Tag Archive for AM Mike Feuer

Leading LA mayor candidates ignore street safety, bikes fight high gas prices, and fighting SUVs one tire prick at a time

Ever get the feeling your issues are taking a backseat in local politics?

In a year where all of the leading candidates for mayor of Los Angeles are focusing their campaigns on crime and dealing with the homeless — one way or another — providing safe alternatives to driving hasn’t even been an afterthought.

Literally.

Just take a look at the websites for Karen Bass, Rick Caruso, Kevin de León, Mike Feuer and Joe Buscaino, and see if you can find a single mention of traffic safety. Let alone biking, walking or transit.

No mention of Vision Zero. Not a single word about building out the mobility plan to fix traffic congestion and fight rising gas prices. And nothing about investing in clean transportation to fight climate change.

Not. One. Damn. Word.

But at least Buscaino directed me to a nearly four year old op-ed he penned about embracing smart mobility options, after I complained about that on Twitter.

And as Barry J. Neely reminds us, Bass is one of us.

So let’s hope they all get around to addressing safe streets and alternatives to driving, however belatedly, as the campaign goes on.

Otherwise, it could be a very long four years, regardless of who wins.

Correction: Someone representing Mike Feuer reached out to me directing me to the page on Sustainability on his website, which contains one whole sentence about improving transit and building protected bike lanes, but only in the context of reducing greenhouse gases. 

Which, sadly, makes him the leader at this point.

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Today’s photo shows Los Angeles City Hall awaiting its next, hopefully bike friendly, occupant, with a little more commitment and follow-through than the current one. 

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Today’s common theme is people turning to bicycles to fight high gas prices, even though Los Angeles had a decade to get ready for this moment. And didn’t.

Streetsblog offers tips for new bike riders in the City of Angels.

Record gas prices are boosting ebike sales in San Diego, which are seeing exponential growth credited to prices at the pump.

The New York Times explains why California gas prices are so high. Although the best way to reduce price pressure at the pump is just not to play, and find another way to get around.

An Iowa writer says the state’s high gas prices make her want to ride a bike everywhere — even though their gas is over a buck and a half cheaper than California.

Rising gas prices are a double-edged sword for bike shops in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, driving up demand while increasing costs.

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Seems like a good time for a reminder that many, if most, Los Angeles car trips could easily be done by bicycle.

If they had a safe way to get there, that is.

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This might be taking things a tad too far.

An international group of climate activists are combating SUVs in an effort to drive the polluting, gas-guzzling and deadly vehicles off the road.

Thought to be an offshoot of Britain’s Extinction Rebellion, Tyre Extinguishers — the spelling points out their roots in the UK — punctures the tires on SUVs, with a goal to “make it impossible to own an SUV in the UK’s urban areas.”

And leave behind a politely worded note explaining their actions, while telling aggrieved drivers not to take it personally.

Which is kind of hard to do when someone leaves you feeling literally deflated, to put it mildly.

The group has targeted vehicles in London’s upscale Chelsea, Chiswick, Notting Hill and Belgravia neighborhoods, where they are colloquially known as Chelsea tractors.

And now the informal group has reportedly spread to Los Angeles, where someone allegedly inspired by their actions claims to have punctured SUV tires here .

I’d be the first to admit that I’d like to push every damn SUV into a pile and blow them all to hell. But I wouldn’t, even if I could.

Because vandalizing other people’s property is always wrong. Even if it is done for the right reasons.

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

Nothing unusual here, unfortunately. A bike rider was shot in the leg from someone in a passing car while riding on the UC Davis campus. And no, that’s not a prank, it’s a crime. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Bicyclists accuse an English county of closing a mountain pass to bikes as an anti-cyclist move “dressed up cheaply as health and safety,” two weeks after landslides closed the road to cars.

No bias here. When asked what should be done to improve safety for bicyclists in Oxford, England in the wake of recent deaths, drivers called for bicycle license plates, hi-viz and bicycling proficiency tests, rather than doing anything to drive safer.

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

A Glendale driver reported a hit-and-run bicyclist who fled the scene after crashing into their car. Although something tells me there’s probably another side to that story.

After an 11-year old Springer Spaniel had his leg amputated when he was struck by a man “zooming” along a multi-use path on his bicycle, the dog’s angry owner called for steps to curb “arrogant” bike riders.

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Local

The Bike League recognized 33 new or renewing Bicycle Friendly Universities, with LA’s Loyola Marymount University moving up to silver, and Pasadena’s California Institute of Technology holding stead at bronze, while Cal Poly Pomona has to settle for another honorable mention.

 

State 

Caltrans is looking for public input on its draft Active Transportation Plan for bicycle and pedestrian improvements on state highways in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

San Diego’s mayor wants the city to marginally lower speed limits, using the same new state law Los Angeles is using to lower speeds 5 mph on 177 miles of streets.

 

National

NPR relates five ways to bounce back better from bicycle or other sports injuries.

The Today Show suggests their somewhat surprising picks for the best commuter, fitness and cruiser bikes.

A writer for Forbes says bicycle infrastructure saves lives by improving health and fitness, too.

Adventure Journal says yes, you can get a nice gravel bike for 900 bucks, albeit with a few caveats.

The Bike Portland podcast talks with local women behind the ebike revolution.

Phoenix AZ is responding to the death of a popular bicycle ambassador with plans to add more protected bike lanes in the downtown area.

Tragic news from Minneapolis, where a man died a year and a half after he was paralyzed by a driver with a revoked license while riding his bike on the sidewalk. The driver, who had two previous license suspensions, was sentenced to a lousy year in county jail in a plea bargain; if prosecutors had waited just six six weeks, the charge could have been vehicular homicide. Just one more example of allowing dangerous drivers to stay on the road until it’s too late.

A new documentary shows a man’s journey by bike from Chicago to New Jersey, riding alone to exorcise the demons of being abused by a priest as a child, and inspire other clergy abuse victims.

Bicycling profiles a proud Black Southern woman from Alabama, who encourages women to live authentically while advocating for representation in bicycling. As usual, read on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

It was Bike to Work Day in Florida’s Miami-Dade County, with the county’s leader leading the way.

 

International

Tern unveiled a new e-cargo foldie for anyone with an extra three grand lying around.

Horrible news from the Netherlands, where a 21-year old Massachusetts woman studying abroad was killed by a stalker, who placed a tracking device on her bicycle after they met on Tinder.

NatGeo wants to help you plan a bike tour through Belgium’s beer country.

German ebike subscription service Dance is expanding into more European cities, including Hamburg, Munich, Vienna and Paris. Which means the US, UK and Canada will have to wait.

Congratulations to Spanish bikemaker Orbea on being named Bike Brand of the year.

Angry New Zealand bike riders claim a teenage bicyclist didn’t have to die over the weekend, blaming local officials for turning a deaf ear to calls to make the area safer for people on two wheels.

 

Competitive Cycling

Great news, as NBC announced it will broadcast the first two years of the eight-stage Tour de France Femmes, aka the Women’s Tour de France, starting this July.

Bad news for the competition, as 39-year old Annemiek van Vleuten says she’s still improving after two decades as one of the top women’s cyclists.

Sad news from the UK, where 28-year old Scottish track sprinter John Paul has died; no cause of death was announced.

 

Finally…

Forget race results — what really matters is pro cyclists and their animal buddies. Your old bicycle chain could turn into spectacular nude human figures.

And who says a stationary bike has to stay that way?

https://twitter.com/AmericanFietser/status/1501228437457227776?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1501228437457227776%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2Fcycling-live-blog-9-march-2022-290929

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Thanks to Margaret for her generous annual contribution to support this site, and keep all the best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day.

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

Morning Links: City Atty says scrap Griffith Park Blvd bike lanes, and bike riders victim of London terrorist attack

LA City Attorney Mike Feuer has recommended removing the bike lanes on Griffith Park Blvd due to the crappy condition of the aging concrete pavement.

His recommendation comes after paying out a total of $700,000 following lawsuits from a pair of bike riders — only one of whom was actually injured on the section of Griffith Park that has bike lanes.

And even though it would increase the city’s liability the next time someone gets injured where the lanes used to be. Which is a given considering the condition of the street.

The obvious solution is to actually fix the crumbling pavement on Griffith Park, as the LA Bicycle Advisory Committee voted to recommend, which would solve the real problem.

That’s something we thought was in progress after the $200,000 settlement with Patrick Pascal, who was injured on the street beyond where the Griffith Park bike lanes end near Los Feliz Blvd, before they actually enter Griffith Park.

But they only fixed the section that took him down. And only after the city settled with him, despite countless calls to fix it prior to his injury.

Which is how it usually seems to work in the City of Angels.

In the photo, LA’s Bureau of Street Services repairs the section of pavement on Griffith Park Blvd where Patrick Pascal was injured. 

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Once again, bike riders were the victims of a terrorist attack.

