Tag Archive for alternative transportation

Taking streets back from cars, petition to implement Mobility Plan during LA street work, and traffic is a virus

A couple quick notes.

First, thanks to everyone for the kind words after yesterday’s meltdown. I love what I do, but sometimes it can be a lot to handle. Especially now.

Second, I ran out of time to dip into my inbox tonight. So if you sent me something this week, I’ll try to catch up tomorrow. 

And finally, my apologies if I failed to credit anyone in today’s post. I’ve lost track of who sent me what over the past couple days, but I truly appreciate your help. Even if I do have mush for brains sometimes.

Photo by Mario Cuadros from Pexels.

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Today’s common theme is cities taking streets back from cars during the coronavirus crisis. And maybe keeping it, by making the changes permanent.

The Pasadena Star-News calls on the Rose City and the rest of the San Gabriel Valley to open up the streets, saying they’re experiencing a pandemic of walking.

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is pushing for more space on the streets, while Palo Alto may ban cars entirely from some surface streets.

Streetsblog takes a look at Oakland’s new network of slow streets.

Salt Lake City is considering opening some streets to bike riders and pedestrians.

Denver may have banned cars from some streets, but others stay just as dangerous and auto-centric.

No surprise here, as bike-friendly Mad City is closing traffic lanes to make room for people.

Pressure is growing on DC to give more space for walkers, joggers and bike riders.

Toronto’s mayor won’t close streets for fear of creating induced demand among bike riders and pedestrians.

Dublin, Ireland residents are pressuring city leaders to reallocate road space to people on bikes and on foot.

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Except in Los Angeles, of course.

Even though LA Councilmember Mike Bonin has called for opening up streets for bike riders and pedestrians during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, a new petition from Streets for All calls on Los Angeles to implement the city’s Mobility Plan 2035, as the city speeds up road repairs and resurfacing most drivers are stuck at home and traffic is Covid-19 light.

Yes, I signed it. And hope you will, too.

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Maybe Covid-19 makes you cranky.

Infected CNN host Chris Cuomo, brother of the New York governor, lashed out at a bike rider who criticized Cuomo’s lack of social distancing from his family and another woman at his Long Island estate.

The man followed up by filing a police report on Wednesday; the cops initially weren’t interested until the story started gaining traction.

But maybe he had a point, since Cuomo’s wife has now been diagnosed with the disease.

Thanks to Jeff Vaughn for the heads-up.

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It shouldn’t really surprise anyone to learn that traffic spreads just like a virus.

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Putting race numbers to good use fighting coronavirus after coronavirus cancels the races.

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A Thai zoo sparks outrage among animal rights advocates by making a chimpanzee ride a bike while wearing a mask and spraying disinfectant (the chimp comes on around 1:05).

But that chimp’s no chump. Everyone knows how much fun it is to ride a bike.

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

A British woman complains that she and her kids were verbally abused by a farmer while out for a family bike ride in the country, because he didn’t think they should be riding bikes during the country’s lockdown.

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

Horrible story from Santa Ana, where a man faces arson and attempted murder charges for dousing a homeless man with some sort of flammable liquid and setting him on fire, before riding off on his bicycle; the victim is in critical condition with first, second and third degree burns. Thanks to John Damman for the link. 

There’s a special place in hell for the road-raging New Jersey bike rider who allegedly punched and spat on an EMT, after nearly getting hit by allegedly riding his bike in front of the ambulance.

A British nurse says she was verbally abused and spat on by a bike rider; unfortunately, there’s no word on what led up to it. Clearly, there’s another side to that story, though.

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Local

Metro offers tips on how to ride safely for health and essential travel.

A masked dad and kid take a family bike riding on the LA River bike path in the age of coronavirus. You probably don’t have to wear a mask when you run or bike. But it couldn’t hurt.

Streetsblog says LA-area bikeshares run the gamut of coronavirus responses, from a full shutdown to business as usual.

Despite the coronavirus lockdown, construction is moving forward on the Taylor Yard pedestrian and bike bridge.

Former NBA great and current SoCal resident Reggie Miller is doing his social distancing by riding inside and learning to Zwift.

 

State

An Apple Valley bike rider had to be airlifted to a hospital after he was critically injured in a crash with a pickup driver on Tuesday.

