Tag Archive for Bicycle Friendly City

Morning Links: Writer claims Vision Zero is anti-driver plot, new CA bike friendly cities, and Gabe Klein at UCLA

Apparently tired of yelling at kids to get off his lawn, a writer for the Santa Monica Daily Press says the city’s Pedestrian Action Plan is all rhetoric. And insists Vision Zero is just an attempt slow traffic speeds, increase congestion and make motorists more frustrated.

But at least they’ll be alive to complain about it.

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Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo get a boost to the Gold level Bicycle Friendly Community status in the Bike League’s new rankings; Santa Rosa and Woodland get Bronze. And San Diego, Carlsbad and Oxnard get honorable mentions in Southern California.

Meanwhile, my hometown stayed Platinum. Of course, they didn’t bother getting bike friendly until long after I stopped riding there.

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Not many people can claim to have put two cities on a bike path; former DC and Chicago DOT director Gabe Klein will discuss his new book on how to get it done and have fun in the process at UCLA’s Luskin Center on Thursday.

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‘Tis the Season, already.

San Diego’s Old Mission Beach Athletic Club has started their eighth annual Holiday Toy and Bike Drive to aid families of junior enlisted personnel.

Members of the San Francisco 49ers build bikes for the team’s middle school student academy.

More than 500 bikes have been donated to children who lost theirs in the Valley fire earlier this year.

And a handful of outdoor companies and bike shops are joining REI in closing the day after Thanksgiving.

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It may have nothing to do with bicycling, but the Militant Angeleno — author of everyone’s favorite CicLAvia guides — has created a fascinating guide to the remaining Red Car remnants.

If he’d ever take that mask off, I see an epic bike tour in the making.

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Local

The latest Bike Talk podcast talks Equity and the Bike with the LACBC’s Tamika Butler, Rio Contreras of Multicultural Communities for Mobility and CSULA Professor Adonia Lugo.

The UCLA Bicycle Academy criticizes the marketing director of the UCLA Health System for missing an opportunity to promote greater health by sponsoring Santa Monica’s Breeze bikeshare system.

LA Curbed looks at people’s reactions to Breeze on Twitter, where the response seems to be universally positive.

 

State

A San Francisco cyclist and an 89-year old man both suffered head injuries when they collided while the man was crossing Market Street on Friday. It may  or may not have been the rider’s fault, but always ride carefully around pedestrians — especially kids and the elderly, who can be both fragile and unpredictable.

Bikeshare is central to the Bay Area’s better, faster and more flexible new mobility.

A road raging Dr. Thompson wannabe faces charges for brake-checking a group of cyclists after attempting to block their path in Marin County.

 

National

Maybe you’ll be able to watch bike racing on TV after all. NBCUniversal promises to pick up the events formerly broadcast on the now defunct Universal Sports Network.

A San Antonio man has been found guilty of murdering his roommate in a dispute over a bicycle and an unlocked gate.

A Minneapolis report concludes there are barriers keeping minorities from bicycling, including affordability, access and lack of education on rules of the road.

LA continues to fall further behind; while we’re just beginning to get bikeshare, Minnesota’s Twin Cities are already getting canoeshare.

An Ohio drunk driver gets nearly five years for killing a cyclist, while a Vermont woman gets probation and just 80 hours of community service for a similar crime. Maybe if the Ohio driver was married to a cop, he might have gotten away with it, too.

Hundreds of New Yorkers march to remember the victims of traffic violence, while joining the call to refer to them as crashes, not accidents.

Some good can come from even the worst tragedies, as a Mississippi firefighter badly disfigured by burns received the face of a New York bike messenger killed in a wreck. That’s why I signed up as an organ donor, although I doubt anyone would want this face when I’m done with it.

 

International

An Ottawa writer says forget the debate over ghost bikes and adopt Vision Zero instead.

British traffic calming efforts, including lowering speed limits to 20 mph, cut traffic fatalities in half over a 13 year period.

A Brit thief gets the bite on a bike shop owner who chased him down to recover a customer’s phone.

A British website looks at the unwritten rules of the pro peloton.

Caught on video: What it’s really like to bike in Belfast, where police get the law on riding abreast wrong. Not unlike some police and sheriff’s deputies right here in sunny SoCal.

Seriously? Irish cyclists face an on-the-spot 40 euro fine for riding with headphones, even though it’s not illegal.

One year later, that solar panel-paved Dutch bike path is a success, putting out enough energy to power three homes.

Interesting idea from a Danish company, as they have a new Kickstarter for wireless, frictionless generator bike lights.

Pakistan swears it won’t take part in Olympic track cycling qualifying in India due to internal issues, and not the ongoing enmity between the two countries. Sure, let’s go with that.

An Indian woman is encouraging others to bike to work just like she does, despite the country’s congested roads.

Call it Genghis’ revenge, as two Brit teenagers are forced to abandon a trip retracing the legendary Mongol leader’s longest invasion route when digestive issues set in near China.

 

Finally…

Bad enough that we have to dodge angry drivers, now the trees are out to get us. If at first you don’t succeed, steal the same bike again.

And if you’re going to steal a macaw to feed your drug habit, don’t try to make your getaway with the purloined parrot on your handlebars.

 

This WTF moment, courtesy of Santa Monica and the League of American Bicyclists

Don’t get me wrong.

I like riding in Santa Monica. It’s a genuine pleasure to ride in a city that has actual cycling infrastructure, let alone where bike routes actually connect with something and you can plot out a route to just about anywhere you want to go.

Coming from traffic-heavy Los Angeles, it’s a breath of fresh air. Literally.

Still, I was surprised when the League of American Bicyclists named SaMo a bicycle-friendly city. Even if it was just a bronze.

I know the state of cycling pretty well sucks in this country. But either they didn’t consult local riders before they made their award, or the bar is set so low we’ll have to be careful not to trip on it.

Because it takes more than just infrastructure and good intentions to truly be bicycle friendly. Even for a city of less than 90,000 people that offers 16 miles of bike lanes, 19 miles of bike routes and a 3 mile beachfront bikeway.

It takes a genuine commitment to work with cyclists to encourage riding. Not government officials who refuse to meet with them to work out a compromise that would allow Critical Mass to take place without a heavy-handed police crackdown, complete with bogus — and possibly illegal — tickets.

It takes a city where infrastructure doesn’t just exist, but was smartly planned to protect the safety of riders while preserving traffic flow. It also means a commitment to enforcing restrictions on that infrastructure — or to put it another way, keeping cars the hell out of the bike lane.

In fact, Santa Monica could balance their entire city budget by placing a couple of officers on northbound Ocean Avenue. Then just ticket the drivers who blithely cruise down the bike lane for nearly a full city block between Arizona and Wilshire. I usually see at least couple such idiots every time I ride through there — even though I’m the only one using it for its intended purpose.

And don’t get me started on the way the city allows movie crews to place cones blocking the bike lanes, for no other purpose than to keep cyclists from coming within three feet of their precious trucks.

Yeah, that’s worth risking a life for.

Then there’s the city’s crown jewel, which was mentioned prominently in their press release touting the LAB award — three miles of beach-front bikeway, part of the larger Marvin Braude Bike Path.

As the Times’ Steve Lopez pointed out recently, it’s nearly impossible to ride at times due to the sheer number of pedestrians, dogs, skaters and other assorted non-two-wheeled flotsam. A bikeway on which people are often surprised to encounter cyclists, despite the “Bikes Only” and “No Pedestrians” markings every few feet. And despite the presence of a parallel pedestrian walkway mere feet — or in some cases, inches — away.

Because just like with drivers on the street, if the city won’t enforce bikeway restrictions — let alone state laws that prohibit the blocking of any Class 1 bikeway — other users will take it over and claim it as their own.

Of course, it’s not just a problem in Santa Monica. L.A.’s segment of the bikeway along Venice Beach isn’t any better. And evidently, Long Beach — another recent bronze winner — has issues of its own.

Maybe the LAB thinks things like that are acceptable for a bike-friendly city. Or maybe they’re trying to encourage cities that have made a modest start to keep improving until bike-friendliness permeates the entire city culture.

Or maybe they just didn’t ask those of us who know those city streets best.

I’ll leave the last word to Gary Se7en, in a comment he made on LAist:

I live and work in Santa Monica, live car free and ride a bike every day. It’s not that bad here. It’s not that great either, although it beats most anywhere else in Los Angeles. Maybe SM should get a copper rating instead of bronze. Also bike routes should not count for anything. Lincoln Blvd. is a bike route, Lincoln is also one of the worst streets to ride a bike on in L.A. county.


LAist covers today’s press conference about AB 766, the Safe Streets Bill. The Orange Line Bike Path finally gets a much-needed makeover, while talk of sharrows surfaces yet again in L.A.; the LACBC asks you to beg our mayor to move forward. C.I.C.L.E. promotes Bike Week in Pasadena. Connecticut considers a bill that would set aside 1% of all state and federal transportation funds to improve bike and pedestrian access. A bike-hating deputy sheriff from hell assaults two cyclists in Ohio, and a bike riding cop from Florida explains why you should stop anyway. A writer in western Colorado asks why drivers can’t give cyclists as much space as they would a horse or cow. Finally, from across the pond, a new campaign says there’s safety in numbers, while the leader of the Conservatives in Parliament has his bike stolen. Again.

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