Last time it was New York, this time in London, where a man in his late 20s was arrested after driving into a group of bicyclists and pedestrians in what appeared to be a deliberate act.

Fortunately, no one was killed in the attack outside the British Houses of Parliament, though at least two people were injured, and a number of bikes mangled — a surprisingly good outcome considering the suspect drove an estimated 50 mph along the sidewalk for at least 130 feet.

And in typical British fashion, a bicyclist who chased the suspect until police intervened said “you just have a cup of tea and a biscuit and you carry on.”

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Local

LAist offers a refresher on how to drive safely around kids headed back to school, including advice to watch for bicycles. And presumably, their riders. Speaking of which, remember that bike riders are required to stop for school buses, just like drivers, to avoid collisions with kids running across the road — or getting on or off the bus, if riders try to pass on the right. And yes, I’ve seen that.

The James Beard award-winning celebrity chef behind DTLA’s NoMad Hotel is one of us; Daniel Humm was a professional mountain biker before he won his first Michelin star at 24.

CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz wrote a letter to the LA Times explaining his call for a temporary ban on e-scooters in the name of pedestrian safety, something he never seemed to give a damn about before. A Streetsblog reader kindly fixed it for him to focus on the real threat.

Lime and Bird scooters were shut down yesterday in Santa Monica in advance of a protest that reportedly drew hundreds to SaMo city hall to call for the e-scooter providers to be allowed to remain in the city; a proposal under consideration would boot both in favor of new scooters from Uber and Lyft. You have two more days to voice your opinion before the city cuts off the comment period.

 

State

Police data reveals the most dangerous intersections in Mountain View.

San Francisco’s Masonic Ave remains a work in progress as safety measures are unveiled by the city, with the city’s new mayor promising protected bike lanes are on the way.

Bay Area bike advocates are calling on San Francisco to lift the restrictive caps that are preventing bikeshare from growing in the city. Meanwhile, the city apparently has no idea what to do about e-scooters, which are banned in the City by the Bay until it figures it out.

A Eureka physician displays a remarkable amount of windshield bias, saying bike riders don’t need to use a particular bike path if the wind blows because there are several others, even it they don’t go the same way. And that there are no reproducible studies showing bicycling prolongs life, or that road diets work (hint: there are, on both counts). The remarkable thing is how he can still treat patients when he can’t seem to see past his own dashboard.

A group of bicyclists stop in Humboldt County on a ride from Seattle to San Diego to promote the Dream Act.

 

National

A post on Bike Portland says sidewalk cycling can be a savior for family biking.

Public tips led to the arrest of a Washington man who left a grandmother dying in a ditch next to her crumpled bicycle.

A Boise ID woman says a speeding, spandexed bicyclist sent her to the hospital to have a one-pound blood clot removed after crashing into her on a park pathway.

As we mentioned yesterday, the driver who killed two German bike tourist in Kansas earlier this year won’t face charges; the county attorney explains that it’s because she wasn’t under the influence or otherwise operating the vehicle in a reckless or dangerous manner. Although you’d think running over two people directly in front of you would be prima facie evidence of the latter.

Caught on video: Onboard cameras catch an Austin TX bus driver sideswiping a bicyclist — and nearly running him over — as he rode in a bike lane. It’s hard to watch, so be sure you really want to see it before clicking on the link. Thanks to Stephen Katz for the heads-up.

Two air conditioned teepees await bike tourists in an Arkansas city, as long as you’re willing to pay the price of a regular hotel room.

Chicago police double down on claims that a crackdown on bike riders in predominately black and Hispanic neighborhoods is an effective tool to prevent violence.

A New York councilmember responds to the death of a bike-riding Australian tourist by calling for a two-way protected bike lane on Central Park West. Meanwhile, a New York radio station asks listeners to imagine safer streets where bike riders are protected from things like that.

A Baltimore firefighter has been sentenced to one year probation after pleading guilty to an off-duty assault on a bike advocate at a community meeting to discuss bike lanes. At least we can be grateful that the bikelash over LA bike lanes haven’t turned violent. Yet.

A writer for the Washington Post tries, and fails, to understand the rights of bicyclists through his decidedly windshield perspective, before concluding that maybe bikes just don’t belong on the road.

 

International

A Canadian university professor says it’s odd that Toronto officials espouse the same 100-year old approach to bike and pedestrian safety that failed so spectacularly in the past.

The shooter who killed four people in Fredericton, New Brunswick last Friday is also one of us.

France’s first lady is one of us, too.

