Tag Archive for bicycling fatalities

Horrific killer attack in Las Vegas, paint gun assault in LA’s Palms neighborhood, and bike riders killed by bad cop drivers

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

An unexpected blood sugar crash literally put me on my ass, taking me from feeling fine to too sick to stand up in a matter of minutes, and knocking me out until early morning. 

One more reminder that diabetes sucks. 

Seriously, if you’re at risk for diabetes, do whatever it takes to avoid it. Because you really don’t want this shit. 

And another reminder came yesterday.

For the past several months, I’ve been battling hand pain and numbness that’s grown progressively worse, forcing me to work through severe pain just to get this site online every night. 

After a neuro exam that could have passed for a medieval torture session, it turns out I’ve got advanced carpal tunnel in both wrists, which will likely require surgery in the next few months. 

And which was probably caused by diabetes. 

Good times. 

Meanwhile, I’ve got a number of other medical tests coming up in the next few days that will likely affect me in ways that could make it difficult, if not impossible, to write, as I struggle to get everything checked out before our health insurance runs out at the end of the year. 

I’ll do my best to keep up, but please accept my apologies in advance if I can’t manage to post any new updates. 

Hopefully, I’ll see you tomorrow and Friday; if not, we’ll be back bright and early next week once all this is over.

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More on that horrific attack that left a Las Vegas woman dead, along with the passenger in a passing van who pushed her off her bicycle, before he himself out of the van he was riding in.

The 23-year old man behind the wheel faces multiple charges in the double deaths, including murder, hit-and-run and violating his parole.

Multiple people witnessed the fatal attack, including a group of women who were following the two killers home from a bar.

A couple walking on the sidewalk had just exchanged greetings with the victim before she was murdered.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal has a number of other stories about the attack; unfortunately, they’re hidden behind a paywall. Definitely not a smart move for a story that’s getting international attention.

Thanks to everyone who gave me a heads-up about this incident.

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There’s not a pit deep enough for whoever shot a woman with a paint gun as she was out for a casual ride with a friend in LA’s Palms neighborhood on Sunday.

Some asshole driver shot at us with a something like paintball gun and hit me twice while we were riding side by side in a lane down Jefferson near National. It hurt and left a nasty mark. Pretty upset, but also relieved it wasn’t anything worse. Also the “paint” or whatever the fuck that was looked like snot and bird poop mixed together. So gross.

Too many jerks seem to think things like that are funny, never realizing — or maybe not caring — that it can rapidly develop into a life threatening situation if the victim loses control or falls off her bike.

Just like we saw in Las Vegas.

And even under the best circumstances, it hurts like hell.

Let’s hope she called the police, because shooting someone with anything is a crime.

Thanks to Howard for the tip.

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Even cops will tell you they’re some of the worst drivers on the road.

And too often, innocent people pay the price.

Case in point, an on-duty DC police officer killed a man as he was riding his bike across the street in Maryland’s Prince George’s County.

And a Florida woman was killed when she was run down by a sheriff’s deputy in a marked patrol vehicle after getting off her bike to talk with her boyfriend on a remote roadway.

Then there’s this from the protests over the police shooting of a Black man in Philadelphia. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the forward.

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Take a drone’s eye mountain bike break from work this morning, assuming you’re one of the lucky ones who actually still has a job.

But maybe take a little dramamine first.

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

A British boy was pushed off his bike and threatened with weapons by a pair of teenaged thieves who made off with his bike.

Someone is sabotaging French forest trails with cables tied across pathways, broken glass and hidden nail-studded boards, which can seriously injure unsuspecting hikers and mountain bikers. Or worse.

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

Police in a Louisiana city are looking for a “very suspicious,” masked bike-riding man who’s been entering people’s yards and going through their mailboxes. Then again, anyone who doesn’t wear a mask should be considered suspicious these days.

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Local

A new bikeshare dock is helping to close the gap created by a two-year shutdown of the L-Line — formerly Gold Line — in DTLA after the Little Tokyo Metro station was permanently closed.

Former One Tree Hill and Chicago P.D. actress Sophia Bush is one of us, riding her e-cargo bike through the streets of LA with her dog in a very cool bicycle sidecar.

More on Santa Monica’s plans to install a two-way protected bike lane on Ocean Ave along Palisades Park.

 

State

They get it. San Diego is taking Complete Streets a step further by focusing on Complete Communities; an updated plan will be presented online in two weeks.

Not everyone gets it, though. A San Diego columnist displays his windshield bias, insisting that the city’s Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is being ruined by bicycles after being shocked! shocked! to see a boisterous group ride complete with police escort. Apparently, natural areas are only supposed to be enjoyed by people who drive in silence to get there.

Santa Barbara police offer advice on how to protect yourself from bike thieves, including registering your bike for free with Bike Index.

