Tag Archive for Alissa Walker

Covid-19 fuels inequitable urbanist fantasies, YouTube stars recovering from hit-and-run, and carry anything by bike

A powerful piece from Curbed’s Alissa Walker says the coronavirus isn’t fuel for urbanist fantasies.

Instead, the virus is revealing the inequities that have long existed in our cities. And which need to be addressed if we’re going to make any real progress.

Even before the staggering impact of the novel coronavirus had been fully revealed, the people who write and think about cities were busy writing prescriptions for their recovery. But instead of bearing witness to mass death as a moment of reflection, many urbanists are using the coronavirus as an opportunity to accelerate their pre-pandemic agendas—agendas which ignore the issues that made COVID-19 more catastrophic than it should have been.

This was first obvious by early April, as cities including Los Angeles, Detroit, St. Louis, and Chicago began to report that black and Latino residents were dying at a higher rate than the rest of the population. Latinos, in particular, were at greater risk because they are more likely to work at essential jobs. Living situations—including overcrowding in small apartments due to high rents—were also pinpointed as a reason the virus was ravaging certain communities.

It’s not an easy read.

Especially if you insist on holding on to your own biases. And yes, we all have them.

But it’s important one, if we’re going to build the kind of cities we say we want.

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YouTube stars Kristin and Marcus Johns are both out of the hospital, a week after they were apparently the victims in last week’s allegedly intentional hit-and-run while riding their bikes in Toluca Lake.

Police chased the suspect, but lost his car somewhere near Universal Studios.

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Yet more proof you can carry anything on a bike.

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When is a bike lane not a bike lane?

When it’s blocked.

View this post on Instagram

Dedicated. 😔

A post shared by Ted Faber (@snorerot13) on

As in this view of the Venice Blvd protected bike lanes in Mar Vista.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the photo.

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Evidently, kids love gravel biking almost as much as their parents do.

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Local

Metro finally dumps its balky app, replacing it with the popular multi-city Transit app, which includes integrated transportation options like bikeshare, dockless e-scooters and ride-hail services.

An LA Times columnist straps on her face mask and bikes to Venice Beach, questioning why people breaking the rules by tanning on the beach aren’t getting tickets; apparently, talk radio station KFI doesn’t like what she had to say — or the Times, for that matter. Fortunately, she didn’t try riding on the bike path, or she could have been the one getting ticketed. Although that doesn’t seem to be enforced, either. 

A columnist for the Pasadena Star-News complains about over-engineering on the newly reopened and carfree Rose Bowl Loop.

Santa Monica plans to tear down an old church across from Santa Monica College to build low-income housing, with over twice as many bike parking spaces as car parking slots.

Long Beach approves an “open streets initiative,” allowing streets, sidewalks and parking lots to be repurposed for outdoor activities, including dining.

A Redondo Beach motorcycle rider tries out a beach cruiser-style ebike, and finds his commute to Santa Monica takes twice as long, but is much more peaceful.

 

State

Deadly car crashes have spiked in California during the coronavirus lockdown, as relatively empty streets entice too many drivers to put their foot down.

San Diego celebrates Bike Month by unveiling a new Better by Bike campaign. Can’t argue with that one.

A Bay Area street has been closed to car traffic, becoming home to daily cello concerts.

Davis police were able to quickly identify and arrest a thief who broke the window of a bike shop and made off with $1,600 bike. Note to CBS Sacramento — $1,600 is hardly “pricey” anymore. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up. 

Police in San Rafael busted two bike thieves using bait bikes. Something that the LAPD has still never tried, over fears of entrapment claims.

A travel website says you’ve got to add Tahoe’s West Shore Bike Cruise to your bike bucket list.

 

National

Inside Edition discovers the current Covid bike shortage, while CBS News picks up on the coronavirus bike boom, while noting that 50% of current riders plan to keep riding when the pandemic ends. Which will hopefully be much closer to sooner than later.

A writer for Grist takes a contrary position, questioning whether Covid-19 will halt the progress towards a carfree future.

Ebikes are the perfect antidote for coronavirus anxiety, according to a writer for a Santa Fe NM paper.

Even though Colorado’s annual Iron Horse Classic scheduled for this weekend has been cancelled, local residents worry mountain bikers will show up and try to do the ride anyway.

