Tag Archive for best cities for bicycling

Morning Links: 21-mile street fest coming to OC, LA 9th most dangerous bicycling city in US, and RuPaul gets it

Sounds like fun.

Seven Orange County cities will team up to reimagine Beach Blvd with a massive 21-mile open streets event on November 17th, featuring a number of festivals along the route.

Correction: Well, it would have been nice. But a comment from Mike Wilkinson clarifies what this event is, and isn’t. 

And it isn’t what I thought from the article above.

A 21 mile open streets event along Beach Boulevard in Orange County would be impressive and fun. Unfortunately, the event planned for November is definitely NOT an open streets event, and it’s definitely not 21 miles long.

The Meet on Beach event will feature “..live performances, food, giveaways and much more…” according to the MeetOnBeach.com website. That will give families fun reasons to enjoy the outdoors, and that’s a good thing, but it’s not an open streets event.

Beach Boulevard runs about 4.4 miles through the City of Buena Park. The city will close about 0.8 miles of the boulevard, which is less than one-fifth of the total, but just in one direction. Traffic on the busiest street in Orange County will still be rushing past in the other direction. Anaheim has about 1.4 miles of Beach Boulevard and will close about one-third of it (0.5 miles), again in just one direction. So far as I know, the other participating cities aren’t planning to close their parts of Beach Boulevard at all!

Joel Rosen, Buena Park’s Director of Community Development say’s it right. “… we hope to promote economic development and healthy communities along the historic 21-mile stretch…”. That sounds like a good thing to me, but it’s not an open streets event, where people can walk, run, skate, scoot or ride on empty streets and imagine what it would be like to be car free, even for just a day.

Photo courtesy of Daria Shevtsova from Pexels.

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Insider listed the 20 most dangerous US cities for bike riders.

New York was named the nation’s worst place to ride a bike, while San Jose and San Francisco tied for fourth.

So is it good news that Los Angeles only placed ninth?

In a word, no.

Meanwhile, the Bob Vila website ranks the nation’s top 20 cities for bicycling.

Santa Barbara was the highest rated California city at number 11, while Santa Monica checked in at 15.

Somehow New York managed to make both lists, coming in fourth this time, while my hometown was second to neighboring Boulder CO.

And needless to say, Los Angeles didn’t make this list at all.

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RuPaul gets it.

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Now that’s a bottle cap challenge.

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There are a couple of ebike recalls in today’s news.

Trek is recalling some of their Super Commuter+ 8S ebikes due to a manufacturing error that could cause the front fender to fall into the wheel.

Santa Cruz-based Faraday is recalling 4,450 of their distinctive-looking ebikes due to the risk of a broken seat post.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on.

When an Ottawa, Canada bike rider complained to a driver about a too-close pass, the road raging driver responded with a punishment pass that clipped the mirror on his handlebars.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton takes LADOT, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and several members of the city council to task for the city’s “dismal” trend of bikeway implementation, saying installing or upgrading just 13 miles of on-street bike lanes is nothing to celebrate.

Curbed says the North Atwater Bridge is slowly taking shape, and should connect bike riders and pedestrians with Atwater Village and Griffith Park over the LA River by the end of this year.

LA County approved a half-million dollar grant for Pasadena’s One Arroyo Seco Trail Project.

 

State

A proposed bill in the state legislature would triple the current $2,500 rebate for buying an electric car or SUV. The problem is, an electric car is still a car; the state should make the rebate apply to ebikes and transit passes, as well, to help get more cars off the streets.

A popular DIY bike track in San Diego’s Point Loma neighborhood could become a victim of the need for affordable housing.

Santa Barbara officials have identified the victim in last week’s fatal bicycling crash as a 54-year old homeless man who lived in the area; he was riding in the middle of the night without lights or reflectors.

Menlo Park proposes trading 165 parking spaces for bike lanes to help get people out of their cars.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a Bay Area Alzheimer’s patient’s custom ebike that was his only form of transportation.

 

National

A law professor writes that Americans shouldn’t have to drive, but the country’s legal system virtually forces them into their cars by squeezing out the alternatives.

