Tag Archive for anti-ebike hysteria

LA-based swrve shuts down, ebike riders could face bans and restrictions, and ebike incentives costly but effective

Just 307 days until Los Angeles fails to meet its Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.
So stop what you’re doing and sign this petition to demand Mayor Bass hold a public meeting to listen to the dangers we face walking and biking on the mean streets of LA.

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

We made it!

As of this writing, we’re at 1,005 signatures! So let’s keep it going, and urge your friends, family and coworkers to sign the petition until the mayor agrees to meet with us!

Photo from swrve website.

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Disappointing news, as Los Angeles-based bikewear brand swrve is set to close after 20 years of making comfortable clothing for urban bicyclists and bike commuters.

The company plans to remain in operation for the next few months as it sells off existing inventory, but won’t place any further orders with suppliers.

There is some small hope, however, with swrve’s owners putting it on the market in hopes of attracting a new buyer.

Fingers crossed.

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A new video dissects the recent ebike ban in Key Biscayne, Florida, that followed the death of an elderly woman riding a bicycle who collided with a teenaged ebike rider.

According to CleanTechnica, it demonstrates “how one thing leads to another to lead from tragedy to bigger tragedies.”

The ban also offers a stark reminder that your right to ride the bicycle of your choice could easily be taken away.

Meanwhile, an Oregon ebike bill is likely to pass following a last minute compromise, after the Bike League and PeopleForBikes came out against an earlier version of the bill.

The new version narrows the definition of a bicycle to being equipped with pedals, to prevent throttle-controlled bikes from being classified as ebikes.

Which could be a reasonable compromise to Encinitas Assembly Member Tasha Boerner’s bill to ban ebike use for kids under 12, and require online training to buy or ride an ebike for anyone without a driver’s license.

Defining an ebike as having operable pedals would continue to permit ped-assist ebikes, while reclassifying throttle-controlled bikes as subject added regulation.

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A new report from a trio of US university professors says bike incentive programs are an expensive way for state and local governments to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

However, they also single out the programs for promoting health, equity and cleaner air. Not to mention improving traffic congestion by reducing the number of vehicles on the road.

Something that California’s dramatically underfunded ebike voucher program could have been doing for the past two years — if the state had gotten its shit together and actually launched the damn thing.

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If you ever thought there was a lot going on in the LA area bicycling community, you’re right.

Courtesy of Mobility For Who and Trash Panda Cycling, a calendar of local bike events offers a crowded schedule of daily rides and races for anyone looking for more two-wheeled fun to fill your time.

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GCN asks the burning question of whether an ebike makes you fast enough to train with hang with the pros.

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It’s now 70 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 31 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law — and counting.

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

A new video captures a British Columbia hiker standing in the middle of a mountain biking trail to berate bikers for using it, apparently a tad confused over the concept of a bike-specific trail.

No surprise here, as video of a bike-riding Toronto traffic enforcement officer ticketing drivers blocking a protected bike lane draws exactly the kind of comments you’d expect from the typically aggrieved driving community.

@tps_bikehart

When I am assigned a special detail for bike lane enforcement. It is ZERO tolerance. Doesnt matter if you’re “only stopped for 2 mins” “but i have a pickup” “but i have a delivery” but,but,but …..no excuse. Park legally. These parking offences are zero tolerance and more restrictive for a reason. Bike lanes keep cyclist safe. This happened to be an area where there is no protection curb as its a driveway to a PARKING gargage. And a driver still shanelessly pulls in, turns their hazards. Guess whats the hazard? THE CAR. $150 tag to be served in the mail and other served to windshield #fyp #toronto #bikeTO #cycleto #cycletoronto #bikelanes #parkingticket #cyclist #parkingenforcement #parkingofficer #torontopolice #cars #biketok #downtown #parkingticket

♬ original sound – erin.urquhart

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

A bike-riding bandit has snatched at least seven cellphones from the hands of unsuspecting Manhattanites in recent weeks.

A pedalling perp was pinched by the police after a series of bike-born Virginia purse snatchings. I think “Pedaling Perp” will be the name of my new band.

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Local 

Santa Monica police will conduct yet another Bike & Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operation today, ticketing any traffic violation that could endanger bike riders or pedestrians, regardless of who commits it. So once again, ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limit line today, so you’re not the one who gets fined. 

 

State

Canyon News reports California is working to improve safety for bicyclists, but more bike safety legislation is needed. Although how hard the state is actually working on it is subject to debate. 

Laguna Nigel became the latest Orange County city to tighten ebike regulations, banning handheld cellphone use while riding a bike, prohibiting wheelies by ebike riders, and requiring a helmet for any ebike riders under 18. Even though state law already requires bike helmets for anyone under 18, and the other provisions are of questionable legality, since only the state has the authority to regulate bicycle use on public roads.

Seriously? Over 1,000 bicyclists are expected for Saturday’s annual Solvang Century Bike Ride, even if the local paper describes it as a “non-competitive race,” which is a complete contradiction of terms. Apparently, they don’t know any other words to describe multiple people on bicycles riding at the same time. 

