Tag Archive for anti-bike bias

SaMo approves bicycle anti-harassment ordinance, Brit press demonizes bicyclists, and Wilmington CicLAmini Sunday

Just 228 days until Los Angeles fails to meet its Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.
So stop what you’re doing and sign this petition to demand Mayor Bass hold a public meeting to listen to the dangers we all face on the mean streets of LA.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

We’ve made it up to 1,134 signatures, so don’t stop now! Urge everyone you know to sign the petition, until she agrees to meet with us! 

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It took awhile, but LA’s bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance is finally starting to spread elsewhere in Los Angeles County.

The Santa Monica City Council unanimously approved an ordinance prohibiting harassment of bicyclists, while providing a private right of action for violations in civil court.

They also clarified that the law applies to both human-powered and ped-assist ebikes — but evidently, not throttle-controlled ebikes.

According to Santa Monica City Attorney Doug Sloan,

“Defining activities would prohibit physically assaulting or attempting to physically assault bicyclists because of their status of a bicyclist, threatening to physically injure a cyclist, threatening to physically injure, including by road, cyclists because of being a cyclist. intentionally distracting or attempting to distract a cyclist, intentionally forcing or attempting to enforce a bicyclist off the street or bike lane,” Sloan said.

“It’s important to note that these are purely civil remedies,” he said before clarifying that this does not require city resources to enforce this — it is not criminal. So an aggrieved individual can bring a civil action against the perpetrator. It can include if they’re liable for damages for three times heir actual damage for each violation or $1,000, whichever is greater. Moreover, they can recover attorney fees and potentially punitive damages.

“It expressly says it does not constitute a misdemeanor or infraction. And that’s essentially it,” he said.

That last part is important, because it means a cop doesn’t need to witness the violation, or ticket the driver or file charges.

However, the same problems that have limited the Los Angeles ordinance would likely limit this one, as well.

Unless you record the violation on a bike cam or cellphone, it’s difficult to gather witnesses or other evidence to offer proof of what happened.

And even with the provision for legal fees, it’s hard to find a lawyer who will take a case without the possibility of substantial damages, because the amount of work required doesn’t usually make it worth their time.

Still, it’s a move towards holding dangerous, aggressive and road-raging drivers accountable.

Let’s just hope it spreads to the other 86 cities in LA County.

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No bias here.

The British press continued its demonization of “killer bicyclists” in the wake of a new law imposing a sentence of up to 14 years for killing someone by dangerous, careless or inconsiderate bicycling.

Which is seven years more than motorists face for a similar crime.

The London Telegraph lifted their paywall to breathlessly share a story about “reckless” bicyclists chasing Strava coms — including one person reportedly riding 52 mph in a 20 mph zone, which would be a world record speed.

A columnist for Express says it’s about time London’s “Lycra-clad maniacs” were forced to abide by the rules of the road, including such “trivialities” as traffic lights and crosswalks. Never mind that British bike riders are already subject to most of the same rules drivers are.

However, former Olympic gold medalist, Hour Record holder, and current National Active Travel Commissioner Chris Boardman puts it in perspective.

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Don’t miss Sunday’s CicLAmini open streets event in Wilmington this Sunday. The weather should be cool, dry and partly cloudy, so it should be comfortable whether you’re riding, skating or walking.

https://twitter.com/CaltransDist7/status/1791227045793481121

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GCN considers whether Classified’s new Powershift hub could spell the end of front derailleurs, after it was used by the Ineos Grenadiers cycling team during the Giro’s individual time trial.

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It’s now 149 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 35 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law — and counting.

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

Once again, a British bike rider has been pushed off his bike by some jackass in a passing car when the passenger in a BMW leaned out the window and knocked a man in his 40s off his bicycle, and suffered a broken shoulder, cuts and bruises.

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

A bike rider in Singapore was fined the equivalent of $163 for running a red light while a mother was in the crosswalk pushing her child in a stroller.

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Local 

A new Caltrans plan to rebuild and widen Lincoln Boulevard — otherwise known as PCH — where it crosses Ballona Creek will include new sidewalks and protected bike lanes, along with lighting, landscaping and signage.

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition and city Arts and Culture staffers will host a Pasadena Public Art Bike Ride tomorrow morning.

 

State

He gets it. A writer for the Thousand Oaks Acorn says “Bicycling instead of driving is a great way to reduce traffic, cut pollution, and save energy while contributing to California’s climate goals.”

The Big Bear bike parks will be opening in the next few weeks, with Snow Valley Bike Park opening weekends beginning May 24th, and Summit Bike Park opening daily on June 7th.

Pleasanton seniors discuss bike safety, amid concerns that a lack of safe infrastructure will keep older people from biking.

Mission Local shares photos from San Francisco’s Ride of Silence.

San Francisco Mayor Breed promises protected bike lanes in front of City Hall, even if “some supervisors have to give up their parking spaces.”

No bias here, either. A pair of writers for El Tecolote complain about the San Francisco MTA’s approval a $1.5 million contract with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition to provide bicycle education for the next five years — which works out to just $300,000 a year — saying it “frees the Bicycle Coalition to hire a phalanx of lobbyists to influence city policy with Supervisors, commissioners, and city staff in all departments.”

Sonoma County is being sued by a woman who suffered a broken neck when she hit a pothole on her bike, on the same street where another woman was seriously injured hitting another pothole ten years earlier.

 

National

If you missed yesterday’s Bike to Work/Bike to Wherever Day, you may still have time to catch it today in New York or Seattle.

Seriously? ABC network officials are reportedly mad that Good Morning America 3 host DeMarco Morgan posted an Instagram photo wearing “skin-tight bike shorts” that “doesn’t leave much to the imagination.” Except he’s actually wearing a very normal bike jersey and padded bike shorts that leave about as much to the imagination as any other spandex-clad bicyclist. 

A self-described “car guy” swapped his four wheeler for an e-cargo bike for a week, and ended up rethinking what cars are really for.

Boise, Idaho intends to become the next bicycle capital of America. Although they may have to get in line behind all the other cities with the same aspirations. 

Idaho bicyclists got donuts and French pastries for Bike to School and Work Day. Meanwhile, LA bike riders got squat.

If you build it, they will come. After going a bike lane building binge in recent years, Chicago has doubled the number of bike trips over the past five years, with the greatest increase on the city’s South Side.

 

International

Hundreds of people turned out for a two-wheeled rave through the streets of Victoria, British Columbia.

Tragic news from the UK, where a “fit and active” 80-year old man died after falling from his bike following an “incident” with a van, after he was forced to ride close to the roadway when debris in the bike path narrowed it to just two feet wide; an inspector looked at the path just weeks before his death, and said it looked just hunky dory.

An Irish advocacy group rightfully complains that less than 350 drivers were fined for parking in bike lanes throughout the entire country in one recent year.

Mobility Outlook talks with the Head of Brand for India’s Hero Cycles, which it says is helping reshape the evolving bicycling culture in India with their ebikes.

 

Competitive Cycling

Two-time former world champ Julian Alaphilippe won the 12th stage of the Giro on Thursday in a solo breakaway; leader Tadej Pogačar finished in the main pack to hold on to the pink jersey.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could pay tribute to Vincent van Van Gogh — cutting off your ear is optional. Your next super-ebike mountain bike could be a McLaren, yes, that McLaren.

And there’s a new AI sheriff in town to keep you from cheating on your KOMs.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

A call to ban “bike herds” after Florida crash, the American problem of traffic violence, and LA-area bike path news

If you haven’t already, stop what you’re doing and sign this petition demanding a public meeting with LA Mayor Karen Bass to listen to the dangers we face just walking and biking on the streets of LA.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

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Surprisingly, last minute donations are still trickling in for the 9th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive. So thanks to an anonymous donor for their generous gift to keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day!

While the fund drive is officially over, donations of any amount are welcome anytime, for any reason.

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Unbelievable.

After an elderly Florida woman driving on the wrong side of the road plowed head-on into a group of eight bicyclists, sending seven to the hospital — two still critical — a local news website responds by firmly assigning blame.

On the victims, of course.

Asking if “bike herds should be banned,” they say the crash “raises new questions about whether bicyclists belong on area roads.”

Often a nuisance to drivers as they ride in packs, Florida law does permit these bicyclists to use a roadway when no bike lane exists. But these bike herds rarely ride at the speed of traffic. They often seem to lack any awareness that in a bike-versus-car collision, the car almost always wins.

Although a much better question would be whether elderly drivers who can’t confine themselves to the right side of the roadway should be allowed on them.

And maybe someone could assure them that we are all quite aware that cars are bigger than we are, and they hurt.

Unfortunately, however, the writer, or writers, aren’t done yet.

Now we ask you, our readers: should packs of bicyclists be permitted on area roads? Should they be permitted to interfere with traffic? Are there times of day where bike herds should be outright banned, or conversely, are there times of day where you believe it would be okay for bicyclists to ride on area roads? And this question: does anyone really believe that tight, brightly colored spandex offers any additional safety for these people at all?

They obviously don’t realize that we only form herds for protection from apex predators in motor vehicles.

And the purpose of our tight, brightly colored spandex is to get drivers to check out our butts and massive thighs, so they might actually see us for a change.

But hopefully not from the front, as they hurtle blissfully along on the wrong side of the road.

Seriously, the site’s whole argument makes no more sense than suggesting schools should be banned to prevent mass shootings.

Meanwhile, the local sheriff’s office is responding to the wrong way crash, in which the elderly driver was 100% at fault, by reminding bike riders of their duty to obey traffic laws.

Because evidently, someone, somewhere, once rode a bicycle through a red light, which somehow caused this whole mess.

But still.

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A CNN op-ed from journalist Jill Filipovic decries the ever-increasing death toll on American streets, arguing that “Like gun deaths, this epidemic of car-related deaths is a particularly American problem.”

One that she blames in part on the ever-increasing size of American motor vehicles. But she takes it several steps further, to look at other factors contributing to the problem.

Growing vehicle size is a big part of the problem. But it’s far from the only problem. America has too-lax road rules and too few spaces where pedestrians are prioritized. American drivers are too often distracted by cell phones (European drivers, who are much more likely to operate manual-transmission cars, are as a result less likely to have a free hand to hold a cell phone). And enforcement of existing laws is weak: In many areas, officers reportedly have been told not to pull drivers over even for breaking the law.

One solution, she says, is increased camera enforcement — like the speed cams that were recently approved for a handful of California cities, including Los Angeles, Glendale and Long Beach.

Along with red light cams, which are currently prohibited in the City of Angels, because drivers didn’t like getting caught breaking the same laws they accuse bike riders of breaking.

Then she adds this, making the same case I’ve been making for some time.

If your license has been suspended several times, or if you’ve been convicted of multiple DUIs, or if you have double-digit numbers of speeding tickets in your name, or if you’ve been involved in multiple crashes that were your fault, you should lose the privilege to drive entirely. And if you have a record of this kind of reckless or dangerous driving and then you hit and injure or kill someone, you should pay an especially steep price.

Yet over and over and over again, people with long records of dangerous driving are allowed back on the road; dangerous drivers often aren’t even punished when they eventually maim or kill someone, or see penalties that amount to little more than a slap on the wrist. It is exceptionally rare for a driver, even one with a history of dangerous driving, to be charged with murder when they kill someone on the road. Killing someone with a car is, in the United States, too often essentially a free pass.

It’s worth reading the whole thing.

Because things will never get better until we get dangerous cars and drivers off the roads.

Permanently.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

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Thanks to Joel Falter for forwarding news that the annual maintenance work on the Ballona Creek Bike Path will begin today, with intermittent closures this week that could affect your ride or commute.

You can find a full work schedule on the Culver City website.

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Now that nearby freeway work is nearing completion, the city is finally getting around to fixing the north end of the LA River bike path. And hopefully, connecting it to new segments in the San Fernando Valley.

https://twitter.com/EntitledCycling/status/1743001554138050647

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I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been tempted to crawl over — or through — vehicles whose drivers carelessly block the crosswalk to enjoy their God-given right to turn right on red.

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The camera aspect appears to make this look even more extreme, as if it’s not extreme enough.

Thanks to Mike Burk for the forward. 

https://twitter.com/mikeburk/status/1743918919138816270

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19 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 30 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law, and counting.

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

LA-based former pro cyclist Phil Gaimon warned “sane motorists” about “homicidal maniacs on the road” who threaten the safety of vulnerable road users, after a driver responded to the innocuous post below showing Gaimon and friends riding past crawling I-5 traffic — on the shoulder, no less — warning that he would “turn the wheel to the right and ram you” in the same situation. If he actually said he “would,” rather than he’d like to, that constitutes a threat under California law, and should be reported to the police to get that fool off the road before he kills someone.

GCN talks with bicycling historian and journalist Peter Norton about the roots of road rage directed from drivers towards people on bicycles, driven in part by street designs that tell drivers the roads were made for them. Thanks to Steven Hallett for the link. 

No bias here. A Madison, Wisconsin letter writer insists that bike riders need to pay for their own infrastructure, apparently unaware of who actually pays for local streets, or that bike riders cause a minute fraction of the damage to roadway surfaces that drivers do, and we pay the same taxes as anyone else.

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

Leaked traffic data shows that only 40% of London bike riders actually stop for pedestrians as required at the city’s floating bus stops, where people have to cross a bike lane to get it.

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Local 

This is who we share the road with. Speeds clearly haven’t declined on PCH, as a speeding Malibu driver slammed head-on into three other cars at over 100 mph, then escaped after bugging out through the brush on the nearby hillside.

An unidentified Hermosa Beach bike shop was the victim of a holiday week smash and grab, after someone broke out a window to make off with a high-end bike. Thanks to Jim Lyle for forwarding the story.

Metro Bike is hosting a bikeshare community ride along the Expo Line Bike Path on January 20th. But shouldn’t the path be renamed the E Line Bike Path now, since the Expo Line doesn’t officially exist anymore?

 

State

No news is good news, right?

 

National

Chicago Streetsblog pats itself on the back for convincing a local business to stop illegally telling bike riders they can’t park there.

A Florida man argues that he is a victim of political and social manipulation of physical and circumstantial evidence, insisting that he had a legal and constitutional right to fatally shoot a bicycle-riding man during a confrontation, part of which he live streamed from his motorcycle; he’s been behind bars awaiting trail for nearly four and a half years, largely because he keeps firing his defense attorneys.

The only form of life lower than a hit-and-run driver is someone who’d flee the scene after hitting a Florida paraplegic riding a handcycle. Schmuck.

 

International

Road.cc looks at the history of the bizarre, A-framed, belt-drive Strida foldie, calling it one of the most unusual city bikes ever made. Which is an understatement. 

Costa Rica is dealing with a sharp rise in traffic deaths over the past year, as more Costa Ricans drive like Americans.

So it begins. A Toronto letter writer draws from the standard “But this isn’t Amsterdam” playbook to argue that the city will never be a bicycling paradise like Paris. (Scroll down. No, keep scrolling.)

A woman with no previous interest in bicycling decided to ride 340 miles from her home in Wales to the Eiffel Tower to honor her bike-riding father, after he died following a short battle with brain cancer.

I’m not sure if we mentioned this one from last month, as The Guardian takes a look back at the four-year history of London’s Black Unity Bike Ride, born out of Covid restrictions and a fight for racial justice; there’s a podcast version of the story if you’d rather listen than read. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up. 

Irish police were criticized for confusing messaging that mixed the legal requirement to have lights on a bike with advice not to wear dark clothing, which isn’t required. But others applauded the cops for ticketing a lightless rider in dark clothes.

The attacks on commercial shipping by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea could be leading to another round of shortages of bike parts, just as the industry is recovering from the pandemic-era shortages.

A Singapore man explains how he turned his love of bicycles into a fulfilling career running a bike repair shop, despite dropping out of school at 15 — including a stint sharpening his skills in the US.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cyclists participating in Australian women’s road cycling championship paused for a moment of silence to honor Olympic gold medal track cyclist Melissa Hoskins, who was killed when she reportedly fell off the hood of the pickup driven by her husband, two-time world time trial champ and Tour de France stage winner Rohan Dennis; Hoskins was remembered as a “beacon of strength” and “a freewheeling spirit.”

 

Finally…

If you think pro cycling is hard, try building a Millennium Falcon out of Legos. Prepare for your next road-raging driver with new bullet-resistant ebike batteries.

And probably not the best idea to kick the cop who tells you to get off your bike in a no riding zone.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

SaMo councilor withdraws anti-bike lane motion, calling out knee-jerk anti-bike bias, and Subaru bats just 300 at missing bikes

It looks like the Santa Monica bike community won this one.

Streetsblog is reporting that SaMo City Councilmember Phil Brock pulled his motion calling for a report offering more options for the 17th Street protected bike lane and pedestrian improvement project, which isn’t even completely finished yet.

The site says he wanted to prevent the sort of fiasco we recently saw in Culver City, where a newly conservative council voted to remove the highly successful Move Culver City project from the downtown area.

Santa Monica councilmembers report being flooded with dueling email campaigns, with one calling for preserving the bikeway, while another from residents of the Mid-City neighborhood called for its removal.

But for a change, more emails came from predominantly younger bicycle and pedestrian safety advocates, than from the more conservative — and presumably older — neighborhood activists.

So pat yourself on the back.

Even though the councilmember now says he never really wanted to radically alter or remove aspects of the project.

Good to know.

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Boy, does she get it.

In an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle, a carfree former emergency room nurse, semiretired professor and septuagenarian bicyclist writes about the knee-jerk hatred of people on bicycles, both online and in what passes for the real world these days.

The next time you are tempted to pile on to such a discussion about bicyclists, ask yourself if you are doing so because you consciously or unconsciously resent them — for taking up space on the roads, for slowing you down in your car, for seemingly being so free while you are stuck in car traffic. And if so, stop and ask yourself if you can re-envision them in a non-stereotyped way: as your own kids, grandmothers, parents or other people who are placed at risk by negative comments. Your words have the power to reinforce hurtful stereotypes or to reshape perceptions.

Ultimately, hate of bicyclists comes from the same place as racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia: a desire to cling to the status quo power arrangements that favor some over others. As the bicycle becomes re-popularized as a legitimate form of transportation, there are inevitably more conflicts with those who continually and mindlessly assert that “streets are for cars.” But just as gay people are no longer willing to stay in the closet, nor women in the kitchen, bicyclists are no longer willing to settle for crumbs in terms of use of our public roadways.

It’s more than worth reading the whole thing.

Although you’ll have to find a way past the paper’s draconian paywall to do it.

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says Subaru’s EyeSight crash avoidance system shows promise, reducing crashes with drivers traveling parallel to bicycles by 30 percent.

However, it only showed a modest benefit in other types of crashes, which earlier versions — like the ones tested — weren’t designed to detect.

Although that means it failed in 70% of crashes, which may be a good record in baseball, but not so much in real life when it’s your ass that’s on the line.

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A co-working site cites Boston and Newark, New Jersey as the best cities in the US to live without a car, followed by New York, DC and San Francisco.

That’s followed by 15 other cities, none of which is Los Angeles, unsurprisingly.

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Apparently, Los Angeles County, which is responsible for maintaining the beachfront Marvin Braude Bike Trail, has once again allowed it to become overrun with sand.

And is apparently allowing it to stay that way, rather than promptly clearing it.

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

No bias here. A Wyoming police chief blames bike riders for most crashes with motor vehicles, claiming bicyclists have a misconception that they aren’t expected to obey the same traffic laws as motorists — even though the department doesn’t track bicycle crashes, so he’s really just guessing who’s actually at fault.

No bias here, either. English residents complain that “unsightly” bike hangers don’t get used, then complain when they do.

In an apparent attempt to thin the herd, Edinburgh officials say two-way street markings on a Low Traffic Neighborhood, the UK’s equivalent of our Slow Streets, will remain in place, even though they direct bike riders directly into oncoming motor vehicle traffic on the one-way street.

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

Adding insult to literal injury, an Edinburgh bike rider was convicted of dangerous bicycling after he ran a red light and was struck by a motorist.

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Local 

The popular Ballona Creek bike path will be closed for maintenance through 3 pm today, from Duquesne Ave to Jackson Ave. Or vice versa, depending on which way you’re traveling.

 

State

San Francisco Streetsblog says the city’s Hyde Street bike lane project is garbage, suggesting the “info-free outreach and terrible designs” demonstrate how little the city’s transit agency really cares about bicycle safety.

A Chico mom worries about whether she should send her kids to school on their bikes using dangerous major streets, or ride bike paths through homeless camps where she would feel unsafe.

 

National

GearJunkie has tips on how to buy a used ebike, whether online or in person.

A German brand has introduced a sturdy and capacious, but relatively pricey, e-cargo bike, with prices rising to seven grand for a belt-drive version; meanwhile, another German bikemaker is offering a more compact e-cargo bike for over two grand less.

PinkBike editors demonstrate the bike park protective gear they actually wear.

Speaking of protective gear, Bell Sports is recalling their “Giro” Merit helmets because they don’t comply with CPSC safety standards, and could pose a risk of head injury. Which kind of defeats the purpose of a bike helmet in the first place. 

A flight website offers tips on how to fly with your bicycle, complete with a table of major airlines’ policies. Which is not the same as flying on your bicycle, which usually happens if you hit a bump or something bumps into you. 

A “semi-new” Oregon explorer offers advice on overnight bike touring and bikepacking.

That crowdfunding campaign we mentioned last week to buy a new ebike for a popular carfree, 78-year old Longmont, Colorado man after his new one was stolen has topped the $3,500 goal, which means he’ll soon be riding again.

Missoula, Montana residents are resorting to a letter-writing campaign just to get the state transportation department to fund a study of a dangerous street, in hopes it will lead to safety improvements.

Good news from Chicago, where Streetsblog editor John Greenfield is on the mend, two months after he was placed in a medically induced coma with major head trauma, as well as several broken ribs and a broken clavicle, after he was struck by a plastic pipe sticking out from a passing truck while riding his bike on the sidewalk.

A Minnesota writer wonders whether we’ll ever have a European-style bike culture in the US, in which bikes are integrated into residents lives, rather than being considered exercise or an activity.

Vermont has opened its first fully adaptive mountain bike trails offering open accessibility to all trail users, able-bodied or otherwise. Read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you. 

 

International

Momentum Magazine considers bike buses, calling them a global trend in active school transportation.

That’s more like it. Vancouver will offer a secure bike valet service for the downtown area. That contrasts with Downtown Los Angeles, where police warn your bike may not be there when you get back.