Now that’s bike friendly. A vote in Switzerland next month could enshrine bicycling in the nation’s constitution, committing the country to promoting bike transport and building suitable infrastructure.

An Indian website recommends riding a bike to pedal your blues away.

New Zealand police conclude that the truck that critically injured a champion triathlete doesn’t exist.

A Malaysian website says riding a bicycle is the healthiest form of urban transport.

 

Competitive Cycling

Santa Rosa native and defending Leadville 100 champ Larissa Connors arrives at this year’s race mourning the damage done to Trabuco Canyon by the devastating Holy Fire.

A writer for The Guardian complains that women’s cyclists will compete on a watered-down road course at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, saying it shows the Olympic motto of “faster, higher, stronger” only applies to men. Seriously, we should be long past the days when women were considered the weaker sex, especially in athletic competition.

Vincenzo Nibali says pro cycling has become a circus due to the aggressive behavior of racing fans, following his fan-caused crash in the Tour de France.

America’s most famous ex-Tour de France champ says he’ll do anything in his power to help former rival Jan Ullrich recover from his downward spiral.

 

Finally…

When your GPS may not have your best interests at heart. Evidently, there’s a backspace button for bike corrals.

And biking across the US is no joke, even for a former pro cyclist turned comedian.

And neither is fighting domestic abuse.

 

An open letter in support of SB 910, California’s proposed three-foot passing law

As you may be aware, the California Senate recently passed the state’s proposed three-foot passing law. Now it’s under consideration in the state Assembly’s Transportation Committee, with a deadline of 5 pm Tuesday to offer your comments.

I have strongly supported three-foot passing laws throughout my riding career. As I’ve pointed out before, I consider it a much-needed improvement over the current vague standard in place in California and most other states.

As a result, I’ve written the following letter to Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, Chair of the Transportation Committee, to express my support and urge the removal of a clause that would allow passing at less three when travelling at a speed differential of less than 15 mph. This clause undermines the purpose of the bill, and would increase driver confusion and the risk to riders, rather than decreasing it as the law intends.

If you haven’t already, I urge you to write Lowenthal to express your support; it also can’t hurt to send a copy your own Assemblymember and the bill’s author, Sen. Alan Lowenthal, while you’re at it.

You can find a sample letter and more instructions here.

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Hon. Bonnie Lowenthal
Chair, Assembly Transportation Committee
State Capital, Room 112
Sacramento, CA 95814
Assemblymember.Lowenthal@assembly.ca.gov

Dear Assemblymember Lowenthal,

I’m writing to express my support for Senate Bill 910 and to urge the committee to approve the bill on June 27, with one vital amendment.

As a serious bicyclist and California resident, I have ridden a bike on the streets and highways of this state for over 20 years. During that time, I have experienced a number of close calls that have threatened my life and safety due to drivers passing too closely.

I have had drivers pass so close that their mirrors have brushed against my arm, and had passengers reach out to touch me or dump liquids on me. I have been crowded off various roadways, both accidently and intentionally, and nearly collided with parked vehicles as a result, as well as being blown out of my lane by the slipstream from passing trucks and buses. In fact, I can count on being passed at a dangerously close distance at least once or twice virtually every time I ride. I can only credit luck and my own skill as a cyclist for having avoided serious injuries as a result.

On more than one occasion, I have managed to confront drivers who have passed me at such a dangerously close distance; almost invariably, the drivers were convinced that they observed a safe passing distance, demonstrated by the fact that they didn’t actually make contact with me.

The current standard for safe passing is both unclear and confusing, providing no objective measurement to tell drivers what is a safe passing distance. This law clarifies that, providing a clear standard that anyone can understand. Its passage is vital to protect the safety of cyclists, reduce needless confrontations between cyclists and motorists, and encourage more people to choose bikes as a safe form of alternative transportation.

However, I must request that the current bill be amended to remove the provision allowing passage at less than three feet with a speed differential of 15 mph or less. This provision creates a confusing, unmeasurable standard that benefits no one while undermining the key provision of this bill. As a result, it serves to increase the risk to cyclists rather than decreasing it, and is almost universally opposed by every cyclist I have discussed it with. As an alternative, briefly allowing drivers to cross the center or lane line to pass a bicyclist maintains the spirit of the law, while permitting safe passing under most circumstances.

I urge you to pass this important bill, with the above amendment,  to help make our streets safer for everyone.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers
www.bikinginla.com
@bikinginla (Twitter)

CC: Senator Alan Lowenthal, Assemblymember Mike Feuer

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