A Dallas woman is looking for the Good Samaritan who stayed with her and comforted her after she was hit by a driver, just days after she started riding a bike again.

Ben Stiller recounts how his late father Jerry ran through the streets of New York to chase down the kid who stole Ben’s bike when he was a child — then came back empty handed, saying the kid who stole it needed the bike more than he did.

Slow Streets slowly make their way to Atlanta.

Florida police busted a bike thief who made off with a bike that a woman had ridden across the US; they also recovered the bike — or what’s left of it, anyway.

 

International

Six ways to make city streets safer for pedestrians. And everyone else.

FloBikes tells you how to replace an inner tube. But you already know that, right?

Toronto bike advocates are calling for a two-wheeled post-pandemic future.

Britain’s bike industry is joining together to promote a new PR campaign, telling the public that Bike is Best. Which is true, even if it feels a little grammatically challenged.

British thieves are taking advantage of the bike boom, too, with bike thefts up nearly 50%.

The UK’s Alzheimer’s society says a bike ride or brisk walk three times a week can help stave off dementia in people over 60. So what are you waiting for, already?

An Irish paper says children are the future, so get them on bicycles.

French bike parts maker Mavic may be circling the drain, but a pair of unnamed former pro cyclists may be preparing to ride to the rescue.

A Manila op-ed says a connected bike lane network is just what the Philippine city needs. It’s just what Los Angeles needs, too. But Manila might actually get it.

 

Competitive Cycling

Makes sense. Bicycling’s Selene Yeager says Everesting is having a moment right now because, as George Mallory famously said, it’s there. And nothing else is right now.

Road Bike Action remembers the late, great Amgen Tour of California, which was cancelled due to financial problems just in time to avoid being cancelled by Covid-19.

Word has it Lance doesn’t like the way he’s portrayed in the upcoming ESPN documentary about him. Which raises the burning question, who cares?

Rouleur examines the worst bike kit of the modern era.

And the road worlds could be coming back to the US.

 

Finally…

You, too, can be the proud owner of a 1959 Schwinn cruiser bike for the low price of just $800. Bold move, declaring this is Bike Month when there’s only ten days left.

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

They’re much harder to use, and nearly impossible to flush.

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

Morning Links: Study cites bogus jump in e-scooter injuries, KCRW talks Vision Zero fail, and Danny MacAskil hits the gym

Bullshit.

An alarming new UC San Francisco study shows a very disturbing jump in e-scooter injuries, citing a 222% increase from 2014 to 2018.

Worse, nationwide hospital admissions from e-scooter injuries went up a whopping 365% over the same period.

According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel,

“It is a rising public health concern that needs attention,” said Nikan K. Namiri, 22, a medical student at the UCSF School of Medicine and first author of the study, published in Wednesday’s issue of JAMA Surgery. “Injuries and hospitalizations have risen significantly.”

Just one problem.

Everyone who remembers riding an e-scooter in 2014 please raise your hand.

Anyone?

That’s because the first e-scooters didn’t hit the streets mid-2017.

So yeah, if you include those two and a half years when they didn’t even exist, there probably has been a huge increase in injuries.

Something the study’s authors almost acknowledge.

The rise in injuries — from 6 per 100,000 Americans in 2014 to 19 per 100,000 in 2018 — could simply reflect scooters’ growing popularity, Namiri said. Scooters can be unlocked for $1 with a smartphone app, and then costs just 15 cents per minute to ride.

It’s entirely predictable that injuries would increase along with ridership.

In fact, according to a NACTO study, Americans took 38.5 million trips on e-scooters as the industry expanded to around 100 cities in 2018, the first year they were widely available.

So why did the study’s authors go back five years, when there’s really only one year of data?

Good question.

The authors also decry the lack of helmet use.

In 2018, California loosened safety regulation for scooters, removing the helmet requirement for riders over the age of 18.  Scooter rental company Bird, which backed the legislation and lobbied for the change, noted that adult bicyclists are not required to wear helmets – and that more people would ride scooters if helmets weren’t mandated.

“That is not helpful,” said responded Namiri. “People over 18 experience the highest number of injuries. Not wearing a helmet poses a health risk.”

It makes perfect sense that most head injuries would be suffered by people over 18, considering that California requires scooter users to be over the age of 16 and have a driver’s license.

