .

Not surprisingly, while many progressive challengers have signed on to support it, most of the sitting councilmembers up for re-election this year have failed to respond, as have most of the leading candidates for mayor.

CD3’s Bob Blumenfield is a no, as is current city attorney and mayoral candidate Michael Feuer.

………

Bike lanes are coming to Yosemite Drive in Eagle Rock.

https://twitter.com/walkeaglerock/status/1479694058087870468

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It looks like the host of SiriusXM’s The Stephanie Miller Show is one of us.

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That feeling when riding a bike is a bad idea because of all the other people out there who don’t.

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Local

Leah Shahum, the founder and executive director of the Vision Zero Network, writes to the LA Times to say Los Angeles, and the entire nation, needs to move past the outdated “Five E’s” approach to Vision Zero, and have the political will to create an effective and equitable Vision Zero effort built on proactive strategies such as designing streets and managing speeds for safety. Let’s hope the mayor reads it while he’s packing for India. Or the new interim mayor, anyway. 

The good news is, Metro Bike is expanding their docked bikeshare system in North Hollywood. The bad, they’ll be shutting NoHo Metro Bike locations down during the upgrade work, starting Monday.

Santa Monica has unveiled new bollard-protected bike lanes on 23rd Street. And for a change, they’re the kind of substantial bollards that might actually keep someone out, as opposed to the flimsy, car-tickler plastic bendy posts usually used in LA.

 

State

This is the cost of traffic violence. The Fresno Bee remembers the much-loved, 61-year old retired high school English teacher who was killed by a truck driver while riding his recumbent Wednesday afternoon.

A San Francisco paper says the debate over the city’s Slow Streets and street closures have become a political minefield.

 

National

Denver demonstrates what a city can do with a little commitment, as they reach the halfway point in a five year, 125-mile bike lane building program, with 73% of city residents now within a quarter mile of a protected bike lane.

A writer for D Magazine applauds the new Vision Zero plan for Dallas, Texas, but questions whether it will actually save lives. Only if the city’s leaders have the political courage to make substantial changes to the streets, unlike the spineless wonders in charge of a certain Left Coast megalopolis we could name.

Northwest Arkansas is upping their offer to recruit tech workers to move to the area, providing recruits with a new bicycle and $10,000 in Bitcoin. Which will probably be $6,000 before you can get around to spending it.

What the hell is wrong with some people? A pair of Chicago gang members face murder charges for fatally shooting a mentally disabled man as he rode his bicycle last May, for no apparent reason; a third man was allegedly involved, but not charged.

 

International

Strava will now show points of interest within the app, including local landmarks, bike shops, cafes, start points and photo spots, as well as to get fresh water or a toilet break.

Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter discusses how to dress for winter ebike rides. You know, for people who live in places where that matters.

Good question. Cycling Weekly writes that 1,100 bicycles are stolen in the UK every day, so why isn’t bike theft a higher priority? I’d like to hear an answer to that one here, as well.

On a related note, a new bike sculpture was installed outside a London train station, made with parts from 45 different bicycles — the average number of bikes stolen in the country every hour.

A judge told a 76-year old Scottish driver to expect a “substantial” prison sentence next month, after he was convicted of killing a popular primary school teacher while attempting to pass two large vehicles at once, hitting the teacher’s bike head-on. Let’s just hope the judge meant what he said.

A news site names a 29-year old woman as the best mountain bike mechanic Lesotho, in case you find your self in need in the mountainous South African country.

 

Finally…

Now we’ll have to worry about getting buzzed by drivers from above, too. More evidence ‘cross is really hard.

And that feeling when your bicycle apparently goes out into the street of its own volition, and gets struck by a car that doesn’t seem to have a driver.

………

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

Roadkill Gil’s prints on Spring Street bike lane ban; former US mountain bike champ Ryan Fedorow killed in motorcycle crash

Is anyone really surprised to see Gil Cedillo’s fingerprints all over the death of the fully approved and funded bike lanes on the newly widened North Spring Street Bridge?

Cedillo, the councilmember for LA’s 1st Council District, seems to have an irrational fear and/or hatred of bicycles and the people who ride them.

Maybe he’s still mad that Santa never brought him one.

That extends to bike lanes, as well. Cedillo has apparently never seen one in his district that he didn’t want to stop, even going so far as to request the removal of every planned bike lane in CD1 from the city’s mobility plan.

That includes the desperately needed, shovel-ready lane reduction on deadly North Figueroa, which he claimed to support — right up to the moment he took office, and began a series of rigged public meetings to justify killing a project with broad popular support.

Something that earned him the moniker Roadkill Gil, as needless deaths continued to mount on the corridor, and in his district.

And now, newly uncovered evidence has confirmed long-held suspicions that he was behind the endless delays, and ultimately, the de facto cancellation, of the planned bike lanes on the North Spring Street Bridge.

The $50 million reconstructed bridge crosses the Los Angeles River north of downtown, connecting Lincoln Heights with Chinatown.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton offers an extensive timeline spelling out the whole sad project, from approval of the retrofit in 2011 to the final construction, sans bike lanes. Along with the endless promises that they would be installed at some vague point in the future.

Streetsblog requested, and yesterday received, a copy of the 2021 change order removing the bike lanes from the project via a public records request.

