Tag Archive for anti-bike NIMBYism

“Elderly” Venice man killed by drunken e-scooter user, white woman orders Black prof off “her” road, and ebike bias in CO

Tragic news from Venice, where an “elderly” man was killed when he was struck by an e-scooter user.

Make that an allegedly drunk scooter user.

The crash occurred around 9:45 pm Saturday on Lincoln Blvd at East Marco Court.

According to a report for KABC-7, the scooter rider was allegedly 1) illegally riding on the sidewalk, while 2) illegally carrying a woman passenger on the back, and while 3) wasted.

The victim, who was described only as elderly, or by other accounts, older — which could mean just about anything — died at the scene after hitting his head on the sidewalk.

Both people on the scooter suffered minor injuries, while the man operating it was arrested at the scene for DUI.

It’s unclear whether he can be charged under the state law prohibiting driving under the influence, or the statute prohibiting biking under the influence, which carries a much lower penalty.

This serves as yet another tragic reminder that sidewalks are intended for pedestrians.

While it’s legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in some California cities, you’re required to operated it safely, without posing an undue risk to people on foot. And basic human decency demands that you give as much space as possible and warn people before passing.

On the other hand, it is always illegal to ride an electric scooter on the sidewalk, or with a passenger.

And never while drunk or stoned.

Although I’d much rather see someone ride a bike or scooter while under the influence of anything than get behind the wheel of a car, which posses a much greater risk to everyone on the road.

But as this crash tragically shows, you can still pose a needless — and potentially fatal — risk to others.

Photo by Martin Péchy from Pexels.

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Racism, or just NIMBYism taken to the extreme?

Or more likely, both.

Black University of Washington med school professor Edwin Lindo went out for a bike ride while on vacation, and ran into a white woman — aka a “Becky” — who literally told him he couldn’t ride his bicycle on the road she paid for with her property taxes.

No, really.

Seriously, there is no effing excuse for that crap.

Ever.

Period.

Fortunately, Lindo didn’t let a little racism chase him off his bike.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the heads-up.

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No bias here.

A story from the Denver Post tries to offer advice for ebike riders, particularly of the novice persuasion.

And they mostly kinda get it right.

Although this comment from an Aspen mountain bike instructor totally misses the mark.

“This is a framework of why it’s so important for e-bikers to have etiquette because they are now powered up with a weapon, really, that goes 20 miles an hour,” he said. “I say ‘weapon’ because now they can hurt themselves and others pretty easily.”

Never mind that it’s pretty easy to do 20 mph on a road bike, without a motor. And not that unusual on a mountain bike.

And while there’s no shortage of rude and/or inexperienced bike riders, no bicycle is a weapon, unless someone — like a cop, for instance — picks it up and uses it that way.

There’s there’s this bit of advice, which they apparently think is so important that it was repeated verbatim in a caption.

Though you may be tempted to ride side-by-side with your friends or family members so you can chat on your e-bikes, always ride single file and as far to the right as possible, unless you’re passing. This gives other cyclists and cars an opportunity to pass you safely.

Where do we even start?

This is sort-of decent advice for trail riders, but horrible for those riding on the road.

Yes, try to keep to the right on trails so faster riders can pass you. Unless you’re the faster rider, in which case you should pass politely.

And try not to ride abreast if it means clogging up the trail so others can’t enjoy it.

But on the road, riding like a gutter bunny puts you a greater risk of unsafe passes.

Most authorities, like the League of American Bicyclists and Cycling Savvy — and even Caltrans, for those of us in California — tell you to ride in the center of the lane, unless there’s a shoulder wide enough and clean enough to ride safely.

Riding two or more abreast in a single traffic lane can also increase your visibility and help hold the lane by forcing drivers to move into the next lane to pass you.

It’s also legal to ride abreast in many states, but check the law where you ride before trying it.

Like here in California, where police sometimes misapply the requirement ti right to the right to ticket people who ride abreast, even though there’s not one word prohibiting it under California law.

And they may not get it right where you are, either.

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Meet what may be LA County’s first protected bike lane.

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Cars don’t belong in parks. Even police cars.

That’s what bike cops are for.

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The LACBC has put together a number of training rides for this month’s LA Rivers Challenge.

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Megan Lynch forwards this video profiling the last of Ireland’s cycling posties, from 1975.

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This is what rush hour could look like in Los Angeles.

But probably won’t until we get new leadership.

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That feeling when you have a stowaway on your bike.

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

In what may be an act of sabotage, someone left industrial razor blades in the bike lane on Santa Monica Blvd. Even if it was just an accidental spill, the blades could cause a deadly crash by slicing through a rider’s tire, spilling them into heavy high-speed traffic.

Then there’s this from the UK.

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

Police in New York are looking for an ebike-riding gunman who killed another man who was sitting in a parked car in broad daylight.

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Local

Streetsblog examines the outdated plan to widen Burbank Blvd in North Hollywood to add a third traffic lane in each direction, and make it meet “Major Highway Standards.” Which would violate the intent, if not the letter, of LA’s Vision Zero plan and the transportation portion of Mayor’s Green New Deal.

They get it. The LA Times comes out against plans to widen the 710 Freeway, calling it “a zombie project from another era.”

 

State

While the state and feds debate providing ebike rebates, ebike buyers in San Mateo County could get an $800 rebate from the local clean energy company.

Speaking of which, an op-ed from a Bay Area professor calls on the state to pass a bill providing ebike rebates for up to 10,000 buyers.

A Marin paper says a new countywide ebike bikeshare could offer a first mile/last mile solution for public transportation. However, that depends on whether they’re willing to provide safe places to ride them.

A Placer County columnist says we all accept a little risk when we ride a bike, but don’t be stupid about it.

 

National

This is what a salt and barnacle encrusted Lime bike looks like after it’s pulled out of a Seattle sound.

A new Washington transit user takes understandable pride in figuring out how to use the bike rack on the bus.

Horrible news from Tucson, Arizona, where a tow truck driver ran a red light and slammed into a group of bicyclists, killing a 29-year old woman and sending four other people to the emergency room; a sixth rider was struck, but didn’t suffer serious injuries. Meanwhile, the community is rallying to support the victimsThanks to Keith Johnson for the heads-up.

Former NBA star Mark Eaten died after going out for a bike ride Friday night; the two-time defensive player of the year with the Utah Jazz was found unconscious on the side of the road, and died at a local hospital; authorities said there was no reason to believe a car was involved. Even though drivers can easily force riders off their bikes without ever making contact. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.

Kindhearted people in a tiny town in eastern Colorado raised funds to donate 150 bicycles, scooters and skateboards for local kids.

A Pittsburgh neighborhood gets tired of speeding drivers, so they ordered their own speed bump through Amazon.

In another multiple victim crash, a Pennsylvania woman suffered life-threatening injuries and another woman suffered minor injuries when they were both run down by a hit-and-run driver in Virginia, despite wearing reflective vests, with headlights and flashers on their bikes.

A group of Black women rode from Harlem to DC, covering 250 miles in 65 hours to replicate a ride taken by another group of Black women 93 years earlier, while raising funds to provide good used bikes to people in need.

Great idea. The Black Chamber of Commerce in New Orleans is installing free bike racks in front of Black-owned businesses to “help encourage safe and equitable transportation” to get there.

New Orleans NIMBYs repeat the same complaints you’ll hear anywhere bike lanes go in, arguing that bollards for the city’s first protected bike lanes are ugly, and that replacing traffic lanes with bike lanes increases congestion. At least they didn’t say the markings on the street make them dizzy, like Coronado residents did a few years ago.

 

International

Experts weigh in on what comes next for the pandemic-driven bike boom.

The kindhearted members of the Medicine Hat, Alberta Rotary Club refurbished 79 bicycles to give to people in need.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 90-year old Alberta, Canada man rides a little more than six miles around town every day, sometimes twice a day, after his grown children gave him a bike for his birthday.

A Welsh Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist tells drivers to be patient, after she was knocked off her bike by a hit-and-run driver.

A speeding, coked-up English driver got a well-deserved three years behind bars for slamming into a six-year old boy on a bicycle, leaving the kid with a dangerous brain bleed; fortunately, the boy is expected to make a full recovery. And yes, he probably deserved a hell of a lot more than that.

You’ve got to be kidding. An Irish driver walked when he was acquitted of dangerous driving for slamming into a group of bicyclists, and killing a 34-year old woman — despite coming around a blind curve at high speed on the wrong side of road — in part because the victim may have fallen off her bike before the impact. Never mind that she was probably just trying to get the hell out of his way to avoid getting killed.

Up to 10,000 bike riders turned out for Critical Mass in Zurich, Switzerland to call attention to dangers posed by motorists.

Bike riders in eleven German towns rode to protest the American blockade of Cuba.

The Spanish paracycling championships were called off after a volunteer was killed by an ambulance during the competition.

Belarus was deservedly stripped of hosting duties for next month’s European track cycling championships, after the country faked a bomb threat to hijack a plane so they could arrest a dissident journalist who had fled the country.

Sad news from India, where the father of the Bicycle Girl has died, possibly from Covid-19; she gained international fame by pedaling across the country to carry her ill father home during the country’s first lockdown.

Disgusting story from Israel, where a small child was detained at gunpoint for the crime of flying a Palestinian flag from his bicycle. Thanks again to Megan Lynch.

Great idea. Dubai has installed bike counters on a 20-mile long bike path, providing users with a realtime bike count, as well as weather conditions, announcements and warnings.

The pandemic bike boom set a record for bicycle imports to Australia, coupled with a 50% increase in bike sales.

 

Competitive Cycling

Tour de France champ Egan Bernal clinched his first victory in the Giro by wearing the pink leader’s jersey into Milan’s Piazza Duomo as his Colombian countrymen celebrated.

Italy’s Damiano Caruso called himself “the happiest man in the world” after an unplanned victory in the Giro’s penultimate stage, which clinched an unexpected second-place finish for the three-week stage race.

Cycling Tips offers a behind the scenes Giro photo essay capturing the views you couldn’t get on TV. Or at all, for most of us in the US.

And this pretty well puts Bernal’s win in perspective.

It turns out the blue front tires used by the Jumbo-Visma team in this week’s Critérium du Dauphiné are just a marketing promotion for a European bicycle subscription service.

Keep an eye on 19-year old cyclist Riley Amos, who won the 2021 edition of Colorado’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic; the road race was the launching pad for another young rider named Sepp Kuss recently. The women’s race was won by pro mountain biker and once and future Olympian Erin Huck.

The Belgian Waffle Ride offers a beginner’s clinic for California riders interested in taking part in the popular gravel race.