This is who we share the road with. After a 16-year old British bike rider was run down by a female hit-and-run driver while riding in a bike lane, the boy’s mother accused her of watching Netflix as she was driving; fortunately, the victim wasn’t badly injured.

This is who we share the road with, too. Video from the UK shows impatient drivers zooming down the wrong side of the road, on a street where three bicyclists have been killed in recent years. Then again, maybe they were just visiting Americans unable to comprehend the country’s left-side driving rules.

Czech carmaker Škoda’s We Love Cycling website considers the role of big data in shaping bicycle friendly cities.

 

Competitive Cycling

Women’s WorldTour cyclists condemn organizers of the Tour Féminin des Pyrénées, which was cancelled when riders protested dangerous conditions on the final stage, after they referred to pro riders as “girls” and “spoiled children” for cancelling the tour.

 

Finally…

If you’re making off with a stolen bike, maybe try stopping for the stop signs. And thank a 17th century mathematician and scientist for your air pressure gauge.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Guns versus cars, NIMBYs want to ban beach bike bridge in park named for late bike advocate, and SaMo anti-bike bias

Thank you everyone for the kind comments. I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to me. 

I’d like to say I’m better now, but my blood sugar is still more reminiscent of a ballistic missile than a placid stream. And my mental state is still swirling around the drain, in part due to my health issues, and in part due too many stories like the ones below. 

The former should get a boost when I see my doctor this week, and impress on her the need for more urgent and aggressive action; the latter should improve once the former does.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t count on the health of our streets getting better anytime soon. Or our society, for that matter.

Now let’s catch up on a little news. 

I’ve lost track of who sent me what over the last week, so let me just apologize in advance and thank everyone who sent me something.

And I’ll try to do better next time. 

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This is who we share the road with.

On Saturday, an alleged rightwing extremist stepped out of a car in Allen, Texas armed with an AR-15 and opened fire, killing eight people and injuring at least seven others, before he was killed by a police officer.

The next day, a speeding driver plowed into a crowd of migrants standing outside a homeless shelter in Brownsville, Texas, killing eight people and injuring at least eleven others, in a crash witnesses allege was intentional.

If there is a difference between these two events, it appears to be one without distinction.

The body count is remarkably similar; the only difference is the choice of weapon, and the only question is one of intent. Which something tells me matters not one wit to the victims or their loved ones.

We will continue to fail as a nation, and a society, until we take comprehensive action to rein in guns and cars, and the out-of-control people in possession of both.

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George Wolfberg, right, talks with LA County’s Kristofor Norberg.

I received an email from a friend who lives in the Pacific Palisades area while I was out of commission last week.

She writes that a new park in Potrero Canyon has been named after our mutual friend George Wolfberg, a lifelong civic advocate and volunteer who fought for better beach bike paths, bike lanes and other safety facilities to help Angelenos bike more and drive less, both for cleaner air and to combat climate change, and just for the sheer joy of riding a bike.

George worked on what will now be known as George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon for over 30 years, part of his larger vision of an interconnected Los Angeles.

What he envisioned was a park that would be open to all of the public, an oasis for recreation and beauty, in a fully sustainable environment of coastal native plants, while a restored riparian water capture system would protect the canyon.

Sadly, though, George didn’t live to see the park he worked for decades to build, passing away three years ago at age 82.

And taking nearly eight decades of civic pride and advocacy with him.

But more than just a park, George envisioned a bikeway that would safely allow average people to ride from downtown Pacific Palisades, through the park and across a bridge to the beach, as well as connecting to the bike path to take riders south to the Metro Expo (E) Line in Santa Monica, or even further to Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and Palos Verdes.

The final step seemed to be when Senator Ben Allen and others earmarked $11 million for the bridge and bikeway,

But as we’ve seen too often in the past, someone always seems to step in at the last minute to throw a wrench in the whole thing.

In this case, it’s a group of wealthy NIMBY homeowners who bizarrely don’t want bikes of any kind to besmirch a park honoring a lifelong bike advocate.

Here’s how she described it.

HOWEVER, there is a group of homeowners in the Palisades with homes on or near the rim of the park who have been very vocal about not wanting any bicycles or any type or e-bikes to be allowed in the park (which goes against what the community came to agreement upon years ago). They are making a lot of noise and asking to return the funds and cancel the bridge.

  • Even though the Coastal Development Permit for the Potrero Canyon Park requires access to the beach;
  • The Recreation and Park Board of Commissioners’ approval for the George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon envisions a bridge access across PCH to the beach parking lot;
  • A bridge would provide safe passage across PCH rather than the danger of people trying to cross through the traffic on foot;
  • The bridge is also something that Caltrans supports (and it does not support adding a crosswalk or light at that location).

Yes, they want to cancel an already funded, and potentially life-saving, bike project.

Where have we heard that before?

But here’s the problem.

Because it was assumed that this was moving forward and funds were set aside, elected officials are only hearing from people opposed to the project, and not from anyone advocating FOR the bridge.

To complicate matters, supporters of the project only learned about the opposition last Wednesday, while the vote is set for this Wednesday, May 10.

Which means if you want a bike path and connectivity to the beach via a safe bridge over PCH, you need to speak up now.

No, now.

Email your support to the following California state senators today —

I’m counting on you.

Because banishing bikes from a park named for one of their biggest advocates would be this city’s ultimate bike fail.

………

Speaking of NIMBYs, a group of motorists are once again raising their anti-bike heads to demand the removal of a SoCal bikeway, this time Santa Monica’s new 17th Street bikeway project.

And once again, they are arguing that a Complete Streets project designed to improve safety for everyone somehow makes them less safe for people in motor vehicles.

Which is just a socially acceptable way of saying they don’t want to be inconvenienced, and are willing to risk sacrificing human lives for their God-given right to go zoom! zoom! to their hearts content.

You can sign a free petition thanking the Santa Monica City Council and Mobility Division for the project, and expressing your appreciation for their work to make our streets safer.

Meanwhile, a new video explains how Santa Monica is turning into Amsterdam. And as you’d expect, drawing more people on bikes.

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Streetsblog spots new and improved bike infrastructure in Silver Lake, after motorists managed to destructively dismantle the previous effort.

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Streets For All will host a virtual happy hour with special guest CD1 Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez on Wednesday.

After all, anyone who could get “Roadkill” Gil Cedillo off the city council deserves all the support she can get.

………

Mark your calendars for SoCal’s largest Pride ride on June 3rd.

https://twitter.com/CulverCityPride/status/1653863048577445888

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Speaking of Culver City, drop in for a Bike Month Handlebar Happy Hour this Friday.

https://twitter.com/Atticuz85/status/1653991731980034049

Meanwhile, LA’s Bike Week is next week, while Bike Day — formerly known as Bike to Work Day — will be Thursday, May 18th; Streetsblog offers an overview of Bike Month in Los Angeles and Long Beach.

And Santa Clarita is hosting its annual Bike to Work Challenge next week, as well.

………

Gravel Bike California grinds it out in the Cleveland National Forest. Which, oddly, is nowhere near Cleveland, thankfully.

………

Count on former Talking Heads frontman and bike advocate David Byrne to make a statement in white at the Met Gala.

………

God only knows how many times I’ve been tempted to do exactly this.

………

Who needs bike shorts, when you can just ride naked like Aquaman star Jason Momoa?

Although most bike riders don’t have that little bottle to follow us around.

………

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

Good question. A Montana writer wants to know when bicycle safety became a partisan issue.

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

There’s a special place in hell for the British hit-and-run bicyclist who left a two-year old boy lying in the street, after hitting him hard enough to knock the kid out of his shoes.

A Nairobi man faces charges after he was stopped while riding the bicycle he allegedly stole during a violent robbery of the bike’s original owner; his alleged accomplices are still at large.

………

Local 

LA Times Letters Editor Paul Thornton writes about the whiplash of Culver City caving to car culture, while other cities, like Alhambra, are resisting it; he also said Culver City’s ill-advised move made it a horrible week for ‘climate friendly’ cities. 

LAist explains how you can get involved in reshaping the size and structure of the Los Angeles City Council.

 

State

Calbike is asking you to email the California State Senate and the Senate Budget Committee to demand that California policymakers to “divest from regressive road-building” and invest $10 billion in Complete Streets and California’s transportation future. Works for me.

California saw a whopping 10% increase in pedestrian deaths last year, with a pedestrian fatality rate of 1.29 deaths per 100,000 people — a full 25% above the national average.

This is who we share the road with, too. A Corona man was found guilty of killing three teenagers, and critically injuring three others, when he ran their car off the road and into a tree, for the crime of playing Ding Dong Ditch and speeding off after mooning him.

The executive director of Bike SD says San Diego’s decision to widen SR-56 simply prioritizes short-term convenience over long-term sustainability.

San Diego’s Vision Zero is going the wrong way, as bicycling and pedestrian deaths spike on the city’s streets.

Arguello Boulevard in San Francisco’s Presidio will get a protected bike lane, after world masters champ Ethan Boyes was killed there last month. Although as usual, the decision to improve a dangerous street only came after it was too late. 

Hundreds of people rode their bikes in the annual Davis Loopalooza, as residents tried to reclaim their city in the wake of a serial stabber who killed two people, including one who was killed as he rode his bike through a local park.

 

National

If your favorite cyclist or bike advocate now has a blue check on Twitter, there’s a good chance they didn’t ask for it, let alone want it.

American men are three times more likely to ride a bike as American women, unlike many other countries.

Pinkbike’s editors explain what bike saddles they use on their own bikes and why.

A Spokane, Washington woman is — allegedly — a two-time hit-and-run loser, charged with killing two people after getting drunk and falling asleep behind the wheel, a decade after she was convicted of fleeing the scene after killing a bike rider. Which is precisely why drivers should lose their license for life after a single hit-and-run, because they’ve shown themselves to be unwilling to obey even the most basic requirement for driving. Let alone human decency. 

The definition of chutzpah. An Arizona driver, apparently dissatisfied with the gentle caress on the wrist he received for the hit-and-run crash that killed a bike rider, appealed his conviction and sentence of less than six months behind bars and five years probation; thankfully, the appeals court politely told him to pipe down and do his time.

A Salt Lake City TV station takes advantage of Yellowstone’s annual carfree soft-opening for a bike ride through the snowy Wyoming national park.

A Pittsburgh columnist argues the city should commit to zero traffic deaths by 2035. Although as we’ve learned the hard way, it’s one thing to commit to no traffic deaths, but it’s another to get elected leaders to actually invest the money and make the hard choices to make it happen.

If you build it they will come. No surprise here, as a controversial Staten Island lane reduction and bike lanes is seeing more two-wheel traffic as the weather warms.

There’s something wrong when a longtime advocate for bikes and improving New York’s deadly streets becomes a victim of them.

New York’s annual Five Boro Bike Tour brought 32,000 bike riders out for a 40-mile carfree ride through the city.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. The Washington Post looks at DC’s failure to rein in dangerous drivers, as one motorist manages to run up $186,000 in unpaid traffic fines. Just one more example of authorities keeping a dangerous driver on the streets until its too late.

WaPo also examines the dirty underbelly of “clean” electric vehicles, and explains why free street parking could cost you thousands more in rent.

 

International

Tragic news from the UK, where former track champ and Tour of Britain director Tony Doyle died after a brief battle with cancer; he was just 64.

