Tag Archive for active transportation

Vehicular cycling founder John Forester has died, toxic car culture, fighting for street space, and courteous CA drivers

Sad news from San Diego.

CABO President Jim Baross writes that John Forester, author of Effective Cycling and the father of America’s vehicular cycling movement, passed away last week.

Reported to me today by his son Jeff Forester

John died April 14, 2020 at 90 years of age

He was Born Oct. 1929

I have known John primarily related to bicycling and CABO. Some things I know about him off the cuff:

Author of Effective Cycling now in a 7th edition, former League of American Bicyclists Board member (was he board chair at one time?), instrumental in the formation of CABO, certainly the Father of the concepts and trainings of vehicular cycling, an early outspoken advocate for the rights of people to use bicycles on public roads, etc. etc.

Whatever your opinion of vehicular cycling, Forester was hugely influential in the ’70s and ’80s, and throughout the past 50 years. Both in affirming the place of bicyclists on our streets, and blocking the growth of separated bikeways.

He fought for what he believed right up to the end, long after most modern advocates and planners had left his philosophies behind.

But in his day, his work was a revelation, creating the framework most road cyclists employed through the last decades of the past century.

Myself included.

Thanks to Richard Masoner for the heads-up.

Cover image from MIT Press

………

Let’s talk about a great opinion piece from today’s LA Times.

Senior digital editor Matthew Fleischer writes that the coronavirus shutdowns are making it clear just how toxic car culture really is.

The coronavirus is making it abundantly clear that cars are their own kind of plague. And, in many ways, our lives are better when we don’t have to use them.

Some city leaders have come to this realization and are refusing to allow their automotive status quos to return after the lockdowns end. In Milan, Italy — one of the hardest-hit cities in the world by coronavirus — planners have already begun preparations to permanently transform 22 miles of streets for non-automobile use after witnessing reductions in air pollution of up to 70% during lockdowns.

Then there’s this.

Frankly, the idea that we can transport ourselves sustainably en masse in toxic 4,000-pound battering rams is just as delusional, entitled and self-destructive as the “liberate” protestors who are demanding a premature end to coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders…

There is no herd immunity from the damage caused by millions of personal automobiles roaming the streets at all hours.

Seriously, this will probably be the most insightful thing you read today. If not, it’s still a damn good way to spend the next few minutes.

Let’s hope Mayor Garcetti reads it.

Because he can let coronavirus derail his ambitious plans to reimagine our streets as part of an LA Green New Deal.

Or he can use this as a rare opportunity to actually make it happen.

………

Closing or narrowing streets for cars in response to Covid-19 continues to make news here in LA, across the US and around the world.

Los Angeles political advocacy group Streets For All has forged a powerful coalition of LA-area groups to lead the call to keep Angelenos physically and mentally healthy during the COVID-19 crisis.

And expressed that call in a strongly worded letter to leaders of the City of Angels.

The road space in Los Angeles is now dramatically overbuilt for the current vehicle traffic volume, causing vehicles to travel at dangerous speeds – average speeds are up 30% on our wide open roads according to LADOT. At the same time, the average width of our sidewalks is 4.4’, too narrow to allow people to pass each other while maintaining 6’ of distance. As a result, people are forced to be in close proximity with each other, risking proliferating the virus or walking, running, scooting, or biking in the street next to speeding cars. This isn’t just a street safety issue, but a public health issue as well…

While the top priority is limiting COVID-19 spread and saving lives and livelihoods, there must be a long term plan to sustain the mental and physical well being of Angelenos. Isolation and inactivity can lead to increases in chronic health conditions like heart disease and obesity and pose other mental and physical health risks that we may pay for as a society for years to come.

Therefore, for the critical reasons of equity, mental health, safety, and the physical well-being of Angelenos, we ask you to authorize the creation of an emergency people street network – using cones or other temporary infrastructure – to create additional sidewalk and open space for people to walk, run, scoot, and bike in, while maintaining 6’ of distancing. ​On neighborhood streets, this could be as simple as a few cones and a “slow down” sign taking up some of the street, calming traffic but still allowing local and emergency vehicle access. On major arteries, this could be redistributing a parking lane and/or single vehicle traffic lane on each side of the street, while taking care not to interfere with bus stops​. These treatments may also advance the Mayor’s goals under L.A.’s Green New Deal to “Activate Streets” and “Prioritize Land Use and the Right-of-Way” in ​Executive Directive 25​. All of this can be accomplished inexpensively and without the need of distracting our police or fire departments with enforcement during this critical time.

It’s worth taking the time to read the full letter. And voice your own support.

Meanwhile, KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis talks with Curbed’s Alissa Walker about closing some roads to cars so people have more space to walk, run or bike.

Salt Lake City joins the growing movement to convert streets to bike and pedestrian use.

Berlin is the latest world capital to carve out more space on the streets for active transportation in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown.

And Paris trumps everyone by readying the equivalent of 400 miles of permanent and temporary bikeways for use when the city reawakens.

………

No surprise here.

The Governors Highway Safety Association says speeding is up around the country on streets emptied by the coronavirus crisis, which means crashes are more serious, too.

Case in point, the CHP reports that tickets for speeding in excess of 100 mph have jumped 87% over the past month.

Which can either mean that more drivers are speeding. Or that more are just getting caught.

Or maybe both.

………

New York City’s mayor demonstrates that he’s never been to California by bizarrely insisting that California drivers are so courteous, they stop on every block — even when they don’t have to.

https://twitter.com/laura_nelson/status/1252979892846645248?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1252979892846645248&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fnyc.streetsblog.org%2F2020%2F04%2F22%2Fstill-defiant-now-mayor-de-blasio-wrongly-claims-california-can-have-open-space-because-its-drivers-are-better%2F

………

The LACBC and Sunset For All are teaming up tomorrow to show that bikes mean business.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on.

A “furious” English man demands that bike riders be banned from a multi-use path along the coast for the alleged crime of failing to maintain social distancing.

………

Local

Khloé Kardashian’s two-year old daughter is one of us.