And sure enough, it specifies that Cedillo’s office had them removed, claiming “safety concerns,” that somehow couldn’t have been rectified up to this point.

After all, they’ve only had ten years to address them.

The good news is, Cedillo is up for re-election to a final term this year. Maybe someone can step up and make this his final term, instead.

Photo by Joe Linton from LA Streetsblog.

………

Tragic news from Temecula, where former two-time national mountain bike champ Ryan Fedorow died Tuesday from injuries he suffered in a motorcycle crash on Sunday; he was 39.

His girlfriend was critically injured in the crash.

………

Heartbreaking story from Sports Illustrated, as former 7’6″ NBA star Shawn Bradley talks for the first time following the bicycling collision that left him paralyzed from the chest down — and contemplating whether his family would be better off without him.

Naturally, the minivan driver was never charged, claiming she gave Bradley enough room, which doesn’t explain why he ended up tumbling over her car. And even though she left the scene, before returning later.

………

Something tells me sales were flat here in Los Angeles.

https://twitter.com/CoolBikeArt1/status/1481343749569531904

But clearly, it’s still a thing.

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Evidently, trail rage is a thing now, too.

The only time my Iditarod-mushing brother ran into something like that, it was at the hands — or hooves — of an angry moose who didn’t take kindly to sharing the trail with a bunch of dogs. Fortunately, they all came out of it okay, if a little banged-up and moose shy.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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Sometimes, infrastructure is what you make of it.

https://twitter.com/BikePortland/status/1481055697127485441

Thanks to Mike Burk for whetting our appetites.

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Credit BikeLA Redditors for putting together a list of rides coming up this weekend.

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

A Brooklyn man was struck with a baseball bat with no warning as he rode his bike, and for no apparent reason; his attacker whacked him once then ran off without a word.

Unbelievable. A British man with 25 previous convictions somehow managed to avoid jail for blocking a bike-riding couple on a pathway, while hurling drunken racist abuse and claiming it was his path. Apparently, you need at least 27 convictions to get jail time there.

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

A Milwaukee bike rider faces a charge of 1st degree intentional homicide for an alleged road rage shooting that took the life of an immigration lawyer after the pair exchanged words; he’s claiming the shooting was in self-defense.

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Local

Sad news right here at home, where longtime transit advocate and Streetsblog contributor Dana Gabbard has died of natural causes.

 

State

Congratulations to Costa Mesa on hiring Brett Atencio Thomas as the city’s first Active Transportation Coordinator.

Police in Huntington Beach are offering a $5,000 reward for information on who fatally shot a 43-year old man in 2014, the homeless victim was found in an alley next to his bike the next morning.

Sad news from Fresno, where a recumbent rider in his 50s was killed in a collision with a truck driver, who apparently overlooked him in broad daylight.

Streetsblog’s Roger Ruddick calls on San Francisco to ban cars for the full length of JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park.

 

National

Bike Radar reviews the new ebike roadie built by America’s only remaining Tour de France champ, which doesn’t look a bit like one.

Maui, Hawaii is considering plans for a 25-mile bike path on the west side of the island, which would include the tourist destinations of Lahaina and Ka’anapali.

A Las Vegas sports site recommends five bicycling destinations outside the city.

The twin Western Colorado towns of Nucla and Naturita, with barely 1,000 residents between them, are hoping to become the next big mountain biking destination, with plans for 50 over miles of new trails. Although they might want to figure out where all those new visitors are going to eat and sleep first.

Kindhearted Texas firefighters pitched in to buy a new bike for a young boy after his was destroyed when the porch and siding of his house caught fire.

Pittsburgh church groups are calling on the state attorney general to investigate the case of a Black man tased to death by cops for the crime of riding an apparently discarded bicycle around the block without permission; he was zapped eight or more times within minutes before dying.

Philadelphia is addressing two problems at once by installing small bike corrals in front of fire hydrants, to keep drivers from blocking access for firefighters by parking in front of them, while providing much needed bike parking.

A New York advocacy group says the city’s bike program is no longer a leader or innovator, and needs fast action to regain it’s former status, let alone improve safety.

A New York man has been extradited to stand trial in the death of a Florida woman, who was killed when he reportedly fell asleep behind the wheel and slammed into the 44-year old mother as she rode her bicycle in a bike lane at eight in the morning.

Florida has restored a 2.2-mile segment of the 100-year old Old Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys for use as a scenic bike and pedestrian bridge.

 

International

Giant is recalling over 20,000 Giant and Liv bicycles made in 2021 due to defective handlebar stems that could come loose and dump you off your bike.

Keep an eye on your bike if you’re riding in the London boroughs of Hackney and Westminster, which have the city’s highest rates of bike theft.

France will once again debate whether to mandate bike helmets for adult riders, with a proposed €135 — or $155 — fine for anyone caught without one. As has been the case everywhere else, expect homeless people and people of color to bear the brunt of it. 

Barcelona has doubled its bike lane mileage in just five years while eliminating 3,500 parking spaces, in a successful effort to give the city back to people instead of cars. Then again, Los Angeles doubled its bike lane mileage virtually overnight just by counting each side of the road separately. 

A writer for CleanTechnica finds ebiking in Lisbon, Portugal is a bumpy ride.

