Time to start scrounging under your cushion for lost nickels and dimes, because we’re just five days away from the official kickoff of the Ninth Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!
That means we’re also just five days away from my annual Eff Black Friday campaign, in which I urge you to skip the stores, save your money and get out on a bike ride, instead.
And if you want to donate some of the money you save by not shopping, be my guest.
Then visit your favorite local bike shop the next day for Small Business Saturday, to help ensure they’ll still be there the next time you need something.
About damn time.
Fast Company is reporting that the National Transportation Safety Board, aka NTSB, is calling for speed limiting technology to be installed on all new cars in an effort to reduce the needless carnage on our streets.
The idea is to use geolocation to give drivers an audible warning when they’re going too fast, or make it harder, but not impossible, to press down on the gas pedal when they exceed the posted speed limit.
I vote for the latter.
Because that might have saved the lives of four young women on PCH last month, allegedly murdered by a driver doing 104 mph in a 45 mph zone. Along with countless others killed on American streets, whether on two feet, two wheels or four.
Speeding is now a factor in almost a third of the crash deaths in the U.S. The traditional approaches to reducing that toll all have significant limitations. Police can issue tickets to individual drivers, but law enforcement can hardly be in all places at all times. Automatic speed cameras, which allow police to mail citations directly to vehicle owners, are more effective; but many states, such as New Jersey and Texas, have banned their use (and they’re far from ubiquitous even where they’re allowed). Another partial solution would be to reconfigure dangerously fast roads with narrower lanes and additional intersections that naturally lead drivers to slow down, but doing so nationwide would be prohibitively expensive—and it would do little to combat reckless speeding on highways and interstates that facilitate car traffic at speeds of 45 to 85 mph…
NTSB’s proposed solution: Adopting Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA), a modern and techier version of the speed governors that Cincinnati considered a century ago. Rather than preventing a vehicle from ever exceeding a given threshold, ISA uses geolocation to automatically reflect the legal limit on a given street or highway. “Passive” ISAs issue audible or haptic alerts to drivers who exceed the top programmed speed, hopefully compelling them to slow down. “Active” ISAs intervene in the car’s mechanics, often by requiring the driver to apply extra force on the accelerator. ISAs can be set to kick in a few miles above the posted speed limit, giving drivers the ability to go faster when, for instance, passing a vehicle in the slow lane.
In the EU—where residents are several times less likely to die in a crash than in the U.S.—regulators are requiring that ISA be installed on new cars as of next year. But no similar effort is afoot in the United States (the federal government did propose requiring them on heavy trucks, a move that has faced stiff opposition from some truckers).
Let’s hope federal regulators take their recommendation seriously.
Because it can’t happen soon enough.
Speaking of federal regulators, it starts at the top.
Fortunately, the Biden administration’s Transportation Secretary seems to get it, as Pete Buttigieg marked the World Day of Remembrance for the victims of traffic violence by calling for safer streets to get cities down to zero traffic deaths.
Including more protected bus and bike lanes.
Reaching zero roadway deaths may sound impossible, but some sizable US cities have repeatedly achieved it. We can and must do everything we can to build on this progress and end the crisis on our roads. pic.twitter.com/f9o0XPx7U8
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) November 19, 2023
So many Americans have a personal connection to someone who has died on our roadways. It doesn’t have to be this way. We have an opportunity to honor their lives by designing safer streets toward a future with zero roadway fatalities. pic.twitter.com/CUy6j9Mcg4
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) November 19, 2023
For a change, the World Day of Remembrance got a lot of attention in the media.
Starting with a moving and dramatic display in Malibu, where volunteers installed 58 white car tires to commemorate the 58 people killed on PCH in the beachfront city since 2010.
Just in case you ever wondered why I call it LA County’s killer highway. Although it’s not much better in Orange County, either.
Maybe one day we can remember those we’ve lost to traffic violence, without worrying about adding more names to the list.
After the mad-dash rush to repair the fire damage to the 10 Freeway that disrupted traffic for just over a week, the Los Angeles Times asks why more transportation projects can’t be fast tracked the same way.
So, why can’t more transportation projects get the speedy treatment? Although the work being done on the 10 Freeway is a model of expediency, other important transportation repair jobs have taken far longer to complete.
Take for example the rail line used by Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner and Metrolink between Orange and San Diego counties. It’s the second busiest passenger route in the country, but was out of service for six months from late 2022 to early 2023 after a landslide and coastal erosion undermined the tracks.
It’s taken a year in some cases to repair storm-damaged bike paths in Los Angeles, leaving those routes closed to riders and forcing them onto busy streets, notedMichael Schneider, founder of the road safety advocacy group Streets for All.
Meanwhile, a letter writer says the freeway closure is an opportunity for more people to try public transit, and to invest in bus lanes and a quick-build bike network.
Unfortunately, Los Angeles only seems to know how to quick builds when it comes to freeways.
Evidently, they take murder seriously down in Texas.
A Texas jury sentenced former international fugitive Kaitlin Armstrong to a whopping 90 years behind bars for fatally shooting gravel champ Moriah “Mo” Wilson in Austin, Texas last year.
Armstrong was convicted of killing Wilson in a jealous rage, because she considered her a rival for the affections of her former boyfriend, pro cyclist Colin Strickland.
While we endure the seemingly endless wait for California’s ebike incentive program, the nonprofit program chosen to administer it offers safety advice for ebike riders, though with a glaring omission.
Sign up for email announcements here for when and if they finally get it going.