A Bakersfield bike rider says no to grooving on the bike path. And put down your damn phone.

A Petaluma woman was arrested on suspicion of biking under the influence — and yes, that’s a thing — after attempting to ride her bike across busy Highway 101, directly in front of a CHP officer.

A Bay Area bike rider captured a moody view from Mt. Diablo over the weekend.

San Francisco advocates are working to help get bikes to essential workers.

Apparently, that European bike-riding dinosaur has a relative in Santa Rosa.

Someone in Napa Valley is selling a new Rad Cargo bike that’s never been “rode.” Maybe you can get a bad grammar discount.

A Davis bike rider spells out the benefits of biking during the pandemic.

 

National

Cannondale’s newest ebike comes complete with a built-in rear radar system.

Good grief. An Oregon bike shop owner says he’s really sorry he offended anyone with the racist, anti-Asian things he wrote on the store’s chalkboard. Which isn’t exactly the same as being sorry for posting them.

Speaking of Oregon, the state has sent the deadly, antiquated and auto-centric 85th Percentile Law to the scrapheap of history, where it belongs. Now maybe California can learn from their example.

A Washington man got his mountain bike back six months after it was stolen, when he spotted it on Facebook and met the seller with police in tow.

Reports indicate rattlesnakes aren’t social distancing on Arizona trails.

A Boulder CO book store is surviving the pandemic by making bicycle deliveries of mystery bags filled with handpicked books and tea or coffee.

The Boston Globe catches up with former UCLA and NBA star Bill Walton’s virtual Bike for Humanity solo group ride on the 25th of this month.

After a Massachusetts grocery store staffer’s bicycle was stolen while he was working, a kindhearted customer stepped up to give him another one.

New York’s bike-riding Joker comedian is back with a new episode.

Once again, a hit-and-run driver has carried the victim home with him. A North Carolina pickup driver fled the scene after hitting a bike rider, who landed in the back of his truck; the driver’s girlfriend found the victim an hour after the crash, seriously injured with multiple broken bones and no idea how he got there.

Horrible news from North Carolina, where two teenage boys sharing a bicycle were killed when they were struck by a driver; police were quick to blame the victims for wearing dark clothing and not having lights or reflectors on their bike. Evidently, the car must not have had headlights, either.

Finishing out our North Carolina trifecta, a father surprised his son by using a crane to hoist a new bike outside the boy’s hospital window, where he was spending his tenth birthday being treated for leukemia.

 

International

Cyclist recommends the 12 best bicycling documentaries.

London World Naked Bike riders will have to keep their clothes on this year, after the annual June event was cancelled. Although that doesn’t seem to have stopped everyone.

A British neighborhood plays pandemic bingo, as a man rides his bike through the streets calling out numbers. Thanks again to Jeff Vaughn.

Horrible freak accident in the UK, where a mountain biker was impaled with a tree branch through the neck after falling off a short cliff.

Bike thieves continue to target medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic, snatching the bike a Glasgow physiotherapist’s father had given her while she was busy treating Covid-19 patients in the ICU. And British bike hero Sir Chris Boardman offered to replace a $2,000 bicycle stolen from a London doctor while he was working.

Good idea. A new quick-release seatpost designed by an Italian cyclist allows you to remove your seat to prevent theft, then easily reposition it when you return.

Bad news from Down Under, where two bicyclists were critically injured when an SUV driver turned into a driveway in front of a group of riders.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling talks with pro cyclists about how the coronavirus and the ensuing lockdown have affected their relationship with the sport.

Bad timing. Bianchi has been named the official bicycle of the postponed, if not cancelled, Giro d’Italia.

As we noted Tuesday, this year’s Tour de France has been postponed for the first time since 1946, while organizers released the updated stage list.

Spanish cyclist Enric Mas says the riding may be virtual, but the sunburn is all too real. And looks like the Danish flag.

Pez Cycling News talks with Brent Emery, the American track cyclist behind the design for the world’s first super bike at the ’84 LA Olympics.

 

Finally…

Nothing like biking naked after getting tased while fighting with police. Or riding cyclocross through your own garden.

And here’s the soundtrack for anyone who wants to get naughty on their bike.