 

State

A San Diego columnist questions whether it’s time to reopen parts of the city, arguing that the fitness of residents helped it avoid the worst of the coronavirus.

I want to be like them when I grow up. A group of San Diego men up to 80 years old are still taking long rides along the SoCal coast. And the coast of Normandy.

After losing his job in a San Francisco restaurant, a Venezuelan chef turns to his native cuisine, and starts a new business delivering homemade arepas by bike. Which is literally what he named it.

Once again, a Bay Area bicyclist posts a nearly one-hour video of a ride through Oakland and San Leandro. And once again, an Oakland News blogger freaks out over his scofflaw behavior.

They get it. A pair of Sacramento mayors agree this is no time to back down on climate change, coronavirus or not.

 

National

PeopleForBikes aims to support bike shops by encouraging responsible riding during the Covid-19 crisis, along with virtual cycling.

How to turn your kid into a mini mountain bike shredder.

A pair of Idaho bike commuters are credited with helping the environment by trading gas pedals for bike pedals; one was inspired to get on her bike by attending CicLAvia when she was a student at USC.

Evidently, Texas trail users don’t like being told which way to go.

Wisconsin wrenches are raising old bikes from the dead at a record pace.

Security cam video shows a St. Louis hit-and-run driver plowing into a bike rider, hurling him into the air before flooring it and fleeing the scene; despite the head-on crash, the victim only suffered minor injuries. This video is just as disturbing as it sounds, so be sure you really want to see it before you click on the link.

Three friends from Maine end up driving 2,000 miles home when their fundraising cross-country bike trip ground to a halt in Texas after the coronavirus shut down much of the country.

After an MIT researcher blamed New York’s transit system for spreading Covid-19, a researcher from George Mason University reminds him that correlation isn’t causation, noting that restaurants and bikeshare showed the same curve — and points the finger for spreading the disease at motor vehicle use, instead.

Streetsblog says the empty streets have turned New York’s Third Ave into a dangerous speedway.

A writer for Rolling Stone takes a desolate and desultory ride through the city, feeling anger towards people flaunting social distancing rules and mourning places that may not return.

A Philly radio station says bicycle couriers have had to change their strategies to avoid spreading Covid-19. Or getting exposed to it.

 

International

She gets it. A writer for Forbes says our planet needs cities to prioritize people over cars, and this is the perfect time to do it.

The Pinkbike Podcast discusses why every new bike now seems to be a trail bike.

Cycling News says you can save time and money by learning to fit your own bike chain. Meanwhile, Bike Radar offers a beginner’s guide to road bike shifting.

Bike-riding British Columbia mounties stop a man for riding without a helmet, which is against the law there. And end up busting him for stealing the bike he was riding.

Dutch model Lilly Becker is one of us, too, going for a socially distant ride through London’s Wimbledon neighborhood.

Tragic news from the Netherlands, where an 18-year old man was stabbed to death in an apparent random attack while riding his bike; police arrested a “known troublemaker” immigrant with mental health problems.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews talks with five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault about his 50-mile solo breakaway through a brutal snowstorm to win the 1980 Liège-Bastogne-Liège

 

Finally…

Who needs a BMX track when you’ve got a Tribeca apartment with an awesome view of the waterfront? Why move over when you’ve got a six-foot social distancing stick?

And no, bikes aren’t “the new toilet paper.

You can actually get a bicycle.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

Bonin promises actual implementation, biking & walking mean happy commuters, and expensive cars mean bigger jerks

This could be good news, for a change.

The LA City Council’s Transportation Committee approved a motion calling on LADOT to come up with a plan to implement the city’s Green New Deal and the mayor’s recent Climate Directive.

In addition to calling for a 30% improvement in bus speeds, it calls for the development of active transportation corridors for walking, bicycling and micromobility, with “at least one major regional project and one neighborhood-oriented network per year.”

It now goes before the full council, and if approved, will require LADOT to respond with an implementation plan this July.

So what we basically have is a motion for a plan.

And as we’ve learned the hard way, Los Angeles is very good at coming up with plans, but not so good at actually putting them on the pavement.

Like the 2010 bike plan. Or the more recent halfhearted non-embrace of Vision Zero.

Perhaps sensing the growing frustration, Transportation Chair Mike Bonin had this to say.

Let’s hope he means it.

………

In what may be one of the most telling surveys ever, a Utah university finds that, given the choice, three-quarters of drivers and car passengers would rather teleport to work, along with two-thirds of transit riders.

But only 35 percent of bike riders and 28 percent of people who walk to work concurred. Which tells you that the overwhelming majority of people who walk or bike to work actually like it.

As opposed to the overwhelming majority of people stuck in traffic who don’t.

………

Once again, science confirms what most of us have already figured out.

The more expensive a driver’s car is, the more likely he or she is to act like an entitled jerk behind the wheel.

………

Not only did a driver in Lincoln CA fail to stop after crashing into a man on a bike, he kept going for another quarter mile with the badly injured victim lodged on the roof of his SUV.

According to The Sacramento Bee, the 85-year old driver said he didn’t know he’d even hit anyone.

Which seems a little odd, given the crumpled hood and shattered windshield directly in front of his steering wheel.

………

A San Diego TV station tells the tale of how nine-year old Connor Stitt of San Marcos rocketed to internet fame when ESPN featured a video of his arial acrobatics.

We showed the clip back in December, but it’s worth seeing again.

And again.

………

Presenting the world’s lightest balance bike, for all those three and four-year old weight weenies in your life.

………

Local

The 13-mile Park to Playa Trail connecting Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area to Playa del Rey is nearly complete; all that’s missing is a soon-to-be-built bridge allowing people and small animals to cross busy La Cienega Blvd.

Curbed quizzes LA council candidates on the bike issues currently facing the city, including housing, homelessness and cars.

More on the near-fatal crash that sent renowned LA chef Walter Manzke of Republique fame to the ER with several broken bones; he was getting out of his car near his upcoming new bistro Bicyclette when he was run down by the driver, who stopped, for a change.