A Harvard professor says less driving, more thriving in a call to reduce the number of cars in urban areas and increase the number of pedestrians.

Writing for Outside, longtime Bicycling writer Joe Lindsey says not only are bike riders not freeloaders on the streets, the bike lanes so many drivers insist we should pay for actually improve safety for everyone — not just the people on two wheels.

A new ebike currently raising funds on Kickstarter promises virtually unlimited range by recharging automatically as you pedal or coast downhill.

A Portland bike dance team is hanging up their BMX bikes after 15 years.

A pair of Good Samaritans are pushing the need for CPR training after saving the life of a 57-year old Texas man who suffered a massive heart attack while taking part in a 64-mile sportive ride.

A Minneapolis TV station asks whether an ebike can really replace your car. Short answer — for many people, yes.

Now the trees are out to get us. A Columbus, Ohio man suffered nearly a dozen fractures and a collapsed lung when a massive tree fell on him during a downpour as he was riding home from work.

Now that’s a good kid. When a young Maine boy won a new bike in a school drawing, he gave it away so another kid could “experience the joy a bike brings.”

An op-ed in the New York Daily News says the time to build more bike lanes is before someone gets killed, not after.

Hundreds of New York bike riders turn out for a die-in to protest the 15 people killed riding their bikes already this year — five more than were killed in the city all of last year. That’s the difference between New York and LA, where we’ve also seen 15 people killed riding bikes in the county, but hardly anyone seems to notice, and far fewer seem to care.

New York’s police commissioner says it’s perfectly okay for one of his cops to use deadly force to stop a bike rider for running multiple red lights. Maybe next time the NYPD will just shoot scofflaw bicyclists instead of using a car.

Great idea. Arlington County VA will conduct a Natural Disaster Trial to see how residents can survive and take care of their families by using bicycles after a disaster wipes out the region’s crucial infrastructure.

 

International

London’s Independent celebrates the joys of slow travel.

Britain’s eleven-time world track cycling champ Sir Chris Hoy gave a video shoutout to a nine-year old boy after he suffered a concussion hitting a pothole on a charity bike ride.

A British ex-cop’s alibi for killing a highly visible bike rider in a crash is that he was too stoned on meth to have any idea what the hell he was doing. No, seriously.

It took an Irish woman eight long years to get justice, as a court awarded her the equivalent of $280,000 after her postman husband was killed in a crash while delivering mail by bike.

Serena Williams is sort of one of us, relaxing between matches at Wimbledon by riding a bike with her young son in her arms. Except her bike doesn’t move.

An Indian bicyclist remembers four extraordinary locations he saw on a 400-day solo bike tour from the Arctic to the Andes.

Roll a stop sign in one United Arab Emirates city, and you could see your bike permanently confiscated. Same goes for not wearing a helmet, or a fluorescent jacket after dark.

Um, no. A 20-year old Australian man wants to become a cop — despite killing a 28-year old woman riding a bike while driving at twice the legal speed limit on the wrong side of the road, hitting her head-on.

 

Competitive Cycling

Forget those guys riding their bikes around France. A comment from Mellisa informs us that you can catch a free one-hour recap of the Giro Rosa women’s stage race every day, courtesy of Trek.

No change at the top of the Tour de France leaderboard after yesterday’s stage four.

Drink your way through the Tour de France.

Canadian pro Michael Woods says he still runs, despite competing in his first Tour de France, because doing nothing but pedaling for 3 weeks makes you “a better bike racer but a worse human” physically.

A writer for Bicycling tries to stare into the soul of the great Eddy Merckx, and finds an abyss staring back. And no, I don’t know what that means, either.

A vegan Aussie endurance cyclist set a new record for the cross-country Trans Am Bike Race on a diet of hash browns.

A Kenyan website talks with the mother of professional cyclist James Mwaura, aka The Lion of Africa; Mwaura was shot four times as a child in an assassination that killed his father. 

 

Finally…

Sharrows do not a Complete Street make. It’s hard to keep a bike shop going these days; harder still if you don’t pay your back taxes.

And if you’re going to roll a red light, try not to crash into the lampposts.

 

Morning Links: LA wins best bike cities race to bottom, the beauty of bicycling, and update on SaMo bike crash

Bicycling is out with their bi-annual ranking of the best bike cities in America.