Look an e-Bike Safety video from the @AirResources E-Bike Incentive program admin! No mention of age requirements for the various classes, while kids riding dangerously is a national media story, plus your video rider is someone on a full suspension eMTB? https://t.co/VPqTQlI5p5
— Ellectrek (@Ellectrek) November 17, 2023
None of which you can take advantage of if you’re waiting for California’s program to launch.
And waiting. And waiting.
It’s almost always faster to ride a bike in city traffic for relatively short distances.
Is it faster to bike or drive from East LA to West LA during rush hour? FOX 11 puts it to the test. https://t.co/MldqWREMRt Click the image to read more:
— FOX 11 Los Angeles (@FOXLA) November 18, 2023
When I used to ride my bike from Westwood to DTLA for Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition — now BikeLA — board meetings, I found I could bike the roughly ten mile distance as fast or faster than I could drive it.
And have a hell of of lot more fun doing it.
Thanks to Zachary Rynew for the heads-up.
I’ve never been a Dierks Bentley fan.
But anyone who carries his kid on a cargo bike is okay in my book.
Admittedly, some of the celebs honored here are just posers when it comes to getting around by bike. But this! Singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley making a longtail rink run is the real deal, right here.
Happy #BicycleBirthday, Dierks – stay warm!#BornOnThisDay November 20, 1975 pic.twitter.com/3rozZsYINz
— Cool Bike Art (@CoolBikeArt1) November 20, 2023
The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.
The Port of San Diego says you’re not welcome on the city’s Embarcadero if you ride an ebike, e-scooter or a pedicab. Although something tells me they’re setting themselves up for a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
No bias here. A Wisconsin website says they drove Milwaukee’s new advisory bike lane and barely survived, calling it a game of automotive Frogger. Because evidently, drivers haven’t learned anything from the previous hundred-plus years of sharing narrow streets.
Speaking of BikeLA, the nonprofit bike advocacy group is downsizing due to limited funds, announcing “a temporary reduction in staff and operating expenses.”
Hip-hop legend MC Lyte says her best Sundays in LA include renting a bike and going for tacos at the beach. Both of which I can wholeheartedly endorse.
A San Francisco city supervisor led an informal delegation of VIPs on a damp bike rider marking the last day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
At least two of the nearly two hundred triathletes whose bikes are impounded due to a shipping dispute live in the Bay Area; their hi-end trim bikes could be auctioned off for pennies on the dollar, and they won’t receive a dime. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.
Romper names the year’s best balance bike to unlock the joy of bicycling for your toddler.
The Seattle Times considers how the Pacific Northwest became the nation’s ‘cross capital.
There’s a special place in hell for the Flagstaff, Arizona tow truck driver who ran a red light and killed a woman participating in a bike party ride, and injured several others; he reached a plea agreement after the investigation into the crash also turned up evidence he sexually exploited a minor.
New York’s fire commissioner says lithium-ion ebike batteries are a ticking time bomb.
Police in New York suspect a headless body that washed up onshore at Rockaway Beach could be an Irish filmmaker who disappeared on a bike ride two weeks earlier; despite the condition of the body, they don’t suspect foul play, suggesting he drowned and his body was dismembered by sharp rocks and fish. FYI, stop the page from loading before the popup to get around the paywall.
The Daily Mail seems to be suitably appalled by New York’s Bike Kill Brooklyn block party, featuring “‘freaks’ with mutant bicycles, scantily clad women and bizarre costumes,” along with Victorian unicycle jousting.
They get it, sort of. A Chattanooga, Tennessee newspaper applauds a road diet currently underway, saying safer streets and more bike lanes will benefit everyone — although the same site complains that bike lane construction is adding to the chaos on city streets.
A bystander was the innocent victim of an Atlanta shooting that began with a dispute over a bicycle. Yet another reminder that no bike is worth a human life.
A columnist for Cycling Weekly argues that pre-internet local bike shops weren’t as good as you remember.
A kindhearted Saskatoon, Saskatchewan doctor is trying to donate more than 800 bicycles to African communities in need.
Who says you can’t carry big things on a bike? Road.cc says tradespeople like electricians, plumbers and gardeners are increasingly turning to cargo bikes to transport their goods and tools, while a London man borrowed a cargo bike to transport a big chest of drawers across the city, and had a blast in the process.
Belgian ebike maker Cowboy says they expect to become profitable next year, even as some competitors are swirling the drain.
A German bikemaker introduced what Road.cc calls the most unusual road bike of the year, which ignores UCI regs to ditche the seat post, incorporating it into the extremely compact frame.
Once he’s caught, an Indian truck driver will face a murder charge for the high-speed hit-and-run that killed one man riding a bicycle, and injured a woman and her son on another bike.
Times of Israel profiles a presumed hostage who disappeared after driving to meet friends for a bike ride near the border with Gaza; his car was later found shot up and abandoned.
Italian extreme cyclist Omar Di Felice is attempting a solo bike ride across the entire continent of Antarctica.
Velo says Columbian cyclist Rigoberto Urán’s recent performance at the Gran Fondo of Colombia is a reminder that the pros are way, way faster than you and me.
Twenty-six-year old New Zealand mountain bike champ Kate Weatherly is being forced out of the sport by new UCI regulations banning trans cyclists who transitioned after reaching puberty from competing in women’s cycling.
Your next bike could be made for bikepacking, but look like a Penny Farthing drawn by a drunk who’s never seen one. We might have to dodge dodgy LA drivers, but at least we don’t usually have to worry about hit-and-run golf cart drivers.
And Rosalyn was one of us.
May she rest in peace, after a lifetime of service.
— Cool Bike Art (@CoolBikeArt1) November 20, 2023
Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.
Oh, and fuck Putin