Turkey’s Antalya region is aiming to capture a large segment of the $60 billion European bike tourism market, assuming they can build the infrastructure to accommodate it.

 

Competitive Cycling

Canadian Cycling considers five things to look forward to this year in pro road racing.

 

Finally…

Repeat after me — when you’re out on parole with a long criminal record, and carrying fentanyl, weed and high-capacity AK-47 magazines on your bike, put a damn light on it, already.

And teach your toddler early that brakes are for quitters.

https://www.tiktok.com/@thatmountainlife/video/6970753882280463622?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fdk79lclgtez2i.cloudfront.net%2F&referer_video_id=6970753882280463622&refer=embed

………

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

New ADA in Woon hit-and-run case, LA paid out 300 grand in hit-and-run rewards, and bike theft down 22% in Long Beach

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from our anonymous courtroom correspondent.

So let’s have her kick things off today by catching us up with the latest happenings in bike jurisprudence and other related stuff.

Mariah Kandise Banks (charged in the hit-and-run death of Frederick “Woon” Frazier) has yet another DA newly assigned to her case. He was tranfserred from the Van Nuys courthouse on the morning of her most react hearing, December 6th. He had a whole new caseload to familiarize himself with, but was present for Banks’ appearance. I was able to speak with him very briefly and he indicated that the prosecution is continuing to work with the defense on a plea deal.

(Editor’s note — Let’s hope they finally get a conviction while Woon’s long-suffering mother is still around to see it.)

………

Samantha Cunha killed her friend during a bizarre road rage incident. On December 1st, the charge was dismissed.

(Editor’s note — This was the case where Cunha was a passenger in a car driven by Sophia Ardalan when they became involved in a running road rage dispute on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. Ardalan was killed when she either got out, or fell out, of her car attempting to confront the motorcyclist in front of a West Hollywood apartment building, and Cunha somehow put the car into reverse, crushing her against a tree.)

………

In the latest episode of Drivers Hitting Buildings:

  • On the 6th, a driver smashed into a building at Los Altos Dr. & Caricia Dr. in Hacienda Heights.
  • On Sunday morning, a speeding driver in a Nissan Frontier took out a parked pick-up, a light pole, and the garage at the T-intersection of City Terrace Drive & Ditman.
  • In the wee, wee hours of Monday, the flower shop at Colima & Lambert, the site of a Black Friday fatality, was again collateral damage in a 3-vehicle collision. This time a driver made a drive-thru of it.
  • A driver fled a hit and run on the 710, went zipping down surface streets, and ended up hitting the house at 5th St. & Sydney Dr. (This is not the first time that house has been hit.)
  • On the 3rd, a dipstick departed the Sinclair gas station at Alameda & Nadeau with the gas nozzle still attached. Counts as structural damage?

………

There was a candlelight vigil Sunday for a mother & daughter killed on my coworker’s commute route. Last week, she asked, “You do this all the time. Do I take a candle, or will they hand them out there? Is it okay to take more flowers?” I’m  kinda upset to be the go-to for advice on this subject, tbh.

The speed limit on this stretch is 40mph, and this intersection is close to the terminus of the 105 at Studebaker, which has frequent collisions, sometimes involving the already red-tagged building on the east side of the street. Currently, the guardrail “protecting” the sidewalk has a 20-inch dent. Just a half mile up the road, Chandler Ray was killed on his bike.

The killer was released last Tuesday before the tox exam was even returned. She’s out there. Just like Mariah Banks.

………

This was the third Christmas in a row that it was too wet for me & my friends to put up our hit-and-run reward posters… y’know, the some people are in such a rush on Christmas Eve that they really don’t watch out for grannies trying to make their way home. We have really sharp pictures of the suspect and his vehicle, too! The posters and the reindeer hoof print stencils have to wait til next year.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

………

LA’s standing reward program is working better than we realized, as Crosstown reports the city paid out a total of $300,000 to eleven people for information leading to the conviction of hit-and-run drivers last year.

Prior to last year, the city had only paid three people a total of $55,000 in the previous four years of the program.

The sudden explosion of payments was most likely due the time it takes to make an arrest and for the case to work its way through the court system, according to a police spokesman.

The site also reports that serious hit-and-runs are up in the city, while overall hit-and-runs decreased somewhat.

Los Angeles has seen a rise in people dying or being seriously injured in car crashes. In 2021, there were 359 felony hit and runs in the city that resulted in serious injury or death, up 25% from the 286 in 2020, according to LAPD Traffic Division Compstat data.

Altogether, there were 3,536 felony hit and run cases in Los Angeles last year. That was a decrease of 17% from the 4,273 in 2020.

………

Time is running out to voice your thoughts on the planned rush hour bus lanes on La Brea Ave, which would provide a relatively safe route from Hollywood to South LA.

As long as you don’t mind Metro buses running up behind you every ten minutes or so.

………

Let’s tip one out for the late, great VeloNews.

………

Longtime CNN reporter and host Christiane Amanpour is one of us.

https://twitter.com/CoolBikeArt1/status/1481128809348874240

………

The latest Streetfilm illustrates how cargo bikes are revolutionizing family life in New York City.

………

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

A Seattle man has had more than a dozen surgeries to correct critical injuries suffered when a hit-and-run driver his his bike last month, dragging him for two blocks under the massive SUV, in what he says may have been a deliberate attack.