 

Finally…

Your new ebike could look like a very skinny Vespa. Your next cargo bike could (clumsily) charge itself.

And evidently, indoor trainers are nothing new.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the link.

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Happy Pride Month to everyone in the LGBTQ+ community, and all their supporters. And yes, you can proudly include me in that last group. 

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

And get vaccinated, already.

Snopes says Pete really did ride, witness looks for victim in Venice hit-and-run, and NIMBYs gear up to fight 4th Street again

Yes, he really did ride to the cabinet meeting.

NBC reveals an ability to read the room, noting that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is winning fans just by riding a bicycle and talking with the public.

But needless to say, conservative media had a completely different take on the former Mayor Pete’s recent ride to a cabinet meeting.

However, even Snopes got involved to confirm it wasn’t staged, despite their accusations.

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Once again, we have a witness looking for the victim of a possible hit-and-run last week.

This time, on Abbot Kinney in Venice.

This is what the Reddit post has to say.

If you are the cyclist who was hit by a white BMW today at Abbot Kinney and Westminster, I have a photo of the plate.

You had just fallen off your bike when I approached the intersection so I didn’t see the incident, but based on the way you and a couple of other folks gestured towards the car, it seemed like that driver may have hit you and run.

The car turned in front of me from Westminster onto Abbot Kinney and I snapped a photo once we came to a stop down the road.

I can send it to you if you like.

Update: Thanks for the advice, I called it in to LAPD. They didn’t have an incident report for the time/location but they will share the information with the traffic cops in that area in case anything comes up with that vehicle description.

If you were the victim, or know someone who was, click on the link about and reply to the original post, since they didn’t leave contact information.

And always report a hit-and-run to the police, even if you aren’t seriously injured.

You never know who else they might do it to next time.

Thanks to Bean and David Wolfberg for the heads-up.

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Keith Johnson forwards news of what could be yet another contentious public meeting in Hancock Park, as local residents continue to fight changes that would improve safety for bike riders on 4th Street.

Even though the improvements would benefit their neighborhood, as well. Whether or not they ride a bike.

  • Neighborhood Traffic Changes!  Hancock Park and Windsor Sq. will host a Transportation Town Hall on April 14, at 6:00 PM. We expect the LA Department of Transportation to explain their reasoning behind their recently posted survey regarding Bike Lights and Restricted Turns on 4th Street at Highland and Rossmore.  Make your voice heard! AGAIN!  Join the meeting at this Zoom link.
    https://zoom.us/j/96677001434

Local residents have a long history of fighting what was once called the 4th Street Bike Boulevard, over mistaken fears of increased traffic and difficulty of emergency vehicles getting through.

The reality is that the changes would eliminate cut-through traffic, while allowing continued emergency access.

And likely increase property values, too.

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Pasadena is looking for input on safety improvements for the segment of North Lake Ave directly above the 210 Freeway, which can certainly use it.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the tip.

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Leimert Park talks electric mobility, including ebikes, on Thursday.

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Nice to see some overdue attention to a long marginalized segment of the bicycling community.

I’ve heard far too many tales of people size shamed at their local bike shop or by other riders.

And here’s that short film in case you missed it.

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Here’s the video of a Vancouver man using his bicycle to attack an obnoxious anti-masker we mentioned last week.

Thanks to Tim Rutt for the tip.

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The aforementioned Megan Lynch forwards a photo of Burbank cops teaching bike safety from 1957.

Check out that nifty mixte in the background, which would have been considered a girl’s bike back in the day. 

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Ebikes to the rescue!

No, literally.

But don’t bother clicking the link unless you can read Dutch.

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

A New York restaurant owner installed his own DIY speed bumps on the protected bike lane next to his in-street outdoor seating; fortunately, the city ordered them removed before he killed someone.

A Scottish woman was pelted with rocks, bottles and other items by a group of teen boys as she rode beneath the wall they were standing on, then was drenched with a soft drink when she stopped to call police.

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

Las Gatos police are looking for the racist bike rider who shoved a 40-year-old Filipina medical worker to the ground without warning as she walked along a sidewalk, then shouted “Go back to (expletive) China.” Seriously, there’s no excuse for that. Ever. And not just mistaking someone from the Philippines for a person from China. 

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Local

The Los Angeles City Council will consider resolutions in support of state legislation allowing bicyclists to treat stops as yields, and state and federal bills to provide up to $1,500 in ebike tax credits at Tuesday’s virtual council meeting.

Streetsblog recaps Metro’s presentation of current plans for a more walkable, bikeable and livable, transit-oriented Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock; as usual, opponents try to paint supporters as not having a real stake in the community.

Metro is hosting an online class on how to clean your bike Wednesday evening. Thanks to Keith Johnson for the link.

Singer Chris Brown’s seven-year old daughter is one of us, as she goes for an unsteady barefoot bike ride in Los Angeles.

 

State

A 71-year old man suffered serious injuries when he was struck by a cowardly hit-and-run driver while riding his bike in San Marcos Thursday evening.

Fresno police are looking for a bike thief who used a slingshot to bust out a car window, then reached inside to grab the garage remote and make off with a bicycle.

A new Santa Cruz county supervisor booted two members off the county Bicycle Advisory Committee, replacing them with his own candidates.

Speaking of Santa Cruz, a Texas letter writer makes a poignant plea for a proposed bike trail, noting his brother was killed crashing his ebike into a median, on a street he wouldn’t have been riding if that Santa Cruz trail had been built.

East Bay bicyclists are complaining about armed robbers who are lying in wait to steal bikes from unsuspecting riders in the hills around Oakland and Berkeley.

 

National

NPR takes a look at the bike theft epidemic and what you can do about it; the story also notes that over half a million bikes are now registered with Bike Index.

A writer for Wired is no fan of a three-wheeled e-cargo bike from Bunch, calling it awkward, graceless and uncomfortable, even though her husband insists on liking it.

A car website wonders if an ebike tax credit would be enough to get your out of your car.

This is who we share the road with. A Portland man faces a hate crime charge, as well as attempted assault, reckless driving and unlawful use of a weapon charges, for attempting to run down another driver after yelling a racist slur, in what may or may not have started as a road rage incident.

Now bike thieves aren’t even waiting for new bikes to hit the market before stealing them, as someone stole a one-of-a-kind pre-production Canfield mountain bike from the back of a vehicle in Salt Lake City.

Family and friends of a San Antonio, Texas man are still waiting for justice, two years after he was run down by a drunk driver while riding his bike.

Transgender cyclocross legend Molly Cameron says cyclists need to take a strong stand against recently passed anti-trans legislation in Arkansas; the state is slated to host a ‘cross World Cup event this October, and the cyclocross world championships the following year. As usual, you can read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

Kindhearted community members in upstate New York pitched in to buy a 14-year old autistic boy a new, customized three-wheeled bike — complete with his name embossed on the rear basket — after his stolen bike was recovered in an unrideable condition.

A Maryland paper reports distracted drivers killed nine people every day in the US in 2019. Far too many of those victims are the ones who aren’t wrapped in a couple tons of glass and steel.

In Florida, drivers don’t even have to be alive to hurt a bike rider. A speeding driver was killed after losing control and smashing into a tree; the car then careened on to hit someone riding a bike, who had to be flown for emergency care.

 

International

Cycling Weekly suggests eleven ways to give your faithful bicycle that new bike feeling. Without, you know, re-adjusting it so nothing fits quite right.

Road.cc offers tips for Brits on how to buy a new bike this year, despite the bicycle shortage driven by the pandemic bike boom.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole an autistic English boy’s bicycle as he was delivering newspapers; the victim was dedicated enough to finish his route on foot.

It takes a major schmuck to steal a British man’s bike after he was rushed to the hospital after getting hit by a driver.

Irish thieves are using axel grinders, muggings and home break-ins to fuel a surge in stolen bikes; police warn people not to take matters into their own hands if they spot their stolen bike for sale online.

A Malaysian newspaper looks at the coming digital trends in bicycling.

 

Competitive Cycling

Danish cyclist Kasper Asgreen won his first Tour of Flanders on Sunday, with a perfectly timed attack to overtake leader Mathieu Van der Poel with about 800 feet to go.

Twenty-eight-year-old Annemiek van Vleuten won the women’s Tour of Flanders, ten years after the Dutch rider claimed her first Flanders title at 18.

Swiss cyclist Michael Schär became the first rider busted under UCI’s new prohibition on littering during Sunday’s Tour of Flanders. Which is an odd thing to call tossing a water bottle to fans lining the route.

Schär wasn’t the only rider to get the boot, though, as Astana’s Yevgeniy Fedorov and Alpecin-Fenix’s Otto Vergaerde were both DQ’d when Fedorov brake checked Vergaerde, who responded by slamming himself into Fedorov.

Cycling Weekly offers five talking points from the race.

French pro Nacer Bouhanni insists he’s not a thug after slamming Britain’s Jake Stewart into the barriers during a mad sprint to the finish at the one-day Cholet-Pays de la Loire last week, even though he faces a potential ban for dangerous sprinting. Is it just me, or does his “I’m not a thug!” sound a little too reminiscent of Nixon’s “I am not a crook!”?

 

Finally…

No, bike lanes aren’t supposed to be passing lanes, regardless of what some drivers seem to think; then again, bike trails aren’t for cars, either. Before sharing a bicycle ride with a fellow Bollywood star, make sure he knows how to ride one.

And that feeling when a headline typo cuts a little too close to the bone.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

Morning Links: Tamika Butler leaves LACBC, anti-bike NIMBYs sue LA, and Peter Flax nearly needs his own obit

When I was asked to join the board of the Los Angeles County Bicycling Coalition in 2010, I set out a list of goals I wanted to accomplish as a board member.

Chief among those was extending the reach of the LACBC beyond its mostly white, mostly Westside base to serve the too often ignored communities south of the 10 Freeway, and east of the LA River.

Tamika Butler made that happen.

In her nearly three years heading the coalition, she brought a degree of professionalism that the mostly volunteer organization had never known, building a solid organizational structure and hiring an experienced professional staff to serve the bicyclists of LA County.

But more than that, she built upon efforts that had already been underway — some successful, some not — to make the LACBC a national leader in addressing equity in bicycling, and in using bikes as tools for social justice. And in the process, started a conversation on race and bias that has reverberated throughout the US.

Since stepping down from the board last year, I’ve watched as the stature of the bike coalition has continued to grow, not in her shadow, but on her shoulders.

And it had become obvious that she had outgrown her position with the LACBC, and would inevitably soon move on to a more prominent role.

That day has come.