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Thanks to John Hall for his very generous, very timely, and very appreciated contribution to help keep this site coming your way every day, which helped lift my spirits after a very rough few days.

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

Morning Links: Sunland ghost bike tonight, limiting cars in city centers, and ATL rapper rides — and is — a Lil Bike

A ghost bike will be placed tonight for a 55-year old Tujunga man who was killed in a Sunland hit-and-run two weeks ago, one of two bicycling deaths that came to light over the weekend.

The second was an 82-year old man killed on a killer intersection on deadly Los Coyotes Diagonal in Long Beach.

Ghost bike photo by Matthew T Rader from Pexels.

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Today’s common theme is a mostly one-sided debate over whether it’s possible to encourage bicycling and other forms of so-called alternative transportation to reduce motor vehicle traffic. 

And for a change, the bikes are winning.

The short-sighted editors of LA County’s Antelope Valley Press say car-free streets are just an impossible dream, ignoring the fact that several European cities are already banning private cars from their urban centers.

A local paper says Spokane WA was built for bicycles, before those bullies in cars came along and took over the streets. But an Indiana college professor says we can get back there with a commitment to Complete Streets and better bike infrastructure.

And a writer for the Washington Post says European cities show it’s not only possible, but beneficial to limit cars and encourage bicycling.

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Trek develops an Aussie accent to introduce their new offroad bike in a tongue-in-cheek ad that just keeps going on…and on…

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When your rap name is Lil Bike, you’ve got to include at least one in your new video.

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Building your own DIY bike horn to scare the crap out of anyone.

Except, of course, for modern drivers in their hermetically sealed, virtually soundproof vehicles, who can’t even hear a firetruck bearing down on them.

Unfortunately, I lost track of who forwarded this to me over the weekend, so my thanks and apologies, whoever you are. 

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The war on cars is a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.

A group of young men shouted profanities at an English bicyclist as they passed by in a car, then made a U-turn and came back to physically push him off the road, the fourth such attack in the area this year.

But sometimes its the people on bikes behaving badly.

It takes a major schmuck to just ride off on his bike after knocking a five-year old boy from the UK off his bicycle as he rode home from school; the middle-aged hit-and-run bicyclist left the kid lying in his own blood with a number of cuts and bruises.

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Local

LAist wants to know what’s up with the long-closed Arroyo Seco Bike Path, concluding a big part of the problem is a “virtual Russian doll” of intertwined jurisdictions. And don’t hold your breath on the promised September re-opening.

Santa Clarita’s mayor invites people to come out and bike the city’s numerous bike paths and trails, as well as the fourth annual Santa Clarita Gran Fondo later this month.

A new road project on Palmdale’s Rancho Vista Boulevard will widen it to three lanes in each direction, while adding five-foot bike lanes on both sides.

 

State

California’s ebike voucher bill was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Newsom; it will allow some low-income drivers to trade in their inefficient cars for vouchers good for bikeshare or ebike purchases. Unfortunately, I suspect my 1994 car is still one year too recent to qualify, dammit.

The co-founder of an Irvine-based kids bike maker says the whipsaw effect of Trump’s tariffs will force small businesses like his to go under.

It was a bad few days in San Diego, where a 64-year old man suffered life-threatening injuries when he was run down by a hit-and-run driver in a Point Loma bike lane. And a 22-year old woman suffered life-threatening injuries when she was hit by an SUV driver after allegedly veering in front of her vehicle.

San Diego officials plan to redevelop the city’s Mission Valley to accommodate 28,000 new homes, with new neighborhoods designed around bicycling, walking and the San Diego River.

Sad news from Bakersfield, where a man riding a bicycle was left lying in the road by a hit-and-run driver, and struck again by the driver of a second vehicle. As always, there’s no way of knowing if the victim would have survived if the asshole heartless coward in the first car hadn’t left him bleeding in the street.

A San Jose man is behind bars after a sharp-eyed Milpitas mall cop spotted the suspected burglar who rode off on a homeowner’s bicycle after an early morning break-in; police were able to return the bicycle just hours after the theft.

San Jose police bust an alleged hit-and-run driver who killed a man riding his bike in a crosswalk last month.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole the bicycle an 81-year old Sacramento man used to ride to the library.

 

National

A hard-hitting piece from Vice says bicycling deaths are exploding because American cities are car-friendly death traps, citing New York and Los Angeles as the nation’s deadliest cities for people on two wheels.

Inspired by a celebration of life after his brother’s death from leukemia, a 60-year old Los Angeles man with no bicycling experience is riding diagonally across the US, covering 4,764 miles from Neah Bay, Washington to Key West, Florida — including at least one mile a day on his brother’s 1982 bike.

A Washington bike rider says if drivers can’t afford a 15-second delay caused by someone on a bicycle, they need to plan their trip better.

A Reno bike co-op is expecting four truckloads of bicycles abandoned by Burning Man revelers, which will be fixed and recycled for use again next year.

A Montana newspaper doesn’t appear to be a fan of new Trump administration rules to allow ebikes on some National Park and BLM trails.

My favorite Scottish bike and bunny blogger takes a ride on Iowa’s 46-mile High Trestle Trail, so called because it takes you over a former railroad bridge.

A Fargo, North Dakota man is angry after getting hit with a special assessment on his home to pay for a new bike path, which the mayor says is needed to attract millennials to the city — even though it will cost him just $10 a year.

With Ohio bicycling deaths piling up, staff members for a Cleveland website debates what to do about it.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says New York Mayor and mostly ignored presidential candidate Bill De Blasio’s call for mandatory bike helmets isn’t the answer, suggesting this is how Vision Zero dies.

A New York mother faces charges after her five-year old special needs son was found riding his bicycle alone in the middle of the night.

So much for that whole pedtextrian myth. A new study from New York shows there is “little concrete evidence that…distracted walking contributes significantly to pedestrian fatalities and injuries,” to which the windshield-biased New York Times responds, yeah, but it’s still annoying.

A writer for the New Yorker says let’s just give up on climate change already, because the battle is already lost since people aren’t going to change their behavior. That’s the same kind of clear eyed, rational thinking that led John F. Kennedy to say, “Oh just forget it. The moon’s too far away anyway.” And Winston Churchill to tell the people of England “I have nothing to offer you but blood, sweat and tears. So just fuck it and start learning German.”

The motorcycle rider who fatally shot a man on a regular Miami group ride was formally indicted on charges of 2nd degree murder aggravated assault; his lawyer says he’s never been in trouble before and is devastated to be behind bars. There’s a simple solution to that — just don’t shoot people. 

 

International

Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter says ebikes are great; buying them online, not so much.

Road.cc offers advice on how to pick the right bike cam. Which is your best protection against drivers and cops who blame you for a crash or blowing a stop signal you actually observed.

She gets it. An Ottawa columnist says the trick to a healthier population is designing public spaces in ways that naturally nudge people into moving around more without having to think about it.

Truly horrifying video of a 15-year old Toronto sidewalk rider literally getting run over by a pickup driver blowing out of a parking lot, who somehow didn’t notice — or maybe didn’t care — they’d just knocked him over; thankfully, he only suffered minor injuries. Be sure you really want to see this before you click on the link; even though he wasn’t seriously hurt, this one is very hard to watch. And to forget.

Powerful protest from the UK, as hundreds of Londoners stage a funeral procession through Trafalgar Square led by three horse-drawn hearses to protest bicycling deaths.

British police tell a doctor “that’s not my problem, it’s your problem” when it comes it bike theft, saying people understand that it’s not a big priority compared to other crimes. Except for the people whose bikes get stolen, of course.

In calling the Netherland’s Utrecht a “cycle-crazed” city, an architecture website demonstrates a serious misunderstanding of people’s psyches in the Netherlands. It’s not that they’re crazy about bicycling — it’s just normal. People hop on their bikes in the morning the same way most Americans walk to their cars.

Bollywood movie star Salman Khan is one of us, riding a bicycle through rain-drenched Mumbai streets to get to the set of his latest film.

 

Competitive Cycling

You know you’re having a bad year when a kitchen knife puts you back in the hospital; four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome severed a tendon on his thumb, just months after a major crash in the Critérium du Dauphiné knocked him out of action for most of this year’s racing season.

