Tag Archive for bicycle advocacy

Bike and civic giant George Wolfberg dies at 82, Mariah Kandise Banks prelim a bust, and anti-bike bias in CA Senate

Happy International Winter Bike to Work Day.

Oh, and Valentines Day, too. 

And sorry if I leave a tear or two on your screen today.

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Giants are usually invisible.

You seldom notice them hiding among the rest of us, doing the same things we do.

Until one falls. And it’s felt all over the city.

Like my friend George Wolfberg, an invisible giant of the Los Angeles bicycling community.

And virtually every other community in the City of Angels.

It was just yesterday, flipping the pages of the LA Times, that I recognized Wolfberg’s face looking back at me from the obituary pages, and learned he’d passed away last week after an extended illness at the age of 82.

His death did not go unnoticed in Pacific Palisades, where he was a longtime resident, chair emeritus of the community council, and the former leader of the Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association.

I first met the longtime bicycle and community advocate nearly a dozen years ago, when he was fighting a battle to extend the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path to Malibu.

One he ultimately lost to a group of fellow advocates who preferred the danger of keeping bicyclists on deadly PCH to the optics of such an expensive bikeway project.

But George quickly got me involved in other projects, from joining the PCH Task Force to represent the needs on bike riders on the dangerous corridor, to connecting me with just the right people in the city and county governments to get finally piles of sand swept off the beachfront path months after a storm.

Which wouldn’t have happened without Wolfberg’s help.

Because George Wolfberg knew almost everyone at every level of the city, county and state governments. And even set up meetings with state Assembly Members and Senators to present my approach to halting hit-and-runs.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to convince them at the time that hit-and-run was that big a problem.

I wonder if they get it now.

For years, I could count on finding links to some bicycling story or another from the Wall Street Journal or New York Times popping up in my inbox on a regular basis, with the email address invariably leading back to him.

And he never missed contributing to this site’s holiday fundraiser every year; it breaks my heart to think this last one was, in fact, the last one.

But that’s the funny thing about giants.

They don’t always tell you they are one. Or why.

I’d known for some time that George Wolfberg was one of the first members of the Los Angeles Bicycle Advocacy Committee.

But it wasn’t until yesterday that I learned he’d also served on the LA County BAC. Or that there even was an LACBAC.

I was familiar with the late LA bike legend Alex Baum’s work to bring the ’84 Olympic Games to Los Angeles, and that he was instrumental in bringing women’s cycling to the Games for the first time.

But I never knew Wolfberg had worked hand-in-glove with him, writing the original proposal for the Games that forced the International Olympic Committee’s hand by including women’s cycling as a demonstration sport.

Or that he was instrumental in bringing the World Cup to Los Angeles in ’94. Let alone that he fought the horrific South African apartheid by working to get the city to divest from the racially divided county, later earning thanks from Nelson Mandela himself.

And worked just as hard for the residents of South LA, setting up a meals program for soccer playing kids who didn’t get enough to eat at home.

George never told me any of that. Or the countless other civic and athletic accomplishments on his resume that have made this city a better place for all of us.

Because that’s not what giants do.

I am poorer today, because I lost a friend and ally.

But more importantly, this city is poorer because it lost a true giant of a community leader. A man who did everything Los Angeles asked of him, then kept on doing more.

We will all miss George Wolfberg, even if most of us will never know it.

May his memory be a blessing for all of us.

Photo from Pacifica Palisades Community Council

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Our anonymous courtroom correspondent attended yesterday’s hearing for Mariah Kandise Banks in the hit-and-run death of fallen bicyclist Frederick “Woon” Frazier, which turned out to be a prelim, rather than the actual trial.

But for no apparent reason, as it turned out.

Banks’ public defender couldn’t get herself extricated from another case that’s currently at trial (these things happen), so today’s preliminary hearing was delayed until March 17th, and I’ll be there.

A film crew from USC was there to cover the proceedings, which were brief. Bogart was there, Spencer was there. I met a budding activist, new to LA from Chicago, who had lost his fiancee of 8 years, and another activist fresh from Corvallis.

Nobody’s bike was stolen during the hearing, but Bogart et al were in the elevator (with Courtroom 38’s bailiff!) when it jammed, so their arrival was delayed for 20 minutes.

Woon’s mama was there and holding it together as best she could, which of course meant rivers of tears. She wore a t-shirt with a picture of young Woon and his bike, from which his face beamed. She repeated the words he said to her as he walked out the door for the last time, and I could just about hear them in his voice. Then her body heaved with sobs. So many arms were there to comfort her, but there’ll never be enough.

After Banks accepted the motion for continuance, the Assistant DA spoke to us in the hallway, providing a basic overview of the prosecution process and a chronology of expected future events. Woon’s mama indicated that she’s unlikely to actually be in the same room with Ms. Banks.

God damn. I wish I could suffer her pain for her.

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No bias here.

Streetsblog reports that the Republican Vice-Chair of the California Senate Transportation Committee buys into the myth that bike lanes increase traffic emissions.

Bates has made it clear that she is hostile to taxing people to pay for transportation, and hates the idea of paying for transportation infrastructure that doesn’t involve cars. At the hearing, she said that active transportation projects–“translated as ‘road diets,’ which is the term used these days,” she said, further muddling the topic–contribute to higher emissions by causing “mounting congestion on some of the primary arterials.”

“I think [the Active Transportation Program] had more to do with moving people out of automobiles and onto bikes and things where you create less greenhouse gas and the emissions, but when you’ve got the other two lanes and people are sitting in their cars, running, you have the same problem,” she said.

The transportation site’s Melany Curry had this to say in response.

And a lot more.

This actual data is in sharp contrast with the kind of fearmongering promulgated by groups like Keep L.A. Moving and Keep Pasadena Moving, whose anti-bike advocacy has prevented safety measures in those cities, and resulted in the removal of a road diet in Playa Del Rey before data could even be collected. Those fears are also fed by awful click-bait headlines like the one on the recent story in the S.F. Chronicle blaming bike lanesvery wrongly — for congestion on the Richmond San Rafael Bridge.

Sure, it’s possible for a poorly designed road diet to increase congestion. But that’s not what happens, for the most part. And Senator Bates’ repeating the idea that they do is unhelpful, at best.

And blaming bike lanes for vehicle emissions is just gaslighting. Senator Bates is not alone in doing this, and she needs to stop. And she also needs to stop pushing that as a reason for the state to stop funding active transportation projects.

Seriously, give it a read.

Because we have to know who and what we’re up against out there.

And how to respond to made-up facts with real ones.

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This is who we share the roads with. And the airspace, apparently.

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It may not be romantic, but chances are, you’ll still love killing a little time this foggy downhill run.

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Local

Crosstown LA at USC crunched the numbers, and came up with a list of the most dangerous intersections in Los Angeles; surprisingly, all but three are in the San Fernando Valley, with the others in South LA. Hint: You might want to avoid Sepulveda and Sherman Way. 