The LACBC announced yesterday that Tamika Butler will be leaving her position as Executive Director as of July 14th. Streetsblog reports she’ll be moving on to head the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust.

They’ll be lucky to have her.

Normally, that would be their gain and the LACBC’s loss. But in this case, that doesn’t fit.

In her short time with the coalition, she has lifted it to heights no one could have predicted when the board voted unanimously to hire her. And left it positioned for even greater growth and success in the years to come.

I hate to see her go.

But it’s time to take her fight beyond the world of bicycling, where she can make a bigger impact on the greater society.

And help make this a better, fairer and more equitable city for all us.

You can read the messages of Tamika Butler and LACBC Board Chair Doug John announcing her departure here.

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The City of Los Angeles is being sued by the guardians of LA past, who think it’s their self-appointed duty to stop any forward momentum in the City of Angeles.

Like the nearly completed Target store that’s been sitting vacant and unfinished at Sunset and Western for several years, keeping the neighborhood blighted, depressing local businesses and denying residents the jobs it would create.

Not because it violates city zoning rules, as they claim. But because they simply don’t want it in their neighborhood.

In other words, the worst kind of NIMBYs, willing to screw over an entire neighborhood — or city — in an attempt to maintain the status quo for the privileged few.

Now these same people are suing the city for — get this — exposing children to dangerous levels of smog by placing bike lanes on major streets.

Not that kids are likely to use those arterial commuter lanes. Or that they give a rat’s ass about kids with asthma.

And never mind that the studies they insist the mayor is refusing to conduct have been done repeatedly around the world, and show that the benefits of bicycling far outweigh any risk from auto exhaust or otherwise polluted air.

They just don’t want bikes besmirching their fair boulevards. Or to sacrifice one inch of pavement that could be devoted to their cars.

And they’re willing to rest their case on bogus fears about the dangers to kids to do it.

If they win, LA’s hard-fought bike plan will be out the window. Which has been their real intent all along.

Meaning that you’ll be forced onto side streets, if you choose to use what few bike lanes they deem appropriate, requiring longer, circuitous routes to get where you’re going. Or continue to mix it up with motor vehicles on streets that will remain dangerous in deference to LA’s automotive hegemony.

Let’s hope the courts see through this one and show them the door.

Preferably with a foot firmly attached to their collective ass.

You have to hand it to any attorney who would be willing to publicly display such a complete and total lack of understanding of bike lanes and road diets.

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Hollywood Reporter features editor Peter Flax writes his own obituary following a chilling close call with the driver of a Porsche on Olympic Blvd.

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Manhattan Beach residents are going to war over the road diet on Vista del Mar in Playa del Rey, preparing to sue the city for their God-given right to drive from the South Bay to their offices in Santa Monica and Century City without setting wheels on a roadway actually designed for that purpose.

Because evidently, it’s worth killing a few strangers every year so they can keep commuting in their single-occupant SUVs from their multimillion dollar beachfront homes. And LA is supposed to just bend over and let them.

Regardless of the harm they do to the people and communities along their way.

You can see what those road diet opponents have to say on the subject by checking out their Facebook and Twitter pages.

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A British woman has started a petition to protect the roads — or rather, those poor, put-upon drivers — from dangerous cyclists who play chicken with cars and hurl abuse at the people in them.

After all, it couldn’t possibly be drivers who pass too close to bikes or do anything that might inspire that anger.

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Britain’s governing body for sports either missed or willfully ignored problems with the cycling program.

Greg LeMond once again calls for banning race radios in the Tour de France to make the race more unpredictable and exciting. An idea I wholeheartedly endorse. Just put the riders on their bikes and let them race.

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Local

Streetsblog reports on Tuesday’s public meeting to discuss changes to deadly Fletcher Drive though Atwater Village, which writer Joe Linton describes as a necessary route for bicyclists through the area, despite the dangers of high speed traffic. Needless to say, most drivers at the meeting seemed to prefer the option that didn’t include a road diet or bike lanes, and wouldn’t do much to improve safety for anyone.

Six streets in the San Fernando Valley are scheduled for Vision Zero safety improvements, including Sepulveda Blvd and Lankershim Blvd — where Councilmember Paul Krekorian has already decided to keep the street dangerous instead of installing a road diet with bike lanes. The misleading headline implies bike lanes are planned for all of the streets, which is contradicted by the story.

Bike SGV reports Pasadena is planning to make the Sierra Madre Villa Gold Line station more walkable and bikeable.

The new superintendent of the La Habra city school district rode a bicycle across the US when she was in her 20s. I like her already.

 

State

That bike-riding rhino replica will complete its tour of the left coast in San Diego this weekend.

A UC Riverside man will ride from LA to DC this summer to spread a message of diversity and tolerance.

It’s safe to get back on your bike again. The Sacramento man who was convicted of deliberately running down three bike riders is back behind bars after being released on a clerical error.

 

National

Wired looks at the movement of women’s bike makers to finally go beyond shrink it and pink it.

An Austin TX teenager says he was “just blowing off steam” when he shot a bike rider in the face with a shotgun, nearly killing him. Hopefully, he’ll be in prison long enough to permanently lose that smug look on his face; thanks to Steve Katz for the heads-up.

Must be something in the water. In another Austin case, a 26-year old man was arrested after trying to ride salmon on an Interstate highway in an effort to elude police.

An Op-Ed in the New York Daily News calls on the NYPD to stop automatically blaming bike riders for crashes where they weren’t at fault, and stop cracking down on people on bikes as a result. Like in the case of the Israeli man killed riding a New York bikeshare bike, who didn’t swerve into a bus after all.

Philadelphia steps up plans for Vision Zero after a longtime transportation advocate was killed when a driver jumped the curb onto the sidewalk where he and another person were walking.

A Baltimore lawyer and the head of the city’s bike advocacy group explain why they successfully sued to prevent the mayor from ripping out a protected bike lane.

What the fuck is wrong with people? A Baltimore mother was murdered in a dispute over her son’s bike seat.

Jamie McMurray is one of us, part of the brigade of NASCAR drivers who’ve taken up bicycling, including a recent 102 mile ride up a South Carolina mountain.

 

International

Treehugger reviews Carlton Reid’s new book Bike Boom: The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling. Which I hope to have in my own hot little hands in the near future.

The Guardian asks if you can pick out cities from just their naked bikeway networks. Even without looking at the multiple choice answers, Los Angeles is obvious from its disconnected non-network and over-reliance on river and beachfront bike paths.

Evidently, it’s perfectly okay to kill a bike-riding woman with your truck in the UK, then decide there’s no point hanging around once the paramedics arrive, and continue with your deliveries.

A Welsh website explains why participants in the World Naked Bike Ride aren’t likely to be arrested; apparently, public nudity is legal as long as you aren’t offensive. Which pretty much rules me out.

I want to be like him when I grow up. Record-setting, 105-year old Robert Marchand helps kick off a French cycling event he competed in several times in years past.

A Berlin bicyclist was fatally doored by a diplomat, apparently from the Saudi Arabian embassy. Thanks to again to Steve Katz.

Denmark focuses on building streets where children can bike to school alone, resulting in happier, healthier kids. And adults.

ZDNet looks at the smart internet-connected Estonian bike lock being installed in the Bay Area BART stations.

A 26-year old Indian man will spend the next three years bicycling around the country to share the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi with school children. I want to be like him, too.

A bike group paints murals around Beirut, Lebanon to promote riding over driving.

Melbourne, Australia is the latest city to be invaded by Chinese dockless bikeshare.

 

Finally…

Your next bike light could help fill potholes. Bike racing comes to Beverly Hills; no, not that Beverly Hills.

And no, hurling it off a seven-story building is not the proper use of a bikeshare bike.

 

Morning Links: KNBC jumps the gun with complaint over NELA safety project that hasn’t been built yet

You’ve got to be kidding.

KNBC-4 ran a story on Friday about the horrible, terrible, unbearable delays caused by a traffic calming project on Fletcher Road in Glassell Park.

Never mind that it hasn’t even been built yet.

Citing unnamed residents opposed to the project, they then proceed to talk to just one, who is up in arms — not over the project itself — but simply over the start of construction, claiming to have “road diet refugee post traumatic stress disorder”* after having fled from Rowena Avenue following that successful road diet.

Only to find that her drive to her kid’s school is now inhibited by the very start of a project designed to improve safety so maybe her kids won’t have to be driven to school.

This is how a local resident in the area, who prefers not to be named, explained the non-controversy to me.

The Fletcher Streetcape project (a plan first initiated in 2006, by then-Councilmember Garcetti) includes bike lanes, new crosswalks, new curb ramps, benches, 70 trees and a landscaped median in the one mile corridor. A woman who claims to have moved to Glassell Park/Mt. Washington, away from Silver Lake because of the road diet there, was angry when she noticed construction had begun on this project last week.

She posted a rant titled ‘road rage’ on social media site Next-Door about how she had only seen one cyclist in her ten years of driving there, how all cyclists on that street are just headed to the LA River, how she was a cyclist in NYC for 20 years but that she would never ride in LA… she even went so far as to say that the notorious Avenues gang is active in this area, and she worries the DOT didn’t take this into account.

Basically, she was able to incite lots of hate which prompted over 100 replies, some of which agreed with her and some which pointed out for all her complaints about supposed “congestion,” the goal is safety.

The irony is that she moved out of Silver Lake because of the road diet, but now drives back there daily to take her kid to school. And of course, she ignores the fact that the street she was using as a speedway is home to two schools.

KNBC is undoubtedly patting themselves on the back for getting this “controversy” out there, when they should be hanging their heads in shame for taking such a negative view of such a badly needed project to improve safety for everyone, not just people on bicycles.

Maybe next time they could wait until it’s finished before pushing any more complaints out onto the public.

*Not a recognized psychiatric disorder

………

If you were assaulted by an SUV driver while riding at the intersection of Lucille and Griffith Park Blvd, contact weshigh, who may have a photo of the vehicle; he says the same driver nearly ran over him and his wife as they walked in a crosswalk.

………

There’s a new leader in the Vuelta, as the Tour of Spain is now being led by a Spaniard. Riders competing in the race call it insanely hard, as the projected leaders fear showing their hand too soon.

Many riders may be more concerned about securing a contract for next year than winning the next stage.

And Frank Schleck won the equivalent of $2.23 million from his former team after he was dumped 11 months into a one year doping ban.

………

Local

The LACBC is hiring a full-time Development Director and an Organizing Director.

LA Bike Dad looks at the moments of serendipity that only come from riding a bicycle.

A Manhattan Beach author is riding cross-country to gather stories for a book exploring the emotional and psychological impact cancer has on a variety of people.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson recommends daytime riding lights in his own inimitable style.

West Hollywood’s WeHo Pedals bikeshare has its official grand opening tomorrow.

Orange 20 welcomes the return of the New Urbanism Film Festival this October.

 

State

Over 3,500 San Diego cyclists take part in the annual Bike the Bay over the Coronado Bridge.

A San Marcos street in a former industrial area has been reborn as a 1/3 mile complete street with broad sidewalks, bike lanes, angled parking and new landscaping fronting the area’s new apartment buildings.

Santa Clara bike riders could lose a popular bike and pedestrian bridge originally built by Intel as a temporary bridge over a gully two decades ago.

Sad news from Sacramento, as a 92-year old bike rider was killed when he allegedly veered out of the bike lane; friends remember him as a fun loving, giving man who didn’t let his age get in the way of what he loved doing.

 

National

Access Magazine looks at how improving safety and providing better access for bike riders could encourage more people to ride.

The leading candidate to operate Seattle’s struggling bikeshare system proposes converting to an all-electric bike fleet to encourage riding in the hilly city.

Indiana cyclists have to contend with angry and impatient motorists. Then again, New Zealand is no bargain, either.

Brooklyn’s bicycling culture is not enough to protect cyclists on the streets of New York’s most bike-friendly borough.

There’s a special place in hell for the thief who stole a truck filled with $37,000 worth of bikes and parts from the Wounded Warrior Project in Pittsburgh.

Ann Holton, the wife of Virginia Senator and Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, is one of us; she formed a bike club for neighborhood women called Mother Bikers. Then again, Kaine is one of us, too.

 

International

A new study shows moderate walking or biking can cut the risk of cardiac death by 50% for people over 65.

A Brit cyclist rides 65 miles a day to combat the effects of PTSD.

A Scottish writer says Great Britain’s domination of Olympic cycling is great, but won’t improve safety on the country’s roads.

An Edinburgh man circled the world in 12 months on a singlespeed bike; surprisingly, he found Iran the most welcoming country on his trip.

Be grateful you only have to take off your shoes to go through airport security. An Indian paracyclist says he was humiliated when he was forced to take off his prosthetic leg.

Caught on video: An Aussie cop knocks a 13-year old boy off his bike after the boy swore at the officers when they told him to get off the road.

Just days after a Japanese driver killed a pedestrian while playing Pokémon GO, a cyclist was killed as a driver was distracted by charging his cellphone after running the battery down playing the game.

 

Finally…

Most bicycles hardly ever burst into flames. Not only is bicycling the new golf, it’s the new real estate agent, as well.

And why bother with selfies and helmet cams when you can film your next offroad descent by drone?

 

Morning Links: Anti-bike PVE strikes back, from freeway to bikeway, and ridiculously road raging Ramona driver

Just days after the Palos Verdes Estates Traffic Safety Committee voted to improve bike safety signage, local residents rose up with their metaphorical pitchforks and torches to demand that bikes be banned from some public roads in the seaside community.

Never mind that it would be illegal.

Under state law, bicycles are allowed on any public street where motor vehicles are allowed, with the exception of some limited access freeways.

So they’re welcome to have bicycles banned.

As long as they’re willing to ban their own cars, trucks and SUVs while they’re at it.

Meanwhile, Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson notes that it’s surely just a coincidence that days after the cyclists’ victory at the committee meeting, a PVE police officer lurked on a side street waiting for a popular group ride to blow a stop sign. Then drove his squad car directly into the middle of the riders to stop them — needlessly risking their safety when he could have just as easily pulled them over with a red light and siren.

Maybe someone should tell him civilians can be charged with assault with a deadly weapon for doing the virtually the same thing (see road raging Ramona driver, below).

Davidson urges everyone who can make it to attend this evening’s Palos Verdes Estates city council meeting to show your support for bike safety and the improved signage. Because the anti-bike forces have already made it known they will come out in farce.

Excuse me, force.

………

A Harvard landscape architecture professor takes the LA Time’s Christopher Hawthorne up on his challenge to envision a new use for the currently useless mile-long spur of the 5 Freeway that ends in Silver Lake and Echo Park.

The plan would include features to clean the air and replenish groundwater, while providing parks, elevated bike paths and pedestrian walkways.

New Zealand took a similar approach in converting an unused offramp into an award-winning, Pepto Bismol pink bikeway.

………

This is who we share the roads with.

A Ramona SUV driver faces charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon, and misdemeanor battery and vandalism for a bizarre confrontation filmed by a professional photographer.

Even though they were doing a photo shoot on quiet, pubic road in San Diego’s sparsely populated East County, the man claimed they were on a private road and blocking his non-existent driveway, and repeatedly tried to run them over.

He ordered them to leave in an expletive-filled tirade, culminating in the driver knocking the photographer’s phone out of his hand to stop him from filming the confrontation.

When the photographer demanded $200 for his broken phone, the man dropped his pants and said “Suck the $200 out of my d**k.”

Real classy.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

………

Not only does the US have the highest rate of traffic fatalities compared to other high-income countries — whether measured per capita or by vehicle ownership — it has also shown the slowest rate of improvement over the last 13 years, as much of the world has gotten significantly safer.

………

Chris Froome grabbed the leader’s jersey at the Tour de France on Saturday with an awkward, high-speed decent that looked he was humping his handlebar stem, just one day after he was fined for punching an overly aggressive fan who probably deserved it. Bicycling questions the tactics of Froome’s Team Sky, but no one seems to question bike art made entirely of tractors.

Alberto Contador blamed a virus for pulling out of the race, while Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez announced his retirement from pro cycling at the end of this season.

American Megan Guarnier edged teammate Evelyn Stevens to claim the biggest win of her career at Italy’s Giro Rosa; the two women dominated the race, along with fellow American Mara Abbott. Meanwhile, Stevens describes her journey from investment broker to the Rio Olympics.

A group of German cyclists call for safety improvements in pro cycling, such as replacing motorcycles with mopeds and banning them from overtaking riders.

And Los Angeles cyclist Nick Brandt-Sorenson, aka Thorfinn-Sassquatch, owner of many of the area’s Strava KOMs — as well as a now defunct performance-enhancing dope dealing website — accepts a lifetime cycling ban.

………

Local

Flying Pigeon owner and LA city council candidate Josef Bray-Ali explains how he got his stolen bakfiets back.

CiclaValley displays his not-insignificant bicycling photography skills.

Santa Clarita offers a complimentary bike valet service at the city’s summer Concert in the Park program.

Santa Monica lowers rates for pass holders for its Breeze bikeshare program, while raising pay-as-you-go rates to $7 to match fees for the Beverly Hills, WeHo, UCLA and Long Beach bikeshares.

Bike-friendly Long Beach Councilmember and Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal is stepping down after ten years; she was a driving force in making the city a leader in SoCal bicycling.

 

State

Streetsblog talks with Cantrans’ new Chief of Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety, who says the organization needs a shift in thinking. The state DOT has committed to tripling bicycling levels and doubling pedestrian and transit trips by 2020, while calling for an underwhelming 10% decrease in fatalities. Think small and you get small results; think big and you might actually accomplish something.

A San Bernardino woman was badly mauled by an unleashed German shepherd accompanying a woman on a bicycle; authorities are presumably looking for the bike-riding dog owner, despite failing to respond when the victim was bitten.

A Redlands couple reach Minnesota on the first leg of a 10,000-mile tandem journey around the US.

A Palm Springs writer says residents will come to appreciate the 50-mile CV Link bikeway circling the Coachella Valley if they just let them build it.

Needless to say, auto-centric Atascadero residents question the need and advisability for a Complete Streets makeover along a busy highway.

When San Francisco police learned the bike a man relied on for work had been stolen, they immediately took up a collection to buy him a new one. Then took him to Target, where the store managers gave it to him, allowing the cops to spend their money on a lock and helmet.

A two-year experiment will convert half of San Francisco’s Twin Peaks Boulevard to bikes and pedestrians only, while leaving the other half for cars.

A Sonoma paper says the county’s roads have something for every kind of bike rider.

The law enforcement exemption from California’s distracted driving law has claimed yet another life, as a CHP officer failed to notice the cars ahead had slowed while he looked down at his computer screen, killing a 15-year old boy. Thanks to Colin Bogart for the link.

 

National

A new project on Kickstarter will allow you to convert your bike to a Dutch-style cargo bike in just minutes. And for just $725 if you order now.

Tom Hanks is one of us, as he celebrates his 60th birthday with an offroad ride. Life is like a mountain bike; you never know where it’s going to take you.

My hometown continues to make the streets I used to ride safer decades after I left.

Sad news from Colorado, as a Good Samaritan who stopped to help a motorist retrieve a bicycle that fell off his car was killed when his own car was rear-ended.

Montana public radio talks with the editor of a new book about the cross-country TransAmerica Bicycle Trail.

Davide Martello, the piano-towing bike rider who performed in Paris following the terrorist attacks, plays Imagine outside the Dallas police headquarters.

Indiana police officers will join others in riding 1000 miles around the state over the next 13 days to honor fallen officers and raise funds for their families.

A Boston bicyclist tells the story of the road rage assault that left him with serious facial injuries, and probably could have been avoided if the street had a protected bike lane instead of a painted lane.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. New York is considering safety improvements to an intersection where a woman was killed riding on a bike path.

Relax, New Yorkers. Hordes of bike riders will not be invading Queens cemeteries.

 

International

Toronto will consider a Vision Zero plan, after initially proposing to reduce causalities just 20%. Which was already double what Caltrans is aiming for.

The Toronto paper gets it, saying it’s time to kill the pointless idea of bike licenses once and for all.

It’s against the law to ride your bike on the sidewalk in one Ontario city. Unless you can pass the small-wheeled bicycle exemption.

Bike-riding London paramedics rush in to save local residents from minor emergencies.

If you build it, they will come. A new Cambridge study attributes 85% of the increase in bicycling to the use of new infrastructure.

The Telegraph asks if Andorra is cycling’s best kept secret.

A Singapore ebike rider gets five weeks in jail for running down a woman while illegally riding on the sidewalk.

 

Finally…

Please don’t urinate on historical landmarks. Bikes may take the full lane, so keep your horn to yourself.

And if you’re going to carry a gun on your bike, put the damn safety on.

 

Fight for Westwood bike lanes at LA City Council Tuesday; Times writer tells motorists to get a grip

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has issued an action alert calling for bike riders to attend tomorrow’s city council session to protest the cancellation of planned bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard.

Please join us for a day of action tomorrow to urge Councilmember Koretz to keep his promise to study bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard. He told us that we would be able to share our thoughts at a public forum, which he then canceled. So, we want to make sure he hears that you support bike lanes on Westwood.

You can show your support in two ways:

1) Join us at City Council at 10 AM tomorrow when we give public comment. You will have two minutes to make your case for bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard. Let us know you’re coming: email alek@la-bike.org with your name and address and we’ll fill out a public comment card for you.

Council Chambers (10 AM on Tuesday)
Los Angeles City Hall
200 N. Spring Street, 3rd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012

2) Can’t make it downtown? Call Koretz’s office and share your thoughts. Dial (310) 289-0353 (field office) or (213) 473-7005 (downtown office). Then, email alek@la-bike.org to let us know how it went.

Sample script:

“Hi, my name is __________ and I’m a (resident of CD5, student at UCLA, etc.) and I’m calling to urge Councilmember Koretz to complete the study of the Westwood Boulevard bike lanes and have a transparent public process, like he promised. Bike lanes on Westwood are important to me because…”

What’s your reason for supporting bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard? Consider these when making comments either at City Council or on the phone:

Safety – A report by Neighborhood Bike Ambassador and Westside South of Santa Monica (WSSM) resident Calla Weimer shows a history of collisions along Westwood in just the six blocks from Santa Monica Blvd to Pico. Westwood Blvd is among the most-traveled streets for bicyclists on the Westside that does not have bike lanes.

Lack of good alternatives – There’s been a lot of talk about alternatives, but when you map them out, they are hillier, indirect, have stop signs nearly every block, or lack ways to cross major boulevards. All of these factors make Westwood Blvd the preferred route for bicyclists.

Bikes are good for business – Study after study shows that bicyclists are a boon for local business. Bicyclists can stop on a whim, park easily, and shop more frequently that those arriving by other means. Routing bike traffic on side streets between major employment and transit hubs is a missed opportunity for small businesses.

Sustainability – Just days after opposing the Westwood bike lanes, Councilmember Koretz attended the launch of the UCLA Grand Challenge, calling for Los Angeles to be carbon-neutral by 2050. Transportation is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Los Angeles, and research clearly demonstrates that alternatives to driving must be convenient for people to use them.

Access to the Expo Line – The Westwood station on the Expo Line will not have public parking, making it all the more important that it is accessible by bike. Over 90% of Metro customers access transit without a car. Metro is currently analyzing corridors for potential station access improvements and bikeshare opportunities, but Westwood will miss out if the bike lanes do not go through.

I can’t make it, since I’ll be sitting in for Damien Newton as guest editor of LA Streetsblog in the morning.

But I urge you to attend, or call or email CM Kortetz’ office if you can’t. Because a decision that gives a greater value to the convenience of a few homeowners over the safety of cyclists should not be allowed to stand.

………

This is the editorial I’ve been waiting for, as a writer for the Times tells motorists who claim cyclists have it coming to get a grip.

Bravo.

So what is it that drives otherwise rational people to fits of apoplexy when the subject of cycling comes up?

Yes, some cyclists break the rules. Dangerously, at times.

But sit by any major street, and it only takes moments to observe an unending stream of stupid driver tricks. And has been pointed out many times before, even the most reckless cyclist is a danger primarily to him or herself, while reckless drivers are a danger to everyone around them.

Dangerous drivers kill; dangerous cyclists and pedestrians get killed.

The risk is by no means equivalent.

And only a truly sick SOB would ever take pleasure or find justification in the needless death of another human being.

So get a grip. And get over it already.

………

Vancouver Cycle Chic writer Chris Bruntlett interviews me and other LA bikevocates in a photo essay on the state of bicycling in Los Angeles; a nice piece from a nice guy.

………

4314920.web.templateCycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson rides to remember a fallen cyclist he didn’t know and writes about it movingly.

Speaking of Seth, word is he has a book coming out this week, with a signing this Thursday at 7 pm at Pages: A Book Store, 904 Manhattan Ave in Manhattan Beach — including wine from Victoria Hill Vineyards and beer from Strand Brewing. That alone would make it worth the trip to the South Bay.

Seth is one of my favorite bike writers, veering from wildly inappropriate to outrageously funny to deeply moving. Sometimes in the same post.

Something tells me his book will be on the can’t miss gift list for a lot of bike riders this year. Including mine.

Maybe a copy will find its way into my stocking.

And yes, that’s a hint. But someone please tell my wife, since she doesn’t read my blog.

………

Don’t miss the LACBC Open House on December 5th; and yes, I’ll be there. How to protect your bike from theft while riding Metro; this is what can happen if you don’t. Pardon me boy, is that the Westwood Blvd choo choo tracks? Take a bike train to the LA Gran Prix on Saturday, and watch the first ever Wolfpacktrack Invitational. Better Bike recaps a recent tour of soon-to-be-made-over Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills, with possible plans for bike lanes. A bike rider in Santa Monica gets hit by a car, assaults the driver, jumps up and down on the roof, and gets arrested; not that he overreacted or anything. New protected bike lanes in the San Gabriel Valley. Cyclists helping others with the SC Velo and Incycle Thanksgiving food drive. CLR Effect offers incredible photos from the El Dorado Park Cyclocross; hey Michael, ever think about putting a bike calendar together?

Six highlights from the recent California Bike Summit. Orange County riders turn out to remember fallen cyclist Paul Lin. Too bad this one is buried behind the paywall, as the OC Register’s Dan Whiting says it’s worth two seconds to save a cyclist’s life; I may disagree with Dan from time to time, but no one ever said his heart isn’t in the right place. An OC driver is sentenced to 21 years in prison for killing a cheerleader while drunk, thus proving the lives of cheerleaders are more valuable than cyclists; thanks to George Cook for the link. San Diego cyclists complain about trash cans in the bike lane. A memorial ride was held Saturday for popular San Diego cyclist Udo Heinz, who was killed by a bus on Camp Pendleton last August. Santa Barbara paramedics pitch in to buy a special needs man a new bike less than an hour after his was stolen. Some Santa Cruz cyclists protest the groundbreaking for a new bike path. A 72-year old cyclist suffers major injuries in a Cayucos collision. More evidence that police officers don’t always understand the laws they enforce. Two teens injured in Stockton bike-by shooting; thanks to Cyclelicious for the heads-up. San Francisco police are accused of beating a bike rider for riding on the sidewalk, then beating people who tried to come to his aid; turns out he was only packing a cupcake.

Lactic acid is your friend; no, really, that’s what they say. Floyd Landis goes to war against Lance Armstrong; speaking of Lance, he says former UCI president Verbruggen was in on the cover-up. Well, duh. A ghost bike goes up in my hometown. A Wisconsin bike evangelist wants you to get ‘bent. The NYPD cracks down on bicyclists for riding on a bike path. Riding with Wall Street MAMILS on $20,000 bikes.

In a virtual repeat of the Santa Barbara story, a stranger buys a new bike for an autistic Canadian boy after his is stolen. Is London Mayor Boris pushing too fast to make the city bike friendly, or not fast enough? Following a rash of bicycling deaths in London, police wisely choose to crack down on the victims, rather than the big ass trucks that are killing them. London gang members are barred from riding bikes to prevent them from committing crimes or fleeing police; yeah, they couldn’t possibly just take the Tube or run away or anything. Eight reasons to be grateful to cyclists. A UK driver didn’t see the young bike rider he killed because he was safely checking his rearview mirror; oh, well okay, then. UK police confiscate a $273,000 McLaren supercar after the uninsured driver hits a cyclist; seriously, you drive a quarter-of-a-million dollar car and can’t carry a little insurance? An 18-year old Irish rider pleads guilty to the new charge of drunk cycling; just one of an average five Irish cyclists who appear in court each week. A Spanish cyclist is fined the equivalent of $135 for eating a croissant while riding. Bicycling should be encouraged in India so youths learn to maintain balance in their lives. Can someone please explain what a Kiwi bike rider who was seriously injured after riding into a parked car five years ago has to do with a call to wear hi-viz to improve visibility?

Finally, a cyclist does the right thing by giving up bicycling to take up driving; no really, you should read this one. Unlike the Chinese driver who did the wrong thing, promising to take the cyclist he hit to the hospital before dumping him on the side of the road.

And if this wasn’t enough to satisfy your bike link lust, the world’s biggest and best bike link compendium is just a click away.

Making the perfect case for Westwood bike lanes

This is how you win the fight for bikes on the streets.

For the past year, I’ve been following the fight over bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard.

Particularly since attending the single most unpleasant bike meeting in my experience earlier this year, as a group of Westside home and business owners railed against the loss of a single parking space to improve safety for those on two wheels.

Even though the upcoming Expo Line extension promises to vastly increase the number of riders on the street, as countless students, professors and other employees will take the train to the planned Westwood stop. Then bike the last couple miles from and from the station and the UCLA campus.

And even though the current proposal for a floating bike lane avoids the elimination of a single traffic lane or parking space.

I was impressed when I was forwarded a document written by Calla Wilmer last May to other members of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners’ Association laying out all the arguments in favor of accommodating bike riders on the boulevard.

And even more impressed this last week when I received a brilliantly researched follow-up document she’d written, offering the clearest, most detailed argument I’ve seen yet on why these lanes must be built.

Or any other bike project, for that matter.

With footnotes, no less.

So I asked for permission to reprint her email here, and she graciously agreed.

Wiemer has addressed every argument against the lanes, and made the case for them as strongly as I’ve ever seen. In light of this, if anyone can still oppose them, they’re going to have some serious explaining to do.

It’s not a quick read. But definitely worth your time.

And a perfect example of how to lay out an irrefutable argument in favor of bicycling infrastructure.

……..

Cyclist Endangerment on Westwood Blvd II:

A Response to Critics and Skeptics

Calla Wiemer*

Westwood Blvd has been designated a backbone of the LA 2010 Bike Plan and targeted for the extension of now segmented bike lanes.  The leadership of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners’ Association has opposed bike lanes for the stretch of Westwood Blvd that runs through the WSSM neighborhood between Santa Monica and Pico.  The case in favor of bike lanes rests on a desire to mitigate the dangers that now confront cyclists on Westwood Blvd.  I presented analysis of the safety issues (along with a design proposal for bike lanes and a discussion of the parking situation) in a previous report submitted to the WSSM Bike Committee, hereafter referred to as “Cyclist Endangerment I”.[1]  The report generated much discussion and criticism.  This follow-up report offers a response to points raised by critics and skeptics.

Both reports are motivated by a desire to help inform stakeholders as to just how dangerous cycling is along the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd and to encourage the WSSM HOA leadership to reach out to HOA members with information on the situation.

This report begins with a recap of highlights from the WSSM HOA’s history related to bike lanes.  It then takes up a number of topics that have proven controversial in an effort to bring greater clarity to the discussion.  Finally, it concludes with a safety based argument in favor of bike lanes for Westwood Blvd.

WSSM HOA Bike Lane Activity

In recognition of the complexity of the bike lane issue, the WSSM HOA formed a Bike Committee which held a series of meetings.  Committee members, as appointed by the President, are:  Margaret Healey (co-chair); Craig Rich (co-chair); Marilyn Cohon; Randy Garrou; Janet Garstang; and Calla Wiemer.

A timeline of main activities is as follows:

  • 5 March 2013    WSSM Board discusses Bike Committee formation
  • 22 April 2013     first meeting of the Committee
  • 15 May 2013      Wiemer’s “Cyclist Endangerment I” submitted to the Committee
  • 9 July 2013          last meeting of the Committee (to date)

Other than my “Cyclist Endangerment I”, no written documents have been prepared by members of the WSSM Bike Committee.

The WSSM leadership has disseminated a number of e-mail communications expressing opposition to bike lanes for Westwood Blvd.  The most recent communication on this subject, dated 15 October 2013, objected even to the LA Department of Transportation undertaking study of a design proposal for bike lanes.  The only mention of safety in this communication appeared in the statement:   “The safety of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers is a critical goal.”

Discussion of Cyclist Endangerment on Westwood Blvd

My further input on five aspects of the safety discussion follows.

1)  Safety of cyclists the focus.  The WSSM e-mail of 15 October 2013 lumps together the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.  Drivers are encased in steel and glass, and further protected by air bags that inflate on impact.  Their safety is not at serious risk at speeds characteristic of Westwood Blvd.  Cyclists and pedestrians, by contrast, are exposed bodily in spaces shared with motor vehicles.  Bike lanes have been proposed to address the problem of danger to cyclists specifically.  The three-year period 2009-2011 saw 12 reported collisions involving cyclists on the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd and none involving pedestrians.[2]  By absorbing cyclists into the broader grouping of “pedestrians, cyclists and drivers” the critical problem faced by cyclists is diluted.  The dangers faced by cyclists call for specific attention in connection with the debate on bike lanes. 

2)  Significance of cyclist collision data.  “Cyclist Endangerment I” reported data on the number of collisions involving cyclists by year for the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd.  In 2011, six collisions resulted in police reports for this six block stretch of roadway.  A WSSM Board member responded to this information as follows (8 Oct 2013, e-mail):

“I personally think the raw number isn’t very meaningful. Some may see it as low, some may see it as high. I don’t think there’s enough context to interpret the value …”

Let us develop the context.

  • One way to provide context is to compare the rate of cyclist-involved collisions per mile for the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd with the rate for a broader geography.  At six collisions in 0.8 miles, the per mile rate was 7.5 for WSSM Westwood.  For the county of Los Angeles in the same year, the number of collisions involving cyclists was 2219.  The number of non-freeway road miles in LA County is 20,245.[3]  That makes for a cyclist-involved collision rate countywide of 0.24 per mile.  Thus the per mile rate of cyclist-involved collisions for the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd in 2011 was nearly 32 times that exhibited on LA County roads in general.
  • Another way of providing context is to examine the ratio of cyclist-involved collisions relative to all collisions for Westwood Blvd versus the same ratio for the county overall.  Conceivably, Westwood Blvd is so congested and treacherous that collision rates are high for all modes of transport, with cyclists just getting caught up in that broader milieu.  As it turns out, however, for WSSM Westwood, 43 percent of all collisions in 2011 involved cyclists while for LA County as a whole the ratio was only 9.0 percent.  This means collisions involving cyclists as a share of total collisions were 4.7 times higher for the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd than for LA County generally.

Skeptics might still counter that the six collisions in 2011 were a statistical aberration.  Such a short stretch of roadway is subject to a high degree of variability in collision rates from year to year, after all.  But even if we take the average number of cyclist collisions over the three year period 2009-2011 to represent the statistically expected number of collisions in 2011, the count still comes to four.  On a per mile basis, that number yields cyclist collisions for the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd at a rate 21 times higher than for LA County as a whole and a share of cyclist collisions relative to all collisions at a rate 3.2 times higher.

Bottom line, it is hard to imagine a standard by which six collisions involving cyclists (or even four) in six blocks in one year may be seen as low.

3)  Impact of bike lanes on safety.  The above statement from the WSSM Board member continues:

“… nor is it clear what will happen to that value in the future should the lane proposal succeed or fail.”

A 2012 academic study is instructive in this regard.[4]  The authors estimate the likelihood of cyclist injury associated with different infrastructure configurations using an inventive methodology to control for cyclist and environmental characteristics.  The most dangerous configuration for cyclists is identified as “major street with parked cars and no bike infrastructure”.  Other configurations are benchmarked against this standard.  The risk measure for cyclist injury was found to be lower by nearly 50 percent for “major streets with parked cars and bike lanes”.   Although interpretation of the statistical results is complicated,[5] the authors were heartened to discover that their results conformed closely with cyclist perceptions of the relative dangers of different infrastructure configurations.

Ultimately, if bike lanes are installed on Westwood Blvd, there will be no way of knowing just how much bloodshed is avoided.  Nor can we know exactly how many people will take to riding bikes on Westwood Blvd who would otherwise have been deterred.  But as Teschke and co-authors ascertained, danger is palpable when you’re in it on a bike.  Anyone who is out riding Westwood Blvd regularly can attest to how scary it is and to the difference bike lanes would make.

Among the six cyclists involved in collisions on WSSM Westwood in 2011, five were male, only one female.  This is consistent with gender proportions tabulated by the LA County Bicycle Coalition in its biennial counts of cyclists on LA roadways.  LACBC analysis of the data has revealed, however, that when bike lanes are present the share of female riders more than doubles.[6]  The interpretation offered is that females are typically more risk averse in their cycling choices than males, and that given safer conditions they are prepared to take advantage of the opportunities.  The upshot is that installing bike lanes on Westwood Blvd would make it a more inclusive biking environment for women.

4)  Complaints about cyclist behavior.  My reporting of collision figures at the June WSSM board meeting met with outcries over the perceived recklessness of cyclists.  There may be many reasons why cyclists do not consistently adhere to rules of the road as designed for motor vehicles:  attempt to avoid conflict; laziness; haste; capability to maneuver in ways that cars cannot.  There may also be many reasons why motorists violate the right-of-way of cyclists:  distraction; haste; didn’t “see” cyclist; “couldn’t help it”.  Fault is to be found on both sides.  Solutions are nevertheless more likely to be achieved through creating safer spaces for cyclists and motorists to coexist than through changing human nature.

For the six cyclist-involved collisions reported on WSSM Westwood in 2011, case reports show the motorist at fault in four and no party assigned fault in the other two.  In all six cases, the cyclist was injured while the motorist escaped unharmed.  To state the obvious, the contest between cyclists and cars is highly unequal.

5)  Collisions involving cyclists on an upswing.  Collisions involving cyclists have trended sharply upward in Los Angeles since the mid-2000s.  Between 2007 and 2011, the number rose citywide by nearly 70 percent.  Westwood Blvd has similarly seen a dramatic increase from only two cyclist-involved collisions between 2002 and 2007 to 15 between 2008 and 2011.  For the period since 2011, we do not yet have full collision data but we do have numbers on cyclist fatalities culled from news accounts, and these show an alarming leap.  The number of cyclist fatalities in LA County for all of 2012 was 22; for the first ten months of 2013 the count had already reached 32.[7]

BikeWestwoodII-chartBy contrast the incidence of collisions of all types has been declining, as has that for collisions involving pedestrians, as the accompanying figure shows.  A major factor in the increase in cyclist-involved collisions is presumably an increase in the number of cyclists on the road.  The LACBC bike counts show ridership trending strongly upward for Los Angeles generally.  A pattern of ever more cyclists on the road incurring ever more injuries is at the heart of the case for better cycling infrastructure.

Assessment

Current conditions on Westwood Blvd are extremely dangerous for cyclists.  This is a problem for two reasons.  One is that cyclists now braving these dangers are being injured in significant numbers.  The other is that people who would like to travel the corridor by bike are afraid to do so.

Westwood Blvd would present a very different atmosphere if bike lanes were installed and people in numbers gave up their cars to cycle.  For those getting around by bike, local shopping and dining would be more convenient without the stress of having to park a car.  No time would be wasted in transit as the time spent would double as exercise.  But even those traveling by car would be better off if freed of the frustration of getting trapped behind slow moving cyclists.  Cars and bikes would have their own spaces to move at their own speeds.

The problem of cyclists impeding motorists will only get worse with the opening of the Westwood Blvd Expo Line station.  This station will not offer parking for cars.  Cyclists and pedestrians will be its mainstay.  Many who now drive to UCLA or Westwood Village will find the combination of rail and bike an attractive alternative.  We need to prepare for this.

The decision whether to install bike lanes on Westwood Blvd, or even to study proposed designs, will be made by District 5 Councilmember Paul Koretz.  In reaching a verdict, he will take into account input from neighborhood stakeholders.  As a community, we must hope that the input he receives is well informed.


* The author is a member of the Bike Committee of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners’ Association.  This is a revised version of a report submitted to the WSSM Board of Directors at its 5 November 2013 meeting.  It reflects the views of the author alone and is not a product of the WSSM Bike Committee.   It can be found online at www.callawiemer.com/Documents/BikeWestwoodII.pdf.

[1] The full title is “Cyclist Endangerment on Westwood Blvd … and How to Mitigate It”.  The report is posted online at www.callawiemer.com/Documents/BikeWestwood.pdf.

[2] All collision data are from the Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS) of the University of California Berkeley, http://tims.berkeley.edu/page.php?page=tools.

[4] Kay Teschke, et al, “Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists:  A Case-Crossover Study”, American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 102, No. 12 (December 2012).

[5] The reduction in the risk measure does not translate directly into an equivalent reduction in the probability of cyclist injuries, and the study does not present results in such a form.  The statistical significance of the results is sensitive to the confidence interval chosen.  Stronger significance in risk reduction is associated with a road configuration involving bike lanes and no parked cars than with bike lanes and the existence of parked cars.

[6] Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, “Results from the 2011 City of Los Angeles Bicycle and Pedestrian Count,” p. 21, https://lacbc.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/2011_labikecountreport.pdf.

I get it. They hate us. What I don’t get is why.