San Francisco advocates cry foul after the city drops plans for a sidewalk-level bikeway on iconic Market Street, citing rising costs and too many people on bicycles.

Sonoma County is doing its best to stiff a woman who won a $1.9 million judgement against the county after she was seriously injured hitting a massive pothole on her bike, but they’re running out of legal options. Thanks to Phillip Young for the link.

 

National

How five Black bike riders use their bicycles to express joy and push through the limits of white supremacy. Here’s the Yahoo link if Bicycling’s site blocks you out.

Shape suggests everything you need to know before your first bikepacking trip. Which is a good start, but isn’t anywhere close to all you should know, let alone need to.

Bloomberg Business says Seattle-based Rad Power’s bestselling ebike is “disrupting America’s pandemic commute” to such a degree that the company can’t keep up with demand. Then again, neither can most bikemakers right now.

The site to report blocked bike lanes developed by Chicago’s Bike Lane Uprising is now live in over 100 cities across the US, including Los Angeles and Long Beach, which has its own separate page. You can download their new app for Android and iOS.

A Chicago bike shop donates a cruiser bike to the Little Sisters of the Poor. No, really.

Kindhearted Detroit cops dig into their own pockets to buy a new bike for an autistic boy after his was stolen.

Country star Dierks Bentley is one of us, enjoying the freedom to ride his bike incognito through the streets of Nashville for the first time in years, thanks to his coronavirus mask.

New York officials say the Revel dockless e-motorscooters are 69 times more dangerous than the city’s bikeshare system.

Kerri Russell and Matthew Rhys are both one of us, bundling up for a cold Brooklyn bike ride.

The LSU student newspaper complains about a lack of bike lanes on and around campus, saying the situation “poses a significant threat to the safety of students.” Sounds like nothing’s changed since I used to ride there decades ago.

A Florida man faces a manslaughter charge for the drunken hit-and-run death of a bike rider; he had a BAC over one and a half times the legal limit 90 minutes after the crash, as well as traces of coke and weed in his system.

 

International

Good question. A writer for Bike Biz questions just how sustainable bikewear is, concluding the greenest clothes are the ones you already own.

A London driver lost control of his Ferrari, barely avoiding some people on bikes. A reminder that anyone with excess money can buy a fast car, but not the skill to drive it.

A new bicyclist pens an open letter to the driver who gave her a punishment pass. Which is how new bike riders too often become ex-bike riders.

Britain’s leading advocacy group called for better protection for people on bicycles, after a bike rider suffered minor injuries when the head of the country’s opposition Labour Party crashed into him.

No irony here. A British man was killed in a drunken fall off his bicycle, in the exact same spot where he crashed his van two years earlier, resulting in a 20-month driving ban for DUI.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole the bike an Irish man was using to bring back food and vital medicine for his family, since he couldn’t drive due to a brain injury suffered in a hit-and-run as a young man.

Viking biking is so popular in Norway the country has to expand subsidies for studded winter bike tires.

Turkish bike riders are demanding safer streets following an increasing number of people killed or injured while riding their bikes.

A Japanese man became the first bicyclist charged under the country’s new bike rage law after grabbing a 70-year old man by the collar when the older man complained about his riding.

Despite the international coronavirus bike boom, leading bicycle parts maker Shimano saw a drop in sales this year, as bike makers and retailers struggled to keep up.

Police in Shanghai busted 16 men for making and renting illegal low-grade ebike batteries.

A Philippines TV host is just 14 bikes short of her goal of donating 500 bicycles to help people in need of reliable transportation to work.

 

Competitive Cycling

It was a good day for Canada in yesterday’s 7th stage of the Vuelta.

Cyclist tells the tale of Britain’s first Black cycling champ.

Rouleur looks at the “endless enigma” that is five-time Tour de France champ Miguel Indurain.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could be a slick retro looking non-hog Harley. Making one of Canada’s largest cities your own Moose portrait.

And the perfect harness to improve safety while turning yourself into a pedaling Christmas tree.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

Large SD ride reportedly flouts pandemic and traffic laws, Westchester auto-centrism, and tracking US bike deaths

WTF.

A large group of San Diego bicyclists appeared to ignore any hint of physical distancing on a Sunday group ride.

Without a single face mask in sight.

Let alone anything remotely resembling common sense in the middle of a pandemic.

San Diego’s ABC10 reports that, despite reports the group was well behaved earlier on their ride, their behavior had deteriorated by the time they got to San Diego’s Pacific Beach neighborhood.

Paen told 10News that the riders in PB were unruly and rowdy. “[They were] flipping their fingers at cars [and] spitting at people,” he told 10News and added, “They were just whizzing by stop signs and past pedestrians and cars. It just seemed like they had immunity to anything on the road that was against them.”