Sad news from Fresno, where a 53-year old homeless woman was killed when she allegedly made an abrupt left turn on her bike in front of an SUV; meanwhile, the driver was arrested on the spot for DUI.

A lawsuit has been filed over another Fresno bicycling death, alleging a popular university lecturer was killed last October when at least five drivers of high-powered sports cars were racing one another, before one hit her head-on after rounding a curve on the wrong side of the road.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A 38-year old woman killed in a Los Altos collision while riding her bike earlier this month was described as a having a brilliant technical mind and a compassionate, personable nature; she was engaged to be married just two months from today.

 

National

Forbes recommends the year’s best road bikes that cater to every type of bicyclist. Unless you’re one of the millions of American bike riders who’s not a roadie, of course.

A University of Washington worker puts a new spin on the term professional cyclist, delivering letters and packages by ebike for the campus mail service.

A kindhearted Oklahoma sheriff’s deputy took it on himself to put a new tube in a student’s bicycle while they were in class, after the kid apparently suffered a flat on the way to school.

In a story that shouldn’t surprise anyone, the Chicago Tribune reports that serious crashes involving bicyclists and pedestrians seldom lead to charges, or even tickets, which advocates say is a sign they aren’t taken seriously enough. That same story could be written for virtually any American city, as traffic violence is usually just considered an “oopsie,” even when there’s clear evidence of reckless behavior. 

In another sign that New York’s Vision Zero still has a long way to go, a 64-year old man riding a bikeshare bike was killed when he was doored while riding on a street which has been identified as a Vision Zero corridor, but where nothing has been done.

Despite promises by New York officials to build ebike charging stations for workers after a fatal ebike battery fire last year, not one dime of the promised funding has been spent.

Tampa, Florida traffic engineers report there have been zero fatalities at intersections where bike boxes have been installed.

 

International

Who needs a bike bell when you could have a mini car horn capable of an ear-blasting 125 decibels of annoying honking, just like the people ensconced in a couple tons of glass and steel.

Dutch ebike maker VanMoof took a step toward returning to life following a near-fatal bankruptcy, as the company’s new owners provided access to repair manuals, guides, and technical drawings for their ebikes built prior to 2019, which were previously available only to certified bike shops.

swrThe 16-year old boy accused of intentionally running down two Melbourne, Australia bike riders with a stolen car will have to stay behind bars until his trial, after the judge denied bail in the case; the victims continue to suffer from brain and spinal injuries.

 

Competitive Cycling

Twenty-one-year old American “crit king” Luke Lamperti made an impressive spring classics debut with a 7th place finish at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

The legendary Marianne Vos outsprinted world champ Lotte Kopecky to win the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, one of the most important one-day classics on the Belgian cycling calendar.

 

Finally…

That feeling when the countryside is haunted by miles of ghost bike paths. Or when you need hip waders for your next ride.

And we may have to deal with drivers parking in bike lanes, but at least they’re not blocked by bigass bales of hay.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Bloated CAO cost estimate weighs down Measure HLA, and draconian ebike regs threaten drag on micromobility

Just 315 days until Los Angeles fails to meet its Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.
So stop what you’re doing and sign this petition to demand Mayor Bass hold a public meeting to listen to the dangers we face walking and biking on the mean streets of LA.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can. Just 42 signatures to go to reach 1,000!

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Measure HLA continues to lead the news, and appears to be the hottest issue on next month’s ballot for Los Angeles.

The ballot proposal, which does nothing more than require Los Angeles officials to keep their official commitments to the bicycling, walking and transit communities, would require the city to build out the already approved Mobility Plan 2035 whenever a street in the plan gets resurfaced.

Despite being passed nine years ago with the overwhelming support of the city council, just five percent of the plan has been built in the years since — meaning an overwhelming 95% of the plan remains vaporware, with just eleven years remaining before it’s supposed to be completed.

Although implementing the plan this way, as streets are resurfaced, will take considerably longer.

Then again, we were told within weeks of its passage that the plan is just “aspirational,” anyway.

The Los Angeles Public Press describes it this way.

Measure HLA, also known as Healthy Streets LA, would require the city to implement Mobility Plan 2035 every time it repaves 1/8 mile of street or repairs 1/8 mile of sidewalk. If it fails to do so, any resident of the city of LA can sue to force compliance.

If passed, the measure could change how the city designs and builds transportation infrastructure. But it could also change the city’s identity as a sprawling metropolis built for cars — where everybody drives and nobody walks, bikes, or takes the bus unless they have to.

Last week, the city tried to sandbag the ballot measure with an astounding estimate of up to $3.1 billion — yes, with a B — to fully implement the measure.

But among the financial tricks they used to inflate the cost was rolling the full amount of street repaving, sidewalk repairs and other costs into the measure, which the city will be obligated to spend whether or not it passes. Along with shoehorning the full cost of the measure into an artificial ten year horizon, raising the projected annual costs to ridiculously high figures.