Bike the Vote LA endorses Trisha Keane in Pasadena’s 2nd Council District, while Streets For All reminds us they endorsed Sarah Kate Levy in CD4 and Loraine Lundquist in CD12. I cast my vote for SKL yesterday, in case you’re wondering. And it was so much fun, I’m thinking about going back and doing it again tomorrow. 

 

State

Pink Bike raves about a mountain biker’s perfectly sculpted jumps on a California trail. Call me crazy, but a split scrotum does not suggest a successful landing in my book.

A reminder to never leave your bike on a car rack. A would be Seal Beach bike thief was interrupted by the owner as he tried to make off with a $3,500 bicycle.

An Oceanside bike rider was severely injured when he was struck by an SUV driver after allegedly running a stop light.

A San Diego man is suing the city, claiming its new pump track is too dangerous because it allows bike riders and skateboarders to use it at the same time — even though the injuries he’s claiming came in a “brutal attack” by a boarder, rather than a crash.

Palo Alto is resuming work on building a network of bike boulevards, which was halted two years ago because some residents couldn’t figure out how a roundabout works.

No bias here. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, if you’re not white, male and earn $250,000, the city’s bike lanes aren’t for you. Except, of course, for the 75% of regular bike lane users who earn less than that, and the 33% that are female. Or who don’t otherwise fit with their highly skewed premise, based on notoriously unreliable census data.

A Bay Area woman got drunk, and apparently decided driving in the new barrier protected bike lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge was the perfect way to bypass all that car traffic in the other lanes.

 

National

A writer for Gear Patrol explains why good bikes are so expensive. Except there are a lot of good bikes out there that aren’t.

Meanwhile, the apparently unrelated Gear Junkie offers tips on how to build up your own mountain bike.

A bike-riding Oregon teenager was very lucky to escape with just minor injuries when he was struck by a driver doing 55 mph.

A New Mexico City councilor doesn’t like the census, early childhood education, the state’s red flag law or the Democratic primary. But he does like bike lanes, so he can’t be all bad.

An eleven-year old South Dakota boy has ridden his bike to school every day for six years — nearly 1,000 days in a row, rain or shine. Or snow.

Kindhearted Kansas business owners gave a new top-of-the-line gravel bike to a woman battling colorectal cancer.

Got to give him points for persistence. A Brooklyn bike thief broke through the roof of a building to steal a bike, then walked it out the front door.

Anti-safety vigilantes are tying yellow ribbons around trees on New York’s Staten Island to warn drivers about speed enforcement cameras.

 

International

A British ebike rider faces charges for killing a pedestrian by plowing into her at 30 mph — ten miles faster than legally allowed.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is testing a system to electronically slow the fastest pedelec bikes down to the speed of regular bikes. Now try it on cars, please.

A Berlin firm is hosting the first-ever virtual world bicycle conference.

Mumbai is working to become bike-friendlier with bike mayors for each of the city’s 24 districts, along with two junior bike mayors. Which is about 26 more than you’ll find in Los Angeles.

An Australian city votes to spend $2 million to rip out part of an $8 million protected bike lane network that was only finished two year ago, claiming it’s causing too much traffic congestion. No, it’s all those cars causing that traffic; take more of those off the road and the congestion goes away.

 

Competitive Cycling

Four American women are working together to win three spots in the mountain biking events at the Tokyo Olympics.

 

Finally…

If you’re riding your bike with a stolen handgun, a sock full of meth, ten fake or stolen IDs, a criminal record and an outstanding warrant, maybe try riding a little closer to the curb. Ramming your bike into a police car is not likely to hurt it — or help you get away.

And you only wish this was your commute.

Garcetti orders bold climate plan, couple killed by drunk driver on Goleta bike path, and Corona DIY hit-and-run investigation

Maybe he means it this time.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an executive directive yesterday to enhance portions of the city’s Green New Deal.

Which would be a big deal, if he actually follows through this time.

There’s a lot to like in the plan. Starting with a commitment to active transportation; according to My News LA, the plan would

— promote walking, bicycling and micro-mobility with a comprehensive citywide network of active transportation corridors, including protected bike lanes, paths along regional waterways and low-stress neighborhood bike improvements;

The order also calls for more cool streets and roofs, a congestion pricing pilot program, zero emission buses, and increasing transit speeds by 30% in the next ten years.

More importantly, it calls for reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled through expanded use of transit, walking, bicycling and micromobility.

And of special interest to many of us, more frequent open streets events.

But as always, the devil is in the details.

It remains to be seen whether that implementation plan for an active transportation network means we’ll finally get around to building out the hard-won 2010 Bike Plan that was unanimously passed by the city council when Garcetti was still council president.

Or if they intend to re-invent the wheel yet again, with or without our input.

Curbed reports the mayor at least struck the right sense of urgency.

“Can we make this happen?” Garcetti asked Monday, speaking broadly about the city’s sustainability goals. “We don’t have a choice.”

But they added —

It remains to be seen whether this will be enough to achieve one of the key goals laid out in the city’s Green New Deal: A nearly 50 percent reduction in the number of miles LA residents drive daily.

Although it’s not a bad sign that the NRDC is on board with it.

The problem, of course, is that we’ve been here before.

Any progress on the bike plan, or the mobility plan that subsumed it, ground to a near complete and total stop after Garcetti took office as mayor.

And any real progress on the mayor’s own Vision Zero plan came to a halt the first time drivers complained about a road diet.

The result that not only have bike and pedestrian deaths not declined by 20%, as the plan called for by this year, they’ve actually gone up.

So this could be the beginning of the groundbreaking, tide-turning movement to re-invent the City of Angels into the more livable — and survivable — city so many of us have fought for.

Or it could be just another bold plan that will soon by gathering dust on the shelf.

It’s all up to Mayor Garcetti.

And whether he’s suddenly found the political will to see it through.

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels.

………

This is who we share the roads with.

Or in this case, a bike path.

Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk website reports that a married couple was killed in a collision while walking their dog on an offroad Goleta bike path Sunday evening.

The driver, later identified as 39-year old Eric Mauricio Ramirez Aguilar of Goleta, fled the scene on foot.