An Irish columnist feels unsafe on the street after arriving at her office, then returns to find her bike missing.

They get it. France will spend the equivalent of $2.21 billion to boost bicycle use over the next five years.

More proof you can carry anything on a bicycle, as a Pakistani photographer catches a street vendor with his bike overloaded with garlic.

That’s more like it. A Johannesburg taxi driver has been sentenced to eight years behind bars for the drunken crash that killed a bike rider, after driving nearly one thousand feet — more than three football fields — with the victim trapped under his van.

 

Competitive Cycling

The home side was victorious in Sunday’s stage 2 of the Giro, as Italy’s Jonathan Milan took the day, and reigning world champ Remco Evenepoel held onto the leader’s jersey.

Dutch cyclist Martijn Tusveld survived a dramatic crash late in Sunday’s stage 2, but his bike didn’t, snapping in two when he was sent flying into a roadside barrier.

Cycling Weekly profiles four-time world champ Annemiek van Vleuten, saying Remco Evenepoel isn’t the only former soccer player to win the cycling worlds.

Conservative media was up in arms over a “biological man” winning the women’s Tour of the Gila, saying it renewed calls to ban trans women from competitive cycling. Which would only seem to matter if you ignore all the other times a trans woman didn’t win.

An Ohio woman finished the 2022 Race Across America, aka RAAM, in 11 months and seven days, completing the final 262 miles ten months after a crash into a wooden bridge left her with a broken hip.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you visit a Marin bike museum, and find your mother’s seatless bike on display. Your next bike could have brake levers poking out of the handlebars, even before you crash it.

And fortunately, this helped mitigate the trauma caused when Britain’s new figurehead not only failed to include a regiment of royal corgis in the coronation parade, but didn’t even his loyal four-foot soldiers a shoutout.

……….

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Culver City to bike and bus riders: drop dead — CC council votes to rip out MOVE Culver City Complete Streets project

Today’s Morning Links have been cancelled in favor of an unbridled rant regarding the sheer recalcitrant idiocy demonstrated by the Culver City Council Tuesday night. 

Or make that early Wednesday morning, since treachery usually occurs in the early morning hours, long after most people with any common sense have gone to bed.

Which leaves out three-fifths of Culver City’s elected leadership.

We’ll be back tomorrow with our regularly scheduled programming.

………

It really shouldn’t surprise anyone.

As expected, the newly conservative Culver City Council voted to gut the MOVE Culver City project.

The highly successful Complete Streets project received overwhelming public support going late into the night at Tuesday’s council session.

Yet they still voted 3 to 2 to remove the protected bike lanes in favor of a shared bus and bike lane, in order to add another traffic lane so more drivers can go zoom, zoom to their hearts content.

At least that’s the theory.

In reality, it’s likely to result in more congestion, as the added lane will just encourage more drivers to clog the city’s downtown area, with the added noise, smog and safety risks they’ll bring with them.

It will also mean reduced bike traffic, as fewer riders will be willing to use the newly shared bus and bike lanes, with the risk of an inattentive or impatient bus driver running up their ass.

Then again, that appears to be purely intentional.

And it means slower bus traffic, as buses will now have to follow behind people on bicycles, making it a less attractive transportation option and resulting reduced ridership.

Never mind this logical disconnect.

Call it a lose/lose/lose.

Because the city is giving a big FU to anyone not safely ensconced in a couple tons of dangerous, polluting glass and steel.

And you can add another lose to that, since the move to rip out the project will inevitably result in a CEQA violation unless the city manages to conduct an environmental impact study that somehow miraculously shows little or no environmental damage from the project’s removal.

Sure, that will happen.

In reality, the city will likely try to rip out the bike lanes without conducting the required study, resulting in a CEQA lawsuit, followed by a likely court judgement requiring them to put them back.

Making the entire effort a performative exercise designed to placate the angry conservative voters who elected the new reactionary councilmembers.

While everyone else who lives, works or moves through the city just gets shafted.

Pitiful.

Needless to say, the condemnation following the vote was fast and furious.

Mitt Romney calls bike lanes “height of stupidity,” it’s Election Day in CD6, and BikeLA is hiring HR and finance manager

No bias here.

Business Insider looks at the prospects for ebike tax credits and bike safety measures on Capitol Hill, and says, in effect, don’t hold your breath.

According to the magazine, Congressional Republicans are a long way from being convinced to do anything for bikes, especially in the GOP-controlled House.

Consider this from Susan Collins, often considered the party’s relatively moderate voice of reason.

“We’re over-subsidizing electric vehicles as it is now,” Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, told Insider in the Capitol this week. “I don’t want to add to the unfairness of the current system where electric cars are free riders and don’t pay to help maintain our roads and bridges through a gas tax or any kind of surcharge.”

Then there’s the very wealthy Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who pans a new bill to increase bike and pedestrian safety and doesn’t want to subsidize rich people like him.

And thinks bike lanes only cause congestion.

“I’m not going to spend money on buying e-bikes for people like me who have bought them — they’re expensive,” he said. “Removing automobile lanes to put in bike lanes is, in my opinion, the height of stupidity, it means more cars backing up, creating more emissions.”

Never mind that he could afford to buy an electric jet without subsidies, let alone an ebike. And yes, that is a thing.

The problem is, too many of the rest of us can’t.

And never mind that the myth of bike lanes causing traffic congestion and emissions has been a favorite talking point on the right, when studies show bike lanes actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions as efficiently as highways create them.

The real problem, however, has little or nothing to do with bikes, or giving them a safe piece of the roadway.

According to The Insider,

The opposition to pro-bicycle policy has to be understood in the larger context of the culture war and conservative fears of Democrats’ climate-friendly agenda, said Tim Carney, a senior fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

“There is a widespread suspicion on the right today that liberals want to take away their way of life,” Carney told Insider. “This idea that the left knows there’s only one right way to live, it’s the way that we want to live and we’re going to force it on you. That is in the background of the mind of every conservative, and so when they hear more bike lanes, they think, ‘Okay, what is that code for?'”

Which makes the bizarre conspiracy theories surrounding the concept of 15-minute cities make more sense. Or at least as much sense as a completely whackadoodle conspiracy can, anyway.

But there may be some slight glimmer of hope, as Carney says to frame the story in terms of building safer and more interconnected communities for children and families.

“What parents need now is the ability to set their kids free and have them be safe,” Carney said. “Better bike safety, and better bike trails and lanes make life easier and more fun for your average suburban parents and for the kids. It also builds resilience and independence among kids, and makes us have fewer snowflake kids when they get to college.”

We can only hope.

You can read the story on MSN if the magazine blocks you. 

Photo of US Capitol at night by Trev Adams for Pexels

………

Today is Election Day in LA’s 6th Council District, in the special election to replace disgraced Councilmember Nury Martinez.

The LA Times has endorsed Marco Santana, while Streets For All split their endorsement between Santana and Antoinette Scully.

So if you live in the district, get out and vote like your life depends on it.

Because it just might.

………

BikeLA, the bike advocacy organization formerly known as the LACBC, is looking for a full-time finance and HR manager.

And no, that doesn’t stand for Home Runs, even if it is baseball season.

………

No, they’re not there to help improve your aim.

https://twitter.com/viggyswam/status/1642950283490738177

Thanks to Marcello Calicchio for the heads-up. 

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Seriously, this is effing gorgeous.

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Call him the drum and bass Pied Piper.

A DJ with a bike-mounted sound system led hundreds of English bicyclists on a “mind blowing” ride through the streets of Bristol.

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

No bias here, either. A “flash mob” of angry anti-bike lane protesters blocked a new British bike lane by parking their cars on it.

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

A Visalia, California man wanted for several violent felonies led police on a bicycle chase as he tried to escape arrest, which only ended when he was struck by a driver while attempting to ride on a highway.

………

Local 

Bike bag brand Fierce Hazel designs their True Grit line of bags and pouches using sustainable repurposed fabric right here in LA, although they’re actually made in Vietnam.

Long Beach bike riders will have to cope with the closure of the bike lane on north side of E. Third Street between Linden and Atlantic avenues for a movie shoot tomorrow.

 

State

Caltrans released a five-year progress report on the state transportation agency’s first-ever statewide bicycle and pedestrian plan, including developing active transportation plans for each of the agency’s 12 districts. Although I can write that report in just two words — not enough. 

This is who we share the road with. Heartbreaking news from Orange County, where an allegedly stoned driver jumped the curb in Los Flores and drove up o the sidewalk, killing an infant boy in his stroller while seriously injuring his parents. Thanks to Larry Kawalec for the link.

Encinitas is beginning work on a two-way cycle track on the west side of Coast Highway 101, along with traditional bike lanes on either side of the road for higher-speed bicyclists, with work expected to be completed by June.

San Jose’s mayor and police chief got on their bikes to promote public safety and refocusing on basic city services, including housing everyone on the streets. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass rides a bike, as does LAPD Chief Michael Moore, so maybe we could get them both on bikes sometime.

San Francisco is scheduled to approve plans for a highly contentious two-way, center-running cycle track on Valencia Street today, which has been very unpopular with bicyclists.

Streetsblog explores the new curb-protected bike lanes currently taking shape on Oakland’s Telegraph Avenue, which barely survived efforts to kill them last year.

Bicycle co-op and community advocacy organization Rich City Rides has started a $6 million capital campaign to raise funds to buy its Richmond location and three other buildings; the owner has given them until the end of June to raise the money. So if you have an extra million or two lying around, they can use the help.

 

National

Forbes makes their picks for the best bike locks. And wouldn’t mind if you bought one, so they could make a few bucks.

A writer for political site Outside the Beltway badly misses the point as he considers yesterday’s very Shoupista piece in The Wall Street Journal arguing that America has too much parking, concluding that it’s too pro-developer, and that Americans need their parking spaces. Never mind that everyone who doesn’t drive subsidizes free parking for those who do, in the form of higher rents and home prices, and inflated retail prices to cover the cost of building and maintaining massive parking lots.

Portland is hiring a polling company in an effort to learn why bicycling rates have dropped significantly in what is largely regarded as one of the country’s most bike-friendly cities.

That feeling when a bike rider is struck by a semi-truck driver by surprise, in Surprise.

Congratulations. Oregon says it’s legal to briefly cross the centerline in a no passing zone to get around an obstruction on the right side of the roadway. And yes, you’re the obstruction.

A Chicago driver finally faces charges for aggravated driving under the influence in last June’s death of an 83-year old man who was killed while riding his bike around a nearby forest reserve, like he did almost every day.

New York is marking Earth Day by banning cars, at least temporarily, and opening the streets to people, with seven signature and 23 community-organized Open Streets locations throughout the city.

Virginia authorities are offering a $15,000 reward in the hit-and-run death of a 70-year old former Commonwealth’s Attorney — the equivalent of a district attorney — who was run down by a driver while riding his bike.

Even nature is out to get us. An unsuspecting Virginia bike rider was lucky to escape without serious injuries when a large tree branch broke off and fell on him, as a door cam captured the crash.

Tragic story from Mississippi, where an Air Force Wing commander’s 30-year career didn’t prepare her for the trauma she experienced when she and two friends were run down by a driver on the last day of a bike and kayak race across Florida that injured her, and killed one of her teammates.

 

International

There’s a special place in hell for the Scottish bike thief who stole a bicycle from an 11-year old boy at a playground, then flashed a gun at a Good Samaritan who tried to get it back.

A Philippine fundraising ride will mark the 81st anniversary of the brutal WWII Bataan Death March, following the route traveled by American and Filipino soldiers captured by the Japanese.

A new Aussie study confirms that women face many barriers to bicycling that keep them from riding, not the least of which is access to safe infrastructure.

Life is cheap in Australia, where a sleeping driver got a whole two years behind bars for fleeing the scene after dozing off and slamming into a man taking part in a group training ride — but could get out after just nine months.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Weekly offers five things they learned from Sunday’s Tour of Flanders, including that 23-year old Brit Fred Wright can ride with the big dogs.

British cyclist Ethan Hayter took the opening stage of the Tour of the Basque Country in an uphill sprint to the finish.

Russian Petr Rikunov won the first stage of the “prestigious” Ho Chi Minh City Television Cup Vietnamese stage rage.

Here’s video of the Tour of Flanders crash caused by Polish cyclist Filip Maciejuk we mentioned yesterday. Oops.

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can take a bike tour of Taiwan without leaving Indiana. Who needs puncture-resistant bike tires when you’ve got tennis balls?

And never buy a bike helmet at a garage sale. Or morph a story about bike helmets into a completely different topic without warning, for that matter.

………

Ramadan Mubarak to all observing the Islamic holy month. 

……….

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Wrapping an anti-15-minute city rant in Catholic BS, and an “overly powerful bike lobby” gets everything it wants — or not

I guess I missed that day in catechism class.

A writer for the Catholic Herald — a publication which, unto now, I have been blissfully unaware, despite a conservative Catholic upbringing — professes to make “the Catholic argument against 15-minute cities.”

Never mind that Jesus was a pedestrian who likely lived in one.

The thesis of a 15-minute city is that everything you need for daily life should be found within a 15-minutes walk, bike or transit ride of your home.

That’s it.

And as much as I strain my memory, I can’t recall any teachings of Jesus or the disciples that so much as mention it, let alone condemn it.

But that doesn’t stop the author, who will remain unnamed here to protect the guilty.

At face value, the idea seems desirable and has much to commend it. But I can’t help smell a rat, especially following Covid lockdowns and the increasingly “nudgy” and authoritarian-lite sheen to public policies these days. I suspect the great Catholic writer Hilaire Belloc would have agreed, given what he had to say about the intractable struggle between Catholicism and socialism.

“The Catholic Church, acutely conscious as she is of the abominations of the modern industrial and capitalistic system…refuses to cure it at the expense of denying a fundamental principle of morality, the principle of private ownership, which applies quite as much to the means of production as to any other class of material objects,” Belloc wrote in his 1908 essay The Church and Socialism. 

Currently the “material object” most in the crosshairs that bureaucrats and activists are obsessing over – in terms of reducing your use of it or simply taking it away altogether- is your car.

Huh?

I don’t know of any version of the 15-minute city philosophy that involves taking away anyone’s car.

Nor is there a damn thing socialistic about the concept. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Unless maybe you don’t approve of Medicare and social security. And don’t get me started on the inherent socialism in this country’s subsidizing of motor vehicle usage.

If anything, the 15-minute city is about enabling personal freedom to move about as you choose, without forcing you into a motor vehicle just to get groceries, get to work or get healthcare.

Or even get to church, temple, mosque or wherever you choose to worship, or not.

You can walk. You can bike. You can take a bus or train. Or — tres shock! — you can even drive, if you so choose.

But wait, as they say in informercials, there’s more.

The “fundamental thesis of Socialism”, as Belloc highlights, is “that man would be better and happier were the means of production in human society, that is, land and machinery and all transport [my italics], controlled by government rather than by private persons or corporations.”

I’ve experienced transport being excessively controlled by the Taliban, and I can assure you it sucks. Their IED campaign in Afghanistan’s Helmand province was so deadly effective that the British Army lost its freedom of movement. Admittedly the use of IEDs is an extreme form of traffic fines—but the principle is the same: someone else interdicting your movement. It changes everything.

Can you say, “non sequitur?”

Sure you can.

Again, socialism has nothing to do with the 15-minute city. If anything, it enables capitalism in its purest and simplest sense, since it enables you to do business with local merchants, right where you live.

But it does nothing to prevent you from doing business across town, across the country or across the globe.

And no, it has nothing to do with IEDs or any other kind of explosives.

Yet he goes on.

Of course he does.

Thanks to the vagaries of freelancing, I’ve also experienced various prolonged periods of not owning a car and I can confirm that it is tedious, limiting and exhausting, as you set off, once again, peddling like a maniac to make it on time. Not having a car is even harder if you are coordinating a family (once again, public policy seems set on disincentivising the family unit, while punishing those who have children).

Somehow, he turns that into an argument against being able to live without a car.

Go figure.

Where, pray tell, is freedom represented in forcing people to pay hundreds, if not thousands of dollars every month to own and use motor vehicles, just to access the things and services they need?

And just where is the love and forgiveness of God in his supposed Catholic essay?

Because there is absolutely nothing Catholic about his arguments. Rather, what he penned was an essay about the dangers of socialism, under the mistaken belief it has anything to do with the 15-minute city, and tried to shoehorn Catholicism in.

Not faith. Not religion. Not even Christianity, because what he writes has nothing to do with it in any shape or form.

It is ironic that his essay appeared on Palm Sunday, which marks the pre-Passover entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem on the back of a lowly donkey.

Because, as we noted earlier, there is no reason to believe that the biblical city was anything other than a 15-minute city, because even though it held over half a million people, most local residents were unlikely to walk outside of their own neighborhoods to meet most of their needs.

Because most would likely have to walk, especially the poor.

It was the Romans and the wealthy who used horses, chariots and wagons, the motor vehicles of their day, to go beyond their own communities.

Which means there’s a far greater Catholic argument for a 15-minute city than against it.

Photo of the inside of the Vatican by Photo by Luis Núñez from Pexels.

………

A Chicago letter writer alleges that bike riders don’t belong in traffic, and that the city is in the throes of an overly powerful bike lobby that gets everything it wants.

Am I the only one who has noticed that building bike lanes to make cycling in city traffic safe is a lot like putting filter tips on cigarettes to make smoking tobacco safe? A cosmetic change isn’t going to change the fact that for traffic, the bicycle is a fatally flawed product from the start…

Instead of spending the taxpayers’ money to force more bike lanes down the public’s throats, perhaps the politicians could learn to ask us first if this is what we want, rather than just giving an overly powerful lobby everything they want.

Funny how only people who don’t ride bikes think there’s a powerful bicycle lobby. And those of us who ride bikes think we can’t get anyone to actually listen to us.

Never mind that the best way to get bikes out of city traffic is to build bike lanes, which most surveys tend to show are overwhelmingly popular.

………

Pink Bike says two young Chilean kids probably ride better than you do.

Or better than I do, anyway.

………

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

San Luis Obispo’s curmudgeonly anti-bike columnist blames bike lanes for destroying the livability of the city’s neighborhoods, even though most people would likely say they do just the opposite. And he objects to rising bike path construction costs, somehow forgetting that construction costs are going up virtually everywhere, for everything.

An English man had to play dead to stop an attack by four muggers who violently assaulted him and stole his £3,500 e-mountain bike, the equivalent of over $4,300.

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

Pennsylvania state police are on the lookout for a 61-year old scofflaw cyclist who gave them a fake ID, then fled into the woods on his bike after they discovered he was wanted in two states.

An English bike rider allegedly got off his bicycle and punched a man in his 70s in the face, after startling the older man by riding past him on the sidewalk.

Police in the UK are looking for a hit-and-run bike rider who seriously injured a 77-year-old woman in Leeds by crashing into her while riding on the sidewalk.

Police in Milan, Italy are looking for the bike-riding man who stabbed a pair of Egyptian brothers when they got out of their car to check on him after a wrong-way crash.

………

Local 

Urbanize looks forward to the Mid-City to Pico Union CicLAvia in less than two weeks.

Avril Lavigne is one of us, and so is rapper Tyga, as the couple share an ebike on a ride on the beaches of the ‘Bu.

 

State

Bike and safety advocates press the case that San Diego isn’r doing enough to protect bicyclists and pedestrians, demanding increased funding for Vision Zero. Based on the 29 people killed in the county over the past two years, they’re right. Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up. 

The plague of ebike battery fires hit close to home after one exploded when a man poured water on a battery fire as it was being recharged in a couple’s living room in San Diego’s Barrio Logan; he was burned on his arms and legs, while their apartment was destroyed in the fire.

Completing our San Diego trifecta, a local TV station says business owners are up in arms over the loss of 300 parking spots in the Convoy District to build a pair of separated bike lanes, even though that’s at least partially offset by 171 new angled parking spaces.

The Vista city council approved $1.7 million to build a series of separated bike lanes. Even if they are just using plastic bollards. And hopefully the nice, thicks ones, rather than the flimsy car-tickler bendy posts. 

Bakersfield officials officially opened a new bike path providing a continuous loop around Lake Ming, completing a 30-mile lake-to-lake bike path. Thanks to Geri for the heads-up. 

Sad news from Redwood City, where someone riding a bicycle was killed by a hit-and-run driver Friday night.

An Oakland TV station says the 100-member San Ramon Valley Mountain Bike Club, composed of middle and high school students, has doubled the membership of young woman over the past year, when the team apparently had five and a half girls.

 

National

A writer for the Wall Street Journal makes a very Shoup-ian case for why the US has too much parking, in a story that for some reason isn’t hidden behind their draconian paywall, at least for now. Unless you’re talking secure bike parking, of course, in which case there isn’t nearly enough.

AutoEvolution says bikemakers are getting very close to replacing the car with the latest bicycle cargo haulers.

Denver officials are hoping the ebike craze continues, in an effort to replace vehicle miles with cleaner bike traffic.

Tragic news from Houston, where bicyclists are calling for more visible trail closure signs after a bike rider died last week when his bike apparently got tangled up in orange construction netting while riding at night.

Texas pedestrian and bicyclist traffic crash deaths increased a whopping 34% and 58%, respectively over a five-year period.

He gets it. A Portland letter writer says safe and secure bike parking does as much as good infrastructure to create more riders.

Last week we mentioned the shameful theft of a three-year old Maine kid’s Spider-Man bicycle while he was shopping with his mom. But there’s good news this time, after an anonymous Good Samaritan — in keeping with today’s Biblical theme — gave him a new one, plus matching helmet and bike lock.

Bicyclists from all over the US descended on DC over the weekend to demand ebike tax credits and road safety funding, as traffic deaths continue to rise.

Take an ebike tour of eight iconic DC monuments, memorials and museums.

Bad news from Durham, North Carolina, where the city’s budget director was killed in a collision with a speeding driver while riding his bicycle; he was also the bestselling author of Wish You Were Here: A Murdered Girl, A Brother’s Quest and the Hunt for a Canadian Serial Killer.

There’s a special place in hell for the man who attacked a Florida boy who was riding his bike to school, and stole his bicycle; fortunately, kindhearted Clearwater cops bought the 5th grader a new bike so he could ride home the same night.

 

International

Cyclist says when you’re buying a new bike, listen to your heart, not your head.

Cycling Weekly answers the burning question of whether you’re better off with a cycling computer or a smartphone app.