This is how Streetsblog’s Joe Linton described the report from City Administrative Officer Matt Szabo, which he accurately described as “scaremongering bullshit.”

In November, the CAO had forecast bike lanes to cost L.A. $350,000 per mile.

That was roughly double current city costs. L.A. Department of Transportation’s higher quality facilities (for example parking-protected facilities like San Vicente Boulevard) cost just under $200,000 per mile.

Today, the CAO upped its bike lane figure to $1.76 million per mile. I had to look at that number several times – not a typo: $1.76 million per mile of bike lane. Really.

The CAO bike lane cost today is about nine times what LADOT currently spends for a mile of its best bike lanes. And the CAO applies this cost to the Mobility Plan’s protected and unprotected bike lanes.

Other outlets picked up the misleading $3.1 billion estimate, while lacking the context or willingness to put it in perspective.

However, other sources focused on the powerful pro-HLA billboard that says more pedestrians have been killed on LA’s Vermont Blvd than in the state of Vermont.

CityWatch’s self-appointed urban planning expert, who somehow seems to think his expertise as a dermatologist gives him unique insights into the field, says he’s a big hell no on HLA, arguing that it’s a sheep in wolf’s clothing for road diets and transit-friendly housing, while complaining about “councilmembers and paid mercenaries parade around promoting ‘Healthy Streets’ that empower developer and other monied interests.”

Although I suspect many of the people working to pass HLA would love to paid for the countless hours of volunteer time they’re putting in on the campaign.

Former councilmember and retired LAPD supervisor Dennis Zine is also a no on HLA, arguing that it will “further reduce vehicle traffic lanes and cause additional gridlock on roads that are already over capacity,” even though the Department of Transportation says it ain’t necessarily so.

Also writing for CityWatch, civic activist Tim Deegan makes the bizarre argument that HLA will empower progressives, as if no conservatives ever walk, bike or use transit, and hurt the homeless in some unspecified way, as if they somehow won’t benefit from safer streets.

But at least one writer for CityWatch takes the time to consider both sides, while appearing to come down on neither.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports Mayor Bass is standing on the sidelines by refusing to take a stand on HLA.

But at least that’s better than stabbing us in the back like she did with her flip flop on a proposal to merely study the practicality and support for removing the useless Marina Freeway, and replace it with housing and a massive park.

According to the Times, supporters include city councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Eunisses Hernandez, Heather Hutt, Nithya Raman, Hugo Soto-Martínez and Katy Yaroslavsky, along with City Controller Kenneth Mejia.

Councilmembers Bob Blumenfield, Tim McOsker, Traci Park and Monica Rodriguez are opposed, though only Park is actively campaigning against it.

And neither Bass nor Council President Paul Krekorian have voiced support for either side.

Finally, the Daily Breeze and other SoCal News Group papers appear to oppose the measure. But since the story is hidden behind their draconian paywall, we may never know.

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The other topic gaining a lot of traction over the weekend was the effort by some legislators to reign in the booming popularity of ebikes.

A New Jersey state senate committee approved a bill that would require insurance and registration for ebikes and their riders, while admitting the bill is flawed in its present form, but insisting someone else will fix it.

A writer for CleanTechnica says New Jersey would be foolish to require ebike insurance and registration, which threatens to put the brakes on micromobility through over-regulation.

Advocacy groups say it would harm working-class residents while requiring a form of insurance that doesn’t yet exist.

Meanwhile, Key Biscayne, Florida responded to the death of an elderly woman who was struck by a teenaged ebike rider while riding her bike by approving a temporary ban on all ebikes and e-scooters.

Which is kind of like banning all cars because a single driver is accused of causing a crash, even though they may not have been at fault.

Okay, it’s exactly like it.

Yet everyone appeared to comply with the ban, as police didn’t ticket anyone for breaking it over the weekend. Although I’m very surprised no one violated the ban to challenge it in court.

GCN considers what seems to be lost in all the other arguments, with advice for beginners on how to stay safe riding an ebike.

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On the same subject, longtime Orange County bike advocate Bill Sellin forwards the following comments from ebike instructor, presenter, author & consultant Clinton Sandusky, with his permission. 