An Atlanta man faces multiple felony charges for allegedly chasing down a man on a bicycle with a Hummer, then beating him with a baseball bat in an apparent attempt to stiff the victim out of a mere $70 for two days worth of yard work.

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

A Milwaukee bike rider faces a charge of 1st degree intentional homicide for an alleged road rage shooting that took the life of an immigration lawyer after the pair exchanged words; he’s claiming the shooting was in self-defense.

………

Local

Streets For All wants you to tell LA County to improve bike and pedestrian access to Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area at this evening’s 6:30 pm virtual meeting.

Speaking of Streets For All, the traffic safety PAC is hosting their latest virtual happy hour at 5 pm today, with 26th District California Senator Ben Allen as guest.

Violent crime may be up in Long Beach, just like in most of the country, but bike thefts were down by nearly 22% in the city last year.

 

State

Anaheim is hosting a virtual meeting tomorrow to consider transportation and mobility options for the city’s resort district, including Disneyland; better sidewalks and bike lanes leading from the nearby ARTIC train station would help. The meeting comes five years after the city’s shortsighted decision to cancel a streetcar that would have linked Disneyland with the train station.

San Francisco Streetsblog’s Roger Rudick takes an Oakland TV station to task for displaying its windshield bias by criticizing  bicycle rideout taking over a local freeway, while failing to criticize dangerous drivers using bike lanes. Because one is a lot more dangerous than the other, and it ain’t the kids on bikes. Even if riding on a freeway isn’t the brightest choice. 

No bias here. A San Francisco letter writer says they might as well put up a sign saying “restricted to the young and fit” on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park, which advocates are calling on the city to keep closed.

The Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition objects to a special meeting to once again reconsider a planned road diet that has already been “considered, reconsidered, and reconsidered yet again,” apparently to appease residents opposed to the loss of some parking spaces.

UC Davis has moved its auction of bicycles abandoned on campus online, presumably opening the sale up to anyone. Just in case you’re in the market.

 

National

Kind of a strange post from Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss, who finds his knickers in a twist after criticism from Peter Flax and Doug Gordon of The War on Cars podcast, who made their comments without actually naming him.

Bike mechanics, co-ops, and various advocates and nonprofit advocacy groups are joining together to call for more durable and repairable budget bikes that can last at least 500 riding hours before breaking down, and be fixed when they do. You can sign the petition here. However, you’ll be required to give your full address, which is usually a deal breaker for me.

The second shoe has fallen in Las Vegas, where the family of one of the five bike riders killed by a meth-fueled truck driver have filed suit against the driver and his employer, as well as the ride’s escort driver, leaving just three more shoes to inevitably fall. The driver, Jordan Barson, is doing 16 to 40 years behind bars for the crash.

Bird watchers in the town nextdoor to my Colorado hometown are up in arms over plans to pave a bike path less than half a mile from a beloved pair of nesting golden eagles, who they fear will be frightened off by “flashing bicycle rims and pink Lycra speeding past at 22 miles an hour.” But evidently, dull rims and yellow or green Lycra is just fine.

Houston is falling behind on a commitment to build 1,800 miles of bike lanes by 2027, as bicycling deaths continue to rise in the city and the surrounding county.

Chicago’s supposedly race-neutral traffic cams somehow managed to disproportionately ticket Black and Latino drivers anyway.

You’ve got to be kidding. Life is cheap in Florida, where an accused hit-and-run driver who killed a man riding a bicycle copped a sweetheart plea deal in a long-delayed conclusion to the 2016 case, walking without a single day behind bars in a case that should could have resulted in four to 15 years behind bars.

 

International

Tragic news from Argentina, where a German man was struck and killed by lightening on just the second day of a planned 1,615-mile ride across the South American country.

A British doctoral student is begging a thief to show a little heart, and bring back the stolen bike her mother gave her as a birthday present to get to class. It’s tempting to say bike thieves don’t have one, but you never know. She might get lucky.

Great idea. An English town is renting new foldies, ebikes and bike trailers, as well as more traditional bikes, for as little as $27 a month, including free delivery and a beginner’s lesson from a bicycling instructor, to get people to try out biking to work or school without having to make a commitment.

A neighborhood in Nottingham, England is going carfree, banning motor vehicles to make roads described as “a racetrack” safer for bike riders and pedestrians. Robin Hood would undoubtedly approve.

Singapore’s Straights Times offers a guide to bicycling in the island city-state, which has some unusually strict regulations.

Now surprise here, as Australian researchers report three-quarters of people surveyed in the country’s Victoria state want to ride their bikes more, but only if there’s safe bike infrastructure to do it in. Which pretty much corresponds with similar surveys everywhere else, including Los Angeles.

 

Competitive Cycling

Disappointing news, as newly revitalized cyclist Mark Cavendish won’t get a chance to break Eddy Merckx record of 34 stage wins at this year’s Tour de France; the British sprinter, who bounced back from five winless years with a surprising four stage wins last year, will be relegated to the Giro, instead.

Sad news from San Diego, where former Canadian pro cyclist and acupuncturist Greg Bourque died of Covid-related complications just after Christmas; he was 55.