Sometimes I despair when I read about all the misinformation, anti-bike bias and misplaced hate out there for those of us on two wheels.

Whether that comes in the form of a wicked witch from the Wall Street Journal, or yet another driver who walks, legally speaking, after using his vehicle as a weapon against a bike rider.

A reminder once again, as if we needed one, just how little value the life of someone on a bike has in our society.

It’s a common refrain, from the East Coast to the Left. From a writer for the New York Daily News who claims a cabal of radical cyclists has taken over the city’s Department of Transportation, to outlandish comments in opposition to bike lanes on Colorado and Figueroa in NELA.

And clearly, nothing resembling the facts is allowed to get in the way of their anger.

Not even the death of a cyclist, which seems to inevitably lead to online comments saying we somehow deserve to die because some of us run red lights and stop signs.

Oddly, most motorists just get a ticket for that. Yet there are those who seem to believe we should get the death penalty.

And no, I’m not going to justify their hate by linking to any of that crap. I make sure it doesn’t survive long on this site, either.

Take this bizarre comment from Hart Fisher, one of the leading opponents of the NELA lanes, on a Patch story leading up to the latest hearing over the Colorado lanes.

At 7pm tonight (Monday) Jose Huizar will be presenting his/the city’s plan to create a unsafe & hazardous environment for The Handicapped, the Aged & the Disabled. I will be there in person to fight their radical unsafe plans for our city streets. Come make your voice heard at Center for the Arts Eagle Rock at 2225 Colorado Blvd., LA, CA 90041. This idiocy that screws over old people, handicapped people & disabled people is being rammed down cities across California.

Yes, a bike lane is certainly radical. Although how exactly they screw over old people, the handicapped and disabled is beyond me.

I would think calmer, slower and saner streets would benefit everyone. But what the hell do I know?

The scary thing is that the mad rants of the uninformed and overly imaginative seem to bear as much weight with our elected officials as those who merely want safe streets for everyone, regardless of mode of transportation.

Perhaps because there’s no rationality requirement to cast a ballot. And the votes of the angry and willfully ignorant — or indignorant, as my friend and fellow blogger Will Campbell once called them — count every bit as much as those who go to the effort to actually understand the issues they’re voting on.

Let alone the rabid NIMBYists willing to fight to the death in kneejerk opposition to any attempt to change anything in their neighborhood, for better or worse.

Like the email I was recently forwarded from a Westside homeowners association questioning the latest plan to install a floating bike lane on Westwood Blvd, even though it wouldn’t result in the loss of a single traffic lane or parking space.

In other words, it would create space for much-needed bike lanes on Westwood without any impact whatsoever on parking or traffic. The only change that would affect motorists is that the rush hour no-parking zones would flip from one side of the street to the other; with parking allowed on the east side of the street in the morning, and the west side in the evening.

Yet outrage remains that customers might actually have to cross the street to do business with the local establishments — many, if not most of which have their own parking behind, under or next to their buildings.

Trust me. If your customers aren’t willing to cross the street to do business with your fine establishment, your problems go far beyond which side they have to park on.

The email goes on to add that members of the homeowner’s association have been counting bicyclists at peak hours on the boulevard, with the totals ranging from eight to 23. Although it doesn’t mention whether that’s per hour, day or minute.

But rather than proving the bike lanes aren’t needed, as opponents infer, it actually shows exactly the opposite.

Because bicyclists aren’t going to ride a street they think is dangerous. The fact that anyone at all attempts to ride such a heavily trafficked street, with zero infrastructure for bicycling south of Santa Monica Blvd, points to the latent demand for bike lanes there.

If you build it, they will come.

And if you don’t, they will anyway. Especially once the Westwood Boulevard Expo Line station opens in a few years, and the street provides the only direct link between the station and the UCLA campus.

If you want to ensure gridlock, force all those arriving and departing riders to take the lane in front of impatient drivers to get to and from school every day. Let alone ensure a dramatic spike in the number of collisions on the boulevard, serious and otherwise.

Then again, NIMBY homeowners in the area have been fighting the station, the ground-level crossing and the train itself for years now.

Of course, it’s not just NELA or Westwood.

The same battles seem to take place anywhere bike lanes go in, including L.A.’s sleepy port town of San Pedro, where motorists have grabbed their pitchforks and torches to demand removal of the seemingly monstrous bike lanes on Westmont Blvd.

Never mind that the road diet that resulted in the bike lanes was installed, in part, to calm traffic in front of a school.

Maybe it’s just me, but if I had kids in that school, I would demand everything possible be done to protect my child’s safety. Not rip the lanes out to protect the right of drivers to continue to speed and put students’ and teachers’ lives in jeopardy.

Especially since it only causes congestion for forty minutes a day as parents drop off and pick up their kids.

After all, it’s not like there’s any other alternatives to dropping your kids off directly in front of the school. Like dropping them off on the nearest cross street, maybe. Or God forbid, actually allowing your kids to use those same bike lanes to safely ride to school.

They now have the entire summer to work with city and school officials to find a solution. But better to hold a community meeting next week to demand a return to the previous status quo.

So what if a kid gets hit by a speeding car. That’s just the price you pay for a slightly faster commute, right?

Then again, sometimes NIMBY means Not In My Beach, You…!

Some go so far as to describe any attempt to install bike lanes, anywhere, as an attack on cars and the people who drive them.

Yet if there is such a war, it’s better described as a war on bikes, because we’re the ones who are dying, at a rate of nearly 700 bicycling fatalities a year, most on the bumpers of those cars that currently rule the roads.

Motor vehicles have long enjoyed full dominion over virtually 100% of the roadways in this country. All we’re asking for is a modicum of safe space to keep us from bouncing painfully off those bumpers.

Besides, any war on cars would require attacking ourselves, as the overwhelming majority of bike riders are motorists, as well.

And we can’t even seem to stop drivers from using non-road public spaces.

Meanwhile, back in New York, the local papers gleefully cite the slightest glitch as proof the rollout of the new Citi Bike program is an unmitigated disaster. As if any massive new program could be expected to unfurl without a hitch.

And a pair of writers deconstruct the wicked witch’s anti-bike screed, demonstrating that she knows even less about capitalism than she does about bike share.

We can expect the same battles here in a few months, when L.A.’s bike share program finally rolls out. Let alone in other cities throughout the country and around the world.

God help them in Aspen. And Moscow.

Update: Fox 11 reports on last night’s meeting in Eagle Rock to rant about discuss the proposed bike lanes on Colorado Blvd. The station reports that there was more support for the lanes than opposition, leading Councilmember Jose Huizar to say the lanes will go forward. Although the report misidentifies LADOT’s Nate Baird as the councilmember; easy to understand since they look so much alike, right?

And the Atlantic looks at bi-coastal anti-bike paranoia, including L.A.’s own John and Ken, who the driver that just ran you off the road was probably listening to at the time.

………

Something that doesn’t fill me with despair — just the opposite, in fact — is the simple fact that I’m able to sit here writing about those anti-bike haters to begin with.

It was exactly one month ago that my laptop died in the middle of using it; a few seconds and a couple quick blinks, and I was out of business for the foreseeable future.

Business being a relative term for a non-income producing blog.

Still, it was thanks to the readers of this blog that I was able to get back to work less than two weeks later. The contributions you made covered a little over half the cost of a new laptop and the updated software I needed to operate it.

That’s what happens when you don’t upgrade anything for, oh, five years or so.

I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who donated their hard-earned money to help me get back online, as well as those who offered me use of their computers. Or just sent good wishes my way.

I call it the Miracle on the Westside. It’s my own personal tale of the loaves and fishes, as the few dollars in my own pocket somehow expanded to cut the costs down to where the balance could fit on my wife’s credit card.

How I’m going to pay her back is another matter.

But you’ve done more than you will ever know to restore my faith, in whatever way you want to interpret that. And make me more committed than ever to use this new laptop to fight for our right to the roads — and to return home safely when we’re done.

Let alone overcome the irrational objections that stand in our way.

And for that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. One that grew three sizes that day.

Seriously, thank you.

………

Finally, a suspected drunk driver hits a cyclist on a DC-area off-road bike path, after driving on it for five — yes, five — miles. A Kentucky cyclist and bike shop owner misses a teachable moment when he blames himself for going too fast, rather than hold the driver who carelessly and illegally cut him off accountable. And a Maryland man rides 100 miles a week. At 92-years old.

I want to be like him when I grow up.

Counter-protest angry motorists in San Pedro, ride in Simi Valley to fight homelessness

A couple quick time-sensitive items to wrap up a far too busy first full day back online.

And hey, thanks to the Santa Monica Police Department for cracking down on sidewalk cyclists on Bike to Work Day. That will certainly encourage more people to take up bike commuting.

Not to mention this was the first time I’ve visited a B2W Day pit stop that was delayed by a gun threat.

………

First up is the all-too-typical furor over road diets and bike lanes, this time in L.A.’s long suffering and usually forgotten port city of San Pedro.

A pair of underused streets — Westmont and Capitol Drives — recently underwent reductions to calm high-speed traffic, dropping one lane in each direction and installing the typical door zone bike lanes.

And needless to say, motorists are up in arms, even though the streets are almost always empty. And even though it should be bike riders complaining about the lack of buffers between them and flinging car doors.

In fact, I’m told Westmont, which is causing most of the anger, only backs up twice a day, when parents drop off and pick up their children at the local school. And then for only 20 minutes at a time.

Which means the roads are clear for 23 hours and 20 minutes every weekday — which, by my admittedly math-challenged calculations, that would appear to be most of the day. And which would suggest that it doesn’t back up at all on weekends.

God forbid that parents would address that minimal level of congestion by allowing their children to use those bike lanes to ride to school — let alone walk — and avoid the whole barely there mess to begin with.

After all, this is a community where the local high school students are forbidden from riding to school because the campus doesn’t even have or want bike parking.

And as we all know, the convenience of drivers is far more important than the lives and safety of cyclists. Even school aged ones.

I’m told the villagers are planning to shake their pitchforks angry motorists are planning to take to the streets in protest on Monday at 4 pm. Just coincidentally in time for the evening news.

Meanwhile, bike riders are encouraged to counter protest, not by confronting the insistently motoring public’s complaints, but simply by riding the bike lanes when the cameras are present.

The message will be clear, as the cameras will show angry drivers protesting over streets devoid of traffic backups, while bike riders calmly make use of the lanes studies show will reduce collisions and serious injuries for all road users.

Even for drivers who insist road capacity should be maintained for 40 minutes of peak traffic, at the expense of all other users at any other time.