Because there are a hell of a lot more scooter users from 18 up than there are in the two-year age range from 16-17, even if some users are under age.

Then there’s this from the Sentinel story.

According to news reports, at least two Californians have been killed while riding scooters. A 53-year-old man died in San Diego after he lost control and hit a tree. A 41-year-old man died in Santa Monica when he fell off a scooter and was hit by a car.

Never mind that the Santa Monica victim was riding a sit-down mobility scooter when he fell off and was struck by a hit-and-run driver.

Not exactly the sort of e-scooter that’s booming in popularity.

Finally, there’s this, again from the Sentinel.

Meanwhile, the tension between scooter transit and safety is playing out on many city streets. Pedestrians are frustrated by the clutter of abandoned scooters in sidewalks, street corners and doorways, as well as near-miss collisions when riders zip down crowded sidewalks. Cyclists are angered by the addition of motorized traffic to bike lanes. Scooter riders say the real problem is cars — and America’s outmoded transportation infrastructure, with not enough room for everybody.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m not the least bit bothered by sharing a bike lane with e-scooters, any more than I am ebikes, skateboards or people in wheelchairs.

And it’s not just scooter users who think the real problem is America’s over-reliance on cars and a shortage of decent infrastructure for anyone who’s not surrounded by a couple tons of glass and steel.

Don’t get me wrong.

E-scooter injuries are a legitimate problem, and people have been killed using them in cities throughout the US. We need valid studies to asses how e-scooters fit into the transportation matrix, and what needs to be done to make the streets safe for everyone.

But what we don’t need is junk science and scare tactics masquerading as legitimate research intended to shape public policy.

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Boy, does she get it.

KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis talks with LA Curbed editor Alissa Walker about why Los Angeles continues struggling to cut traffic deaths, despite the city’s Vision Zero program.

Why has LA struggled so much? Alissa Walker of Curbed LA points to two factors: the slow implementation of strategies that have been recommended by LA’s Department of Transportation; and resistance from public officials. LA City Councilmember Gil Cedillo has said he won’t have any road diets in his district. Councilmember John Lee is trying to take out a bike lane in his district in the Valley.

Invest seven minutes of your day and give it a listen.

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Scottish stunt cyclist Danny MacAskil works out at the gym.

His way, of course.

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

San Francisco’s notorious driving advocate and his attorney are back and attempting to block plans for a new bike lane, after their farcical suit halted the city’s bike plan for several years.

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Local

Good news and bad news from Long Beach, where the city council approved spending $127,000 to study an 8.3-mile bikeway along Orange Ave; the bad news is they want to expand parking in the city, including painting over red curbs. Not exactly the best way to increase safety and fight climate change.

 

State

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a new ebike from a San Diego man with Parkinson’s just hours after he received it.

San Diego’s Planning Commissioner releases video of the hit-and-run crash that nearly killed her as she walked out of a restaurant, saying she’ll be in pain the rest of her life.

A Palm Spring bike rider escaped without serious injuries when he was hit by a driver at N Gene Autry Trail & E Tachevah Drive yesterday evening.

Speaking of a special place in hell, that applies even more to the heartless coward who fled the scene after running down a 93-year old man riding a bike in Goleta; fortunately, he only suffered moderate injuries.

Tragic news from Fresno, where a man was killed in a 1 am hit-and-run while riding his bike on Wednesday; the driver claimed he fled because he he was “threatened by another group of bicyclists” after the crash.

Visit your San Mateo branch library to check out a few books and a bicycle.

A Modesto man and woman were injured when a hit-and-run driver smashed into the bicycle and homemade trailer they were riding; he suffered serious injuries on the bike, while she suffered minor injuries riding in the trailer. Note to CBS Sacramento — The trailer may have been makeshift, but the bike probably wasn’t.

A Lodi man learned the hard way to obey traffic laws when riding his bike while carrying heroin and a flare gun converted to fire shotgun shells.

 

National

Singletracks offers ten arguments to try to convince someone you need a new mountain bike. Add one more — as midlife crises go, it’s pretty tame.

Seriously, who doesn’t want good cup of coffee with your new bike?

Who knew he had a sense of humor? Not only is Justin Bieber one of us, his Insta feed is full of images of him falling off his bike. Sort of.

Motley Fool says Peloton stocks can go a long way even with the company selling indoor bikes for two grand.

Forget the skis and snowboards. Just take your fat bike on your next winter trip to Tahoe.

Phoenix police fatally shot a man who led two officers on a chase on his bicycle, attempting to wrestle away the man’s gun before he fired a shot during the struggle, and was shot in return.

Dang. The owner of my favorite Denver bike shop is selling the business to his managers and retiring. I know damn well Alan Fine wouldn’t remember me from when I lived there, but that was one hell of a shop he had back then.

Apparently, Omaha, Nebraska’s only bike corral was removed on a whim, with no stats or study to support the decision to replace it with a single parking space.

A 17-year old Allen TX bike rider was lucky to escape without serious injuries when he was shot in the arm and leg from a passing car in an apparent random attack; an SUV was also struck by the gunfire, muddying the question of who was the intended target.

A writer for Chicago’s Streetsblog says it’s time to stop coddling drivers, and build a citywide protected bike lane network. Which applies equally well right here in Los Angeles,. If not more.

Nice story from Indianapolis, where two bighearted cops bought a new bike for a little girl after learning she didn’t get anything for Christmas because her parents couldn’t afford to buy gifts this year.

An Indiana cop was allegedly speeding and texting when she crashed into a woman riding her bicycle one five years ago; the case is just now going to the jury.

New York’s governor is calling for the legalization of throttle-controlled ebikes for delivery workers, saying it’s a social justice issue. Never mind that he just vetoed a bill to do exactly that.

A New Jersey man got a well-deserved 19 years behind bars after he was busted with the bicycle he stole from a special needs man — then threatened the victim with a hammer after spotting him with the bike a month later.

Maybe there’s hope for LA yet. After suffering the humiliation of being named the nation’s worst bike city, Memphis TN has added 270 miles of bike lanes in the last ten years. Unfortunately, Los Angeles city officials couldn’t seem to care less that the city is the current holder of that dubious title.

Now that’s more like it. A Louisiana man was sentenced to eight years behind bars for killing a man riding a bike while driving drunk and stoned. Although I always wonder if a white driver would have gotten a lighter sentence for the same crime.

 

International

Bicycling harks back to the unlamented days of Cycle Chic, with a look at how five people developed their signature bicycle fashion.

Road.cc considers that not everyone can, or wants to, spend several thousand on a new bicycle by naming their Bike of the Year for under £1000 — the equivalent of $1,3000. The winning bike sells for less than $700, while one of the runner-ups retails for just $520.

Seriously, what kind of schmuck steals 30 bicycles from a Kiwi bike co-op dedicated to refurbishing bikes to get more people riding — including a handmade mini-Penny Farthing made from recycled parts?

A New Zealand bike rider was seriously injured when he was somehow run over by another bicyclist; there may or may not have been a car involved.

Apparently suffering from a bad case of windshield bias, a Kiwi columnist says she’s got nothing against bicyclists — except that bike tourists should be banned from highways, so they won’t inconvenience people like her.

An Aussie bike rider got a whopping $915 ticket for riding on a sidewalk, not stopping for a red light and failing to wear a helmet, which is required Down Under. The good news is, that’s only $615 US.

An American bicyclist visits Japan, and raves about the people, the riding, and roads like poetry.

A Chinese website says that despite the growing popularity of bicycling in the country, there are significant roadblocks to overcome before it can reclaim its title as the Bicycle Kingdom.

 

Competitive Cycling

He’s back. Longtime team owner and manager Bjarn Riis is the new manager and co-owner of NTT Pro Cycling; Riis is also a former pro cyclist and the winner of the 1996 Tour de France.

The final two wildcard teams are announced, completing the lineup for this year’s Tour de France.

Time to start training to be America’s first Gran Fondo National champ.

 

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to fight bike theft by setting up your own DIY vigilante bait bike on the front lawn. Save the squirrels from scofflaw bicyclists — and corgis.

And forget ebikes. Now you, too, can build your very own steam-powered steampunk bicycle.

 

Morning Links: Thanks for a successful fund drive, a perfect Peloton Wife sendup, and wide bike lanes on Forest Lawn

That’s a wrap.