Louisiana’s “challenging” Rouge Roubaix bike race is back this year after a five year hiatus due to flooding and Covid, as well as a misguided local ordinance banning groups of more than ten people on bicycles. Which makes it kind of hard to host a race with hundreds of competitors.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could be a itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny little ped-assist car. And yes, always check your broken bike to make sure it still works.

Check Your Breaks Screenshot

………

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

At least 83 people killed riding bikes in SoCal last year, no more “car oopsies,” and Sartre and Hackman are one of us

Let’s start with a followup to yesterday’s news.

As we noted, 18 people were killed riding bicycles in Los Angeles last year, a 20% jump over the year before. And ten more than the eight we had counted.

That news confirmed that running total of bicycling deaths maintained on this site was a dramatic undercount. Because too many tragedies on our streets never make the news, and the LAPD is often too slow in releasing reports of bicycling deaths.

If they ever get around to it at all.

Adding those 10 extra deaths to our totals comes out to 35 bicycling deaths in Los Angeles County last year, which compares to 34 in 2019, and around 30 in 2020, when we saw a similar problem confirming bicycling fatalities.

Orange County showed just seven deaths last year, which again seems like an undercount compared to 15 in 2020, and 13 in 2019.

San Diego County suffered through a horrible year, with 17 bicycling deaths, compared to just seven in 2020 and four in 2019.

The nine deaths in Riverside County fell in line with previous years, with ten in 2020 and eight in 2019.

The same is true for San Bernardino County, where seven people lost their lives riding bikes last year, compared to five in 2020 and eight the year before.

Ventura County showed a significant jump, with eight deaths in 2021, double the total of four for 2020, and six in 2019.

Finally, there appeared to be no bicycling deaths in Imperial County last year or the year before, compared to two in 2019. Although it’s easier to get light out of a black hole than news from Imperial County, so take that with a grain of salt.

But bear in mind these are only rough estimates, based strictly on reports in the press or announced by the police, the coroner or some other credible source.

Each death included here has been confirmed, eliminating any risk of an overcount; if anything, this is more likely to be an undercount. I’ve heard of several bicycling deaths over the past year that I haven’t been able to confirm, and so haven’t included them in these totals.

That leaves us with at least 83 people killed riding bicycles in the seven county Southern California region last year.

Eighty-three mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, friends and loved ones who were not here to greet the new year.

And likely more.

Maybe many more, when we finally see the official government totals in a few years.

Photo by Ted McDonald from Pixabay.

………

The older term was more accurate.

………

Gene Hackman is one of us.

And boy do I want to be like him when I grow up.

………

A soaked Sartre on a foldie.

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Those vintage ice bikes we shared with you yesterday?

They’re still a thing, if somewhat more stable now.

………

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

No bias here. And apparently, no sense of irony either, as a proposed new Virginia law would would charge people on bicycles twice as much as motor vehicle drivers for rolling a stop sign, despite the people in the big, dangerous machines posing a much great risk to others. And just try impounding people’s cars for a simple traffic violation.

https://twitter.com/yitgordon/status/1480610900444778496

At least they’re honest about it. The BBC backtracks on an earlier story claiming new bike lanes are responsible for making London the world’s most congested city, correcting it to lay blame on a number of factors; a reporter admits that the “anti-cycling angle ‘gets more readers.'”

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

Reminiscent of the infamous Crimanimalz ride on LA’s Santa Monica Freeway more than a decade ago, over 100 people taking part in a Berkeley ride out took over the right lanes of the I-80 Freeway on Sunday, before they were escorted off by a CHP officer. As someone else pointed out, despite their scofflaw behavior, fewer people are killed by bicycle ride outs than everyday motor vehicle traffic. Thanks to Keith Johnson for the heads-up.

………

Local

No news is good news, right?

 

State

Huh? A San Diego letter writer criticizes the Union-Tribune for using the widow of a fallen bicyclist to illustrate the need for safer bikeways, saying that safety was never raised as a reason for bike lanes on 30th Street, because everyone knows it was too dangerous to ride a bike there.

A 20-year old Merced woman is under arrest after she was found with a man’s stolen bicycle, which was taken when the man was smashed in the head with a hard object; her alleged partner in crime is still on the run.

San Francisco Streetsblog says a fix to the formerly unprotected bike lane used by an SUV driver to bypass stalled traffic last year, killing a pedestrian in the process, still wouldn’t stop anyone with its new car-tickler plastic bendie posts. Although that may not be quite the way they phrased it.

 

National

How not to bonk on your next mountain bike ride.

E-pickup maker Rivian has applied for an ebike trademark, suggesting a foray into bikemaking could be in their future.

A Houston paper says the local bike lanes in the auto-centric city are an “absolute joke and incredibly dangerous to any cyclist who decides to risk it and ride in them.So, it’s like most other major cities, then.

A writer for Chicago Streetsblog questions who we should really be building bike lanes for, concluding that they should be for inexperienced bicyclists who’d like to ride more, rather than more confident, experienced riders.

 

International

UK GQ recommends stylish and practical panniers for your bike. I’ll take the bright yellow leather ones, thank you very much. 

That feeling when a drunk Irishman breaks into your home and demands an ebike charger. Probably for the e-scooter he just stole to carry your television out on.

A German sociologist concludes that bicycles are becoming status symbols, since poorer people are more likely to drive to show they can afford it, while bike riders tend to be wealthier and more educated, and more likely to send a message by choosing to ride. Methinks he’s full of scheisse.