Needless to say, Los Angeles didn’t win.

Our bayside neighbor to the north is second, the same position San Francisco held last time.

My hometown slid up to third, while Seattle was a surprising choice for the top pick among America’s best bike cities after ranking fifth in 2016.

Then there’s LA.

The City of Angels, which ranked 24th on the best bike cities list last time around, didn’t come in quite so high this time.

In fact, LA didn’t make the list at all.

Then again, simply not making the list would have been an improvement for a city that was rated as the worst bike city in America.

That’s right, we’re number one on Bicycling’s list of America’s best bike cities. From the bottom.

An honor, if you want to use the term, that is well-deserved as city leaders have seriously backslid in their support for bicycling in Los Angeles.

Let alone safe streets.

This is what Peter Flax had to say on the subject, after he was asked to write the story for Bicycling.

Los Angeles should be heaven for cyclists. The weather is beyond dreamy—downtown L.A. has gotten less than four inches of rain so far this year. The city is an enormous, mostly flat grid of wide boulevards with plenty of room for smartly placed bike infrastructure. The traffic is literally the worst in the world, making it all the more reasonable to cover shorter trips by bike. The metro area boasts postcard-perfect oceanfront riding and spectacular climbing in legendary spots like the Malibu hills, Palos Verdes, and the San Gabriel Mountains. Every day, I see hundreds of people pedaling around town with smile on their faces, despite the challenges the city throws at them.

That’s the good news.

It all sounds quite lovely until you start to contemplate all of the cyclists who have been killed—and ask yourself why. In the past five years alone, more than 180 riders in the metropolitan area have been killed by people driving motor vehicles. During the last three years that national crash data has been compiled (2014-2016), only three U.S. states have seen more cyclist fatalities than just L.A. County—Florida, New York, and California as a whole.

The roads themselves are a disaster. The cruelest irony is that the city is spending money on them. But instead of investing in the quality infrastructure, millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent to pay out civil lawsuits brought by severely injured cyclists or the families of killed riders. The sad truth is that in L.A., it’s more politically expedient to pay seven-figure civil damages than to fix all the crappy roads and build the infrastructure that keeps people from getting hurt or killed.

 

There’s more, sadly. A lot more.

Looking to sustain L.A.’s broken and ineffective transportation system are a cadre of well-funded organizations like Keep L.A. Moving, who are fighting any safety project that might remove a single driving lane from the urban grid. In their minds, one or two cyclist fatalities a month are acceptable collateral damage to keep a big car-centric city properly lubricated…

This angry populist rebellion resonated far beyond the borders of Playa del Rey. L.A. City Council members saw the political might wielded by angry motorists. So did Mayor Garcetti, who has aspirations for national office and wants to shy away from unpopular controversies. And since the bike lanes in Playa del Rey got ripped out, the already glacial pace of making streets safer practically came to a stop in L.A.

It’s not exactly pleasant to read.

But it’s worth your time, because Flax nails it, accurately calling out the multitude of problems we face. And the shameful lack of political support for making the changes we so desperately need.

Maybe this will serve as a wake-up call for our bad publicity-shy public leaders. Or maybe embarrass them just enough to actually do something.

At least enough to get us back onto the list. Even if we have to settle for the 50th spot, as America’s worst best bike city.

Which would be a hell of an improvement over where we are now.

Meanwhile, Long Beach did make the list, checking in at 27th, up one from their previous ranking.

Here’s the methodology Bicycling used to determine the rankings.

Thanks to Al Williams for the heads-up.

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It was a busy day for Peter Flax; if the last story left you feeling down, take a few minutes to read his take on everything that’s beautiful about bicycling.

Trust me, you’ll feel better.

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Sort of good news.

In answer to yesterday’s request for more information about a bike crash at 23rd and Navy in Santa Monica, City Manager Rick Cole responded that the victim was “severely, but not critically injured.”

Not exactly good news, but better than we had feared.

Let’s keep out fingers crossed for a full and fast recovery.

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Speaking of bad news, I somehow missed the news that an unidentified bike rider was killed in Stanton on Monday. The driver initially fled the scene, but returned a short time later.

I’ll try to catch up with the story later today.

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The Los Angeles Fire Department offers a video profile of LAFD’s bike-riding paramedics at LAX, who use their bicycles to respond to emergencies faster than they could by motor vehicle.

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Local

Curbed’s Alissa Walker says the best way Angelenos can support climate action is to stop driving so much. And support improved transportation and density.

Streetsblog says California needs more bike diversion programs, after Bike SGV’s Andrew Yip helped a poor immigrant get into one when he faced a choice between a $240 fine or jail for riding on the sidewalk.

 

State

A writer for Medium says today’s hipsters have a long way to go to match San Francisco’s mustachioed high wheeled cycling fanatics of the 1890s.

 

National

The good news is bicycling fatalities in the US declined 8.1% last year. The bad news is they’re still too damn high, with an average of over two deaths a day, every day.

Lucky us. A new study shows, on average, every 13th driver that passes you on your bike is driving distracted.

Forbes says shared mobility data offers an opportunity to reshape cities.

Cycling Industry News refutes ten bike fit myths. I can personally testify to #4; bicycling is the only thing that held my balky right knee together as long as it did. Even now that I’ll need to get it replaced in the coming weeks, I can still ride with minimal pain, which is more than I can say about walking. Or sitting.

Speaking of that best bike cities list, Portland received its worst ranking ever, coming in at number five. Which is still 19 spots higher than LA ever has.

A Grand Junction CO newspaper urges donations to a Colorado high school marching band that was stiffed by an annual bike tour. If you’ve got a few extra buck lying around, there are worse things you could do with it.

A Chicago bike rider and a pedestrian were injured when a teenage boy hopped behind the wheel of an unlocked car and speed off, crashing into several parked cars in the process.

Caught on video: A Chicago bike rider complains about private parks security racing down a multi-use path in an SUV to chase riders around tight corners — especially when the ones being chased can simply turn around to get away.

A Massachusetts city has removed their requirement for bicyclists to hug the curb, allowing bike riders full use of the lane, like other city’s in the state.

A long list of drivers are still allowed in New York’s Central Park, months after they were supposedly banished.

 

International

Cities around the world are facing the question of how to adapt to an aging population, and what an age-friendly city would look like — including safer streets, improved transit and making bicycling accessible to older people.

A new foam liner from Vittoria and Tannus promises to replace your tubes and make your tires puncture proof.

A “secret” cyclocross fondo through the British Columbia countryside is gaining in popularity, despite being unannounced and not having any maps.

Putting the “mounted” back in Mounted Police, Canada’s famed Mounties are learning that patrolling by bicycle helps officers improve community relations and stop street crime.

An annual London charity ride takes you up to 90 miles from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle to raise funds for The Prince’s Trust. The perfect royal ride for the Anglophile in your life.

File this under you’ve got to be kidding. Just riding a bicycle through a chain of outdoor malls in the UK could result in prison time, thanks to a recent court ruling.

Understanding your Emotional Quotient can improve your performance on your bike, according to a British lecturer.

CityLab says Paris could be a model for how cities can combat climate change, as the city works to reduce motor vehicle use.

Dutch phrases you need to know to ride a bike in the Netherlands.

No bias here. A Reuters story says Africa is locked in traffic as the “poor man’s transport,” aka the bicycle, is ignored. Which feeds into the narrative that people only ride bikes because they can’t afford to drive, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

Competitive Cycling

Nebraska resident and new US cycling team member Ashton Lambie has gone from riding Kansas backroads to setting a world record in the 4,000-meter individual pursuit.

French cyclist Sylvain Chavanel reveals what he learned in 19 years in the pro peloton.

 

Finally…

Who needs an SUV when you can have a Sports Utility (e)Bike? That feeling when the city steals your bike to replace the rack.

And keep an eye on Craigslist; someone stole Geraint Thomas’ Tour de France trophy.

Morning Links: Arrest made in LA River Bike Path shooting, and Los Angeles ranked 24th best bike city in US

My apologies. We haven’t been able to correct the problem with email notifications yet. So if you’re not getting emails when new posts go up, rest assured we’re working on it.

And just keep coming back each day until we get it corrected.

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An arrest has been made in the shooting of two men on the LA River Bike Path in Elysian Valley earlier this month.

Nineteen-year-old David Umana was taken into custody this past Thursday for the incident, which began when he allegedly tried to steal the bikes belonging to the victims, who were riding with their wives.

Despite earlier suspicion of gang involvement, Umana does not appear to have gang ties. No word on whether police have identified his alleged accomplice.

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Bicycling Magazine is out with their latest biennial ranking of America’s 50 best bike cities; Chicago ranks number one, with San Francisco placing second.

Crain’s says the Windy City may be number one, but it’s a long way from perfect.

My hometown ranks 12th, as part of a bike friendly Colorado triumvirate with Denver and Boulder at 11 and 10, respectively.

Surprisingly, Los Angeles checks in at 24, seemingly more out of respect for what it could be than what it currently is; meanwhile, Long Beach inexplicably follows four points lower at 28, while Santa Monica didn’t even make the list.

It’s hard to imagine anyone who has actually ridden those three cities agreeing with that.

Thousand Oaks just makes the cut at 49.

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Local

Work is finally set to begin on the MyFigueroa project this October; the Complete Streets project will feature protected bike lanes linking USC with Downtown.

An LAX bike cop is credited with working with another officer to save the life of a suicidal Korean man.

CiclaValley offers his fall cycling preview.

It’s a well-deserved life without parole for a Pomona man who was captured on his bicycle after cutting out his girlfriend’s lung and heart.

LA County Sheriff’s officials have identified the deputy who shot an unarmed, homeless bicycle rider in Castaic last month.

Zac Efron is one of us, as are a handful of other stars who competed in Sunday’s Malibu Tri.

Santa Monica is encouraging everyone who lives or works in the city to go carfree on October 7th.

 

State

Tragic news from Orange County, as a 15-year old Anaheim boy is in a medically induced coma in critical condition after he was hit from behind by an erratic driver who fled the scene; the victim was riding in a bike lane and reportedly doing everything right when he was struck.

The Bay Area’s BART train system says your U-lock may not be that secure after all.

Plans have been approved to add a 10-foot bidirectional bike and pedestrian lane to the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

 

National

The LA Times asks if Oahu’s Honolulu Century Ride is the best bicycle workout ever.

When St. Paul MN trades parking for bike lanes, a student complains that she might have to get a bike because parking is too hard to find. Which is kind of the point, yes.

Kalamazoo MI votes to give bicyclists a five foot passing distance. Which is meaningless unless it’s actually enforced.

A St. Louis student says she feels like Mufasa from the Lion King, as she succumbs to a wildebeest-like herd of swarming bicyclists as she makes her way across campus.

Great piece from Brooklyn Spoke, who says it’s hard to see Vision Zero when you’re looking through a windshield.

A New Orleans man is suing the phone company alleging that a low hanging phone line caused him to fall off his bike. Wait. They still use land lines in the Big Easy?

 

International

The Financial Times says cycling really is the new golf, but ride with a diverse group because nobody wants groupthink.

A London writer says an ebike helped her overcome her fear of riding in the city, without breaking a sweat.

Britain’s bicycling countess sets off on her 450-mile castle-to-castle ride, saying she’s terrified, as father-in-law Prince Phillip — aka Queen Elizabeth’s husband — calls her mad. No, seriously.

Caught on video: A British driver illegally uses his handheld phone to record cyclists riding legally.

Shades of Coronado. A UK mayor says putting bike lanes on a historic walkway would be vandalism.

This is why people continue to die on the streets. An 83-year old Australian man killed a cyclist after he was allowed to keep driving despite failing two driving tests following a stroke.

Evidently, a cable tie a day does not, in fact, keep Aussie Magpies away.

Bikeshare is becoming more popular in Seoul, Korea, with 100,000 members and no serious wrecks.

 

Finally…

Apparently, swallowing up a bicycle is enough to get on the shortlist for tree of the year. Bicycling may not cause erectile dysfunction, but it can give you a numb vagina.

And why count sheep when you can use your bike to chase them?

 

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