Thank you to everyone who donated to the 5th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

While we fell a little short of last year’s total, you helped set a new record for the most donations with 57.

So please accept my personal and heartfelt gratitude for each and every donation, regardless of size; $5 from someone struggling to give means every bit as much as a larger donation from someone more comfortable. 

Your generosity will help fund this site for the next few months, while ensuring I can pay for the medications I need to keep working, and keep riding. 

As usual, I’ll be taking off between the holidays to rest and recharge from the stress and carnage on our streets — unless there’s breaking news, of course. 

So ride safely and defensively, and have a warm and happy holiday season. And we’ll see you back here after New Years.

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LA journalist Alissa Walker nails it with her response to the recent Peloton Wife ad, with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog calls it “pitch perfect.”

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CiclaValley experiences firsthand the newly widened bike lanes on Forest Lawn Drive.

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‘Tis the Season.

A kindhearted Virginia cop bought a new bike for a nine year old boy after his was stolen, and the officer saw him walking next to his bike-riding friend a few days later.

Bighearted Massachusetts police gave toys and a new bicycle to a four-year old boy after his mother was killed recently, delivering them in a police parade featuring cops from 11 different departments across the state.

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Local

Our fund drive may be over, but LA Streetsblog’s isn’t. And deserves your support, too. They were my university when I got started in advocacy, and taught me much of what I know about equity and Complete Streets.

A newly released restoration plan for the Ballona Westlands included ten miles of new bike paths and foot trails, though opponents fear the restoration work will cause too much harm to fragile species.

CiclaValley’s Zachary Rynew provides an update on plans for Phase III of the LA Riverfront Park connecting the western section of the LA River bike path to White Oak and Lake Balboa Park.

 

State

A new report says Joy Covey, Amazon’s first CEO, was killed by one of the company’s own delivery vans while riding her bike in California six years ago.

A Huntington Beach bike rider suffered moderate injuries when he was the victim of an alleged drunk driver who slammed into him after losing control following a high speed turn, then crashed into two other drivers.

The San Francisco Examiner says a lot of work remains to be done on the city’s Vision Zero plan, as traffic deaths in the City by the Bay have only gone down by four in the five years since the plan was adopted.

 

National

Electrek reviews every ebike they reviewed this year. Meanwhile, Gear Patrol ranks the best non-electrified handmade bikes of 2019.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss nails it once again, insisting there’s no such thing as the wrong bike.

A Bellingham, Washington bike rider is suing the city after he was arrested simply for asking a parking enforcement officer not to park in a bike lane.

It’s a minor holiday miracle in Colorado, where a woman begged thieves to bring back a bicycle belonging to her late son. And they did.

Omaha NE artists are protesting the recent removal of a bike corral by placing ghost bikes around the city — including in view of the mayor’s office.

An Iowa cop hit a fleeing domestic violence suspect with his car as the man was trying to make his escape by riding his bike on the sidewalk. `

Life is cheap in Michigan, where authorities once again bargain away a stiff sentence to get a guilty plea, ordering a driver to serve just one year in jail and five years probation for fleeing the scene after killing a man on a bicycle.

A Vermont anthropologist explains the state’s bike culture in cartoon form. But not the fully kind.

The NYPD is belatedly cracking down on truck drivers, after four of the six pedestrians killed in collisions over a 48 hour period last week were killed in collisions with trucks. But if the victims had been riding bicycles, they’d be cracking down on the people on two wheels, instead.

 

International

Tragic news from the UK, where a 79-year old man died two days after he was hit by a bike rider earlier this year. Unfortunately, British privacy laws mean it can take a very long time for news to filter out.

Horrifying crime from Great Britain, where a 21-year old bike rider was knocked off his bicycle by three men and dragged into a car, were he was robbed at knifepoint.

Russian scientist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov — yes, the man famed for Pavlov’s dog — was one of us.

 

Competitive Cycling

American cyclist Alex Howes says people forget that pro cyclists are people, too.

Speculation is building about two unnamed WorldTour cyclists linked to the latest blood doping scandal. But seriously, the era of doping is over, right?

 

Finally…

Your next bike could cost a measly $100,000. Don’t leave your shoe at a crash site as you attempt to escape on a girl’s bike unless you want a fairy tale ending.

And nothing like making everyone else responsible for your inability to drive safely.

 

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