Never mind that members of the group apparently got into a fight with a woman who had gotten out of her car to chastise them, as shown in the video above.

“[A cyclist] starts to kick on her and picks on her and it just becomes this mob mentality of bikers on this one woman who was going to yell at this [cyclist] for basically running a red light,” he said and added, “There was literally no one wearing masks or any type of gloves [and they were] all within close proximity of each other.”

According to the station, San Diego police responded to the fight, but neither side wanted to press charges.

Obviously, there’s more than one side to the story. And there’s no discounting the obvious windshield bias in the witness report.

But the optics of holding this type of ride, at a time when even small groups are prohibited — let alone hundreds of unmasked, scofflaw bike riders — is pretty devastating.

Let alone the sheer stupidity of risking the spread of an often symptomless, potentially deadly disease to their family and loved ones.

Not to mention total strangers who have the misfortune of just being nearby.

We need to do better.

All of us.

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Once again, auto-centrism rears its ugly head in LA’s Westchester/Playa neighborhood, as a motion at tonight’s neighborhood council meeting opposes taking even an inch of space for Slow Streets.

Because cars.

https://twitter.com/streetsforall/status/1262544428213743622

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Outside updated their record of every bicyclist killed on American roads in 2020, which is now up to 165 names.

Southern California is responsible for 20 of those so far.

Thanks to Melissa Wenzel for the heads-up.

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GCN demonstrates how to make your own high-level camera mount out of whatever wood you happen to have lying around.

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

A North Dakota woman was busted for intentionally running down a man on a bike as he tried to ride away after arguing with her.

A British bus driver vows to never ride a bicycle again after he was intentionally knocked off his bike by a couple of women after warning them he was passing; he suffered a fractured pelvis and spine, a dislocated shoulder and ruptured kidneys. And they just walked away.

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

See above. No, seriously.

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Local

Molly Shannon is one of us. And evidently, so is her daughter, as they shared a bike ride in Santa Monica.

They weren’t the only bike-riding Santa Monica celebs, though as Joe Jonas took a spin through the city, while leaving pregnant wife Sophie Turner at home.

 

State

Calbike is pushing a bill to encourage developers to provide secure bike parking in housing developments. But Megan Lynch reminds us that bike parking needs to accommodate handicapped riders, as well.

Two sections of one San Francisco roadway show how good it can be when making space for people, and how bad it is when left to motor vehicles.

 

National

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss tells drivers that going the usual 5 mph over the speed limit is contributing to America’s addiction to speeding, while putting lives at risk. SoCal drivers would have to slow down from the usual 10 to 15 mph over the limit to just get down to that.

So much for those free Strava accounts. If you want access to Strava’s leaderboard, get ready to start paying. And stop using the 44,000 third-party apps they just broke.

Apparently, bicycles really are the new toilet paper. The New York Times says bike shop shelves are empty, too, with lower-end bicycles selling out and not enough new bikes in the supply chain.

Trek says there’s never been a better time to #GoByBike.

Outside offers five things they learned from this year’s bicycle tests, like gravel bikes are the new roadies, good roadies cost six grand — or more — and the recent boom in bike built specifically for women is over. And a few lessons from their favorite mountain bikes, too.

Virtually empty, casino-lined Las Vegas Blvd may now be the world’s most expensive bikeway. Or at least flashiest.

Houston residents discuss using their bikes as a form of transportation. Radical concept, I know.

A Maine bike advocate ponders what the streets of the future will look like, as Covid-19 gives us a rare opportunity to reimagine the space devoted to motor vehicles.

The New York Times considers how to have a safe bike ride with the kids, whether on Slow Streets or the usual fast ones.

New Yorkers J.Lo and A.Rod went for a Monday bike ride. Although judging from what little you can see, her bike doesn’t look like one.

Unbelievable. A 77-year old Maryland man was killed when he was right hooked by his neighbor turning into a driveway. So naturally, police blamed the victim.

One Atlanta teen is in custody, and another is wanted, after allegedly shooting a 58-year old woman in a dispute over a stolen bike.

A Georgia couple faces charges for killing a bike rider while conspiring to deal meth. Although just what slinging meth had to do with the fatal crash isn’t clear.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is one of us, too.

 

International

Road.cc offers their own take on the best new hybrid bikes.

Your new e-foldie could cost less than a grand, and come with seating for two.

No bias here. A Toronto columnist sees a not-so-secret anti-car agenda in the movement to provide street space for people during the coronavirus crisis. Because clearly, you can’t make room for anyone else on the streets without making some drivers feel threatened.

No bias here, either, as an official with London’s taxi drivers association calls the push for bike lanes a class war (scroll down). Because only elite, educated white “eco-caramel coconut latte” swilling males actually ride bicycles, evidently. 

The Department of DIY struck in the UK over the weekend, as climate change advocates Extinction Rebellion painted their own fuchsia-colored pop-up bike lanes throughout the country.