Curbed looks at CD14 Councilmember Jose Huizar’s proposal to permanently prohibit cars from a 1.5-mile stretch of historic Broadway in DTLA.

Active SGV will host their first Emerald Necklace Bike Train of 2020 this Sunday.

The Santa Monica City Council voted to approve the bike and pedestrian friendly makeover of deadly Wilshire Blvd.

You can stop waiting for the other shoe to drop, as CiclaValley’s Zachary Rynew unveils his Karate Kid custom hand-painted bike shoe; he showed off the other one earlier this week.

 

State

New polls show San Diego residents want parking more than bike lanes, and stricter regulations on e-scooters — even though the current regs have already chased some providers out of town.

An 11-year old Ventura boy was seriously injured when he was hit by a driver while riding his bike on a private roadway in a condo complex; needless to say, the driver played the Universal Get Out of Jail Free card, claiming he just didn’t see the kid.

UC Santa Barbara’s HOPR bikeshare will be hopping off campus this spring.

The garlic capital of the world considers establishing bicycle parking minimums for apartments and commercial buildings, including both long and short term bike parking.

A Modesto paper welcomes a road diet and protected bikeway, as long as it’s accompanied by affordable housing.

A debunking website says yes, Amazon’s first CFO really was killed by one of the company’s own delivery subcontractors while riding her bike in San Jose.

San Francisco’s shortest protected bike lane could be here to stay — assuming all goes well at a hearing next week, after it was already ripped out once.

 

National

Streetsblog says don’t hold your breath waiting for a Democratic presidential candidate who’s committed to breaking car culture.

Writing for Bicycling, a woman describes how her fellow mountain bike coaches got her through the darkest days of her divorce.

It’s 44 days into Oregon’s new Idaho Stop Law, and the sky hasn’t fallen.

There’s a special place in hell for the bike thief who stole a beautiful, $4,000 custom-made low rider bike from an Arizona barbershop.

Colorado Public Radio offers tips on how to keep riding in the snow. Which is not a problem you’re likely to encounter on International Winter Bike to Work Day here in Los Angeles.

A Michigan School got a visit from professional mountain biker Jeff Lenosky, and every 1st and 2nd grader got a new bike and helmet, thanks to Lenosky and a local nonprofit.

Over 2,000 safety-minded people signed a petition calling for protected bike lanes downtown Nashville TN.

A Boston TV station comes to the rescue of a college student, who got stuck with a $1275 bill when she was unable to dock a bikeshare bike after a $2.50 ride.

Singer and rapper Ray J discusses his Scoot e-bike/scooters on a Gotham morning talk show.

 

International

A red light-running London driver has been convicted in the hit-and-run death of a bike rider, who slipped away after 18 months in a coma; his father, cousin and younger brother were convicted of helping him coverup the crime.

The driver of a commercial skip loader got a well-deserved three and a half years for killing a bike rider while high on coke and cannabis.

A British woman refused to accept the diagnosis when doctors told her she’d never ride a bike again following brain surgery; now she rides a bike, runs, climbs mountains and jumps out of perfectly good airplanes.

A woman in the UK is furious after thieves stole her $1,000 bike, then came back to take her hot tub, too.

Forget CicLAvia. Paris will now ban cars from four arrondissements — aka districts — on the first Sunday of every month, opening the streets to the people.

German bicycle and trucking associations say the country has to do more to improve safety for bicyclists, with over 400 people dying while riding their bikes in Germany every year.

The hit-and-run epidemic has spread to Oman, where a driver was busted for fleeing the scene after running over a bicyclist; no word on the condition of the victim.

 

Morning Links: PeopleForBikes leads ebike fight, CHP victim blaming, and the best 3 minutes 27 seconds of your day

I recently received the following press release from People for Bikes — or as they now call themselves, PeopleForBikes (I should talk, I know).

I don’t normally repost PR stories in their entirety, if at all. But it’s a good message and a battle worth fighting.

Besides, it’s a quarter to four, I’m tired and cranky, and the Corgi needs her beauty sleep and won’t go to bed until I do.

Research over the past year has extolled the virtues of e-biking: Studies have shown that e-bikes significantly bring down cities’ CO2 emissions, reduce noise pollution, get people active, and even have the capacity to create car-free households. Simply put, e-bikes form a certain way to help our planet as it enters an uncertain future. That’s why PeopleForBikes has made e-bike advocacy a core part of their work, working to drive the conversation that’s building towards an “e-bike revolution.”

PFB has supported pages and pages of research and resources that have been instrumental parts of legislation giving people access to and infrastructure around e-biking. PFB has generated information on state-by-state e-bike policy, easy-to-read research and statistics, and e-bikers’ favorite city-by-city routes. They’ve seen some awesome results: Through the work of advocates and legal advisors, 22 states have passed PFB’s model e-bike legislation, which regulates e-bikes like regular bicycles. This is a huge win for the health of our cities, the planet, and e-bike riders.

Of course, many challenges remain ahead. Most states have confusing laws saying where e-bikers can and can’t ride, and tariffs make bike motors and e-bikes themselves more expensive than they need to be. PFB wants to continue to be at the forefront of this conversation as we push for accessible e-biking for all.

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No windshield bias here.

A Santa Rosa bike rider was killed when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver who continued without stopping, throwing him onto the opposite side of the roadway, where he was struck by another car.

But instead of addressing the heartless coward who murdered an innocent man, the CHP blamed the victim for possibly riding in the traffic lane instead of the bike lane, and wearing dark clothing on a dark street.

Which shouldn’t matter in the slightest if the victim had the legally required lights and reflectors on his bike, which they don’t mention at all.

And maybe someone should tell the CHP about the numerous exceptions to CVC 21208 that allow bicyclists to leave a bike lane whenever necessary.

Not to mention that it’s almost impossible to pinpoint the exact point of contact for a bike crash unless the driver braked before impact, which doesn’t seem to have happened here.

But sure, let’s keep demonstrating that notorious CHP windshield bias.

Thanks to Sindy Saito for the heads-up.

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Watching this video could be the best 3 minutes and 27 seconds of your day.

Or maybe you have a more exciting life than I do.

But still.

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

Someone has been planting dangerous medieval-style booby traps on biking and hiking trails in national parks across Australia’s New South Wales; one local official called the people responsible “complete scumbags,” which pretty well sums it up.

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Local

City Watch talks with environmental justice advocate and CD10 city council candidate Aura Vasquez, who wants to fix our streets and build more bike and micromobility lanes.

Dodger Stadium is scheduled to get a $100 million makeover next year. But that huge parking crater surrounding it will remain, despite previous plans to replace it with housing and an entertainment district. Let’s hope they at least improve bike access, and provide safer places to park your bike. Or better yet, a bike valet.

 

State

Deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department busted a Dana Point bike chop shop on Tuesday; if you recently had a bike stolen in the area, they may have found whatever is left of it.

The owner of a new Encinitas gelato shop talks about his only other job as a pro cyclist in Italy until a knee injury forced his retirement at the ripe old age of 22.

A San Diego TV station considers SB 127, the Complete Streets bill currently working its way through the state legislature, which would mandate bike and pedestrian accommodations any time a state roadway is resurfaced.

Sun-baked Banning will build a bike lane crossing the entire city in an effort to improve the health and waistlines of its residents; the city expects the lane to draw 400 bike riders a day, while a Safe Routes to School Coordinator bizarrely responds they’ll be lucky to get that many in a year, because no one bikes in Banning. Maybe they would if they actually had safer places to ride, as he should well know.

Deadly Rancho Mirage has introduced a $400,000 bike and pedestrian safety plan.

After 20 years, Victorville is nearing completion of the Mojave Riverwalk, an eleven-mile bikeway with four miles of offroad shared use paths.

San Francisco bicycling and walking advocates turn out to demand safer streets and call for the declaration of a traffic emergency in the city after the deaths of 21 people walking or riding bicycles so far this year.

A woman has been charged in the hit-and-run death of a Crockett bike rider, after another woman overheard her telling the second woman’s roommate she’d been in a crash, but wasn’t sure what she’d hit because the sun was in her eyes. God forbid she should have stopped her car to find out — especially in full daylight. Let alone stopped once she realized she couldn’t see, and avoided the crash altogether. 

 

National

A new nationwide study confirms that protected and separated bike lanes improve safety for everyone on roadway, not just the people on two wheels. And that cities with the greatest number of bike riders also have the best safety records. Which brings up the whole chicken/egg thing — do safer streets attract more bike riders, or do more bike riders improve safety?

Surprise your best friend with a dog-friendly e-cargo bike, complete with his or her own set of handlebars.

Slate examines what happens to all the old bikes when bikeshare providers pull out of a city or shut down entirely. In most cases, the picture isn’t pretty.

Your next steel frame bike could be printed, not built. And have a really weird looking kink in the seat post.

You can now legally ride your bike — or your e-scooter — through any Portland fast food drive-through.

Seattle considers adopting Dutch-style intersections to improve safety for bike riders.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole the wheels of a disabled Nebraska man’s bicycle, in broad daylight as people walked by, leaving him without any form of transportation; fortunately, the local Trek dealer gave him a new set of wheels and tires worth up to $500. And a lock to secure them.

The Texas driver who ran over a bike cop’s bicycle while fleeing a traffic stop last month and dragging his partner by the arm, has been arrested after being identified in a photo lineup.

A Chicago bike rider was killed when he somehow fell off a train station platform and landed on the electrically charged third rail; three other riders were also injured in separate incidents last week.

Ohio State University collects over 500 abandoned bikes each year and donates them to a local bike co-op.

Four “reckless” Connecticut bike riders were busted for loitering near a park, harassing residents and blocking traffic with their bicycles. No doubt it’s just a coincidence that they all happened to be biking while black.

No bias here. New York approves a pilot program to allow bike riders to use leading pedestrians intervals to cross intersections before drivers get the green light. But the anti-bike New York Post insists on calling it a “green light for cyclists to run red lights.” Just wait until someone tells them about the Idaho Stop Law.

So much for Vision Zero under presidential candidate Bill de Blasio. New York’s death toll keeps getting worse, as two more bike riders lose their lives in collisions with the drivers of large trucks; 17 bike riders have died in the city this year, compared with ten for all of last year. Thanks to Jeff Vaughn for the link.

The driver who killed longtime DC bike advocate Dave Salovesh while fleeing a traffic stop pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter Tuesday, after the DA reduced the charge from second degree murder. The city will install a road diet and bike lanes that Salovesh had long fought for on the street by 2021 — just a tad too late to save his life.

A new study shows drivers are actually less likely to stop for bike riders who activate a crossing signal on a New Orleans greenway than if the riders simply crossed the street without it.

Shameful. Florida police use deadly force to stop a fleeing teenage bike rider, ramming his bicycle for the crime of, yes, popping wheelies. And yes, biking while black.

 

International

A Victoria, British Columbia letter writer insists the city’s newly appointed bike mayor is crazy for thinking that safer streets will improve bike safety more than requiring bike helmets. And somehow feels the need to inform her she’s not in Amsterdam, in case she was unaware.

An Australian driver insists on demonstrating that fatal hit-and-runs against bike riders aren’t just an American phenomenon. Although unlike most Americans, he turned himself in 40 minutes later. Thanks to Steve Messer for the tip.

Make a good impression on your next trip to Korea by talking bikes in the local lingua franca.

An English language website makes the case for bike commuting in Hong Kong, where most people only ride recreationally.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Tour de France riders adopt the risk and rewards of the super tuck to increase downhill speed. And prayers to make it down safely.

Defending TdF champ Geraint Thomas hit the pavement for the third time in 16 stages, saying he was thrown from his bike when the gears jammed. Meanwhile, Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang crashed out of the race.

Rising Belgian star Wout van Aert left the hospital following successful surgery to repair a deep cut to his upper thigh acquired when he caught a retaining barrier during the individual time trial in this year’s Tour; doctors want him to stay off his bike for another two months.

Esquire asks pro cyclists what it feels like to ride in the Tour de France, while London’s Telegraph examines the not-so-secretive inner workings of the race.

A former Tour de France reporter looks back on Greg LeMond’s remarkable comeback victory exactly 30 years ago yesterday, after he was nearly killed by his brother-in-law in a hunting accident.

Rouleur makes the case for Tour de France announcers Phil Liggett and the late Robert Sherwen to be inducted into the Cycling Hall of Fame.

 

Finally…

Your next water bottle could come back as a collapsable bike helmet. That feeling when your eight-year old gets his low-rider bicycle back after it was stolen — both times.

And every bike ride should end with pie.

Or beer. Or maybe both.

 

Last chance to support SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy

Okay, that’s not true.

You’re more than welcome to make a donation to this site anytime.

But it’s the final weekend of the 4th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

The last two days to support SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy during our one and only fundraising campaign of the year.

And the only time we’ll come right out and ask for your support.

Or beg, even.

It’s easy to donate via PayPal, or through Zelle with the banking app that’s already on your phone using the email address you’ll find on this link.

Any amount is truly and deeply appreciated, no matter how large or small, to help keep this site coming your way every day. And ensure the Corgi has a little kibble under her tree Christmas morning.

So what are you waiting for, already?

Thanks to Evan B, Robert H and Karen K for their generous donations to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive

Morning Links: Person behind fake advocacy group outed, and SCAG takes a deep dive into traffic safety data

Once again, Peter Flax has written a great piece, as he investigates the fake, Twitter-based advocacy group LA Westside Walkers.

And outs the person behind it as a Playa del Rey music video and documentary director Justin Purser, who lives steps from the initial Vista del Mar road diet.

Purser admits to being the person who started the account, although he bizarrely contends that he handed it off to a group of people he refuses to name after it was mentioned on this site, following his equally bizarre claim to have co-founded BikinginLA.

You can probably count the number of people who actually believe that on a closed fist, however.

Flax digs into the account, which continues its misleading, false-flag form of fake advocacy.

All the while, the barrage of strange tweets from the Westside Walkers account continues, a maddening mélange of dubious facts and falsely earnest advocacy, leveraging a completely faked identity to convince unsuspecting readers that measures meant to save lives are not working. It’s a total cesspool of bullshit distracting people from an actual life-and-death issue.

Meanwhile, someone from Playa del Rey forwarded screenshots in the upper left corner and below, showing comment by Purser from around the time the Westside Walkers account was started.

His point seems to be that the real goal of people who supported the road diets was to make the streets more dangerous, not less.

If that’s supposed to be a joke, it’s in very poor taste.

And says a lot more about the person who made it than it does anyone else.

Let’s hope his attitude really has changed, as Flax’s article suggests.

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The Southern California Association of Governments, or SCAG, has prepared an in-depth look at traffic safety conditions for the six-county region, as well as each of the individual counties.

Needless to say, it’s not a pretty picture.

A few graphic highlights —

 

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As we mentioned yesterday, Bike SGV is hosting their BEST Ride: Bike Art Night Pasadena tonight. Thanks to Tim Rutt for the heads-up.

Meetings will be held tonight and tomorrow in La Puente and Montebello, respectively, to provide input on the SGV Regional Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan (scroll down).

The October Slow Ride: Revive Gateway Park! will be held tomorrow, hosted by the Elysian Valley Slow Ride.

AIDS/LifeCycle is holding a pair of Kickoff AIDS/LifeCycle 2018 rides beginning at Balboa Park this Saturday to start training for next year’s 545-mile ride down the California Coast.

The South Bay Cycling Awards will be held in Torrance tomorrow; you can see a list of nominees here.

Bike SGV will hold a memorial ride on Sunday to honor staff member Brian Velez, who recently passed away unexpectedly.

Helen’s Cycles will hold a number of rides this weekend, as well as a women’s bike maintenance clinic this coming Thursday.

Also on Thursday, the LACBC will host a City Cycling Class to develop urban riding skills.

Helen’s Cycles in Arcadia is sponsoring a No Drop Group Ride next Saturday, October 21st.

Also on the 21st, CD4 Councilmember David Ryu is hosting an open house to discuss much needed safety improvements to 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea.

West Hollywood will be holding a WeHo Pedals Bike Share Basics workshop on October 26th.

Santa Monica’s Breeze Bike Share is celebrating its second birthday with a ride with the mayor on November 4th.

CicLAvia will hold their 2nd annual Play Day in LA fundraiser om November 5th.

The very busy Bike SGV will hold their annual “Noche de las Luminarias” awards ceremony on December 2nd.

And CicLAvia returns to iconic Wilshire Blvd on December 10th.

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Local

Long Beach bike advocates met with former LADOT Bicycle Coordinator Michele Mowery, now the city’s new mobility and healthy living programs officer.

The seven-day Pablove Across American fundraising ride will end in Malibu tomorrow; the ride raises money for pediatric cancer research.

Calabasas unveils a new and improved Las Virgenes Road, complete with two lanes in each direction, bike lanes and continuous sidewalks.

 

State

The bike lanes on El Toro Road will be closed for construction work Monday between Laguna Canyon Road and the 73 tollway.

Joshua Tree residents complain that new bike lanes installed by Caltrans in the downtown area don’t go anywhere.

Half Moon Bay drops plans for a bike bridge and pathways after giving up on funding from Caltrans.

After getting caught in a traffic jam caused by people escaping the Sonoma County wildfires, a Santa Rosa woman went back home and got her bicycle, carrying her 70-pound dog to safety in a duffel bag.

A drunk hit-and-run driver has been sentenced to five years for killing a Suisun City cyclist; he fled the scene on foot, abandoning his car after he crashed again while fleeing the scene.

 

National

Bicycling offers five GoPro hacks to make your videos worth watching. Most important: Install some editing software and learn how to use it. No one wants sit through five minutes of video to get to the 30 seconds where something actually happens.

Caught on video: A Seattle bicyclist was the victim of a punishment pass for having the audacity to ride outside the bike lane to pass another rider; the city’s former mayor calls it assault, even if the police don’t.

A writer for a Colorado company asks if employers should pay workers to leave their cars at home. California has a parking cash-out program designed to compensate employees who give up their parking spaces to bike, walk or take transit to work, but the program is so narrowly drawn it only applies to three percent of the state’s workers.

A Colorado writer says he’s never seen a bicyclist display animosity towards a motorist that wasn’t in response to the driver’s actions. And that drivers need to check their “vehicular privilege” at the door to their vehicle.

A New York man says getting run over by a dump truck while riding his bike was the last straw, and he’s officially done with the city. Getting run over by anything can have that effect on you.

Lobbyists descend on DC to convince lawmakers that bikeshare is bipartisan.

Baltimore’s bikeshare returns with a reduced fleet of bikes, now equipped with GPS, after it was shut down due to excessive thefts and maintenance backups.

 

International

A 72-year old writer says what cyclists over 60 really want is protected bike parking. Oddly, that’s exactly what cyclists under 60 want, too.

Caught on video too: A British driver has been fined the equivalent of $932 and lost his license for six months for forcing a bike rider off the road.

Caught on video three: A Scottish newspaper sees an out-of-control, brakeless bike rider barrel into a toddler; others may see a toddler suddenly dart in front of the bicyclist.

A Scottish writer wonders what can be done to get more women on bicycles, and concludes that better safety matters more than sweaty clothes or helmet hair.

Paris moves to ban all gas and diesel-powered cars and trucks by 2030.

A new Swiss conversion kit promises to turn any bicycle into an ebike.

A Cape Town, South African cyclist was robbed of his bicycle, just days after armed thieves stole three bikes from a group of riders on the same roadway.

A 77-year old Australian man needed over a dozen stiches after he was the victim of a random attack by a man who stepped out from behind a tree, and beat the vicim’s face with a bottle as he was riding with his wife.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could run on strings. Nothing like getting your stolen bike back, and getting it stolen again on the way home.

And apparently, Metro really doesn’t want your bike blocking the aisles.

Although I’m still waiting to see a superhero zap the people blocking the bike area so you don’t have to block the aisle with your bike.

 

Today’s post, in which I make a shameless plea for money

Not for me.

Even though I could use it as much as the next guy. Especially if the next guy has a bank account that makes Greece look flush.

But actually, I’m asking for you. And every cyclist you share the road with.

Because right here in Southern California, some of the finest bicycling advocacy groups in the country are out there every day, fighting for your rights and the safety of all riders.

And they need — and deserve — your support.

Personally, I’m partial to the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. And not just because I’m a board member.

In fact, when I agreed to join the LACBC three years ago, it was because I often found myself working side-by-side with them on various issues. And was impressed with the commitment and dedication they showed in fighting for better bicycling here in the City of Angels, and their willingness to listen to, and support, all members of the bicycling community.

Since becoming a board member, I can honestly say I have never had the pleasure of working with a better group of people, from my fellow board members to the staff and volunteers who run the organization on a daily basis.

Unlike some organizations, the LACBC doesn’t often trumpet its successes, or broadcast the issues they’re working on with various governmental officials. They tend to be far more interested in getting results than taking the credit.

But chances are, you regularly ride streets they’ve played a hand in improving, from Main Street in Venice, to 1st, Spring and 7th streets Downtown. Not to mention the role they’ve played as the incubator for CicLAvia, City of Lights and Bici Libre.

Staff members from the Coalition were also the only people other than myself who attended every single council and committee meeting in support of the groundbreaking bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance passed in L.A. last year, which has set the standard for similar laws in cities around the country.

And the LACBC is currently working to play a role in next year’s Mayoral and City Council elections, to ensure the voices of cyclists are heard in City Hall — both before and long after you cast your vote.

Unfortunately, that sort of advocacy doesn’t come for free.

Like any other enterprise, the LACBC has to pay for office space, supplies and computer systems, as well as travel and other expenses. Not to mention the salaries of those people out there fighting on your behalf on a daily basis.

And that’s where you come in.

If you’re not a member, take a few minutes right now to join, and add your voice and membership dues with a few thousand like-minded bike riders.

Or take a moment in this season of giving to give to an organization that needs and deserves your support. If only because they’re out there supporting you.

It doesn’t matter what you give.

A $10 donation means as much, and is just as challenging, to some as $1000 is to others. So give a dollar. Give a hundred dollars.

But give something.

Of course, the LACBC is not the only bicycle organization that deserves your support. Put your money where your heart is, and support the organization that means the most to you.

Like the newly revitalized C.I.C.L.E., which has been on fire lately leading rides and workshops for local cyclists. Bikeside LA appears to be inactive these days, yet they remain the area’s only registered nonprofit bicycling political organization. And while LA Streetsblog isn’t an advocacy organization, they do more than anyone else — myself included — to keep us informed about the news and events effecting transportation issues in the Southland.

For those of you south of the Orange Curtain, consider giving to the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, or the Newport Beach Memorial Ride fund.

A little further south, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition could use your help. As could BikeSD, the new organization co-founded by Sam Ollinger, one of the brightest and most dedicated bike advocates California has to offer.

On the state level, I’m a huge fan of the California Bicycle Coalition, which as done a great job of representing the interests of bicyclists in the state capitol. And while I’ve had my disagreements with the California Association of Bicycling Organizations, aka CABO, you might find they’re the ideal group to support your views in Sacramento and cities around the state.

Then there are the groups working on the national level, like the League of American Bicyclists, People for Bikes, the Alliance for Biking and Walking and the Adventure Cycling Association.

It’s up to you to decide where your money will do the most good. But let it.

Now.

Please.

And don’t forget, donations to most, if not all, of these groups are tax deductible. Which is something that will come in handy on April 15th if you make a contribution before the end of the year.

I’m always reluctant to list people or groups for fear I’ll inadvertently leave someone out. So if you’re aware of a bicycle advocacy group worthy of our support, please let me know in the comments below.

………

In a step virtually no one other than they seem to understand, the League of American Bicyclists has selected the PR and Communications Director for the national AAA as the keynote speaker for next year’s National Bike Summit.

While the Bike League has partnered with AAA on a number of programs in recent years, local chapters have actively opposed bike safety measures, particularly in Washington DC and here in California.

Maybe she has something to say about how we can work together to improve safety for everyone. But maybe AAA should stop opposing bike safety on the local level first.

Thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up.

………

The LACBC wants your support for bike lanes on Westwood Blvd between Santa Monica and National Blvds. In case, like me, you missed the opening Saturday night, you can still catch the ARTCRANK LAX exhibition through next Monday. Neon Tommy looks at DTLA’s upcoming Bike Nation USA bike share program. The first phase of the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk opens at 10:30 am today at Paula and Garden Streets in Glendale. LADOT and CD4 Councilmember Tom LaBonge will rededicate the Alex Baum Bicycle Bridge from 10 am to noon on Thursday. Burbank’s Bike Angels will give away 150 refurbished bikes to local families this month. Cycling Unbound says you can tell the NHTSA is a joke because it has TSA in its name. A driver in tiny Durham CA didn’t mean to kill that cyclist, and he’s really, really sorry he did, then ran away like a coward.

Protected bikeways nearly double nationwide in 2012, and are expected to double again next year. How about a hidden minibar in your handlebars? Chicago business needs protected bike lanes. Boston is working for more, and safer, bike commuting. Bikeyface advises drivers on avoiding doorings and kangaroos. A Massachusetts paper asks why hit-and-run drivers flee. Lovely Bicycle offers advice on how to ride real slow. The Washington Post says it’s time we stopped living with streets that are killing us. Hit-and-run drivers are suspected of beheading several bollards protecting a separated bike lane; on the other hand, those might have been cyclists if the divider hadn’t been there. Jacksonville FL has killed 28 pedestrians and nine bicyclists this year alone; that compares with five bicycling fatalities in Los Angeles this year, with over four-and-a-half times the population.

Just like with cyclists, the only official solution to Toronto pedestrian deaths appears to be brighter clothing. Greater horsepower brings greater responsibility. Over half of all UK cyclists don’t feel safe on the road. A 15-year old Brit phenom returns to racing over a year after breaking his back in a racing fall. The unofficial highway code for cyclists. London cyclists drive to work to show how much they don’t contribute to traffic; something tells me most motorists didn’t even notice. Russia’s Katusha pro team is ticked off about not getting a ticket to ride in next year’s UCI WorldTour. New Zealand’s PureBlack racing team is about to go belly up, again. A local rider says Christchurch should be a cycling city. Australian authorities are looking for a teenage cyclist who was severely beaten by a bus driver in a road rage attack.

Finally, bike are great for transportation and recreation — and evidently, stalking potential serial killer victims

Here’s your invitation to tonight’s LACBC Planning Committee meeting

I’m on the run again today, so any exciting updates from the world of cycling will have to wait until tomorrow.

However, I just want to remind you that the LACBC Planning Committee will be meeting at 7 pm tonight at Downtown’s Pitfire Pizza, at the corner of 2nd and Main.

Tonight’s singular topic is where we want to go on a local, county or state level. Such as what infrastructure plans you want to see on the fast track, what bike-friendly changes you want in LA County — like adopting L.A.’s anti-harassment ordinance, for instance — and what legislative changes you want to see at the state level.

Like maybe another three-foot passing bill to replace the one our CHP and Caltrans-influenced governor foolishly vetoed.

It promises to be an interesting meeting. And a chance to have your voice heard at the grassroots level — and possibly multiplied with the support of Southern California’s largest bike advocacy organization.

And no, you don’t have to be a member to participate. Anyone who rides a bike in L.A. County, or cares about those who do, is welcome to attend. Although we’ll be more than happy to sign you up on the spot.

I’ll look forward to seeing you there.

A meditation on bicycling, advocacy, failure and mortality, and your weekend events

“There’s no place in this world where I’ll belong when I’m gone
And I won’t know the right from the wrong when I’m gone
And you won’t find me singing on this song when I’m gone
So I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here.”
— Phil Ochs, When I’m Gone
 

My father died a failure.

At least, that’s what he thought. Although a funeral that filled the largest Catholic church in town, in what was then a largely Catholic town, would tend to suggest otherwise.

But as a lifelong mechanic and mail carrier, he struggled to feed his family; a meager pension and social security meant there was nothing left to pass on to his children when his time came, far too soon at far too young an age.

Twenty years later, it still feels like a knife to the heart to know that those were among his last words and thoughts.

Yet he left behind four strong, healthy children more than capable of fending for themselves, and not one of whom ever doubted for a single moment that they were loved.

And I can’t think of any better definition of success than that.

But lately, I’ve come to understand the feeling.

After three years of battling the current economic meltdown, I have almost nothing left to leave my wife if anything were to happen to me.

It wasn’t always like this.

A dozen years ago, I was on my way to becoming a VP of Marketing, with the six-figure salary that came with it, for with a company so cool that Apple’s engineers and designers turned to it for inspiration. But internal politics and a corporate bankruptcy put an end to that.

It didn’t take long to bounce back, though. Within a few years I’d built up a lucrative freelance practice, writing advertising, marketing materials and strategic briefs for accounts ranging from local builders to Fortune 100 companies.

Yet over the past few years, the recession has taken its toll. Almost all of my clients have either gone belly up or zeroed out their marketing budgets; the few that haven’t have seen a 100% turnover in their marketing departments, so the people who would have to hire me now don’t even know who I am.

Yes, I could rebuild yet again.

But just as the economy started to go south, my close call with the Infamous Beachfront Bee Encounter caused me to confront my own mortality. And accept that, at this point in life, the time I have left on this planet is shorter than it is long.

Like anyone else, it could measured in days or weeks, or it could be decades. But no one gets out of this world alive.

And I’m not likely to be the exception.

Fortunately, I have never feared my own death. I was lucky to discover The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius in my early teens; if an emperor of ancient Rome could accept his own mortality, I could as well.

So when my time comes, I expect to greet it like an old friend. On the other hand, it’s one I hope not to meet for a very long time.

I also accepted long ago that it may come while I’m riding my bike.

Not because bicycling is inherently dangerous, but simply because I spend more time on my bike than almost anything else I do. If I spent that much time behind the wheel, it would be just as likely to happen there.

Then again, with a family history of heart disease, diabetes and cancer — and exposure to second-hand smoke for the first 12 years of my life — it’s far more likely I’ll have my own family to blame.

As I slowly recovered from my injuries, though, I came to the conclusion that whatever time I have left should be spent trying to make a difference in this world. And that it was time to redirect my life from convincing people they can’t live without this thing or that thing to doing what I can do to improve bicycle safety, and ensure that everyone who sets out on a bike comes back home again. And in one piece.

As a result, I’ve focused most of my efforts on writing this blog, as well as doing what I can as an advocate for bicycle safety, on my own and as a member of the LACBC Board of Directors.

Yet even though it’s become the equivalent of a full time job — plus overtime — it seems like it’s not enough sometimes. Every cycling death or serious injury feels like a failure; every rider run off the road is a reminder of just how far we have to go.

And yes, I do take it personally.

Every meeting I can’t attend, every day I don’t write something for this blog — this past morning, for instance — it feels like I should be doing more, even though it already seems like I’m doing more than I can.

There are others who would agree. And still others who do far more that I do.

But after all these years, it finally feels like I’ve found my calling. Simply put, there’s nothing I would rather do than what I’m doing right now. Even if, three years later, all I have to show for it is a $25 gift card and a pair of bike socks.

Some days, when the bills outweigh the funds on hand and the news and inattentive drivers conspire to remind me just how vulnerable we can be out there, I understand all too well how my father felt, and why.

But I also believe the solution is an inherent part of every problem. And tomorrow is a new day, with opportunities blooming like bougainvilleas if we can just see past the obstacles in our way.

So let’s keep up the fight.

And maybe we’ll finally reach that day when the last bike death will be the last bike death.

“And I won’t be laughing at the lies when I’m gone
And I can’t question how or when or why when I’m gone
Can’t live proud enough to die when I’m gone
So I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here.”

……..

Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

This Saturday, August 27th, Santa Monica Spoke will answer all your questions about biking in SaMo and the new Draft Bicycle Action Plan at the 10th Street Neighborhood Potluck Block Party from noon to 4 pm on 10th Street between Olympic and Michigan.

Also on Saturday the 27th, the Culver City Bicycle Coalition is hosting their monthly Family Ride starting at 10 am at the Culver Hotel, 9400 Culver Blvd in downtown Culver City. The easy ride will travel from downtown to the annual Fiesta La Ballona, where you’ll find a free bike valet hosted by Palms Cycle and the CCBC.

The Beverly Hills Ad-Hoc Bike Plan Update Committee meets from 5 pm to 7 pm on Monday, August 29th at 345 Foothill Road. Cyclists who ride through the biking black hole that is Beverly Hills — or would like to if it was more inviting to cyclists — are urged to attend.

Tuesday, August 30th, Santa Monica’s Library Alehouse will host a benefit for Streetsblog LA from 11:30 am to 11:30 pm; a portion of all food and drink purchases will benefit Streetsblog; 2911 Main Street. Events will include a raffle, drink specials and possibly a bike valet.

Flying Pigeon hosts three popular rides each month, starting with the Brewery Ride at 3 pm on Saturday, September 3rd, followed by the Spoke(n)Art Ride at 6 pm Saturday, September 10th and the Get Sum Dim Sum ride at 10 am on Sunday, September 18th. All rides meet at Flying Pigeon Bike Shop, 3714 North Figueroa Street in Highland Park.

On Sunday, September 4th, the LACBC will hold the next monthly Sunday Funday Ride, hosted by LACBC Board President Chet Kostrzewa; the ride starts at 9:30 am at the Wolf Creek Brewery in Valencia, 27746 McBean Parkway. Or join the riders at the end of the ride for beer and brunch at Wolf Creek Brewery; a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the LACBC. (Note: an earlier version said the ride started at 11:30; it actually begins at 9:30 and will conclude around 11:30.)

Wednesday, September 7th, Victims Impact Statements will be held in the case of Stephanie Segal, charged with felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run in the death of cyclist James Laing; Segal reportedly had a BAC of .26 at the time of the collision. The hearing starts at 8:30 am in Department 1 of the Malibu Courthouse, 23525 Civic Center Way; cyclists are urged to attend wearing bike jerseys, but no shorts are allowed in the courtroom.

Saturday, September 10th, the Santa Monica Spoke hosts the Dinner & Bikes Tour from 7 to 9 pm with leading bike scribe and advocate Elly Blue, vegan chef Joshua Ploeg and Joe Biel, founder of Microcosm Publishing; tickets are $7 to $20 on a sliding scale, location to be determined.

The 2011 Far West and SCNCA Elite Track Cycling Championships comes to the Encino Velodrome on Saturday, September 10th and Sunday, September 11th at 17301 Oxnard Street, at the edge of Balboa Park in Encino. Gates open at 8 am; racing starts at 9 both days.

Elly Blue’s Dinner & Bikes Tour repeats on Monday, September 12th from 7 pm to 9 pm, this time hosted by the LACBC in the 1st Floor Edison Room of the MALDEF Building, 634 S. Spring Street. This time, the admission is free, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Flying Pigeon LA.

Also on Monday, September 12th, the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils is hosting a town hall meeting with L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the Felicia Mahood Senior Citizen Center, 11338 West Santa Monica Blvd. Light refreshments start at 6:30, with the Mayor’s presentation & questions and answers from 7 pm to 8:15 pm.

Saturday, September 17th from 8 am to noon, Amigos De Los Rios hosts the easy, family-friendly Healthy El Monte Community Bike Ride at Pioneer Park, 3535 Santa Anita Blvd in El Monte. Register before September 8th and get a free T-Shirt, raffle ticket, lunch and bike bottle; children $5, adults $10.

Also on Saturday the 17th, C.I.C.L.E. LA invites you to join in the Made in L.A. Bicycle Tour from 1 pm to 4 pm starting a the L.A. State Historic Park, 1245 N. Spring Street in Downtown L.A. The eight mile family-friendly ride will visit sites including Homeboy Industries, El Pato Factory and the Angel City Brewery.

Head up to Palo Alto on Saturday, September 17 for the Echelon Gran Fondo, with rides of 65, 80 or 95 miles, as well as a fundraising walk, run or ride and A Taste of Palo Alto. The ride benefits Bikes Belong, parent organization of both People for Bikes and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. The goal is to raise $10,000; if you can’t make the ride, you can still donate and get some cool Bikes Belong swag.

You’re invited to Think Bikes with the Dutch when the General Council of the Netherlands joins with the LACBC and the City of L.A. to present ThinkBike Los Angeles. The public is welcome to the Opening Session from 9 am to 10:30 am on Thursday, September 22nd at the LADOT, 100 South Main Street, and the Closing Session, from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm at LAPD Headquarters, 100 West 1st Street. Preregistration is required for both the Opening and Closing sessions.

Mark your calendar for L.A.’s Ultimate Bike Weekend, as the 2011 L.A. edition of the Tour de Fat comes to town on Saturday, October 8th, followed by the next CicLAvia on Sunday, October 9th, offering an expanded route taking participants another 3 miles north into Chinatown and south into South L.A.

You’re invited to participate in the Gladiator Rock’n Run at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, October 1st. Not bike related, but at least they’re offering a discount for cyclists; enter code GLADIATORZ10 (all caps) to save $10 on registration.

The LACBC is co-hosting a weekend-long training program for bicycle and pedestrian advocates with the Alliance for Biking and Walking from Friday, October 14th through Sunday, October 16th, 634 S. Spring Street, Suite 821.

The LACBC’s award-winning City of Lights program will host their 2nd Annual City of Lights Awards/Fundraising Dinner on Thursday, October 27th from 6 to 11 pm at CARECEN HQ, 2845 W 7th Street. Tickets will be available for $45 later this year.

Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13th, the Eastside Bike Club hosts the LA Tamale Throwdown at a site to be determined, offering a chance to sample some of the city’s best tamales, coffee and pan Mexicano; bike valet courtesy of Flying Pigeon LA.

And mark your calendar for Sunday, November 13th, when the LACBC unveils a marriage of bikes and food with the 1st annual Tour de Taste in Culver City.

We just ride — coming back to biking as an adult rider

Today we have our second guest post, as writers have graciously offered to fill in for me while I’m tied up with packing for my first move in 17 years. And let me tell you, after that long, there’s a lot to pack.

Another of my favorite writers steps in this time, offering his take on coming back to biking as an adult, and unexpectedly finding himself becoming an advocate for cycling. On his own blog, Zeke’s Great Smokies Two-Wheeled Adventures!, Zeke offers his uniquely entertaining take on riding in the countryside and mountains of North Carolina.

And be sure to come back tomorrow for my first ever bike review, just in time for the holidays.

.………

I spent some time pondering  Ross Del Duca’s post on Friday, December 3rd, regarding bike culture and whether the goal was to have a bike culture or not, which is perhaps an oversimplification of his thoughts. I thought of how my own evolution from a somewhat out of shape middle-aged man to an advocate for the development of a bike culture in my home community is almost at the other end of the spectrum that Del Duca was writing about.

My re-introduction, some would save first introduction, to the cycling world came about after a number of years being away from bicycles. In my youth, a bicycle was my unquestioned mode of transportation. I still recall my very first bike. It was a hand me down from my cousin, who was one year older than me. In my mind, it remains a thing of beauty. It sported fat black tires over a repainted red and black frame with coaster brakes and a full metal chain guard. I also still remember my first descent on our short asphalt driveway. It didn’t turn out well given that I took a header and landed on my right shoulder grinding it into the pavement.

I also recall my third instance of experimentation with “blind cycling” in which I rode along with my eyes closed. Why the third and not the first two? Apparently the first two were of short duration and successful, which led to the intense learning experience of the third experiment.  I crashed into a neighbor’s wooden mailbox post. There was not a fourth attempt of riding with my eyes closed.

Were those instances written up in today’s papers, the reporters would surely report that I was not wearing a helmet. Helmet? What helmet? We knew not of such things in those days.

In those days, if I wanted to go to the public outdoor swimming pool, I rode my bicycle. The fence surrounding the pool was always garnished with bicycles belonging to other kids. When we had Little League baseball practice, I hung my glove on my handlebars and rode to the practice field some miles away. Clearly, this predated “soccer mom” existence. My parents thought nothing of us being turned loose around town.  My friend on our local bike advocacy counsel laughs now and says we were the original bike commuters in our hometown. We rode everywhere.

As a young teen, bicycles remained central to my existence. These were my “Easy Rider” years when I graduated from coaster brakes to my Stingray with the banana seat, 3 speed gearing, and “English” brakes. I sported an enhanced “sissy bar” on the back. I still recall many hours in the saddle of what we called “the pack”. We weren’t educated enough about cycling to think of ourselves as a peloton!

I recall only one adult riding a bicycle during those years. He was older than me and had returned home from the Viet Nam War. J.B. rode everywhere in town on, as I recall it, a black bicycle with a basket on the front. As an older teen at this point and working as a life guard at that very same outdoor pool, I can see J.B. riding by with a 6 pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon in the basket. I can remember him going to the local drive-in theater on that bike. I used to see him everywhere in town on that bike.

The years passed and my bicycle days were replaced with new temptations of girls, cars, and motorcycles. Appalachian State University called and I spent 5 glorious years in Boone, NC doing things NOT associated with cycling even though I was in some of the most beautiful cycling territory in the country. A career has come and gone since that time with only a brief interlude of cycling in my late 20’s. It was then that a bicycle took me to my life altering meeting with the Navigator with whom I will shortly celebrate 28 years of marriage.

So, my evolution to bicycle advocate has, in many ways, brought me back to the roots of my youth. We didn’t have a bike culture “back in the day.” We simply rode and it was simply accepted. The environment is different now. Now, we must fight for acceptance and for the infrastructure that supports cycling. Cycling is very much now a “purposeful thought” for me and the members of our infant advocacy council. We find purpose in fighting childhood and adult obesity, dependence upon foreign oil, and for our rights to alternative transportation. In our infancy, we need to develop a bike culture so that we can one day move beyond it and, when asked, be able to say, “What bike culture. We just ride.”

.………

Speaking of Zeke, let’s give a belated shout out to his L.A.-based, recumbent-riding brother Dave, who celebrated his birthday over the weekend.

People for Bikes — giving you the power to change the world

According to Tim Blumenthal, bikes have the power to change the world.

As the president of the Bikes Belong Foundation, Blumenthal is one of the founders of People for Bikes, a new organization dedicated to making that change happen and finding a place on the streets — and in the federal budget — for the country’s rapidly expanding community of cyclists.

Created and funded by the Bikes Belong Foundation, a non-profit offshoot of the respected industry trade group Bikes Belong, People for Bikes was founded with a goal of building a nationwide coalition of one million bicyclists, one rider at a time — giving cyclists the clout that drivers have long enjoyed through organizations such as AAA.

According to Blumenthal, there are somewhere around 50 million bicyclists in the U.S., yet less than 1% of those have ever actively stood up to demand their rights and the support of their government — a number Blumenthal places at around 250,000 people.

So pat yourself on the back if you’re one of them.

Even though People for Bikes is supported by the bike industry — financially and otherwise — Blumenthal insists it operates independently of the business group.

“I’ve never been put under any pressure by any of the manufacturers,” he said. Rather than looking for instant results or increased sales, all of the companies involved take the long view, believing that bikes are good for the country.

He added that the group’s parent organization, the Bikes Belong Foundation, is also made up of leading organizations dedicated to the public good such as the Centers for Disease Control, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Just four years old, the foundation has rapidly become a major donor for local biking projects, including a grant to the LACBC to help build a regional bike-friendly community plan through the REI/Bicycle Friendly Communities Grant Program earlier this year.

In addition, People for Bikes has partnered with advocacy groups such as the League of American Bicyclists, the Alliance for Biking and Walking and the Rails to Trails Conservancy. And they’ve recently joined with New Belgium Brewery’s Tour de Fat, scheduled to visit Downtown’s L.A. State Historic Park on October 23rd.

Aside from simply signing up cyclists, the immediate goal of People for Bikes is to ensure the maximum percentage of funding for bike and pedestrian projects in the federal transportation bill to be considered next year.

Blumenthal traced a rising line through recent federal budgets, from just $450 million for bikes and pedestrians in 2000, to $700 million in 2007 and $1.3 billion this year, with a goal of $2 billion in 2012.

“Bike facilities don’t cost much compared to other transportation projects,” he continued, adding that bicyclists deserve better, safer and more convenient places to ride, such as dedicated bikeways, bike boulevards and separated bike paths.

In order to significantly increase the number of cyclists nationwide, average riders need to feel safe enough to ride regularly, according to Blumenthal. While stronger riders may feel comfortable riding in traffic or in a bike lane, for others, “a white stripe isn’t enough to make them feel safe.”

What’s necessary, he said, is to change the current culture where drivers have been prioritized and cars are king. But changing that car-centric mindset won’t be easy, as various users compete for increasingly limited space on and off the roads.

The first step, Blumenthal said, is simply to sign the pledge.

It’s a free and easy way to get involved — a “no brainer,” as he called it — adding that the organization won’t ask for anything other than your name, email address and zip code. (Something I can vouch for, having signed up a few months back myself.)

“It doesn’t matter what kind of bike you ride or where you ride,” Blumenthal continued. “People for Bikes is designed to unify all Americans who ride bikes.”

He explained that this is your opportunity to be part of a movement to increase the clout and credibility of bicyclists with key decision makers, and become a potent force in future legislation to make this a safer and more ridable country for cyclists of all types.

“More clout,” he said, “equals better bicycling.”

………

Bicycle Advisory Committee Chair Glenn Bailey reports that tonight’s scheduled meeting of the BAC has been postponed to accommodate the LAPD’s observance of the National Night Out. The meeting will take place on Monday, August 9 at 7 pm at the Hollywood Neighborhood City Hall Community Room, 6501 Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028.

According to Bailey, the meeting will feature the revised bike plan, as well as a report from the LAPD.

At Monday’s rescheduled meeting, the City Planning Department will be presenting the revised draft Bicycle Plan as well as the proposed Five-Year Implementation Strategy.  Also, the LAPD will report its recent policy and training efforts relating to bicycling.  The revised special meeting agenda will be emailed in the next day or so.

………

Curbed LA relays a story from the Daily Bruin reporting on bad roads in Westwood — one of the city’s busiest biking centers — that take down riders on a regular basis. The city advises calling 311 to report potholes, saying they can be fixed within 48 hours. Although in my experience, patch jobs usually aren’t enough and often make the road rougher than it was before.

………

Just five weeks after suffering a heart attack, local rider GT gets the best news he could possibly get. Robert Sam Sanchez begins his prison term for the drunken hit-and-run death of Rod Armas. Lance tells Antonio the goal is to stay on the bike, while Stephen Box calls on the Mayor to take advantage of the opportunity. Malibu wants a safer PCH; then again, so do cyclists. Cyclists demand change at the Beverly Hills Court House. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske advises you to keep your cool, even when the cop that pulls you over is wrong. Listen my children and you shall hear of cyclists calling “the bulldozers are near;” thanks to George Wolfburg for the heads up. Discovering bike parking in NYC. Illinois will now install and maintain roadside memorials to people killed by reckless drivers. The League of American Bicyclists says act now to stop the spread of roadside rumble strips. The National Journal asks if cyclists and pedestrians will squeeze out cars; LAB President Andy Clarke says transportation is not a zero sum game. A three-year old Cleveland boy is seriously injured by a hit-and-run cyclist who claimed his brakes weren’t working. After being seriously injured riding off-road, a Philadelphia cyclist tweets for help. Only one third of Toronto cyclists are comfortable riding major streets without bike lanes. Ticketing dangerous Delhi drivers through Facebook.

Finally, Boston Biker says electric bikes are nothing more than crappy mountain bikes made heavier and more expensive.

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