Tragic news from Brazil, where a 43-year old man died after he swallowed a bee while riding his bike, and went into anaphylactic shock when it stung the inside of his throat. I once swallowed something winged and fuzzy, which was when I learned to ride with my mouth closed. 

British Columbia’s Pique Newsmagazine says the pandemic bike boom is over, which means there’s never been a better time to buy a bicycle.

A blind English man was lucky to get his $2,400 adaptive tandem bike back after police recovered the stolen bike in a drug raid.

The New York Post reviews Scottish endurance bicyclist Jenny Graham’s memoir of her record-breaking ride around the world through 16 countries and four continents, covering 18,000 miles in just 124 days.

Business owners in the UK opposed to a Cornwall bikeway warn that people using it could be jeopardized by truck mirrors overhanging the bike path. Which is a better argument for keeping trucks the hell away from it.

A pair of British men plan to pedal in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia, riding 125 miles through the Jordanian desert to historic sites visited by the legendary TE Lawrence during WWI.

Turkmenistan’s annual World Health Day celebrations culminated with thousands of people in matching track suits pedaling green bicycles matching the national flag attached to each one.

Indian bikemakers say mandatory minimum standards and upgrading technology are just two of the five keys to turning around the country’s bicycle industry.

All Japanese bicyclists are now required to wear a helmet at all times, though compliance is in question, since there are no penalties for not complying.

 

Competitive Cycling

Tadej Pogačar took Sunday’s Tour of Flanders, as Mathieu van der Poel settled for second, acknowledging that he just didn’t have enough to overtake the Slovenian two-time Tour de France champ.

American Matteo Jorgenson was happy to finish in the top ten at Flanders, taking ninth place, although fellow American Neilson Powless had him beat with a fifth place finish in just his second cobblestone classic.

Poland’s Filip Maciejuk was DQ’d for causing a huge crash in the Tour of Flanders after losing control of his bike by swerving into deep grass, then cutting back onto the road and into the peloton, but at least he says he’s sorry.

Meanwhile, Belgian Lotte Kopecky won her second consecutive victory in the women’s Tour of Flanders, in a breakaway victory over Demi Vollering.

 

Finally…

Presenting a weight weenie’s worst nightmare, with the world’s heaviest rideable bicycle — or tricycle, anyway. When you’re on parole for killing a bike rider, with a revoked driver’s license, maybe try sticking to the speed limit. Or not driving to begin with.

And to paraphrase the immortal words of Richard Nixon, Paris won’t have e-scooters to kick around anymore.

………

Thanks again to Matthew Robertson for his generous monthly donation to keep all the best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day. As always, donations are always welcome and truly appreciated, whether repeating or otherwise.

………

Ramadan Mubarak to all observing the Islamic holy month. 

……….

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

LA Times fans OC ebike mayhem panic, City Hall die-in this Saturday, and Slate questions efficacy of bike helmets

No bias here.

The Los Angeles Times reports on complaints about ebikes in Orange County, where they face bans and draconian speed limits on and near beach trails.

No, just the complaints.

At least until you reach the bottom of the story, by which time most Times readers have already moved on to Marmaduke.

Instead of reporting objectively, the paper settles for reprinting the long list of complaints from Orange County’s anti-ebike crowd, who seem to consider them the worst tech advance since Elon Musk bought Twitter.

Here’s how the paper frames the story, starting with a longtime Newport Beach resident who compares the local boardwalk to the 405 Freeway.

Three decades ago, Levine moved to what some refer to as the city’s “war zone,” a nickname given not because of crime but for the reputation of summertime rowdiness along the boardwalk, which now includes an abundance of electric bicycles. The strip’s 8 mph speed limit means nothing to some of these people, he said.

He’s watched people get mowed down, dogs hit and too many near misses to count, he said. City leaders for years have studied how to manage the proliferation of e-bikes along the route but have stopped short of banning them.

“What we’re witnessing on the boardwalk is mayhem,” Maureen Cotton, president of the Central Newport Beach Community Assn., told the City Council during a meeting urging officials to address e-bikes last year.

So, let me get this straight.

It’s been a war zone for decades. But ebikes have somehow ruined everything.

Sure, that makes sense.

Then the paper moves on to repeating the same tired and previously discredited stats we’ve been hearing for months from PR staffers at the local hospital trying to fan the flames of an anti-ebike pyre.

During the first 10 months of last year, staffers at Providence Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo documented 198 e-bike injuries. Doctors saw 113 injuries in 2021 and just 34 in 2020, according to data provided by the hospital.

Between January and October of last year, 78 of the 198 people who suffered an injury on an e-bike were not wearing helmets and 99 suffered some type of head injury, data show.

“My feeling about the whole situation with e-bikes is that we got a device a little bit too fast, and the culture is not completely set for it,” said Tetsuya Takeuchi, the trauma medical director at Providence Mission Hospital…

Where to begin.

Evidently, some people who got injured riding ebikes weren’t wearing bike helmets. But most were.

And half of the people who were injured riding an ebike suffered a head injury. Which may or may not have been the 40% who weren’t wearing helmets.

It may come as a shock to the kind and caring people at Providence that some people who ride regular bikes don’t wear helmets, either. And some of them get hurt, too, though not always with head injuries.

Which is just one of the great, inexplicable mysteries of bicycling, that some people who don’t wear bike helmets don’t suffer head injuries, and some who do, do.

Then there’s the exponential increase in ebike injuries. Which just happens to coincide with the exponential increase in ebikes.

That doesn’t mean ebikes are dangerous. Just that a lot of people are using them now.

In fact, I’d consider 198 injuries a relatively small amount, given the untold thousands of Orange County residents who’ve adopted them.

Lastly, let’s consider the question of speed, which has apparently gotten “a little bit too fast.”

Under California law, which has been copied in most states, Class 1 and 2 ebikes, whether ped-assist or throttle-driven, are limited to 20 mph.

Which virtually anyone could top with a decent effort on a decent road bike. Never mind today’s lightweight, technological marvels engineered for every higher speeds.

The bikes, I mean, not the riders. Though some of them have been engineered for speed, too.

Yet somehow, those bikes aren’t considered too fast. And no one has banned 27 speed carbon-fiber bikes or their spandex-clad riders from the boardwalk.

And just wait until the good doctors at Providence learn how fast cars can go, and the damage they cause.

In fact, my stats show 12 people were killed by drivers while riding bikes in Orange County last year, a drop from the obscene 17 killed in 2021.

Ebike riders killed somewhere around zero in Orange County over that same time period, to the best of my knowledge.

So which of these is actually dangerous?

Then there’s the way the paper takes about halfway through the story, after fanning the flames of ebike haters, to even mention that there are different categories of ebikes, and dozens of different types.

And even then, fails to mention that the faster Class 3 ebikes are banned from bike trails that aren’t attached to roadways, beachfront or otherwise.

Or that even people on regular bikes struggle to meet those ridiculously low 8 mph speed limits without falling over.

But once again, no one is seriously suggesting that regular should be banned.

The key, as they finally get around to mentioning just before the end of the story, is behavior.

Someone who is a jerk in a car — or on a skateboard, or with a shopping cart — is just as likely to be a jerk on an ebike.

And a kid who has never been taught to ride a bike safely — electric or otherwise — is going to ride a bike or bike like a, well, kid.

Just what they’re riding doesn’t have a damn thing to do with it.

So let’s put away the torches and pitchforks, and learn to live with all those scary ebike monsters. Because really, they’re not bad, just new and different.

And seriously, LA Times, do better.

Ebike photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels.

………

We’ll let Streets For All put things in perspective with their call to participate in the Saturday’s City Hall die-in to protest traffic violence.

If you’re a pedestrian or cyclist in Los Angeles, you’re probably used to hearing about traffic fatalities in our community. But 2022 was a record-breaking year — in the worst way. Last year, there were 309 traffic fatalities in LA, breaking the 300 mark for the first time in more than twenty years. This is a staggering increase of almost 30% from 2020.

These statistics are tragedies in and of themselves, but they’re made even worse by the fact that pedestrians and cyclists are impacted the most by every measure. Cyclist fatalities alone went up 40% between 2020 and 2022.

We can’t keep living like this. Join us on the steps of City Hall on Saturday, January 21st at 9:30am for a die-in protest. It’s time for our electeds to start paying attention.

RSVP for more details

………

A writer for Slate examine the limited efficacy of bike helmets, noting that “When it comes to the dangers threatening cyclists, wearing a helmet is like bringing a knife to a gunfight.”

They make the same argument I’ve been making for years — bike helmets are designed to protect against relatively low speed falls, not high impact crashes with motor vehicles.

Which is not to say you shouldn’t wear one.

The overwhelming majority of bicycling injuries result from falls, not crashes. Which is exactly what they’re made for.

I still credit my helmet with saving my grey matter, and possibly my life, during the Infamous Beachfront Bee Incident, and never ride without one.

But they should always be considered the last line of defense when everything else fails.

You’re a lot better off not getting hit by a car and its driver in the first place, rather than count on your helmet to save your life if you do.

………

In a related story, the Manhattan Beach Police Department tells teenage bike riders not to be melon heads, as they gleefully smash watermelons as a metaphor for helmet-less bike riders.

Even though watermelons smash much easier that teenage skulls, and most heads aren’t filled with seeds.

And yes, I said most.

………

Ted Faber finds a pothole that could be the gaping maw of the gates of Hell.

………

This is who we share the road with.

An alleged drunk driver in LA’s Silver Lake neighborhood backs through a crowd of people trying to stop him from getting behind the wheel, then takes off, leaving injured bystanders strewn in his wake.

Thanks to How the West Was Woke for the heads-up. 

………

This is who we share the road with, part two.

An South LA man apparently angry about his pending divorce decided to take it out on his wife’s house, and all the cars in the neighborhood.

But sure, tell us again about those OC ebikes.

………

San Francisco Bay Area cyclist Nehemiah Brown is asking other people of color to join him in accepting the gift of gravel.

………

More proof of our auto centric world, as Irish Tic Tok’ers are shocked to see a man transporting a new flatscreen TV on his bike.

Even if he’s just using it as a cart.

@all_about_rosalilla

Who thinks this TV is making it home in one piece? #fyp #onlyinireland #tiktokireland #irelandtiktok #fypage #nanocelltv #whatsontelly #foryoupage

♬ Crash – The Primitives

………

And this video pretty well sums things up, I think.

………

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

No bias here. Plans for a Manhattan bike lane are being held up by judges who don’t want to give up their cushy curbside parking next to the courthouse, with one court official comparing their efforts to the French attempting to hold back Nazi Germany prior to WWII.

A road raging British driver is on trial for allegedly punching and choking a man riding a bike, after clipping the arm of the victim during a close pass; he blocked the victim’s path and got out of his car when the bike ride slapped it and called him an idiot.

Another road raging British driver gets a lesson in setting the handbrake before going off on a bike rider, who didn’t appear to be doing anything wrong.

 

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

A British runner justifiably blasts schmucks who park on the sidewalk to go mountain biking.

………

Local 

Longtime KPCC and LAist reporter Frank Stolze introduces the seven candidates who have qualified so far to run in the race to replace ex-councilmember Nury Martinez in LA’s CD6.

Speaking of Streets For All, Streetsblog reports on their call to transform current-day Mid City car sewer San Vicente Blvd into a linear park.

 

State

Orange County will install a new traffic signal at Oso Parkway and Coto de Caza Drive, just outside Coto de Caza, where eight-year old Bradley Rofer was killed by a pickup driver in September. As usual, the long-needed traffic fix only comes several months after Rofer was killed.

Former NBA great Bill Walton reacts to being harassed by homeless people while riding his bike through Balboa Park by suggesting all the city’s unhoused residents should get rounded up and sent to a camp on a military base — voluntarily, of course. Because that worked so well last time, apparently.

The CHP is looking for the hit-and-run driver who ran down a 22-year old Santa Barbara man riding his bike on PCH (scroll down) north of Ventura early Friday morning; there’s no description on the driver or vehicle, and no word on the condition of the victim.

 

National

Calvin, of “and Hobbes” fame, faces up to his greatest tormenters, including his bicycle.

Scott is recalling their 2022 Speedster road and gravel bikes due to a defective fork that could break during use.

Nonprofit group Black Girls Do Bike celebrates ten years of changing what the cycling world looks like by “providing welcoming, safe and fun opportunities for women of color to ride bikes.”

The Washington Post examines where cars outnumber drivers, let alone people. Surprisingly, California ain’t one of them.

In a report that should surprise absolutely no one, the Rhodium Group concludes that transportation is the leading source for climate damaging emissions for the sixth year in a row. To which bicycles contributed just this side of zero.

Apparently, not even Congresspeople are safe from traffic violence, as Oregon Representative Suzanne Bonamici and her husband were struck by a driver as they were crossing a Portland street Friday evening. Although CNN somehow manages to get through the entire story without mentioning that there was someone behind the wheel. 

A kindhearted Boise, Idaho group donated over 50 bikes to Ukrainian refugee children in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

This is who we share the country with. Wyoming, the state where even Liz Cheney wasn’t considered conservative enough, continued its race to the bottom when state legislators proposed banning electric vehicles in a childish tantrum to protect the gas and oil industries.

The fight continues over a $12 million Houston road diet and bike lane project, as a county commissioner pushes it forward while a city councilmember works to halt it.

A pair of kindhearted Texas cops surprised a young boy with a new bike, after they fixed the chain on his old beat up bike so he could make it home from school.

Boston readers freak out over a single still photo of a woman on what looks like a bikeshare bike trying to merge onto a local highway, with her shopping bag dangling from her handlebars.

The New Yorker talks with the daredevil behind the city’s infamous bikeshare-riding stunt crew, the Citi Bike Boyz.

A DC proposal would give ebike buyers a $400 tax rebate, with an extra $500 for e-cargo bikes; low-income buyers could get up to $1,200 plus the e-cargo bike bonus.

At least 80 bike riders turned out to honor a pair of Baton Rouge, Louisiana high school cheerleaders who were killed in a collision with a cop at the end of a high speed chase; the cop was arrested and could face charges.

Young Miami bike riders conducted their annual MLK Day Wheels Up Guns Down ride. But somehow, all the local press could focus on was the usual heavy-handed police response, and the 58 felony and 11 misdemeanor arrests — not the hundreds, if not thousands, of peaceful riders and their message of hope. 

 

International

Havana, Cuba is installing their first public bikeshare dock, part of what promises to be a 300 bike fleet.

The former boyfriend of a Welsh woman killed while watching a mountain bike race in 2014 calls for more protection for bike race fans; she had come to see him compete.

Young “demon” ebike riders are accused of turning Amsterdam’s once angelic streets into a living hell, as they ride their souped-up ebikes at the unholdy speed of…24 mph. Which would make them relatively tame by Orange County standards.

India’s bike industry threatens a series of hunger strikes over a new requirement to install reflectors on bicycles; industry officials say the problem isn’t the mandate, but the penalties that would be imposed for failing to comply.

An Indian man was tied to a pole and viciously beaten and stomped after he was accused of stealing a bicycle. Look, I dislike bike thieves as much as anyone, but that’s going too damn far.

The bike boom continues, as Taiwan’s exports of bicycles and bike parts rose 23.11 percent annually to $6.15 billion. Or it could just means that more production is shifting to Taiwan from mainland China.

Gizmodo Australia misses the mark, insisting safety bikes came into widespread use about the same time cars did, and that bikes only enjoyed a few months as king of the roads before they were shoved aside by motor vehicles. Meanwhile, Adventure Journal marvels that bicycles were invented after the much more complex locomotives wereBut as Carlton Reid makes clear in Roads Weren’t Built For Cars, bicycles were widely adopted around the world long before cars ruled the earth. And if you haven’t read it yet, what the hell are you waiting for?

 

Competitive Cycling

Australia’s Grace Brown kicked off the women’s cycling season by out-sprinting Amanda Spratt to win the Santos Tour Down Under, after Alex Manly led following the first two stages.

Sad news from the Netherlands, where 40-year old retired Dutch pro Lieuwe Westra was found dead, after suffering from depression for several years; nicknamed The Beast, Westra won stages at Paris-Nice, the Tour of California and Critérium du Dauphiné, as well as winning the Tour of Denmark and Driedaagse De Panne.

UCI is telling team cars to back off, instead of giving their riders an extra boost during time trials by changing the airflow behind the rider.

Former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman has formally lost his medical license as a result of his involvement in a doping scandal, when he was caught ordering testosterone gel for an unnamed male cyclist.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you try a 30-foot jump on an ebike — and nail it. Maybe it’s time to put this “slightly used” VanMoof out of its misery.

And if you’re going to ride a kid’s Barbie bike across an entire country, always choose a small one.

Country, that is.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

WeHo merchant calls for licensing cyclists, racist Palo Alto road rage attack, and Hugo calls for carfree Hollywood Blvd

No bias here.

The owner of West Hollywood’s gay-forward novelty boutique Block Party says forget bike lanes and install EV chargers instead, while trotting out all the old cliches about licensing bike riders.

Fast forward to 2022, a debate about removing the parking lanes on Fountain and to install bike lanes in their place, eliminating two for cars to drive. Those bike lane people are ferocious in their arguments. If you had to drive a bike and cars whipped past you it might cause a sense of anger that you deserve a safe space too. But perhaps bike riders who choose to use the road should also be licensed. Maybe they should pass a written test to travel 40 miles down the road. Perhaps they can pay a license fee to help offset the cost of these installations. As a partially sighted part-time driver I can say that it is difficult to drive past the bikes who often show little respect for the road weaving in lanes. But that is another story.

Because apparently, our tax money doesn’t count — even though it pays for the roads he drives, whether we use them or not.

Never mind that studies have repeatedly shown that a licensing program for bicyclists would cost more than it would bring in, while dramatically reducing ridership exactly when we need more people on bikes. Or that bike riders pose a lot less risk to others than people in cars do.

Especially people with bad eyesight.

Besides, are you really going to tell a six-year old she can’t ride her bike because her license expired?

So maybe the next time you’re in WeHo, stop in and tell him why you’ll be spending your money somewhere else.

Besides, not many of us can really pull off the spangled banana hammock look.

Not that our significant others would actually want us to try.

………

Crap like this really pisses me off.

A Black Palo Alto man was the victim of a racist road rage attack and hit-and-run last week, for the crime of riding his bike in the traffic lane.

In other words, exactly where he should have been.

The victim had moved into the lane to pass a driver who was attempting to park. Yet when he stopped at the next stop light, he was accosted by a white pickup driver for “riding in the middle of the road.”

The two men began arguing, at which point the truck driver called the cyclist, who is Black, a racial epithet. The victim reported to police that the driver spat on him, reached out to grab his arm, and then drove the truck into the side of the bicycle. The cyclist fell to the ground.

The cyclist said the truck drove over his bicycle, and the driver turned north on Webster Street and then east on Lytton Avenue. The cyclist later saw the truck turn back onto University Avenue heading east and continue driving. The cyclist’s leg had a small laceration, which paramedics treated at the scene. His bicycle was damaged but remained rideable, police stated.

It’s possible that the victim could have moved into the lane suddenly, without signaling or checking behind him, and cut off the driver. Or not.

None of which justifies violence, let alone racism.

The local police are investigating it as a hate crime, as well as an assault with a deadly weapon and injury hit-and-run.

Which is good, because there’s just no excuse for this. Ever.

Period.

And no pit deep enough for someone who could do something like this.

………

Things could finally be looking up in Hollywood.

While CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell has called for a much needed Complete Streets makeover of Hollywood Blvd, challenger Hugo Soto-Martinez has raised the ante with a call for pedestrianizing sections of the iconic tourist attraction.

Meanwhile, Los Angeleno examines the race between O’Farrell and Soto-Martinez; while O’Farrell has been justly criticized for blocking bike and traffic safety plans until recently, Soto-Martinez is calling for more bike lanes in the district.

………

Finish the Ride and the LACBC hosted a Clean Air Ride over the weekend.

Speaking of which, Metro will offer free bus, train and bikeshare rides tomorrow for California Clean Air Day.

………

Someone did an impressive job trolling St. Louis officials by installing old bike helmets and an official looking public notice calling on pedestrians to use them crossing the street.

All to call attention to the city’s unacceptably high death rate.

………

Evidently, ebikes have been around a lot longer than you may think.

………

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

Horrible story from the UK, where police are looking for four men who chased down a 21-year old bike rider with their car, then got out and stabbed him to death, apparently because the driver had crashed into the victim.

No bias here, either. A victim-blaming road sign in England’s Hertfordshire county instructs bike riders to “Please consider other road users.” Because anti-social bike riders kill so many motorists, evidently.

………

Local

Streetsblog eyes the new bike lanes on 1st, 3rd and 7th Streets in DTLA.

Your next bike could have a “Los Angeles” frame with a camo finish. Although that color choice may not be the best option if you actually want drivers to see you.

Santa Monica announced a crackdown on scofflaw drivers who park on the city’s sidewalks and parkways starting next month, urging people to “stop parking like a jerk.” Now tell them to do bike lanes, where the city has allowed delivery drivers to park for decades with no repercussions.

 

State 

Streets For All offers a full recap on transportation-related bills signed or vetoed by Governor Newsom, as well as bills that died in the state legislature. Meanwhile, Streetsblog offers a similar roundup of active transportation, transit and climate bills.

LAist takes a deep dive into California’s new Freedom to Walk Act, which doesn’t actually legalize jaywalking after all; it’s still technically illegal to cross the street in the middle of a block, but police are now directed not to cite it unless crossing poses an imminent danger. However, California’s restriction against jaywalking only applies to blocks with a traffic signal on each end, so it’s already completely legal anywhere else.

The CHP has received a $1.2 million federal grant to “promote the importance of drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians looking out for one another so that everyone can safely share the road.” Maybe they could put the money to better use by giving their officers more training in bike law and bicycle crash investigations.

The victim in Sunday’s fatal head-on crash in Fresno County has been identified as a 51-year old Anthropology professor at Clovis Community College; the driver of the Acura supercar who needlessly took her life as she rode her bike has been identified as a 47-year old Clovis man. Thanks to Keith Johnson for the heads-up.

 

National

Streetsblog talks with Elizabeth Creely, of the San Francisco-based grassroots advocacy organization Safe Street Rebel, on how to start a grassroots safe streets movement in your city. Or you could ask Streets For All founder Michael Schneider, who’s done a helluva job in just a few short years.

Singletracks revisits their most popular mountain bike product reviews.

Great idea. Bentonville, Arkansas will host the first-ever bike festival for deaf bicyclists next week.

Eleven scenic Hudson Valley bike rides for your next trip to the Empire State.

Philadelphia is investing $23 million in the city’s Vision Zero budget for next year, $6 million more than originally proposed. That compares with $38.5 million in Los Angeles, which has a population 2.5 times higher; LA would have to spend another $20 million to match Philly’s per capita spending.

Mississippi’s Gulf Islands National Seashore has reopened with the first phase of a new bike and pedestrian pathway, with the second phase due in two years.

 

International

The fourth annual Ebike Future Conference will be held virtually next week, including a virtual expo that will run automatically for the next 22 days.

Bike Radar examines why people and businesses are swapping cars for bikes, transforming their lives and operations by taking to two wheels.

Forget micromobility. The latest trend is minimobility, with three and four wheeled vehicles designed to carry one or two people and fill the gap between bicycles and motor vehicles. Which is a pretty damn big gap, if you ask me.

While bicycling fatalities continue to climb in the US, British bike deaths dropped 21% last year.

Brussels is the latest major European city learning to love the bicycle; the Belgian capital has already come a long way from its car-centric past.

Here’s another one for your bike bucket list, as two riders explore archeological relics and forested parks — and the local hospitality — by biking Jordan’s ancient trade route.

No, an Indonesian bike shop isn’t giving away free ebikes in response to a government gas price hike.

Former Italian pro Omar Di Felice announced plans for a record bike ride across Antarctica, riding to the South Pole and across the continent to the base of the Leverett Glacier and back.

 

Competitive Cycling

Once again, the pro peloton is justifiably complaining about race conditions, saying “UCI doesn’t care about our safety,” after complaints about dangerous conditions in the CRO Race were ignored by officials.

Pinarello unveiled the world’s fastest 3D-printed bike, allowing maximum customization for Filippo Ganna in his attempt to set a new hour record.

Red Bull looks at L39ion of Los Angeles founder and multiple national crit champ Justin Williams, and his mission to change bike racing for the better.

 

Finally…

Get a Covid shot, get a shot at winning a bicycle. Apparently, bike surfing is an effective way to make sure drivers see you at night.

And few people realize that sharrow is a portmanteau of arrow and sheep.

………

G’mar chatima tova to all observing Yom Kippur tonight. 

Thanks to Matthew Robertson for his latest monthly donation to help keep all the best bike news coming your way every day. Any donation, no matter how large or small, is always deeply appreciated. 

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

City Watch writer gets Healthy Streets LA all wrong, NACTO says change unfair bike laws, and CNN calls bike boom bust

Talk about not getting it.

A writer for City Watch complains that bike lanes won’t fight climate change in Southern California.

He apparently bases his entire argument on a misreading of a recent article in the LA Times about the Healthy Streets LA ballot initiative, although he seems to have missed the name of the proposal in his reading.

He also missed the part where it said the ballot initiative would require building out the Mobility Plan 2035 — including bus only lanes — instead assuming that it’s all about bike lanes and pedestrian improvements.

The initiatives backer, software entrepreneur Michael Schneider leads the organization “Streets for All.” Schneider seems impatient with the the City of Los Angeles’ execution of the city’s current plans on mobility and bicycles, and City Council President Nury Martinez’s own counterproposal for bicycles and pedestrians.

The Times only mentions bike lanes in the initiative with no mention of bus only lanes. Schneider calls his initiative a “nuclear option.” Playing with weapons is never to be taken lightly, particularly nuclear ones, and his initiative will not lead the city, and the region, in the fight to reduce carbon gases needed to mitigate the climate emergency we now live in. The initiative seems more for the bicycle riders for ride for recreation, and does not take into account transportation for getting to work, shopping, eating, entertainment and other activities of urban dwellers…

If vehicle lanes are to be removed and replaced when the roads are repaved, as in the initiative, the replacements must be bus only lanes, not bicycle lanes, or both.

Oddly, that’s exactly what the initiative calls for. Which he would know if he had actually looked into it, rather than firing off a knee-jerk reaction to a single news article.

He goes on to make a case for why bike lanes aren’t practical to combat climate change in Southern California — including that he is now a “Medicare approved senior citizen,” as if his particular status extends to the entire populace at large. Or that there aren’t other older people who ride on a daily basis.

Then there’s this.

Reasons for riding a bicycle. It would seem riding a bicycle in Los Angeles is mainly recreational. From the United States Census Bureau: “Los Angeles had 1.0 percent of commuters bike to work, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today in a new brief focused on biking and walking to work. Nationally, 0.6 percent of workers commute by bike.” LINK.

Bike advocates have argued for years that the Census Bureau’s figure is a dramatic undercount that misses people who use multi-modal commutes and part-time bike commuters, as well as many immigrants and homeless people who use bicycles as their sole form of transportation.

It also doesn’t count people who ride their bikes to school or shopping, or any other utilitarian uses that doesn’t involve riding to work five days a week.

And of course, he has to trot out the tired bromide that this is not Amsterdam, failing to recognize that Amsterdam was every bit as auto-centric as Los Angeles just a few short decades ago.

Not to mention arguing that it’s too hot to ride a bike in Los Angeles, and no one wants to get sweaty on the way to work. Even though LA has one of the nation’s most temperate climates much of the year, making it far more ideal for bike riding than many other cities with higher riderships, Amsterdam included.

And forgetting that it’s possible to ride without breaking a sweat, especially on an ebike, or to freshen up once you get to work.

Although give him credit for noting that automotive exhaust isn’t healthy for people on bicycles. Even though that’s a better argument for demanding non-polluting cars than discouraging bike use.

Despite his assertions, no one is arguing that bikes should take precedent over transit systems.

That’s not what the mobility plan calls for, and not what the Healthy Streets LA ballot measure is about.

It doesn’t help anyone to go off half-cocked, and misrepresent what this ballot measure is about, and what it does, without taking the simple step of clicking on the damn link find out what it really is.

………

They get it.

NACTO calls for changing laws and improving infrastructure that unfairly criminalize people on bicycles.

The group argues that red light and stop sign laws, and equipment laws like bike bell or helmet requirements, are too often used to target people of color, including in New York and Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, they argue that ticketing bicyclists for sidewalk riding or riding salmon is more an indication of inadequate infrastructure than bad bike behavior.

………

On the other hand, CNN doesn’t get it.

The cable network reports that the bicycling boom has gone bust, as indoor cycling firms like Peloton and Soul Cycle are facing layoffs, while bike shops are burdened with too much inventory.

Yet bicycling rates remain at near-historic highs in many cities, which suggests bike sales may have slowed simply because a) some bike shops may have over-ordered during the recent inventory shortages, b) many people already have the bikes they need.

Although whether they have all the bikes the want is another matter.

………

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

A Redditor discovers the hard way that it’s not really funny to tell a coworker “You should have come by car” after she was hit by one while riding her bike to work.

No bias here. After a 70-year old Massachusetts man was killed in a dooring, the local press blames him for crashing into the open car door. Just to be clear, dooring is almost always the driver’s or passenger’s fault, because the law requires that a car door can only be opened when it’s safe to do so.

A London, Ontario bike rider was left with a broken collarbone and road rash when a pickup driver intentionally swerved into him and another rider, after deliberately buzzing the group behind them.

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

The NYPD is looking for three drivers and a bike rider responsible for a weekend hit-and-run rampage that killed one pedestrian and injured five other people, including a 44-year old man who suffered a critical head injury when he was struck by a man on a bicycle, who fled the scene. Just a reminder that bicyclists have the same obligation to stop following a crash that drivers do.

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Local

Long Beach is investing over half a billion dollars in infrastructure improvements over the next five years, including complete rebuilds to improve traffic flow and safety for pedestrians and cyclists on major corridors like Studebaker Road, Artesia Blvd and Anaheim Street.

A man was repeatedly stabbed on Long Beach’s beachfront bike path in an apparent robbery attempt Sunday night; fortunately, his injuries aren’t considered life-threatening.

 

State 

Streetsblog California considers new models in bicycling advocacy, and how new groups can work with established organizations to improve safety and equity.

Thirty-six-year old Kenneth Alexander Heimlich went on trial for a violent rampage in Fullerton and Buena Park, including pushing a man with a bicycle into traffic and repeatedly stomping on his head, for no apparent reason.

A San Francisco op-ed complains about the city police department’s ineffectiveness in combating traffic violence, saying they’re failing to enforce the five most dangerous driving violations, particularly on the city’s High-Injury Network.

The Bay Area’s Bike East Bay is working with the city to build a series of popup protected bike lanes, spending just $20,000 for plastic bollards, tape, and other temporary street markings.

 

National

Best Reviews looks at the best Abus bike locks available on Amazon.

Gear Junkie says ABS anti-lock braking may be one of the next vital ebike features to make riding safer and more fun.

Heartbreaking story from Seattle, where a woman urges drivers to slow down after her husband was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike.

Minnesota advocacy group Streets MN offers the second part of their Tips for Utilitarian Cycling, including advice on riding in heat and rain.

Louisville KY bicyclists are pushing for protective barriers on bike lanes to improve safety from inattentive drivers.

A 45-year old Cleveland man pled not guilty to multiple charges for slamming his car into a family riding their bikes, killing a three year old girl and injuring her father and ten-year old sister, before fleeing the crash on foot.

More heartbreaking news, this time from Pennsylvania, where an off-duty Montgomery County cop was killed when he allegedly swerved his bicycle into the path of an oncoming driver. Norristown Police Cpl. Brian R. Kozera had overcome a rare form of Hodgkin’s lymphoma to compete in six Ironman triathlons, and was scheduled to compete in Kona in October. Thanks to Mike Bike for the heads-up.

 

International

A Manchester, England walking and biking advocacy group is complaining about an epidemic of drivers parking in bike lanes. Which seems to be a universal problem; if they have bike lanes on Uranus, someone is probably parking in them.

Kindhearted British police give a ten-year old Ukrainian refugee boy a new bike. Which naturally brought out all the hateful trolls on Facebook.

A Norwegian study suggests e-scooter riders are significantly more reckless than bike riders, and four times more likely to ride drunk. Then again, I’d have to be drunk to ride one. But that’s just me.

 

Competitive Cycling

Great news, as the Ineos Grenadiers cycling team confirmed that Tour de France and Giro d’Italia winner Egan Bernal will return to racing today with the five-stage Tour of Denmark, just eight months after his near-fatal crash on a training ride in his native Columbia.

Primož Roglič has been declared fit and ready to ride as he goes for a fourth consecutive Vuelta title, after abandoning the Tour de France with a dislocated shoulder and back injury.

Thirty-one-year old Dutch pro Tom Dumoulin calls it a career “with immediate effect.”

A Richmond VA newspaper talks with hometown hero Emma Langley, who won the US women’s road national championship in June.

NPR looks at gravel bike racing, with the sport’s focus on diversity and inclusion amid its soaring popularity.

 

Finally…

Nice wood-print illustration of a tandem bike. What good is a Commonwealth Games medal if you can’t use it to score free beer?

And who needs a limo to get married in style?

https://www.instagram.com/p/ChRPGbys065/?utm_source=ig_embed&ig_rid=7fa95720-55c4-437d-be42-adbf43339e85

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.