A writer for the site estimated that Aguilar had to have driven at least 100 yards on the bike path before coming to a stop, slamming into his victims somewhere along the way.

Police took the alleged drunk driver into custody three hours later in nearby Carpinteria. He was a passenger in a car, whose driver was returning from Ventura County after learning that Aguilar was a wanted man.

Authorities threw the book at him, and deservedly so.

According to the site,

Aguilar was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving while intoxicated causing injury, hit and run causing death or injury, fleeing the scene after committing manslaughter, and driving while intoxicated, with an enhancement for causing the deaths of more than one person.

He remained in custody Monday night, with bail set at $100,000.

Fortunately, the dog somehow survived the crash, and was turned over to a family member.

Let’s hope Aguilar gets the hard time a crime like this calls for.

But let’s face it.

As long as drunks continue to get behind the wheel, we’re not safe anywhere. And no amount of jail time can bring back the lives they take.

………

This is who we share the roads with, too.

After a Corona mother was killed in a hit-and-run while riding her motorcycle last week, leaving behind eight kids, her husband made it his mission to track down her killer.

Remarkably, he found the car parked in a nearby apartment complex, with passenger side damage matching the details of the crash.

Police arrested the 85-year old driver, Tashiro Isa, on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter.

Once again raising the question of how old is too old to drive.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the heads-up.

………

The LAPD is asking for your help to find the heartless coward who fled the scene after backing into a 92-year old man, leaving him bleeding in the street.

………

Or as we call it here in balmy Los Angeles, Friday.

………

After a British truck driver knocked a bicyclist off his bike in a left hook, the equivalent of our right hook, the driver refused to admit he was behind the wheel — and walks with just a fine and points against his license.

………

Take a quick break with mountain biker Greg Williamson doing “dusty laps” on a dry and dirty Kiwi singletrack trail.

I think Dusty Laps will be the name of my new cowboy alter ego, although Twitter user Mumen Rusto suggested that could be my porn name.

But no one wants to see that anymore.

………

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

An Aussie state department of transportation posts a simple question about bicycling rules online. And opens the floodgate for an avalanche of bike hate.

A Tokyo bicyclist catches a punishment pass and a brake check from a school bus driver on his bike cam — while riding in a bike lane, no less.

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

Sacramento police are looking for a man who fled on a bicycle after robbing a business and threatening the employees at gunpoint.

………

Local

Streetsblog adds its voice to those calling out against plans to widen dangerous Magnolia Blvd, which is already on the city’s Vision Zero High Injury Network.

Bike riders aren’t the only ones being inconvenienced by the closure of the Arroyo Seco pathway; horse people are calling for the equestrian trail to be reopened, as well.

While Los Angeles talks about safer streets, Santa Monica is actually doing something, as the city announces plans to make over deadly Wilshire Blvd to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians.

Sad news, as longtime bike industry vet Jim Whitsett died of an apparent heart attack before South Bay Cycle, his new 2,100 square foot Manhattan Beach bike shop, could open this coming weekend.

 

State

My point exactly. A writer for California Streetsblog argues that the state is missing a significant opportunity to fight climate change by failing to offer the same sort of rebates for ebikes that they do for electric vehicles. Except we should go further, and offer them for any bicycle intended to replace at least one car trip a week.

They get it. An editorial in the Times of San Diego says driving like maniacs is the root cause of bike and pedestrian collisions.

Fifty-six-year old Julian resident Craig Wendell Nelson faces up to four years and eight months behind bars after pleading guilty to the hit-and-run death of Kevin Wilson as he was riding his bike on a rural road east of El Cajon last month; police eventually found Nelson hiding under some bushes after abandoning his car.

It takes a major schmuck to steal a ghost bike, like the one that was installed for fallen bicyclist Raymundo “Ray-Ray” Jaime following the Palm Springs hit-and-run that took his life; the killer of the 30-year old father is still a large.

Palo Alto considers fixing a “terrifying” intersection used by around 4,000 cars and 20 bicycles per hour during the morning rush. Maybe more bike riders would use it if it wasn’t so scary.

San Francisco bike riders are calling for a concrete barrier along the Embarcadero bike lanes.

Uber says Sacramento ranks second in the world for shared rides, if you include bikeshare and e-scooters along with ride hailing.

 

National

VeloNews says 2020 is all about gravel and e-bikes and smart-bikes and materials and versatility.

Bicycling says blame a stiff neck for your numb hands.

New York bike riders can’t use the city’s bike lanes because they were built wide enough for street sweepers and snow plows, which makes them wide enough for people to drive and park in, too.

New York is finally getting around to questioning whether dangerous drivers should be taken off the road before they kill someone. Not after, like the woman with eight speeding and red light violations who killed a couple kids as they were walking in a crosswalk.

Florida bike riders are up in arms after an 18-year old bicyclist was cuffed and arrested after allegedly running a stop sign; the officer says he and another bike rider refused to stop when ordered to, while the riders say they just didn’t hear him. Advocates also want to know why the kid from Puerto Rico was the only one to get busted. Thanks to Victor Bale and J. Patrick Lynch for the links.

 

International

Canadian Cycling Magazine unveils the secrets bike mechanics don’t want you to know, like maybe you’re putting your bar tape on wrong.

The English city of Coventry just got Britain’s first bicycle mayor. Meanwhile Los Angeles, with ten times the population, is still waiting.

I want to be like her when I grow up. A French woman who may have been the world’s oldest person was still riding her bike as she approached 100.

The Netherlands ranks second in Europe for bicycling fatalities. Which isn’t too surprising, considering they also have one of the continent’s highest rates for bicycling.

An arrest warrant has been issued for an Aussie man who failed to show up for sentencing after pleading guilty to killing a bike rider; the victim frequently posted videos of close passes while calling for a safer passing distance.

Macau leaders shut down hiking trails and bike lanes to combat the novel coronavirus, telling everyone to just shut yourself in and exercise at home.

 

Competitive Cycling

Twenty-three-year old Tour de France champ Egan Bernal will lead the Ineos team in this week’s Tour of Columbia.

New Zealand’s Georgia Williams is making a comeback to the women’s pro cycling tour after being knocked off her bike by the increasingly common Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport, aka RED-S, which prevented her from getting enough fuel for her body while making her bones more brittle.

 

Finally…

Your next bike helmet could fold up to fit in your briefcase or backpack; let’s hope it also protects your head. Now you, too, can compete in the world’s greatest bike races without risking all that road rash and broken bones and stuff.

And apparently, Los Angeles used to be a lot better for bicycling.

An open letter to the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council about bike lanes in the new community plan

Please excuse the lack of Morning Links today. With tonight’s discussion of removing bike lanes and road diets from the Hollywood Community Plan, I felt it was more important to write and share this open letter. 

We’ll catch up on anything we might have missed tomorrow.

………

To the board members of the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council,

Tonight you’re scheduled to discuss a response to the draft Hollywood Community Plan, including the proposed bike lanes included in the Mobility Plan 2035.

However, the draft response contains references to maintaining the community’s current over-reliance on motor vehicles, as opposed to improving safety and connectivity for transit, walking and bicycling to encourage people to use other forms of transportation whenever practical.

At the same time, the president of this board is on record as opposing plans for road diets, saying proponents need a reality check. And letters are included that call at least one bike lane through the Cahuenga Pass — and perhaps others — “infeasible.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Or do more harm to the Hollywood community in the years to come.

The truth is that road diets, more accurately known as lane reductions, can actually improve traffic flow and reduce congestion while increasing safety for all road users. And bike lanes can improve the livability of the community, while increasing the commercial health of local businesses and property owners.

Other cities have recently seen the benefits of road diets.

But you don’t have to look to other cities to see the benefits of road diets.

  • The road diet on Rowena Avenue in Silver Lake has been a proven success, reducing average speed back down to the posted speed limit with no adverse effect on traffic volume, while significantly improving safety for all road users.
  • And despite the initial complaints of business owners, York Blvd in Highland Park has thrived after a road diet was installed; even just six months after completion, it had no negative effect on local businesses.

Meanwhile, there are additional benefits to bike lanes, with or without a road diet.

The best part is, everyone gets to enjoy these benefits, whether or not they ever ride a bicycle. All that’s required is to make it safer, easier and more convenient for other people to ride their bikes.

In fact, studies have repeatedly shown that roughly 60% of all people would like to ride their bikes more if they felt safer doing it. Even right here in the car capital of the world.

On the other hand, the best way to ensure the failure of our traffic grid is to do nothing to encourage people to leave their cars at home, as more and more people move to the city, bringing their cars with them. And more people buy cars thanks to low interest rates and a booming economy.

As counterintuitive as it may seem to some, the solution isn’t to maximize the space given to motor vehicles and their drivers.

Los Angeles streets — and Hollywood in particular — are already built out to capacity. And rapidly filling to it, as well.

Our streets will all grind to halt if we don’t take steps now to make bicycling, walking and transit more viable options for more people. The only thing that’s actually infeasible is to continue on the almost exclusively car-driven path we’re on now.

Simply put, when you say no to road diets and bike lanes, you say no to safety, livability and commercial success. And that your ability to drive unimpeded is more important than people’s lives, and a healthy, thriving community.

Please do the right thing, and support the bike lanes in the draft Hollywood Community Plan.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers

Hollywood

Morning Links: Agenda 21 raises its ugly head in West Covina, and Complete Streets coming to East LA’s Soto St

They’re on to us, comrades.

With all the craziness in American politics these days, the Agenda 21 crowd had to show up to contest the growth in bike lanes and bicycling sooner or later.

Surprisingly, they popped up in West Covina, despite the highly contentious debate over bike lanes in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey.

For the uninitiated, Agenda 21 was an obscure, voluntary plan developed by the United Nations to promote sustainable development.

But in the hands of the right wing conspiracy theorists, it somehow became a secret plan to undermine American sovereignty and force us out of their cars. Making any attempt at developing bike lanes or promoting transit part of a vast conspiracy for worldwide bike domination.

Take this video.

Please.

Apparently, West Covina’s current effort to develop an active transportation plan is just part of that vast conspiracy.

Which is why it’s so important to email your city councilmembers and county supervisors, and show up for meetings when you can.

Because these people are out there. And rational or not, their votes and voices count just as much as yours.

………

A public meeting will be held tonight to discuss a Complete Streets project on Soto Street in East LA.

………

The war on bikes goes on.

A 74-year old Kansas man is under arrest for attempting to run a bike rider off the road.

Police in the UK are looking for a passenger who got out of a car, pushed a man off his bicycle, then repeatedly punched him in the head.

And evidently, there’s a war on wheelchairs, too. A Denver man was ticketed after getting hit by a car for taking too long to wheel himself across the crosswalk.

………

Clearly, cheating is nothing new in cycling. And there are a lot more ways to do it than just doping.

A transgendered cyclist has won policy concessions from Cycling Canada and UCI to open the way for more participation by trans athletes.

BMC’s Brent Bookwalter should win the Scaramucci Award for the shortest time in the yellow jersey at the Tour of Utah.

……….

Local

A “serious cyclist” wrote a letter in the LA Times saying he’s glad Mar Vista reversed its decision to create “separate” bike lanes, calling the parking-protected bike lane one of the most dangerous he’s seen. Just one problem — the Vista del Mar road diet in Playa del Rey is being reversed; the protected bike lanes on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista aren’t.

Sign up for a free one-month pass for the Pasadena Metro Bike bikeshare.

Expansion plans for the 710 Freeway in Long Beach pledge to improve access for bicyclists and pedestrians, though a writer for Streetsblog remains skeptical.

 

State

Streetsblog writes more about the state award to extend the Metro bikeshare to USC, South LA and the Expo Line.

New plans call for banning private cars from San Francisco’s Market Street in favor of taxis, buses and sidewalk-level bike lanes.

A Sacramento TV station confirms that yes, it’s illegal to ride salmon.

 

National

Bicycling talks with a bicycle courier who’s working to make bike touring more accessible for deaf cyclists.

Seattle’s new dockless bikeshare systems have proven popular, with both companies recording over 5,000 rides each in the first week, despite being limited to just 500 bikes each.

Distracted bicycling may be a bad idea, but it’s not illegal under a new Washington state law.

Get your resume ready. Advocacy group Bicycle Colorado is looking for a new Executive Director.

Iowa Public radio talks with the oldest female competitive BMX rider in the US.

Bike riders often spot things other people might miss. Like human remains on the side of an Austin TX bike trail, for instance.

Evidently, they take traffic crime seriously in Texas. A hit-and-run driver who killed a Corpus Christi bike rider was sentenced to 35 years — yes, years — in prison, and will have to serve at least half his sentence before being considered for parole. In California, drivers rarely get 35 months for a fatal hit-and-run.

A Chicago weekly allows bicyclists to vent their complaints about their fellow bike riders.

Residents in a Madison WI neighborhood are urging city officials to keep their hands off a popular bike path, and not turn it into a road for motor vehicles.

The Tennessee hit-and-run driver charged with intentionally running down a bike rider on the Natchez Trace Parkway has been released from federal custody on the condition that he not leave the area. Meanwhile, the cyclist who recorded the crash finally got back on his bike this past weekend.

Walking on water may be challenging, but biking across Vermont’s Lake Champlain is doable.

Thieves burglarize a New York ebike shop and steal $10,000 worth of ebikes and electric scooters, even though it’s illegal to ride them in the state.

A New York website accuses the NYPD of having a streak of sadism and doing the opposite of Vision Zero by targeting bike riders in response to crashes involving bicyclists.

Philadelphia begins construction on the city’s first one-way protected bike lane.

The 2.6 mile Laffite Greenway is becoming the heart of the burgeoning New Orleans cycling scene.

 

International

A writer for Bike Radar makes the case against bike bells, saying it can be more polite and helpful to actually say what you’re doing.

Canadian comic artist Kate Beaton is one of us. Thanks to Opus the Poet for the heads-up.

A Montreal mother says if you want to get women like her to ride a bike, the city needs more protected bike lanes, and sharrows just don’t cut it anymore.

A writer for The Guardian says it’s time for Britain to free itself from the chokehold cars have over the country. The same could be said for the US, as well. Or is that just more Agenda 21?

A condolence book for the Manchester bombing victims was carried to the city by bicycle from a town 45 miles away.

When a British man cycling with his wife suffered a heart attack outside a pub, he was saved with a portable defibrillator the patrons had purchased as a wedding present for the owner.

The Financial Times checks in with Mark Beaumont during the Scottish adventurer’s attempt to bike around the world in 80 days, including the dental work done by his performance manager after hitting a pothole near the Mongolian border.

Rihanna teams with Chinese bikeshare provider Ofo to donate bicycles to girls in Malawi to help them get to school. Although Ofo may have a little trademark problem back home.

 

Finally…

Why bother teaching your kids to ride a bike, when you can just pay someone to do it for you? Bad enough to be hit by someone on a bike; worse when it’s your bike.

And now you, too, can win a spot on a pro cycling team without actually riding anywhere.

………

Thanks to John Hall for his generous contribution to help support this site.

Morning Links: Jefferson Blvd Complete Streets in line for state funding, and LA pro Phil Gaimon calls it a career

Maybe we really will see some changes around here. Particularly in some of LA County’s less advantaged communities.

Richard Parks forwards news that the California Transportation Commission has recommended funding a number of active transportation projects in LA County.

Topping the list from his perspective is a much needed and hard fought effort to transform Jefferson Blvd into a Complete Street.

The California Transportation Commission has recommended $6 million in funding to make Jefferson Blvd. from Vermont Ave. west to Western Ave. a complete street. The plan calls for protected and buffered bike lanes, pedestrian lighting, sidewalk repairs, street trees and more. This project will link to USC’s Jefferson Blvd. Streetscape Plan which intersects with the MyFigueroa project. The CTC will ratify staff recommendations in December.

Other projects on the list include:

  • $3.4 million for the second phase of the West Santa Ana Branch Bikeway in Paramount
  • $1.8 million for bike and pedestrian enhancements on Atlantic Ave in Cudahy
  • $1 million for the first phase of the Pacoima Wash bike and pedestrian path in San Fernando
  • $1.5 million for intersection improvements at the Slauson Blue Line Station
  • $660,000 for the Garfield Avenue Complete Streets Corridor in South Gate
  • $1 million for a Huntington Park Safe Routes to School project
  • $1.1 million for the Southern California Disadvantaged Communities Planning Initiative
  • $5.3 million for Safe Routes to School pedestrian improvements in Lancaster
  • $2 million for a bike lane gap closure project on Spring Street in Signal Hill
  • $1.4 million for phase II of the DWP’s Los Nietos Safe Routes to School

………

LA’s own pro cyclist Phil Gaimon calls it a career after failing to find a WorldTour ride for next season. He says don’t call it retirement, though, in a great self-penned piece that reflects the struggles of most pro cyclists; meanwhile, his Malibu Gran Cookie Dough this Sunday will become his semi-official non-retirement party.

On the other hand, British pro Bradley Wiggins considers un-retiring.

And a 25-year old Spanish cyclist gets a four year ban for doping with a drug he denies ever taking.

………

Local

Venice Blvd now officially belongs to Los Angeles instead of being under the control of Caltrans, after the state pays LA to take it off their hands.

Metro is asking for input on the coming LAX Connector Line, which includes plans for a bike hub to make it easier to ride to the airport.

 

State

An unidentified bike rider was hospitalized with traumatic injuries after he or she was hit by a Garden Grove police officer. Thanks to Steve Herbert for the heads-up.

A Redlands thief plays Mission Impossible by lowering himself through the roof to steal $200 from a bike shop.

It’s been a rough few days in Fresno; just two days after a bike rider was killed in a collision, another rider suffered life-threatening injuries yesterday.

San Jose church members assemble 60 bicycles to donate to local children.