If you ride in the San Pedro area — or can make it down to a part of the city most Angelenos have never seen and many don’t even know exists — you’re strongly encouraged to meet at the Albertson’s parking lot at Westmont Drive and S. Western Ave at 3:45 pm Monday.

Short notice, I know.

But it’s a good cause. And all you have to do is keep calm and ride your bike.

Thanks to Allyson Vought for the tip.

………

Some people complain about the many homeless people in Southern California.  Most simply ignore them.

A few — far too few — actually care enough to do something about it.

If you fit in that category, you’ll want to head up to Simi Valley on Saturday for the first ever — not the oxymoronic first annual, thank you — Ride for the Homeless. Rides range from two to 10 miles for a $20 registration fee and 25, 50 or 100 miles for just $40, followed by a barbeque and raffle.

It’s a great cause, and highly recommended.

Thanks to Patrick Pascal for the heads-up.

………

The LA Weekly abandons its sometimes irrational anti-bike attitude — okay, the anti-bike attitude is always irrational; they just don’t always express it — to profile one of my favorite people, LACBC Executive Director Jen Klausner.

………

Oh, please.

In an absurd take on the current state of bicycling that ignores trends over the past several years and assumes that the highly diverse bicycling community is just one big monoculture, the Wall Street Journal concludes there is a trend towards casual wear when riding.

And points the finger at a backlash against Lance Armstrong.

Never mind that the more casual, non-spandex bikewear has been growing in popularity for several years, dating back to when only the French and Greg LeMond accused Lance of doping.

Accurately, as it turns out.

Or that bike riders ride in different ways and for different purposes. And what works for a half-century ride up the coast isn’t what you’d want to wear for a bike date or a quick ride to the corner market.

I can also assure the WSJ that the reason no American municipality ranks among the world’s top 20 bike-friendly cities has a lot more to do with a lack of decent infrastructure and governmental support — not to mention San Pedro-style anti-bike lane NIMBYism — than a little spandex.

………

Finally, I hope to see you next Wednesday, when the LACBC presents five perspectives on California’s rules of the road for cyclists. One of which will be mine.

Perspective, that is, not rules. Although I have a few of those, too.

It takes place on the first floor of LACBC’s headquarters, 634 South Spring Street, from 7 pm to 8:30 pm; free for LACBC members and just $10 for non-members.

……..

I’ll be guest editing LA Streetsblog on Friday, as Damien Newton takes some well-deserved time off. So be sure to stop by and see if I can make a muck of their well-oiled transportation news and advocacy machine.

L.A. bikes the vote, kneejerk anti-bike bias rears it’s ugly head, and a massive weekend list o’ links

A busy week of bike meetings and breaking news meant pushing back a lot of stories.

So grab a cup and settle in for a full weekend worth of the latest bike news from L.A. and around the world.

………

The LACBC provides responses to candidate surveys from 13 candidates for L.A. city council; surprisingly, some very bike-friendly candidates, such as Odysseus Bostick in CD 11, failed to respond.

Meanwhile, a writer for the L.A. Times offers a one-sided windshield-perspective look at the CD 11 candidates; I thought the Times had outgrown that sort of crap in recent years.

And I’m sick to death of people who don’t ride a bike stating with presumed authority that no one would ever ride from the Westside — or the Palisades — to Downtown when there are riders who do that, or its equivalent, every day.

I make the Westside to Downtown ride several times a month myself. And find it easier, cheaper, faster, more enjoyable — and yes, safer — than driving a car. But it’s so much easier to claim no one would do it than talk to someone who does.

As for the race for L.A. Mayor, Streetsblog offers video interviews from all five leading candidates. And the Times sort of makes up for their misstep above by getting them on the record for their stands on transportation issues, including bicycling.

If you want to do more than just cast a vote to ensure the city’s next leaders support bicycling — or any other city in L.A. County for that matter — come to the the LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee meeting on Tuesday, February 26th at 6:45 pm at the Johnnie’s Pizza at Museum Square, 5757 Wilshire Blvd.

………

Has it really been two years since L.A. adopted a new bike plan? The city is making real progress, but anti-bike critics remain.

LADOT considers floating bike lanes for Westwood Blvd, but an LA Observed writer with a terminal case of windshield perspective says those damned bike lanes are going to ruin the streets for the rest of us. Examined Spoke responds, while Boyonabike smells anti-bike bias.

Rampant anti-bike NIMBYism rears its ugly head at the Westside bike lane meeting, as local neighborhood councils and business owners came in with minds already made up and their ears closed. On the other hand, Rancho Park Online offers a surprisingly well reasoned analysis of the Westwood proposal.

Meanwhile, Eagle Rock business owners question whether bike lanes are good or bad for business; that pretty much depends on whether their business can benefit from bike riders’ money. The Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council says keep bike lanes off Lankershim and put them on Vineland, instead; if you want to see a perfect example of irrational anti-bike bias, read the comments — seriously, elitist bike Nazis? And NoHoArtsDistrict tries to get the facts straight.

………

In one of the most outrageous cases in recent memory, a Buenos Aires driver runs down a cyclist, then flees with his victim’s body still on the hood of his car for 17 kilometers — 10.5 miles — until he’s stopped at a toll both.

And when the attendant pointed out he had a body on his car, he responded “Does that mean you’re going to charge me twice?”

Thanks to Ralph Durham for the heads-up.

Meanwhile, closer to home, the Glendale News-Press finally reports on last Sunday’s horrible hit-and-run collision in which a cyclist was knocked off his bike and dragged onto the 5 Freeway by the fleeing minivan; I’ve updated the original story.

………

Even pro teams are victims of violence these days.

According to Cycling News, the Jamis-Hagens Berman team was on a training ride outside otherwise bike-friendly Tucson when a car pulled up next to them and the driver started swearing at them.

The car then swerved into the lead riders before speeding off, causing the riders to crash; fortunately, no one was seriously injured. And just as fortunately, the team car was following the paceline and managed to get photos of the driver’s license plate.

Hopefully, there will be an arrest — and serious charges — soon.

………

KNBC-4 recommends the LACBC’s ‘80s Bike Prom this Saturday, as do I; if I wasn’t still keeping a close eye on my wife thanks to her foot-dragging insurance company, I’d be there myself. Streetsblog is hosting a fundraiser with outgoing councilmember Bill Rosendahl the same night. A Midwestern transplant discovers you can bike in L.A. without dying, and borrows this blog’s name in the process. Here’s your map for April’s CicLAvia to the Sea; there will be a community meeting to discuss it next Thursday. New pavement and bike lanes for Cypress Park. Burbank adopts its new general plan; naturally, the only no vote came because the plan includes a bigger bike network. Universal Studios will fund projects to alleviate Burbank traffic caused by their expansion, and extend the L.A. River bike path they’ve long tried to block. Long Beach wants to help you become a street savvy cyclist.

A La Habra teen is stabbed by two men for his bike. Huntington Beach plans to widen Atlanta Avenue and add bike lanes in both direction; hopefully they won’t follow the murderous OC pattern of striping wide lanes to encourage more speeding drivers. A Coronado driver says yes, it is my job to make you obey the law. Not so fast on those new bike lanes on the Coast Highway in Leucadia. San Diego plans to add bike lanes and sidewalks to fix a dangerous stretch of road in San Ysidro. Temecula’s Sarah Hammer takes gold in the women’s individual pursuit at the World Championships. This has got to be the crappiest name ever for a bike ride; no, I mean literally. Camarillo adds two miles of bike lanes. Cambria riders push Caltrans to fix the damage they did to one of California’s favorite riding routes. Turn any shoes into cleated bike shoes. Cyclists on San Francisco’s King Street are at the mercy of cars once the bike lane ends mid-block. San Francisco police bust a fugitive sex offender for riding on the sidewalk. Supporters of a fallen Oroville cyclist says it’s time to end hit-and-runs.

The man whose name graces my bike says he wants to get back into the business; makes sense since he’s now America’s only Tour de France winner. Not surprisingly, traffic fatalities rose nationwide in 2012. The USDOT questions whether dead cyclists and pedestrians count enough to count. L.A.-style bicyclist anti-harassment laws are spreading nationwide. Dave Moulton says lighter isn’t always better. Ninety members of my old fraternity plan to bike across the county to raise awareness for disabilities this summer. Sorry Wired, fat bikes don’t huck and bikes can’t outrun wolves. Washington considers a $25 fee on the sale of any bike over $500; even the woman who wrote the bill doesn’t support it. A bike rider is killed by a train because a Utah driver couldn’t be bothered to clean the frost off her windshield. Rocky Mountain National Park considers its first off-road bike trails. If you’re stopped for biking under the influence on your birthday, it’s probably not a good idea to celebrate by strangling the cop. A Chicago newsman panics over planned bikeways and bus lanes on the Loop. Now that’s more like it, as an Indiana driver gets 18 years for killing two teenage bike riders after smoking meth. New York plans a crackdown on bike delivery riders. Former Bogota mayor Enrique Penalosa says Gotham could be more livable. A Philly writer wisely suggests that instead of focusing on how to get women to ride, we should consider what works for everyone; Elly Blue says just invite everyone to the party. Bike safety goes down in flames in Virginia legislature. Wannabe Latin pop star Carlos Bertonatti finally pleads guilty in the 2010 drunken hit-and-run death of a Miami cyclist; Bertonatti faces up to 35 years, but it’s unlikely he would have changed his plea if there wasn’t a deal in place.

Once again, a study supports the obvious conclusion that lower speeds and separated bike lanes significantly reduce the risk of cycling injuries. Five lessons from the world’s most bike friendly city, winter edition. How to travel with your Brompton. Looks like next year we can look forward to the Giro d’Eire. A look at the five best Hollywood bike scenes from a Brit perspective, without mentioning Breaking Away, American Flyers or Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. A major failure of education and traffic planning, as English children are banned from biking or walking to school. A New Zealand writer asks if hi-viz makes you a target. Australia, which mandates bike helmets for everyone, also requires bike bells in an apparent attempt to help more angels get their wings. Adelaide police statistics show drivers are at fault in an overwhelming 80% of all collisions; thank God Aussie cyclists have their bells to protect them.

Finally, this is why some people hate lawyers. A defense attorney claims his client wasn’t impaired when she killed a cyclist, but only took the drugs afterwards — apparently to cope with just having killed someone while driving distracted at over 70 mph.

Or maybe you just need a little bike rap to kick off your weekend; the language may be offensive to some, including heavy abuse of the dreaded n-word.

………

Thanks to Chris and the gang at the Westwood Helen’s, I no longer have a busted bearing in my bottom bracket. And neither does my bike.

If you’re looking for a great LBS, tell ‘em I sent you.

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