As promised, here are my personal thoughts/bullet points (not representing any organizations I am a part of) on this proposed (Bill Text – AB-2234 Vehicles: electric bicycles. (ca.gov)) by Assemblymember Boerner:
First, I certainly appreciate Assemblymember Boerner’s efforts now and in the past in trying to make riding conventional and electric bicycles a more safe and enjoyable experience here in California! I believe this bill in its current form is highly flawed, will not have the results hoped for, and therefore should not proceed forward for the following reasons:
  • It would make significant changes to existing laws (some of which have been in effect since 2016) way too fast. A more reasonable first step in addressing electric bicycle safety would be the passage of Bill Text – AB-1778 Vehicles: electric bicycles. (ca.gov) — which would raise the minimum age to operate a Class 2 electric bicycle to 16 and require the wearing of a helmet for all persons.  Of course, adherence and enforcement even to this other proposed bill would be a challenge.
  • I have a big concern with the educational component of this bill! Making education mandatory, especially for persons who do not possess a valid driver’s license, poses many problems. 1. How effectively would it be adhered to and/or enforced? 2. The current CHP online course only provides knowledge-based learning vs. more important and needed skills-based (on-bike) learning.  3. We need to take a page from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) from decades ago and first look at and highly promote voluntary education and training.  Adult to youth riders MUST be exposed to a variety of relevant, quality and effective online and in-person bicycle safety and training programs provided by recognized statewide and national organizations.  4. What would the financial burden be to bicyclists taking a course of their choice, whether a no cost or cost-based course?  Will there be provided state or local governmental vouchers?
  • My final concern is a Constitutional one. In California, all classes of electric bicycles are currently defined as a “bicycle” Law section (ca.gov) and a bicycle is defined as a “device” Law section (ca.gov) — not a “vehicle” Law section (ca.gov). Therefore, bicycling (including riding electric bicycles) in California is a right, not a privilege (like for drivers of vehicles) and must not require a valid driver’s license or issued “skills wavier” to operate.  A skills wavier would also be a logistical nightmare to administer, more appropriately by the DMV and not the CHP.

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Sean Price forwards the following warning for bike riders on PCH. My apologies if it’s hard to read; making it big enough to see seems to blur the content.

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Writing for the New York Times, author Caroline Paul describes what happened when her mother changed her life by taking up bicycling in her 60s.

Besides being trash-talked on a bike ride with her own mom, that is.

Turns out, my mother’s cycling habit meant that she was checking many of the boxes — health, novelty, community and purpose — needed to age well. (For others, this might come in the form of a language class, a book club, a commitment to mastering a plank.) Yet when my mother went biking, there was something more: She was embracing attributes like exhilaration, exploration, awe, a little bit of recklessness. This provided the final pillar for healthy and fulfilling aging: Dr. Levy’s positive mind-set.

But how? My mom didn’t live in a bubble; she had not escaped subliminal toxic messaging. It was the bicycling, with its demands for physical vitality, the uncertainty of every ride, the grit on the uphill, the inherent wheeeeee aspect of fun on the downhill — all powerful proof of that messaging’s mendacity. As her own beliefs were being subverted, her biking adventures also drew surprised and admiring reactions from peers and from those much younger (like her own children). Wow! Badass! was the elated response, which boosted her own passion for the sport, and her life. (Another thing not expected of older women: passion.)

Thanks to Tim Rutt for the heads-up.

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It’s now 61 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 31 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law — and counting.

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

Bike riders are forced to dodge a series of curb stones randomly littering a Glasgow, Scotland bike lane for the past month, which are virtually impossible to see after dark.

A whopping eight men in their 20s, 30s and 40s have been arrested in the murder of a British bike rider, who police allege was intentionally run down by the 24-year old driver; the others face charges for assisting in the coverup.

A motorbike rider in the UK is “terrorizing” bicyclists by riding on local bike paths.

A Yorkshire, England cab driver got out of his vehicle to confront a bicyclist in the video below, squaring up to exchange punches before slamming the bike rider against a car.

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

An ebike rider in New South Wales was fined a total of nearly $1,500 for violating the Australian state’s strict ebike rules for operating an unregistered and uninsured motor vehicle, presumably by violating power and/or speed limitations. Meanwhile, a woman was fined a total of more than $2,500 for violating the same restrictions while riding with her child.

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Local 

The Los Angeles city council voted to instruct city workers to look for ways to close the $100 million funding gap to close remaining gaps in the LA River bike path.

After West Hollywood gave away 50 free bicycles to encourage residents to get around without a vehicle, recipients rode an average of nearly 30 miles a month in a mix of recreation, transportation and commuting. Yet surprisingly, only 20% thought WeHo needs more bike lanes.

Long Beach continues its struggle to meet Vision Zero goals, despite a significant drop in traffic deaths last year.

 

State

Goleta proposes transferring funds promised for a new car, bike and pedestrian bridge to building roundabouts in the Old Town area, after price estimates for the bridge soar to $275 million.

San Francisco is setting new storage and charging rules for lithium-ion ebike and scooter batteries in an effort to reduce fires.

San Francisco will consider design changes to the controversial Valencia Street centerline bike lane, despite a new report indicating it has met the goal of improving safety.

 

National

A writer for CNET says her Apple Watch, combined with an iPhone, changed the way she rides a bike, eliminating the need for a separate bicycling computer.

He gets it. A Seattle writer says if he paid attention to drivers the way they pay attention to him while walking or biking, he’d be dead by now.

Once again, a group of bicyclists were heroes when four Washington state bike riders successfully fought off a mountain lion that attacked a woman riding with their group, subduing the puma by pinning it under a mountain bike frame; the victim was hospitalized with injuries to her face, neck and jaw, but is expected to survive.

A Las Vegas driver learns the hard way that if you’re going to flee the scene after killing a bike rider, take your damn bumper with you. And don’t tell your wife.

In yet another example of keeping a dangerous driver on the road until it’s too late, a Florida woman blamed her drug addiction after she was sentenced to 15 years behind bars, with another 15 years probation, for the hit-and-run death of a man riding a bicycle; she was somehow still driving, despite 11 previous felony convictions.

Florida investigators concluded the woman who plowed her car into nine bicyclists on a group ride last month suffered an apparent medical issue — then appeared to refute their own conclusion by ticketing her for failing to drive in a single lane, unknowingly operating a vehicle while license was suspended, revoked, canceled or disqualified, and failure to provide proof of insurance; one victim remains hospitalized with significant brain trauma. Although how it’s possible to not know if you have a valid license, or to be held responsible if you’re having a medical problem, is beyond me.

 

International

Condé Nast Traveler recommends the world’s 19 most scenic bike paths, ranging from the British countryside to breathtaking views of Mount Everest.

It took London police less than 24 hours to infiltrate a bike theft ring using a bait bike, jailing ten people and recovering 60 stolen bikes worth the equivalent of $167,000.

Actor Matthew Broderick is one of us, taking a break from performing Plaza Suite with his wife Sarah Jessica Parker, with a casual bikeshare ride through the streets of London.

English police recommend registering your bike, after someone got their stolen Cannondale road bike back four years after it was stolen. You can do that for free right here with Bike Index

Just days after a new study suggested turbans worn by Sikh bicyclists can be nearly as effective as bike helmets in preventing injuries, an English man said his turban protected his head when he came off his bike on a wet road and slid underneath an oncoming car.

A pair of bike riders in the UK were also heroes, as authorities look for a couple who paused their bike ride in a valiant, but unsuccessful, attempt to save the life of a 25-year old man they found lying unconscious near a cycle track.

An Irish bike club suffered its second tragic loss in less than a year, when an amateur cyclist and father was killed by a Dublin, Ireland driver.

Velo describes Kortrijk, Belgium’s annual Velofollies bike expo as the best kept secret in bike shows, offering a surprising array of commuting, cargo and urban bikes.

A Sri Lankan company introduced an innovative ebike-based “Eco Hauler,” which is really just a cart towed by an ebike. But still.

An Aussie bike rider politely tells drivers to use their damn turn signals, already.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Vuelta a Andalucía “Ruta del Sol” was shortened from five days to just three due to farmer protests in the area.

A Dublin writer decries traditional gender roles and stereotypes that have limited the participation of women in cycling.

Tragic news from South Africa, where talented teenaged cyclist and national U19 time trial champ Jessie Munton has spent the last month fighting for her life in the ICU, remaining in a coma since she was struck by a driver on a January training ride.

Velo looks back at former Tour de France champ Stephen Roche, saying he was more popular than the pope, JFK or any other celebrity — in Ireland, anyway.

Always wait until you cross the damn finish line to celebrate your victory.

https://twitter.com/faustocoppi60/status/1758508052616020159

 

Finally…

Riding around the world without leaving the comfort of your home. Get your toddler the latest in e-balance bike technology. Bike riding on Mars means less air, but fewer drivers.

And we now have a new world record holder for the tallest tall bike.

Although the LA-based builder of former record holder StoopidTaller Bike didn’t need no safety rope.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Bashing Boerner’s ebike safety bill, dismount bikes signs to be removed, and the Biden-Trump bike race we deserve

Just 322 days until Los Angeles fails to meet its Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.
So stop what you’re doing and sign this petition to demand Mayor Bass hold a public meeting to listen to the dangers we face walking and biking on the mean streets of LA.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can. Just over 70 signatures to go to reach 1,000!

Photo by Maxfoot from Pixabay.

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Streetsblog’s Melanie Curry responds to Encinitas Assemblymember Tasha Boerner’s bill to ban ebikes for kids under 12, and require a driver’s license or completion of an online training course for anyone else.

E-bike safety is certainly important. Asm. Boener has been working on developing safety training – more on that below – but the idea of requiring licenses for riding a bike introduces a range of problems. There is racial profiling, for one – the people most likely to be pulled over for potential violations of this law are youth of color. Then there’s the whole problem with making the police deal with what is fundamentally a safety issue in the first place. And as the California Bicycle Coalition has pointed out:

“The bicycle is an efficient and essential tool to fight climate change, and e-bikes make bicycling accessible to a wider range of people. E-bike licensing requirements are unlikely to measurably reduce the prevalence of crashes (see below for why), but they will reduce ridership just as California needs to employ every strategy to mitigate the climate crisis.”

Electric bikes can be easier – and faster – than “acoustic” bikes. This brings both benefits and hazards, particularly to inexperienced riders. But the solution is better information and training, not more policing.

Curry also points out that California law already bans anyone under 16 from riding the fastest category of ebikes.

And that the “real and present danger” associated with ebikes is cars, and the people who drive them. Because even the best trained ebike rider is no match for a speeding, overly aggressive or otherwise distracted driver.

Meanwhile, a comment on the Electrek site sums it up pretty well.

Hard disagree with the current iteration of this bill, the way it reads right now its another power move under the guise of “for the safety of children” and an overblown way to solve a problem that affects some cities locally. There’s smarter and more cost effective ways to increase ebike safety rather than making a big conundrum out of it and then finding a new way to ticket people who have been following the law, while people breaking the law will continue to ignore it…

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Credit Streetblog’s Joe Linton with getting Los Angeles and Beverly Hill to remove signs posted near the Purple Line construction zone on Wilshire which tell people to get off their bikes, for no apparent reason.

It’s questionable whether these signs were ever enforceable to begin with, since they don’t conform to the MUTCD, and look more like something a Metro contractor might have ordered off Amazon.

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Daily Kos says forget all this talk about who is “infirm” or “feeble,” or capable of passing a basic cognitive test.

What we really need to settle the issue once and for all is a Biden-Trump bicycle race.

I know who I’d put my money on.

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Bike Portland celebrates the city’s Boom Bike, a human-powered, mobile soundstage.

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GCN explains how to commute on an ebike.

Which is kind of like commuting on any other bike, just less sweaty.

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It’s now 54 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 31 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law — and counting.

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

Something tells me there’s more to this story, after an alleged hit-and-run driver was charged with first-degree murder for killing a British Columbia bike rider; the suspect is accused of planning or conspiring to murder the victim, as mounties describe the investigation as “sensitive.”

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

An unknown bike rider is the prime suspect after a former British sports commentator found his car slashed by what could have been a bicycle pedal.

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Local 

Los Angeles now has a bicycle-based mobile espresso bar serving Westside communities with beans exclusively sourced from West African farms.

Politico looks at the bad blood delaying Lyft’s takeover of behind-the-scenes operations for LA’s Metro Bike bikeshare program, as political and labor leaders decry awarding “hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to a company that is car-centric and anti-union.”

Torrance is moving towards approval of a proposed multi-use trail linking the city’s new regional transit center with its downtown district.

Long Beach says not so fast to California’s new intersection daylighting law.

 

State

Instead of succumbing to the ebike panic plaguing SoCal’s beach cities, Newport Beach has taken a more rational approach by launching a new webpage devoted to ebike and traffic safety.

Bad news from San Diego, where a 63-year old man suffered severe injuries when he was right hooked by a 33-year old woman while riding in a Carmel Valley bike lane; fortunately, his injuries were not considered life-threatening.

More bad news from San Diego, as a man in his 70s suffered injuries to his head and legs when he was struck by one of the city’s downtown trolleys while riding his bike.

Sad news from Fresno, where a 33-year old man died after he was struck by a driver while riding his bike just doors from his home.

 

National

Velo talks with PeopleForBikes about the five principles required for the year’s best US bicycling infrastructure.

Five years after launching it with much fanfare, PeopleForBikes will shut down their Ride Spot mobile app at the end of this month, after deciding the resources could be better spent in other areas. Which is just business speak for it flopped. 

Bicycling offers their picks for the best President’s Day deals on bike gear. This one doesn’t appear to be available anywhere else, but it also doesn’t seem to be hidden behind the magazine’s paywall. 

Cycling Weekly advises doubling up on bike locks to make your bike less inviting to thieves as bike theft rates rise.

Good question. The Good Men Project says public health and urban planning go hand-in-hand, so why aren’t we doing more to promote bicycling? Actually, that’s easy. It’s because we care more about allowing drivers to go zoom zoom than we do about keeping people healthy.

In a complicated story, the owners of a Houston bike shop got a classic 1950s Columbia bike back after a photographer they loaned it to never returned it; a year later, a friend found it for sale after someone discovered it on the street when the photographer was evicted for nonpayment of rent.

 

International

Momentum makes the case for why building bike lanes is good for more than just people who ride bikes.

Ebike conversion kit maker Swytch recommends the most romantic cities for bike-riding couples to spend quality time together. That none of them one is Los Angeles should go without saying.

Virgin owner Richard Branson once again suffers “nasty” injuries falling off his bicycle, this time after hitting a pothole in the British Virgin Islands.

Toronto bicyclists celebrate riding on the coldest day of the year, on one of the warmest days of the winter.

Um, no. A Manchester, England website explains how the city became the European capital of bicycling. Which will likely come as a big surprise to Amsterdam and Copenhagen, not to mention Paris and Barcelona.

A British community learns the hard way that the equivalent of $17 million won’t even buy a straight bike lane anymore.

The consumer standards regulator for the Netherlands is investigating a cargo bikemaker, after complaints of broken frames on fragile Babboe bakfiets.

 

Competitive Cycling

That feeling when a bike race fan does a face plant trying to keep up with a cyclist in the Tour Columbia.

 

Finally…

Presenting a crossdressing bike ride that could be banned in some red states. When you’re riding your bike at 1 am with illegal drugs, a fake handgun, knife, pepper spray and a half-dozen outstanding warrants, don’t ride salmon without lights on the damn thing,

And that feeling when a magazine thinks every bicyclist needs a new Pinarello — and a balance bike.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Cops look for hit-and-run driver — and bicyclist, Boerner set to unveil ebike bill for kids, and demand safer streets now

Just 328 days until Los Angeles fails to meet its Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.
Stop what you’re doing and sign this petition to demand LA Mayor Karen Bass hold a public meeting to listen to the dangers we face just walking and biking on the mean streets of Los Angeles.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can. We’re nearly up to 900 signatures, so let’s try to get it up over 1,000 this week!

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My apologies, once again, for yesterday’s unexcused absence.

Let’s just say diabetes sucks, and get on with it. 

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Authorities in LA County are investigating a pair of hit-and-runs. Although only one of the suspects was actually in a motor vehicle.

First up is a late January crash in Long Beach that left a bike rider with serious, but non-life threatening injuries.

The victim was riding with a group of bicyclists traveling west on Fourth Street at Atlantic Ave around 9:50 pm on Thursday, January 25th, when he was struck by driver headed south on Atlantic, who fled without stopping.

Police are looking for the driver of a silver Nissan sedan with chrome rims. Anyone with further information is urged to contact Long Beach Police investigators at 562/570-7355.

Photo from Long Beach Police Department

That was followed by the hunt for a hit-and-run bike rider who left an elderly woman lying severely injured in a Sierra Madre street.

The woman was walking near North Baldwin Ave and Highland Ave around 10 am this past Saturday when she was struck by the bike rider, who also continued without stopping.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Detective Ascano at 626/355-1414, or nascano@cityofsierramadre.com.

And yes, bicyclists have the same obligation to stop after a crash that drivers do, and could face the same penalties if they don’t.

Photo from Sierra Madre police department

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It looks like Encinitas Assemblymember Tasha Boerner is ready to introduce her promised ebike bill, which will require anyone without a driver’s license to pass an online ebike safety training course before they can buy an ebike in California.

The bill appears to be directed towards children, though it could apply to adults without a license, as well.

It also prohibits any child under 12 from riding any class of ebike, and establishes diversion programs as an alternative to ticketing children, which is already allowed under current bicycle regulations.

Personally, I’d prefer to see that ban raised to 14 years old, and reclassify throttle-controlled ebikes as mo-peds, requiring a driver’s license to operate, and prohibited from being used in bike lanes or pathways of any sort.

I also hope the bill clarifies that the license requirement does not apply to anyone over the age of 18.

And it raises the question of what happens when a parent with a driver’s license buys an ebike for a child without one. Would the parent be prohibited from being able to buy an ebike for their own child?

But we’ll see what ends up in the actual text.

Thanks to Malcomb Watson for the heads-up. 

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As the previous tweet hinted at, Streets Are For Everyone, aka SAFE, says you have the chance tomorrow to tell Mayor Bass that we need safer streets.

Mayor Bass wants to hear from us!

The UCLA Bunche Center is conducting a series of Community Listening Sessions, as a part of a City of Los Angeles Community Safety Research Study. The study’s goal is to identify and document a broad and representative understanding of the perceptions and realities of public safety (and of its management) of residents in the City of Los Angeles.

Join the discussion and raise your voice about important safety issues in your neighborhood. Please include the need for safety on our streets for cyclists, pedestrians, and all users. With 336 deaths on LA City roads last year, this is a vital safety concern. 

Join this community listening session, and let Mayor Bass know that you want safer streets.

Virtual Community Listening Session
February 8, 2024
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Click Here to Register

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Streets For All — not to be confused with SAFE — has updated their voter guide for next month’s election, with endorsements for six of the seven LA council races, as well as council races in Glendale and Pasadena.

Meanwhile, Boyle Heights Beat is hosting a candidate forum for CD 14 this Saturday.

Personally, though, I’m still struggling to decide between state Assemblymember Laura Friedman and state Senator Anthony Portantino for my next Congress member, either of whom would provide a strong, bike-friendly voice for traffic safety in DC.

I only wish they weren’t running in the same district, because both deserve to win.

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Velo marks Black History Month with a trio of articles recounting Black bicyclists from the early days of bicycling.

First up is what they call the little-known story of the US Army’s all-Black Bicycle Corps. Which isn’t so little known anymore, after several historical articles over the past couple years.

Then there’s 1890s Black cyclist Woody Hedspath, who they refer to as Major Taylor Number Two, honing his skills in summertime “colored fairs” during the Jim Crow era before moving on to greater accomplishments.

Finally, they write about Kittie Knox, the young Boston woman who broke racial and gender barriers in the 1890s, becoming the first Black woman to join the League of American Wheelmen, the forerunner to today’s League of American Bicyclists, or Bike League, before they changed the rules to exclude people of color.

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The Bambino was one of us.

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Someone finally found a good use for a Tesla pickup.

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It’s now 48 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 31 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law, and counting.