Palo Alto considers budget options for a new bike bridge after rejecting a previous design that came in over budget.

A Santa Rosa letter writer says the anti-bike residents along a local roadway remind him of Deliverance.

 

National

Streetsblog looks at why American trucks are so deadly for bicyclists and pedestrians, after London takes steps to ban dangerous trucks from the roads.

An Oregon TV station asks if it’s time to put bike lanes on a key bridge after a bike rider was killed by a driver with 31 previous traffic convictions. Bike lanes would be a good idea; keeping demonstrably dangerous drivers off the roads would be better.

Authorities say they know who sabotaged a Colorado bike trail, however, no charges have been filed yet in what the BLM calls an isolated incident.

Texas residents worry about property values plummeting if a proposed bike lane gets built. Never mind that bikeways have consistently been shown to increase property values.

A DC bicyclist dodged a bullet — literally — when a road raging driver took a shot at him; his rear bike tire wasn’t so lucky.

I want to be like her when I grow up. A 90-year old Florida woman consistently holds her own on a 31-mile weekly group ride.

 

International

Riding a bicycle just five minutes a day can cut your risk of early death from heart disease. But it won’t get you very far.

Bicycle Times offers a guide to buying a bicycle.

Bike Radar recommends five bike action cams they like, all of which just happen to be made by GoPro or Garmin.

Who couldn’t use a few tips on dating a female competitive cyclist?

Anti-bike terrorists strike again, this time strewing tacks on an Ottawa bike lane.

Bodyguards ban British Foreign Secretary and former London Mayor Boris Johnson from bicycling over fears that riding a bike would make him a target. Just like it does the rest of us.

China’s maintenance-free, dock-less Mobike bikeshare system is expanding to Singapore, which appears to have won that skirmish in China’s bikeshare startup battle.

 

Finally…

Do Angelenos fear Scientology’s bike-riding security guards because they’re Scientologists, or because they’re on bicycles? Your next racing kit could have as much coffee inside as you do.

And it’s not unusual for a drunk driver to flee from the cops after nearly hitting a bike rider. Except when the driver is just 12-years old.

 

Morning Links: Bike the Vote rates county sups, email for Active Trans funding, and The Cannibal comes to CC

We ended the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive with 35 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition — beating our revised goal of signing up an average of one new member a day!

Thank you to everyone who joined as part of the drive to help make this a more bikeable and livable community. And if you missed out on the membership drive, you can still join any time.

………

Bike the Vote LA grades candidates for county supervisor in next week’s California primary election.

BTVLA County Sup

You are planning to vote — and cast your ballot to support bicycling — right?

………

Calbike is asking you to email your state legislators to support a proposal to add $100 million dollars for active transportation funding to the state budget.

………

The long-promised Culver City branch of the bike-friendly, meat-themed New York restaurant The Cannibal — named after cycling legend Eddy Merckx — has finally opened; where else can you grab some cochinita pibil pig head and chain lube after your ride? And according to LA Magazine, you’ll get a free beer if you ride your bike there.

Speaking of Merckx, things aren’t looking good for the restaurant’s namesake, as he could be facing kickback charges to supply bicycles to Belgian police.

………

As long as we’re on the topic of restaurants, Adam Ginsberg reminds us about the No Kid Hungry program to end childhood hunger in America and ensure every kid has enough to eat. Over 200 chefs and restaurant professionals will ride from Carmel to Santa Barbara at the end of this month to raise funds for the charity and call attention to the problem of childhood hunger; so far they’ve raised just over 40% of the $1 million goal.

Meanwhile, members of my college fraternity will be departing from Long Beach on the 17th on one of three cross-country bike rides to raise funds for people with disabilities; the annual ride typically brings in over half a million dollars for charity.

………

Local

Richard Risemberg says there was substantial community support for a road diet on dangerous Sixth Street, from Fairfax to La Brea, at last week’s community meeting; in fact, one speaker was upset the plan didn’t extend east of La Brea.

The LAPD is adding extra patrols on five of the city’s most dangerous intersections, including two each on Alvarado and Broadway.

Santa Clarita junior high students performed a concert on Tuesday to remember fallen Santa Clarita cyclist Rod Bennett; when cyclists arrived to place a ghost bike for Bennett Tuesday evening, they found one was already there. Meanwhile, a memorial will be held for the popular music and math teacher on June 9th, with a Ride of Silence in his honor on the 11th.

Santa Monica elementary school students rode to class as part of the city’s Bike It Walk It campaign. Thanks to Evan G. for the link.

Adam Sandler is one of us, as he bikes the ‘Bu with his feline helmeted daughter.

 

State

A 22-year old San Diego man is under arrest for the drunken hit-and-run that left a 13-year old bike rider with serious, but thankfully non-life threatening, injuries. Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

San Diego Magazine recommends four area group rides to check out.

 

National

Bicycling lists five group rides that are all about having fun.

Consumer Reports rates kids bike helmets.

A financial website offers five ways your bike can make you richer. They forgot #6 — use your bike as a getaway vehicle. Or maybe that comes under commuting to work.

The Car Connection is the latest site to call for an end to using accident to describe car crashes. Nice to see the movement has spread to the automotive world.

A North Dakota woman says it should be a felony to kill someone with your car, after her husband was killed while riding his bike.

A Michigan motorist says bikes don’t belong on roads because we have other places to ride. And apparently, because cars don’t have brakes.

A Buffalo NY letter writer says if the city is stuck with bike lanes, then riders should be licensed, forced to wear reflective gear, and police must crack down on all those law-flouting cyclists. Because evidently, every driver in the city now obeys the letter of the law.

God apparently needs those New York bike lanes for church parking more than the people on bikes do for riding.

Who has the right of way when a DC bike rider calls dibs on passing?

A Maryland pastor has written a book sharing the insights he’s gained while riding his bike.

New Orleans says it’s done talking, and should be ready for bikeshare next year.

 

International

A Toronto columnist says never mind all the vehicles parked in bike lanes, it’s those damn scofflaw cyclists that are the problem.

A British writer projects that at the country’s current rate of spending on bicycle projects, it will only take another 2,297 years to catch up to the Dutch.

Apparently unconcerned with claims of sexism and bullying women riders, Britain’s Chris Boardman says the country’s cycling director was forced out by a lynch mob. Because as long as you’re winning medals, it doesn’t really matter how you treat women cyclists, right?

Romania plans to promote bike commuting by providing vouchers to purchase a bike to ride to work.

Tragic news from Cameroon, as one of the nation’s top cyclists was killed when the peloton crashed into a security official escorting a mentally disturbed woman off the race course.

A South African court uncovers a price fixing scheme that caused the price of bicycles and accessories to shoot up since 2008.

Melbourne, Australia is the latest city to propose building a network of elevated bikeways to get cyclists off the streets. Which is what happens when bike riders are seen as a problem to be solved, rather than people to accommodate.

 

Finally…

No, seriously. If you fall off your bike when a cop tries to stop you, don’t get up and pull a gun after the paramedics treat you. Nothing mends a celebrity marriage like a bike ride on a tropical island.

And evidently, nothing stops a bike thief like a smoke bomb.

 

Morning Links: LA River bike path closed through Memorial Day, and biking & walking are booming in the US

You might as well give up on riding the LA River bike path anytime soon.

LADOT reports the Army Corps of Engineers plans to keep the flood control closure in place through the Griffith Park, Silverlake and Atwater Village areas at least through Memorial Day. And possibly longer if El Niño persists.

LA River Closure

Then again, I wouldn’t plan on hiking Runyon Canyon, either.

………

The Alliance for Biking & Walking says both are on the increase.

According to Bicycle Retailer, the organization’s nearly 200-page 2016 biannual report says bicycling is up 71% in large cities since 2007, and 50% overall, even though men continue to outnumber women riders, who make up just 29% of all bicyclists.

The report also shows protected bike lanes encourage bicycling, increasing riding levels anywhere from 21% to 171%.

And eight out of the ten Complete Streets projects studied resulted in increased property values for the surrounding area. Which means that when home and business owners argue against bikeways, they’re fighting against their own financial self-interest.

Meanwhile, the reports lists the top ten US cities where people bike or walk to work. And needless to say, Los Angeles isn’t on it.

Although surprisingly, Los Angeles leads the nation in miles of bikeways. Too bad so few of them connect into a useful network, or those commuting levels might be higher.

US Bike Lane Comparison

………

It’s a CicLAvia preview battle royale, as reigning champ the Militant Angeleno is out with his epic 20-point look at Sunday’s North Valley ciclovía, while Valley boy CiclaValley challenges with a preview so jam-packed it had to come in two parts.

But as any fan of the pugilistic arts can attest, it’s the blows that land, not the ones thrown, that count.

Read ‘em all, and plan your day accordingly.

………

VeloNews offers a preview on the biggest year ever for women’s cycling.

………

Local

The Valley’s Vineland Ave bike lanes get a coat of green paint in conflict areas in an attempt to keep cars out, since nothing else has seemed to work.

Look for the South Bay’s Beach City Bike Tours to be featured on the Today Show Friday morning.

 

State

Goleta approves plans for a bike and pedestrian bridge crossing San Jose Creek.

Sad news from Fresno, as a bike rider was killed after being hit by one or more cars. And a salmon cyclist suffered life-threatening injuries when he was hit by a car in nearby Hanford.

Alameda approves a plan to improve bike and pedestrian safety.

Outside Magazine provides a look at 21 of the world’s most beautiful bicycles from Sacramento’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

 

National

Caught on video: Michael Eisenberg forwards news of a stuck-and-run driver who somehow managed to travel more than 300 feet along a separated bike path on an Oregon bridge before getting wedged in, then simply went home for the night. leaving her truck where it was. Police let her off, saying totaling her truck was punishment enough.

Seattle’s city council can’t decide whether to save the city’s bikeshare program.

Cycling in the South Bay takes a trip down memory lane at Lance Armstrong’s Mellow Johnnie’s bike shop in Austin TX

Talk about a winner. An Arkansas woman whose dog mauled a cyclist last month is arrested for threatening a 17-year old girl on Facebook.

Caught on video 2: A road raging Chicago driver chases down and beats the crap out of a bicyclist, all because the rider softly said “You’re in the bike lane bro” as he rode past the man’s car.

New DC bike ramps will make it easier to bike near the White House.

 

International

A worldwide network of bike counters — including one at UCLA — show ridership is rising rapidly; a new report says training is the key to getting new riders out on the road.

A member of the Manitoba Hell’s Angels faces assault charges for pummeling a 14-year old boy for riding his bicycle past the biker’s yard.

A London bike loan program is helping to get underrepresented groups out on bikes; people get a bike, lock and helmet for a month, along with bicycle training, for the equivalent of just $14. Something like that could be very effective in increasing ridership in underserved areas right here in LA.

Despite vocal opposition, London’s network of segregated cycle tracks enjoys exceptionally strong support, with 71% of Londoners saying they’d like to see protected bike lanes on main roads in their own neighborhoods.

Okay, so maybe 3 pm on a Friday isn’t the best time to pull a 200-yard wheelie in front of a cop on a busy British street.

More stupid criminal tricks, as a New Zealand man left his bike helmet and lock behind after gunning down two people; DNA from the helmet identified him as the suspect.

A new Streetfilm looks at why so many people bike in Tokyo when there are so few bike lanes.

Speaking in Taipei, Trek’s CEO challenges bike makers to do more to support bike advocacy. Which shouldn’t be hard, since they currently do almost nothing.

 

Finally…

When you have a $1.2 million bet on the line for your first bike ride in 18 years, clearly, the first thing to do is shave your legs; although a bicycle powered by 4,500 PSI of compressed air might help, too. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a hundred times — if you’re going to ride with meth and drug paraphernalia on your bike, put a damn light on it. Thanks to Bryan Dotson for the heads-up.

And the seven deadly sins of cycling that will have you burning in hell for all eternity.

Well, maybe not you, but some other cyclists you probably know.

 

%d bloggers like this: