Tag Archive for America’s most bike friendly city

More details on 91-year old man killed by drunken e-scooter rider; LA barely avoids bottom in ranking of American bike cities

More information on the elderly man killed by a Venice e-scooter rider we mentioned yesterday.

According to CBS2/KCAL9, 29-year old James Cody Skene was riding on the sidewalk Saturday night at Lincoln Blvd and Marco Court when he slammed into 91-year old Yin Wu.

Yin died at the scene after hitting his head on the sidewalk.

Initial reports indicated that both Skene and the woman sharing the scooter with him suffered minor injuries; it’s illegal for two people to share a scooter under California law.

Skene was arrested on a DUI charge.

………

Yet another clickbait study professes to rank America’s best bike cities.

The report, from lawn care company LawnStarter, rated the 200 largest cities based on criteria ranging from bike lanes per square mile to fatalities and air quality.

For instance, LA’s crappy roads were unsurprisingly in the bottom 25% in terms of road quality, checking in at 163 nationally, while San Francisco came in two ranks lower.

Yet despite that, San Francisco just edged out Portland for number one, while my Colorado hometown checked in at number three.

Los Angeles came in at a deservedly low, low 145 overall, just beating out Bakersfield.

Yes, Bakersfield.

SoCal cities making the top 100 were

  • Orange 37
  • San Diego 48
  • Pasadena 51
  • Ontario 53
  • Long Beach 57
  • Irvine 58
  • Huntington Beach 59
  • Garden Grove 64
  • Torrance 66
  • Santa Ana 77
  • San Bernardino 89
  • Escondido 96
  • Rancho Cucamonga 98

Santa Monica is evidently too small to make the list, while all the other SoCal cities on the list joined Los Angeles in the bottom half loser’s bracket.

But at least we rank higher in their listing of America’s horniest cities.

………

Writer Richard Fox, author of enCYCLEpedia Southern California: The Best Easy Scenic Bike Ridesforwards this Bike Month interview with a Palm Springs TV station discussing bike safety and where to ride in the Coachella Valley.

………

Despite what the anti-bike lane crowd will tell you, bikes increase accessibility for people who might not otherwise be able to walk or drive.

But they need our support, too.

………

GCN pits an ebike against a car in a commuter challenge to see who can make it through urban traffic the fastest.

………

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

You’ve got to be kidding. The California tow truck driver who slammed into a group of bicyclists after running a red light, killing a 29-year old woman and injuring several others, has been released on a single lousy misdemeanor count. Although police say more charges could be filed pending further investigation.

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

An ebike rider threatened a group of NYPD traffic cops, saying he would kill them if he was armed, before punching their van’s side mirror. Which kind of makes you wonder what they did to piss him off

Never a great idea to try skitching behind a trailer on an Aussie highway. Or anywhere else.

………

Local

New e-scooters from Spin and Bird may soon be able to detect when they’re being illegally ridden on sidewalks, and issue audible and written notifications. Although a better solution would be to simply shut them down and make scofflaw sidewalk riders walk the rest of the way.

 

State

Calbike calls on everyone to sign a petition to support AB 1401, which aims to increase affordable housing by eliminating parking requirements near transit.

Construction will start next year on a bike path connecting Santa Claus Lane south of Santa Barbara to Carpinteria, closing a gap in the California Coastal Trail and providing better beach access for people on bicycles.

A driver somehow ended up on a Sacramento bike path after a crash.

A Yuba County man faces a DUI charge after running down a 56-year old woman riding her bike, leaving her with severe injuries. But at least he drove her to the hospital after the crash.

 

National

Wired examines the debate over changes to the 862-page Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices, better known as the MUTCD, calling it an arcane manual that could pave the way to more human-friendly cities.

Outside says 2021 is the year of the bike, and gathers stories from the past year to give you all the information you need to get going or take your riding to the next level.

Speaking of Outside, they consider the problem larger riders have finding a bike, saying most bicycles aren’t made for plus-size bodies. And help you find some that are.

Men’s Health offers their choices for the best bike helmets for every type of rider, with prices starting at just under $30.

The FBI is joining the search for a missing 11-year old Iowa boy who disappeared after going out for a bike ride.

Nice. A new I-74 bridge connecting Iowa and Illinois over the Mississippi River will get a 14-foot wide, fully ADA compliant protected bike and pedestrian path.

Chicago active transportation advocates renew their call for an actual protected bike lane network in the city.

Adventures in bad headlines: A Connecticut paper writes that a driver was not at fault in a collision with a bicycle. Never mind that the bike came complete with a 13-year old boy attached to it.

Tragic news from New York, where a 54-year old woman was killed in a collision with an ebike rider in Queens.

The nation’s largest annual charity cycling event will return this year, when the 32,000-rider Five Boro Bike Tour returns to the streets of New York this August.

A 61-year old New York pastor plans to hop on his bike and ride 3,000 miles across the US to raise $25,000 for the Bowery Mission, repeating a ride he first took 43 years earlier.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 80-year old Reading, Pennsylvania man is still going strong on his bike.

An eight-mile Memorial Day bike ride in Tuskegee, Alabama honored the historic Tuskegee Airmen, who successfully fought the Nazis over Europe and racism in the US, both with honor.

 

International

Feel free to leave your clothes at home when the first post-Covid edition of the World Naked Bike Ride returns to Vancouver next week.

A moving piece from a Canadian writer, who celebrates the open streets and low traffic of pandemic era Toronto — despite the death of his own father, who was killed by a driver while riding his bike less than 20 minutes from his Nova Scotia home.

Heartbreaking photo from London, showing an abandoned bicycle lying in the roadway where an 18-year old boy was stabbed to death.

An English man was lucky to escape with a shattered cheekbone, courtesy of a suicidal squirrel that crossed his path while he was riding at speed on a steep descent; sadly, the squirrel did not fare as well.

Scottish cops will don plain clothes and get on their bikes to enforce the country’s safe passing laws this summer, as researchers suggest everyone who regularly rides a bike in the UK will experience a pass so close it can frighten them off their bikes. It’s no different over here, except police are more likely to insist that three-foot passing laws are unenforceable. And yes, I’m looking at you, LAPD. And LA Sheriff’s Department. And CHP. Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up. 

Tragic news from the UK, where a motorcyclist collided with a bicyclist, killing both riders.

A bike ride to protest the lack of bicycle infrastructure in Luxembourg will take place as planned, despite an official denial of their permit request for the ride.

No surprise here, as the Swedish ambassador to Vietnam is making a point of exploring Hanoi by bicycle.

 

Competitive Cycling

Colnago is unveiling the first-ever official bicycle of the Tour de France; the black and yellow limited edition bike will set you back a mere $16,999.

 

Finally…

The perfect bicycle when you can’t decide whether you want pedals, an ebike or a gas engine — and want it to look like a bespoke early motorcycle. A little inspiration when you want to permanently ink your love of bikes.

And if you’re willing to ride 20 miles through a bike-unfriendly town just to see your girlfriend, you either really love her, or love riding your bike.

………

Thanks once again to Matthew R for his monthly donation help keep this site coming your way every day; donations of any size are always appreciated, no matter how large or small, whether recurring or otherwise.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

And get vaccinated, already.

Does “Bike-friendly” Long Beach intentionally stomp on cyclists’ civil rights?

Long Beach has long proclaimed its intention to be America’s most bike friendly city.

And under the guidance of mobility coordinator Charlie Gandy, it’s gone far beyond any other city in Southern California in terms of building bicycle infrastructure and promoting cycling.

So it’s disappointing to find out that their bike-friendly attitude doesn’t extend to all cyclists. Or recognize the most basic rights guaranteed to all Americans.

As you may recall, controversy developed in October when the Long Beach police staged a heavy-handed crackdown on the city’s first official Critical Mass ride.

Police are accused of waving cyclists through a stop sign, then ticketing riders who obeyed their apparent instructions. They also attempted to enforce a bicycle licensing law that violates state law, which limits penalties for failing to license a bike to a maximum of $10 — and prohibits ticketing any riders from outside their jurisdiction for failing to register their bikes with Long Beach.

In addition, the police decided, with no apparent legal authority, that fixed gear bikes without separate brakes violate the state law requiring bikes be able to make one wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement — a standard most fixies can easily meet.

And the police enforced those so-called violations by seizing the bikes of the riders involved — again, without any apparent legal authority.

Now, a new story from the Long Beach Post reveals just how far the city is willing to go to violate the civil rights of American citizens, simply because they travel on two wheels and have chosen to practice their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly under the banner of Critical Mass.

According to the Post, despite official denials from the city, the organizers of the ride attempted to get a permit in advance, which Long Beach officials failed to issue. Yet they were found in violation of a requirement that any group of 75 or more is required to get a Special Events Permit — even though that law was legally unenforceable because parts of it had been declared unconstitutional.

Long Beach City Manager Patrick West — a serious cyclist for 18 years — chillingly explains that the city is in fact targeting Critical Mass, and that any other ride, by any other name, would not face the same heavy-handed enforcement.

“Long Beach has been a leader in [developing] bike infrastructure. When a group goes out there to violate traffic laws, it brings more [negative] attention to the money that we’re spending on infrastructure, and angers the average motorist.

“If it’s a Critical Mass ride,” West continued, “you can expect our police department to be there to to monitor that. A Critical Mass ride is something that is going to attract the attention of our police department to prevent cyclists from, you know, to maintain the vehicle code. And I’m just speaking of Critical Mass. I’m not speaking about any other ride in Long Beach at all, whenever, where-ever, whoever. I’m speaking about a Critical Mass ride.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that called selective enforcement?

His words were born out by another crackdown on a Christmas ride intended to raise funds to help cyclists fight the tickets from the October crackdown. Suspecting it was actually a super-secret Critical Mass ride under another name, the police arrived in force and halted the ride before it could even begin.

According to City Manager Patrick West, “we suspected that the second [ride] was a Critical Mass ride and, in hindsight, it was clear to us that it was not a Critical Mass ride. We communicated that to the group, then I talked to Jerome Podgajski [founder of MashLBC.com-ed] and I apologized.

“The second ride involved many of the same individuals,” said West, “and, at the end of the day, it turned out that no one had any intention of creating a Critical Mass ride, so we would have supported that ride. We’re learning as we go along, and we’re talking to event organizers to just be careful about billing things as a Critical Mass ride because we’re very very conscientious of that group.”

In other words, better to apologize afterwards than get the facts right first. And it’s okay to violate the rights of one group, as long as you support other groups who may do the same things, but under a different name.

The writer, Sander Wolff, got the perspective of a local attorney about the first incident:

I asked attorney Robert Thomas Hayes Link, Esq., who grew up in Long Beach, what he thought of the incident. “As described by (cyclist) Gerry Campos, the supposedly bicycle-friendly City of Long Beach, by way of the conduct of the Long Beach Police Department, would seem to have arranged for a sting operation designed to discourage future cycling awareness activities within its borders. Whether the City managed this in a fashion that shields them from civil rights liability remains to be seen.”

Read the full article.

It clearly drives home the fact that Long Beach may see itself as bike friendly.

But a bike-friendly attitude goes far beyond mere paint on the street.

Unless and until the city begins to observe the requirements of the California Vehicle Code — which supersedes city ordinances — and interprets the law in a fair and legal manner, treating all cyclists equally under the law, it will continue to put to lie their self-proclaimed vision as the country’s leading bike city.

And continue to be a city that cyclists  — Critical or otherwise — might be better off avoiding.

……..

Let me make one thing clear. I’m not a fan of Critical Mass; I tend to believe, like LB City Manager West, that it only serves to anger people who might otherwise support us.

But I am a big fan of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. And I cannot support any person, city, jurisdiction or authority that willfully ignores the law to violate the rights of any cyclist.

As Emma Lazarus said, until we are all free, none of us is free.

%d bloggers like this: