Tag Archive for bicycle commuting

Morning Links: Dump the Pump Day tomorrow, why bike riders are the happiest commuters, and bike thefts up in DTLA

Tomorrow is National Dump the Pump Day.

Consider it the perfect excuse to leave your car at home and take a bus or train.

Or better yet, just ride your bike. You’ll be happier.

No, really.

Photo by fotografierende from Pexels.

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A Kiwi study from three months in the future attempts to explain why bike riders are the happiest commuters.

Because obviously, we are.

According to the study’s authors,

We conclude that research points to four important components of high commute satisfaction amongst cyclists: 1) A high degree of commuting control and ‘arrival-time reliability’; 2) Enjoyable levels of sensory stimulation; 3) The ‘feel better’ effects of moderate intensity exercise; and 4) Greater opportunities for social interaction.

They suggest, as a result, that bicycling infrastructure should focus on more than just safety by enhancing the physical, social and psychological pleasures of bicycling.

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DTLA bike cop Sgt. Helper sends word that bike thefts are up in the Downtown area.

https://twitter.com/1Cycle20/status/1141181164855558144

And yes, that’s really his name. As well as what he does for the bike community.

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It looks like most of Orange County’s Coyote Creek Bikeway is still open, despite construction.

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Sure, let’s go with that.

A former Iowa cop has been charged in the 2 am hit-and-run death of a bike rider, claiming he thought he’d hit a deer.

A deer with headlights and tail lights, apparently.

He turned himself in the next day, most likely after giving himself time to sober up. And after returning to the scene of the crime an hour after the crash, in a different truck.

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An English bicyclist learns the hard way not to mistake a pothole for a puddle.

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Local

LAist discovers some people love e-scooters, some think we need better infrastructure to support them, and some think they’re the herpes of urban transit. Meanwhile, a Reddit user says police are ticketing sidewalk scooter riders to the tune of $200 a pop.

The newly passed California state budget includes $800,000 for a bike and pedestrian friendly bridge linking Glendale with Griffith Park, the final phase of a three-part beautification program along the LA River.

CiclaValley catches up with bike and transit projects in the San Fernando Valley.

State

Victor Bale sends word that accused stoned, speeding driver Ronnie Ramon Huerta Jr. is due in court July 17th for a trial readiness conference in the death of bike rider Mark Kristofferson during last year’s Tour of Palm Springs, as well as severely injuring another rider; Huerta faces a murder charge in the crash, as well as charges of DUI and driving without a license.

A Bakersfield man admits to fatally stabbing another man, in a dispute that started with the killer stealing one of the victim’s bikes in retaliation for the victim assaulting someone in a wheelchair.

San Francisco approves plans for protected bike lanes on Howard and Folsom streets, where three bike riders have been killed in recent years.

Oakland’s experience with iconic Telegraph Ave shows that even cheap parking-protected bike lanes work.

Petaluma businesses owners are just the latest to complain about the possible loss of parking spaces to make room for bike lanes. Even though road diets are about reducing road capacity to calm traffic and improve safety, rather than just bike lanes. And as we keep pointing out, bike lanes are good for business, more than making up for any parking spaces that were taken out.

Get your votes in for this year’s candidates for the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, part of the Marin Museum of Bicycling.

Bighearted Sacramento cops surprise a seven-year old boy in a hospital ICU with a visit from a police dog. And a new bicycle.

A bike rider was hospitalized with major injuries when he was broadsided by a 16-year old driver on the north shore of Lake Tahoe Tuesday morning, even though earlier reports said the victim had been killed; the driver played the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, claiming the sun was in his eyes. Thanks to John McBreaty for the tip. 

 

National

The Bike League says what we already know — too many bicyclists are still dying on the streets — and offers suggestions on what you can do to actually change that. Meanwhile, PBS News Hour talks with Daisy Villafuerte of Los Angeles Walks about why pedestrian deaths in the US are at their highest level in 30 years.

Wired asks if American micromobility is a bust, concluding it doesn’t have to be if cities will follow China’s example and make room for it on the streets.

Now you, too, can get your new Stranger Things Mongoose bike at Target for the low, low price of just $219.99. Actually, that is pretty cheap. Let’s hope the bike isn’t.

You’ve got to be kidding. A Portland man gets off with a lousy 20 hours of community service for injuring a woman bike rider by booby trapping a multi-use path, saying he just got drunk with a friend who “did some stupid stuff.” When will the courts finally take a deliberate attempt to injure or kill another human being seriously? He should have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon at a bare minimum — and given the jail time to match.

This is who we share the roads with. A drunken Rhode Island woman identified herself to police as “Hello Kitty” after rolling her car on someone’s lawn and crashing into their house.

Operators of New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare system are ticked off that a bill legalizing ebikes and e-scooters in the state will ban their new ped-assist bikes from the popular Hudson River Greenway. Meanwhile, Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter says the new rules miss the entire point of the ebike revolution.

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority bulldozed a secret BMX track after learning about the course long hidden in the woods.

A WaPo video offers tips on what to bring on your next bikepacking trip, and what to leave behind.

A South Carolina man marked Father’s Day by fixing the flat tire on his teenaged son’s bike.

 

International

He gets it. A Toronto columnist says a bike lane isn’t an “Okay to Park Here Briefly Lane” or a “Really Narrow Right-Turning Lane.”

No double standard here. A “calm and reasonable” London bike rider was ordered to pay damages to a woman who stepped in front of him while walking distracted — even though he had the green light, and had tried to sound a warning with an airhorn mounted on his bike. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.

London letter writers say no, bike lanes aren’t a waste of money.

Britain’s bike-riding billionaire Lord Sugar had emergency heart surgery for a blocked artery just hours after finishing a 25-mile tandem bike ride with his wife in the US. Good thing he’s got all that money; he’ll need it to pay those American medical bills.

An accused serial killer in the Netherlands says he had a bike belonging to one of the victims because he bought it from her, not because he kept it after killing her. Sure, let’s go with that.

Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder tracks down the Dutch woman who borrowed her brother’s bicycle 32 years ago to give the lost musician a ride back to his hotel, and belatedly rewards her with concert tickets.

An engineering website considers Germany’s coming 62-mile bicycle autobahn that will connect ten towns and four universities. Meanwhile, Los Angeles can’t even manage a decent bike lane across the Westside.

A new German startup is crowdfunding a bike trailer that folds up onto the back of your bike in just ten seconds when not in use.

A Nairobi, Kenya man learns the hard way how to ride a bike as an adult.

 

Competitive Cycling

American cyclist Tejay van Garderen is brimming with confidence following his second-place finish in the Critérium du Dauphiné stage race, leading into next month’s Tour de France.

Racing the Giro route on an ebike.

Now that he’s finally settled up with the feds, Lance is making a non-bike comeback, partnering with the grandson of a Canadian sports legend for a new venture capital fund supporting sports, fitness, nutrition and wellness markets.

 

Finally…

No, seriously, if you’re riding a stolen bike on your way to make a drug buy, don’t ride salmon. You know you live in a small town when the top crime of the day is a kid allegedly smearing berries on another kid’s bike.

And who needs a bike to do a backflip?

Control the intersection, part 2: Actually, it is polite to point

Just last week, I was riding towards a busy intersection. Ahead of me, there was a long line of cars facing me, waiting to make a left turn onto the cross street.

The driver of the first car had plenty of room to make his left before I got to the intersection, crossing my path and going on his way with room to spare.

The second car probably shouldn’t have gone. The driver’s view had been blocked by the first car, and he had no idea I was there until he followed the first driver in making his turn. Fortunately, I hadn’t quite entered the intersection, so he rounded the corner without posing an undue threat.

The third car was another matter.

It was clear that his view had been totally obscured by the cars ahead of him. And if he followed their lead, neither one of us would make it to the other side.

So I pointed at him.

I wasn’t trying to be rude. It’s just a little trick I’ve learned over the years. When a driver doesn’t seem to see me, I extend my arm and point at him. And invariably, they notice me, and respond appropriately.

Don’t ask me why it works. It just does.

In this case, I pointed at the driver as soon as he came into view, after the other car turned. We made eye contact, he nodded, and I rode safely through the intersection and on my merry way.

I’ve used the same technique as I’ve been stopped at a light, when it appeared a driver a going to try to get the jump on me as soon as the light changed. In that case, the driver appeared to be purposely ignoring me, refusing to make eye contact — always a bad sign.

Sure enough, the light changed and he gunned his engine, lurching into the intersection, despite the fact that I had the right of way. So again, I pointed.

And God help me, he stopped.

He sat there with an embarrassed look on his face and let me ride past. Then gunned his engine again, screeching through the corner and down the road.

Other times, I’ve used an extended digit — the first one, not the second, which I tend to employ all too often — to indicate where I intend to go. By pointing straight ahead, I could show that I was going to ride straight across an intersection, even though it was a situation where most drivers would have expected me to turn.

Or I’ve pointed out at a slight angle, to tell drivers that I was entering the lane briefly to go around some obstacle, rather than taking the full lane — or risk confusing them by making a left turn signal.

And in every case, it’s worked. Drivers slow down, and give me enough space to make my move or cross the street. And more amazingly, I’ve never gotten a single horn, shout or obscene gesture in response.

Don’t ask me why.

I’ve even been known to take it a step further by actually directing traffic.

Like at a four way stop, for instance, when no one knows who should go first. In some cases, it may have actually been my right of way. But only a fool would insist on taking it without knowing that the other vehicles intended to cede it.

And as they say down south, my Mama didn’t raise no fools.

So I point at one driver, and hold up my hand to indicate halt. Then point at the other driver and wave him through the intersection, before waving the first car through. And once the intersection is clear, I’ll go through myself — sometime holding out that same halt signal to tell a late arriving vehicle I’m going through.

I always expect the drivers to ignore me. Or laugh. Or get pissed off. But oddly, it never seems to happen.

Instead, they invariably respond to my points and hand commands as meekly as a herd of sheep with a border collie nipping at their flanks.

I can’t explain it. I won’t even try.

All I know is that it works. And the fact that I’m still here to tell you about it is all the proof you need that it does.

 

Bicycle Fixation offers their stylish Limited Edition Herringbone Knickers; very cool, but at that price, I think I’ll continue to wear my decided unstylish spandex. Meanwhile, another rider offers a jersey indicating the three foot passing distance we should all insist on — at least until our personal portable bike lanes hit the market. Gary relates his semi-soggy saga of riding to San Diego over the weekend. Another local bike path becomes a habitat for homeless humanity. Leave it to the Japanese to meld a parking garage with a bicycle vending machine. The Expo Construction Authority seeks an alternate for the Expo Bikeway through NIMBY-ist Cheviot Hills. Yeah, good luck with that. Bike paradise Boulder, Colorado is about to get a state-of-the-art off-road bike park, while Belmont, CA drivers are raging over the new bike lane. Finally, the Rearview Rider, aka the Bicycling Librarian, offers up her new blog of bike-worthy links.

Control the intersection, control your safety

 

Recently, my wife and I were driving up Doheny, just below Beverly, when we came upon a young woman riding slowly in the right lane.

She was nicely dressed, as if she was going out for the evening. Yet she seemed to know what she was doing, riding just inside the right lane — and just outside dooring range.

I made sure to give her a wide passing berth as I drove around her, as a courtesy from one cyclist to another, before stopping at a red light at the next intersection.

As we waited for the light to change, the rider carefully worked her way past the cars lined up behind us until she reached the intersection. Then she moved left, stopping in the crosswalk just in front of our car.

My wife was annoyed that she was in our way once again. But recognizing a skilled rider, I told her to be patient. And sure enough, as soon as the light turned green, she pulled to the right, allowing us — and the other cars behind us — to safely pass while she crossed the intersection, before reclaiming her space in the lane.