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

No bias here. After British tabloids attack a Birmingham bike lane as a 10 million pound “waste of money” that “no one uses,” a local paper finds it’s actually one of the most popular bikeways in the city.

Ireland’s Green Party called the Sinn Féin party’s objections to a protected bike lane “populist, anti-cycling, anti-road safety, anti-climate action bolloxology.” Although I kinda suspect they made that last word up.

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

A Portland, Oregon letter writer who seems to have an overly high opinion of his fearlessness and bike riding abilities says the city shouldn’t invest in more bike lanes or public transit until they clean them up and more people use them

Police in Mobile, Alabama busted a man riding a bicycle on multiple drug charges after searching him following a short pursuit, begun because he was exhibiting “suspicious behavior.” Let’s hope he can afford a good lawyer, because “suspicious behavior” is entirely subjective, and not probable cause to make a stop.

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Local 

The Eastsider reports that Bike LA, the former Los Angele County Bicycle Coalition, has been awarded a $100,000 grant to “evaluate transportation gaps and identify the mobility challenges, needs, preferences, and priorities of Boyle Heights and East LA residents,” one of 12 similar grants across the state. Let’s hope that’s enough to sustain the organization, which has struggled financially in recent years, but offers a much-needed voice for bicyclists in the LA area.

The Los Angeles Times explains daylighting, and why you’ll now need to park further back from an intersection to avoid a ticket.

Santa Monica police will be conducting yet another bike and pedestrian safety operation tomorrow, ticketing any violation that could put either group at risk, regardless of who commits it. So ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits, so you’re not the one who gets written up.

Speaking of Streets For All, the street safety PAC is hosting a bike ride and fundraiser in Mar Vista this Saturday. Saturday is also the Lunar New Year, so there could be some major dragon energy there.

The Alhambra and South Pasadena bike ride hosted by Safe Streets for SGV and South Pas Active that was scrubbed because of rain last weekend has been rescheduled for this Sunday, when the weather looks more promising. And should give you time to get back home in time for that big sportsball thing.

 

State

Good question. The Los Angeles Times asks why the state is widening the 15 Freeway in San Bernardino County, in conflict with the state’s climate goals, which are supposed to be given priority but clearly aren’t. Meanwhile, a new nationwide coalition is calling for a halt to freeway expansion, arguing that “Endless highway expansions are pulling our country into an environmental, budgetary, and public health crisis.”

A San Francisco bike rider was lucky to escape with non-life threatening injuries when he was struck by a Waymo driverless car, which evidently couldn’t spot him following a truck through an intersection. They’re called Waymo because they’re probably way mo’ dangerous than most cars with drivers.

San Francisco banned the use or sale of damaged or recycled ebike and e-scooter batteries, along with limiting how many can be stored in a single home.

 

National

Momentum offers more on the groundbreaking new study that shows cities with high levels of bicycling are usually safer for all road users — and by extension, cities that are safer for bicyclists usually have high levels of bicycling.

NPR considers what Vision Zero has and hasn’t accomplished in American cities. The only thing it’s really accomplished in Los Angeles is making traffic violence part of the conversation, without actually doing anything about it.

Cyclist calls Moab, Utah a gravel cycling mecca like nowhere else on Earth.

The Colorado Supreme Court upheld a $2,400 restitution judgement against a bike thief for damaging the victim’s car, after the bike’s owner used it to give chase and cut in front of the thief to stop him as he made his getaway.

A Rhode Island man is suing Trek and Shimano for $2 million, alleging his bike’s brake lever impaled his thigh in a crash due to faulty design.

A New Jersey man was killed when a state trooper driving an unmarked SUV crashed into his bike; no word on whether the trooper was on duty at the time.

A 72-year old Florida woman was killed when her bicycle was rear-ended by a 92-year old woman driving a truck. Once again raising the question of how old is too old to drive safely. 

 

International

GCN offers five reasons ebikes are better than regular bikes, along with five reasons they’re better than cars.

Momentum recounts the wildest bike lane obstacles, from fat, indecisive squirrels to discarded e-scooters and banana peels.

An English research fellow writes that ebikes offer huge promise for sustainable transport in rural tourist areas.

Bicycling says Paris is now a bicyclist’s paradise after closing 100 streets to cars. Read it on AOL this time if the magazine blocks you.

A writer for Men’s Journal explains why he’s stoked to ride his bike across Morocco. Which should go without saying, because Morocco.

 

Competitive Cycling

Velo writes about Eritrean WorldTour rookie Henok Mulubrhan, who they refer to as the “new hot prospect” already making waves as an African phenom on a mission.

British Cycling, the governing group for nearly all bicycling in the UK, will take over operations of the annual Tour of Britain, which was at risk of folding after the previous organizer shut down.

 

Finally…

Your next pair of Reebok’s could be an ebike and an e-scooter.

And the 2026 Wold Cup final will take place in a stadium where it’s literally illegal to walk; thanks to Steven Hallett for the link.

https://twitter.com/nikicaga/status/1754270927339020360

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

Oh, and fuck Putin