Life is cheap in Israel, where a professional soccer player was given early release for good behavior after serving just two years for the hit-and-run death of a 17-year old ebike rider.

Popular Bangladeshi actor Bappy Chowdhury is one of us, taking a spill after losing his balance while filming a scene on a bicycle.

An Indian man learns the hard way that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is, as he orders a $600 bicycle from a discount site for just $155 — and gets a box full of scrap.

No surprise here. A Singapore report shows an average of 560 serious crashes involving bicyclists in each of the past five years, compared to just 90 a year on bike paths and park connectors. Meanwhile, the island city-state requires ebike and e-scooter user to pass an online test and carry a certificate with them when they ride.  And no, I don’t know what a park connector is, either.

Most of Japan’s abandoned and second-hand bicycles end up in Cambodia’s thriving used bike market.

 

Competitive Cycling

A team of Bangladeshi bicyclists set a new Guinness record for a relay team by riding 1,037 miles in just 48 hours.

VeloNews says UCI is disrespecting women’s cycling by banning team kits, while disrespecting women’s cycling themselves by hiding the editorial behind a paywall.

It’s time to head to Austria and get your snow bike racing on.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your toddler arrives in a bike trailer like an aristocrat. Stop your kid’s balance bike by remote control.

And can we have these on every street?

Please?

………

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

18 Los Angeles bike riders killed in 2021 Vision Zero fail, speed cams improve safety, and Sidney Poitier was one of us

It’s worse than we thought.

A lot worse.

Tracking bicycling deaths in Los Angeles last year, it became clear that what I was seeing was clearly a major undercount.

Because the numbers I was seeing were too good to be true, as if LA’s Vision Zero has suddenly started showing results, despite years of just nibbling at the edges of traffic safety.

It’s a problem that has developed over the past few years, as local newspapers and TV stations stopped reporting many bike crashes after the pandemic forced major cutbacks in the newsrooms.

At the same time, the LAPD has taken to telling the public about bike and pedestrian deaths only when there’s a crime involved — and even then too often waiting weeks, if not months, to issue a press release in some parts of the city, particularly in the case of hit-and-runs.

And LADOT has backtracked from their promises to track bike and pedestrian deaths under the Vision Zero program, which has receded to where it seems more like an inconvenience than a priority for the city’s transportation agency.

As a result, I counted just eight people killed riding bicycles in the city last year, a fraction of the 15 to 20 or more deaths that would have been expected in pre-pandemic days.

Sadly, I was right.

According to the Los Angeles Times, that was less than half of the actual total of 18 people killed riding their bikes in the City of Angels in 2021 — a 20% increase over the 15 people killed on bikes in the first year of the pandemic.

The paper points out the ongoing failure of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s underfunded Vision Zero pledge to cut traffic deaths by 20% by 2017 — a target the city didn’t come close to meeting. And the virtual impossibility meeting his commitment to ending traffic deaths in the city entirely by 2025.

According to Los Angeles Police Department data through Dec. 25, 289 people were killed in traffic collisions last year, 21% more than the same period in 2020 and 19% over the same period in 2019. A total of 1,465 people were severely injured, a 30% increase over the same period in 2020. The LAPD defines severely injured as needing to be transported from the collision.

The city’s streets are increasingly dangerous for pedestrians in particular, with 486 being severely injured by motorists — a 35% increase over 2020. Pedestrian deaths rose 6% to 128.

The numbers frustrate transportation advocates, who’ve long argued that Vision Zero — a program to end traffic deaths unveiled in 2015 by Garcetti — is underfunded and given a low priority by the mayor and City Hall leaders.

Then again, that’s what can be expected when our elected leaders quake in fear of getting recalled by angry drivers, and lack the courage to make the hard choices and changes necessary to save lives.

But Garcetti isn’t one to take such criticism lying down.

Garcetti cited the distraction of cellphones as a cause of collisions and said the city has added bike lanes during the pandemic, studied the city’s most dangerous intersections to come up with solutions, and supported a new state law designed to help cities have more control over speed limits.

“But it shows how tough it is,” Garcetti said Thursday.

He pushed back against criticism that he doesn’t mention Vision Zero as frequently as he touts other initiatives. “I speak out all the time,” Garcetti said. “I do on panels, I go out there, internationally, to kind of be part of this movement to make sure that we have more walkable, livable cities.”

So it’s nice to see Garcetti has done what he seems to do best.

Talk and attend conferences.

To be honest, I’ve wracked my brain in recent months, but can’t recall any elected official I’ve voted for and actively supported who has been a greater disappointment than Eric Garcetti. 

He started out great in his first term, before apparently setting his sights on higher office — including the presidency — and appearing to lose interest in the daily work of being the mayor of Los Angeles.

But I can tell you this.

I will not vote for anyone for mayor this year who does not fully commit to making Vision Zero a top priority, and funding it at levels necessary to result in real change. And commit to making the difficult choices and changes we need on our streets to actually reduce deaths and make our streets survivable.

And I won’t support anyone for city council who doesn’t, either.

It’s clear that homelessness will be the primary issue in this year’s campaign. We need to fight to raise traffic safety to a top priority, as well.

Because our lives literally depend on it.

………

A new Chicago study shows speed cams really do work. And they really do save lives.

A review of the city’s 162 automated speed cams, which state law allows to be installed only within one-eighth of a mile of a park or school, showed that serious crashes went up in those areas.

But not as much as they did in the city as a whole.

According to Chicago Streetsblog,

  • Fatal or serious injury crashes increased only 2 percent near speed cameras between 2012-13 and 2018-19, as compared to a 21 percent increase citywide. This is similar to the 1 percent and 19 percent findings of last year’s study, which compared 2012-13 with 2017-18.
  • Between 2012-13 and 2018-19, overall crash totals increased 1 percent in the cam locations, compared to a 25 percent increase in all crashes citywide. The figures from last year’s study were 4 percent and 26 percent.
  • Speed-related crashes increased 18 near speed cams between 2012-13 and 2018-19, compared to a 64 percent spike city-wide. Those are smaller increases than were seen in last year’s study: 25 percent and 75 percent.

Two bills under consideration in the state legislature during the past session would have established pilot programs for speed cams here in California.

But both died on the vine, apparently because they would have inconvenienced speeding drivers, which tend to make them mad.

Fortunately, Calbike and SAFE — aka Streets Are For Everyone — say they’ll make getting a bill through the legislature one of their top priorities.

So there may be hope yet.

………

Los Angeles Bureau of Streets Services Assistant Director & Chief Sustainability Officer Greg Spotts is one of us.

Which should inspire confidence that he’ll get the job done right.

………

Now if all cars were just made like this.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the heads-up. 

………

The immortal Sidney Poitier was one of us. So was his friend and fellow 1940s alum of Harlem’s American Negro Theatre.

………

I want to be like him when I grow up.

………

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

No bias here. Instead of complaining about the one rude bike rider they encountered, a New Jersey father addresses his complaints to “all the arrogant jerks who ride on New Jersey trails and roadways.” On the other hand, if you’re not an arrogant jerk, his message apparently doesn’t apply to you.

No bias here, either. Two cops were disciplined after Irish officials allowed a dangerous driver to remain on the streets until he killed a man riding a bike, despite 42 — yes, 42 — previous convictions, and being out on bail from three separate courts. But the police commissioner quashed their fines and sanctions.

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

A Montreal bike rider responds to being told to stay in the bike lane by smashing his bike against the driver’s car. Which probably hurt his bike more than it does the car. Seriously, violence is never the answer, as tempting as it is sometimes.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CYcErfYoi8V/?utm_source=ig_embed&ig_rid=310f8a6c-bbd3-4df9-8baa-2b82c601f84b

………

Local

Metro Bike is offering a one-month bikeshare pass for just $1.

The director of the LA chapter of the Sierra Club complains that there are no programs in place to encourage customers to ride their bikes to local businesses.

 

State

A California inventor is working on a bike lane sweeper you can pull behind your bike.

Encinitas residents turned out for the city’s Cyclovia open streets event on Sunday, which shut down four letters worth of the Coast Highway to cars, and opened them to people for four hours from D Street to J Street.

Police in Temecula are looking for a pair of burglars who broke into a local bike shop and stole a pair of high-end mountain bikes.

Riverside’s SMART Tire Company has released the second-generation of their airless metal tire prototype, developed in conjunction with NASA in an effort to reduce weight — and the $2,000 price tag — before it goes to market later this year. Although the investors on Shark Tank didn’t approve.

San Luis Obispo kicked a homeless encampment off a local bike path before closing it for the next eight weeks to make improvements along the route.

A San Francisco writer says he won’t be renewing his membership in the de Young Museum and Legion of Honor, thanks to their demands to return “car-free JFK Drive…to a dangerous highway used mostly by shortcut-takers zipping between destinations outside the park.”

 

National

They get it. Wired says if the US is serious about climate change — which remains to be seen — our leaders need to start treating bicycles like replacements for cars, and not toys.

Mashable considers all the ebikes and scooters presented at last week’s CES in Las Vegas — including one with treads and no pedals to get through the snow.

A series of reports about the “the uneasy coexistence of grizzly bears and humans” recounts the horrific tale of a Montana mountain biker who rounded a blind curve and ran directly into a massive grizzly, who did not take to it kindly.

Once again, an ebike battery spontaneously combusted, sparking a four alarm fire in a Bronx apartment building early Saturday. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries, unlike Sunday’s apartment fire sparked by a space heater that killed at least 19 people.

Nearly 40 injured vets took part in the Wounded Warrior Project’s annual ride through the Florida Keys.

 

International

He gets it, too. A British Columbia columnist says yes, he always wears a bike helmet, but bike lanes will do a lot more to improve safety.

A British automotive website looks forward to the upcoming ebikes that are revving their engines.

UK residents laugh at the idea that people could carry their trash to drop-off sites on their bicycles during a garbage strike. Apparently, no one has ever told them about cargo bikes. Or racks. Or baskets. 

National Geographic examines what makes the Isle of Man one of Great Britain’s best places to ride a bike.

Milan is getting serious about bicycling, unveiling a $272 million plan to build an entire 466-mile network of concentric and radial bike paths connecting 80% of the city.

NPR visits Iraq, where women riding bicycles are often seen as promiscuous, though the women see themselves as activists.