I could fault her for not wearing a helmet — while she looked great, her stylish tam wasn’t likely to offer much protection in the event of an accident — but I had to admire the way she rode. And the way she controlled the intersection.

Because an intersection — any intersection — can be a dangerous place for a cyclist. And too many make the mistake of letting traffic dictate how they ride, instead of taking control of the situation.

For instance, a lot of riders will just stop in place when traffic comes to a halt, and stay right where they are in the traffic lane behind the line of cars.

They probably think they’re doing the right thing. But drivers coming up from behind may not expect to find a bike there, and may not react in time. And waiting behind even a single car could hide a rider from cars coming from the opposite direction, dramatically increasing the risk of a collision.

Which is not to say that drivers shouldn’t be aware of everyone on the road — bikes and pedestrians included.

But this is the real world. And you shouldn’t risk your life based on the limited skills and attention spans of those sharing the road with you.

Moving up to the front of the line ensures that everyone can see you, no matter what direction they’re coming from. It also means that the cars behind you are stopped, instead of leaving you exposed and vulnerable to any cars that are still moving — and drivers who may not be paying attention.

But even riders who make a habit of moving up to the intersection sometimes stop there, and wait patiently next to the lead car.

That can present it’s own problems, though.

By waiting beside the lead car, you run the risk of blocking access to the right turn lane, preventing cars from being able to make the right turn on a red light that we Californians treasure as our God-given birthright. And that can mean having an angry, impatient driver behind you — which is never a good thing.

Then there’s the risk that the driver at the head of the line won’t notice you waiting there beside him, and make a sudden right turn across your path — or worse, directly into you.

But you can virtually eliminate that risk by moving slightly forward and to the left, coming to a stop in front of the driver’s right front bumper.

That way, the turning lane is clear for anyone who wants to go right. And you’re directly in the lead driver’s field of view, where he can’t help but see you — and blocking him from any sudden moves that could put you in danger. Yet you’re still close enough to the side that you can get out of the way quickly if anything goes wrong.

Then once the light changes, just move slightly to the right so the cars pass while you cross the road. And then back into the traffic lane when you reach the other side.

I’m usually faster off the line than most drivers, and often reach the other side long before they do. But I still move to the right when the light changes — both out of courtesy and to protect myself from any impatient jerks who feel the need to race me across the street.

Bob Mionske, the cycling lawyer, joins the debate on changing the law to treat stop signs as yields. A self-described mediocre cyclist wants your help to become a full-fledged racer. An Alaskan rider explains why some riders prefer the streets to a “perfectly good” bike trail. Green LA Girl notes that LACBC is looking for bilingual bike safety advocates. Finally, City Watch points the lack of bike parking — and quality crappers — at Downtown’s new LALive.

 

Bike law change #13: Require all employers to provide secure bicycle parking

Okay, so I lied. Yesterday I said I’d put up one final post in this series, for a total of 12. But this one is too important to leave off — even if it does leave me with an unlucky 13.

Because no effort to get people out of their cars and onto their bikes — not even financial inducements — will succeed unless bike commuters have a safe and secure place to put their bikes. But many employers and commercial landlords refuse to accommodate riders by providing a place to park their bikes or allowing riders to take their bikes into their offices with them.

And a simple bike rake on the sidewalk is nowhere near adequate, as anyone could tell you who has ever seen a wheel locked to a bike rack with the frame missing, or a frame missing its seat and wheels. Or worse, a severed chain or lock laying on the concrete, no longer attached to anything.

Then there’s the problem of leaving a bike exposed to the weather all day — not to mention the pigeons and seagulls that are so abundant around here.

So let’s require that every employer — no matter how large or small — provide safe and secure onsite bicycle parking for all their employees, whether in the form of bike lockers, a monitored section of the parking garage or a locked bike room. Or as an alternative, that employees be allowed to secure their bikes within their own work area as long as they are onsite.

 

Don’t forget tomorrow’s inaugural Bike Town Beta. And the Daily Breeze reports on the problems — and possible solutions — regarding the Ballona Creek bike path (thanks to Curbed LA for the link).

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