After a chaotic first week, no new lead changes in the Vuelta, as 24-year old American Sepp Kuss solos to victory in stage 15, notching his first long-range climbing win.

VeloNews says 27-year old Norwegian pro tour rookie Carl Fredrik Hagen continues to impress in his first Grand Tour, holding on to eighth in the Vuelta after finishing 18th in the Tour of Poland.

 

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to hit a bike cop with your truck’s wing mirror. And who needs a water bottle when you can carry a six-pack and a spare on your bike?

No surprise it took an Aussie to figure that one out, either.

 

Imagine a great city: A Wilshire pipedream

I’ve always liked Wilshire Boulevard.

With the exception of my first few months crashing on the floor of my oldest friend’s apartment — in terms of years known, not age — I’ve spent my entire time in this city living, and usually working, within a few blocks of it.

For most of the 20th Century, once the city spread west from downtown, it was L.A.’s Main Street, home to virtually every important bank, business and department store in the city. It was also the epicenter of West Coast advertising; at least until Chiat/Day started the industry’s westward migration by moving to Venice.

Now though, it’s a faded version of its former self, a street so choked with traffic and stop lights that some sections are virtually impassible most of the day. A street most Angelenos try to avoid by taking parallel streets such as 6th or Olympic; cyclists have their own bypass routes.

As Yogi Berra once said, “No one goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.”

Yet it is a street with infinite possibilities, drawing a nearly straight line from downtown to the coast. And soon, with luck, it will soon be home to the long-delayed and much debated Subway to the Sea — making it a perfect platform for a bold reinvention that goes far beyond anything this city has yet contemplated.

Imagine a Wilshire without traffic.

A Wilshire where the subway doesn’t just take a little pressure off vehicular traffic, but replaces it entirely. Where people aren’t just encouraged to take mass transit, but where it becomes the most viable and efficient means of transportation.

It’s possible.

A Wilshire Boulevard so completely reinvented, from Ocean to Grand, that alternative transportation becomes the mainstream.

Picture this:

On the far right side of the roadway in each direction, you’d have a row of parking next to the curb, flanked by a single lane of traffic. Every few blocks, a barrier would force drivers to turn right, preventing through traffic. This would allow drivers to use the boulevard to get to shops and offices, just as they do now, yet eliminate any other traffic.

Next to that would be a single through-lane in each direction for bus traffic. This would allow riders to get off the subway at the nearest stop, then transfer to a bus to get to their final destination.

Finally, the center of the roadway would be a bike boulevard — an entire traffic lane in each direction devoted strictly to non-motorized traffic and physically separated from motorized vehicles. This lane would also be free from barriers, allowing cyclists to safely travel the entire length of the boulevard, from downtown to the coast.

By placing it inside the car and bus lanes, rather than near the curb, buses could easily reach the curb to pick up or let off passengers, and cars could turn right into parking lots or pull into a parking space without crossing the bike lanes — eliminating the risk of right-cross collisions.

This could also be combined with a series of bike stations located in key employment centers, offering secure bike parking, showers and simple repair services, making bike commuting a viable alternative for many workers.

On either side of the boulevard, wide sidewalks — now free from the overwhelming noise and choking exhaust of passing vehicles — would entice strollers and shoppers with sidewalk cafes and open air markets.

It will never happen, of course.

It’s a lovely pipedream; just an exercise in possibilities.

Because something like that would take an enormous amount of money, which seems to be in very short supply these days. And it would take leaders with the genuine vision and courage to see the possibilities and turn away from the exclusively car-centric mentality this city is built on.

And that seems to be in even shorter supply.

 

Gary gets my vote for the best April Fool joke for a post so impossible it almost had to be real. Ubrayj comments on the Ponzi Scheme that is transportation planning. Metro plans an interactive chat this Friday; good place to ask why complaints seem to disappear into the void. Like the rest of us, cyclists in Long Beach want more. An older blog by my favorite Scottish bike blogger explains why London cyclists are tempted to run red lights. A Texas cyclist and custom bike builder tracks bike collisions, including a despicable hit & run in Utah and a Houston cyclist crushed by a fire truck; he also relates a harrowing story of his own recovery after being hit by a city-owned pickup truck. And finally, as if they didn’t have enough reasons to hate us, now we have a bicycling hit man.

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