A man from Kazakhstan plans to ride 500 miles from Busan to Seoul, South Korea to mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

 

Competitive Cycling

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome is targeting a record-tying number five this year, insisting that he’s fully recovered from a near fatal crash two years ago. Even though He Who Must Not Be Named won seven, before he didn’t.

Cycling Weekly considers who has this year’s best looking pro cycling kit.

 

Finally…

Anyone can hold a naked bike ride in the middle of summer, but a January ride takes balls, uh, guts. If you have to steal an ebike, probably not the best idea to take one marked “evidence” from the police impound yard.

And someone get me some ice and a skate, quick.

………

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

Massachusetts kicks 85th Percentile Law to the curb, new LA protected bike lane, and underground Tesla traffic jams

That’s more like it.

Massachusetts becomes the first state to completely reject the 85th Percentile Law — and base new speed limits on what’s safe for the most vulnerable road users.

California has been nibbling at the edges of the deadly law, which requires cities to set speed limits at the 85% percentile of driver speeds. And allows drivers to boost speed limits on any given street merely by stepping on the gas.

Instead of repealing the rule, a new law sponsored by Burbank Assemblywoman Laura Friedman allows cities and counties to lower speed limits by 5 mph on high injury streets, as well as streets with a high number of bike riders and pedestrians.

It doesn’t begin to compare with what Massachusetts is doing.

But it’s a start.

………

Ted Faber discovers new-to-him protected bike lanes on Airport Blvd near LAX.

Correction: I initially misplaced this bike lane as being on Airport Ave in Santa Monica, but it’s actually the new protected bike lanes on LA’s Airport Blvd, which were installed last year. Thanks to LADOT’s Tim Fremaux for the correction. 

………

Evidently, Elon’s Musk’s vision for the future of urban transportation includes underground traffic jams.

And it looks like some things won’t change when our self-driving overlords take over.

………

Country star Dierks Bentley is one of us, proclaiming it perfect whether for a bike ride as he pedals through Nashville’e freshly fallen snow.

………

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

The Orange County Register once again raises a panic over a “dramatic” rise in ebike injuries, suggesting that ebikes are somehow more dangerous than other kinds of bikes, without noting what should be an obvious corresponding increase in ebike use.  (Hint: Stop the page from loading before the subscription popup loads.) 

Life really is cheap in the UK, where a road raging driver walked with a suspended sentence for intentionally running down a bike rider who’d slapped his car following a dangerously close pass. And kept his drivers license because the judge didn’t want him to lose his job.

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

A Florida man was shot in the neck by his girlfriend as he tried to pedal away on his bike with her belongings; she insists that she only meant to scare him.

………

Local

This is who we share the road with. A pair of scofflaw diners used their car as a weapon to intentionally run down a Redondo Beach restaurant manager who confronted them for walking out on their check.

 

State

The allegedly stoned San Diego driver who killed a noted architect has been ordered to stand trial in the death of Laura Shinn; Adam David Milavetz was allegedly high on meth and fentanyl when he ran down Shinn’s bike, then tossed a bag of meth over a fence before police arrived.

The recent heavy rains in Northern California have had an unexpected benefit for bike riders by delaying plans for an emergency water pipeline that would have blocked bike access to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

 

National

The American Business History Center offers a fascinating short history of the American bicycle industry, from the first bikes through Trek and Specialized, even if they’re not made in the US anymore.

He gets it. A writer for Slate says stop idealizing Dutch and Danish bikeways, and start explaining how and why something like that could work here.

Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for a Denver-area driver who skipped a court date for the allegedly drunken crash where he dragged a boy and his bike under his SUV for a significant distance before bystanders flagged him down; they had to lift the SUV off the boy to get him out.

You’ve got to be kidding. South Dakota’s supreme court rules against a woman who was paralyzed when her bike wheel went through a poorly designed storm grate, even though the city was aware of the problem and failed to correct it.

A DC website says traffic may not be moving on the freeway, but yes, people really do ride their bikes in the winter.

A Florida distracted driver was focused on his phone for as much as 50 seconds before slamming into a bike rider and killing him; police say he is remorseful and fled the scene because “he got really scared.” Just imagine how the person he killed must have felt.

 

International

We Love Cycling magazine recommends the ten don’ts of e-mountain biking.

The Bicycle Film Festival has once again gone virtual, with over 40 short films available online for as little as $10.

SRAM’s CEO examines the supply chain disruptions that have created an imbalance between supply and demand in the bicycle industry, but says there really is light at the end of the tunnel.

Nice gesture from a group of English bike riders, who plan to escort the coffin of a man who died of a heart attack while on a group ride.

A British bike theft victim was victimized a second time when he found the bike being sold online and make arrangements with the men who mugged him to buy it, but the cops blew him off after promising to meet him to make the arrest and reclaim his bike.

 

Competitive Cycling

Slovakian cycling star Peter Sagan will miss the official unveiling of his new team and bike, after testing positive for Covid.

San Diego’s popular Belgian Waffle Ride will feature at least $30,000 in prize money when it rolls in April, with another $20,000 on the line for the four race series.

 

Finally…

Maybe someone should tell them it’s not a GoPro unless it’s a GoPro. When your Share the Road message is only slightly sillier than the competition you’re in.

And I’m not saying I’m old, but I remember this one from the first time around.

………

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

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