A British driver could find out the hard way if you go to holy hell for dooring a Catholic bishop.

A 15-year old Indian girl rode nearly 750 miles to bring her injured father home on the back of her bicycle.

Once again, a bike rider is a hero, as a Singapore cyclist rescued a toddler who rode his kick scooter onto a busy street.

A new report says a proposal to allow New Zealanders to ride their bikes on sidewalks, with a nine-mile an hour speed limit, could result in savings of $24 million a year — but cost $14 million in pedestrian injuries, as well as one additional death, each year.

The global bike boom has hit Down Under, where bikes have become a key social distancing tool. Sort of like everywhere else.

Aussie bike advocates say the new temporary bike paths being built in Sydney should be made permanent. Again, like everywhere else.

No surprise here. Australian researchers conclude that harsh penalties for violating the mandatory helmet law in New South Wales are extremely excessive, and arbitrarily enforced.

 

Competitive Cycling

A writer for Medium talks with freshly bearded, former world Eversting record holder Phil Gaimon about life during lockdown.

 

Finally…

Apparently, following influencers to win a quarantine Peloton is a thing now. If you’re going to ride a hot high-end mountain bike at 4:14 am, put a damn light on it — and don’t pedal past a cop who used to manage a bike shop.

And who needs an agility course when you’ve got a bike corral?

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

Bicycling deaths drop 3% last year, compared to 6.3% jump in 2018; and Slow Streets spread across US — but not LA

Let’s start with a little good news for a change.

According to the the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, US traffic fatalities fell 1.2% last year.

And that drop extended to bicycling deaths as well, which declined 3% compared to 2018.

There was also a 2% drop in pedestrian deaths.

All of which is great news.

But it would be even better if bike and pedestrians deaths hadn’t spiked in 2018 by twice as much as they fell in 2019.

Photo by paul voie from Pexels.

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Today’s common theme is the nation’s bike boom and the spread of Slow Streets across the US.

Bike riders are taking over the streets of San Jose as drivers stay home, and people get out on their bikes.

Sonoma County bike shops got the okay to reopen on Monday, just in time to capitalize on the boom in bicycling.

Bike shops are booming in Las Vegas, where one shop manager says iconic Las Vegas Blvd is turning into a fitness trail; bikeshare use is up in Vegas, too.

Pennsylvania bike shops are missing out on the coronavirus bike boom, prohibited from selling bikes during the lockdown.

Baltimore is getting on the Slow Streets bandwagon, closing streets so people can get out for fresh air and exercise during the Covid-19 lockdown.

New Orleans is getting on the Slow Streets bandwagon, too. But Arlington VA won’t be closing streets for social distancing anytime soon.

Missing from that list is Los Angeles, which continues its longstanding policy of automotive hegemony on the streets.

Although Mayor Garcetti hinted yesterday that changes may be coming, albeit too late to help Angelenos make it through the lockdown.

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

They clearly don’t like people on bikes. An English man was pulled off his bike and attacked by the occupants of a car following a punishment pass, in the same area where a family was harassed for riding their bikes last month.

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

Police in Chicago are looking for a gang of bike-riding robbers who have been terrorizing pedestrians in Rogers Park.

A man was busted for stalking an Idaho Falls, Idaho woman after riding his bike 15 miles from another town to harass her, despite a restraining order.

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Local

Former US Women’s National Team cyclist Ryan Kelly walked 44 miles from Ventura Harbor to the Malibu Pier to raise $4,400 for pediatric cancer research.

Michael Keaton is one of us, as the former Batman and 80’s sitcom star took a spin through Pacific Palisades on his ebike.

Adam Sandler is still riding his bike through the ‘Bu, stopping off at a mobile bike repair van for a little work

 

State

Orange County beaches and beach bike paths will reopen on a limited basis, with users required to keep moving.

The San Diego Bike Coalition is taking Bike Month into the virtual world with a series of riding challenges for both new riders and seasoned commuters.

Sad news from San Francisco, where 22-year old Twitter staffer and bike advocate Courtney Brousseau was murdered Monday night, apparently collateral damage in a shootout between two groups of men.

 

National

Bicycling’s Selene Yeager discusses how to keep going when the going gets hard, while cycling coach Chris Carmichael offers advice on how to descend faster — and safer.

A Chicago woman tracked down the thief who stole her cargo bike, and eventually let him go after talking him into giving it back — and after he complained about being harassed. No, really.

Once again, it takes the death of a bike rider to get needed safety improvements, as Chicago installs protected bike lane bollards where a woman as killed in a collision six months ago. Although “protected” is a relative term when the only barrier is a row of thin plastic sticks.

Seriously, how fast do you have to be going to kill a 72-year old New York bike rider while backing into a parking space?

A writer looks back to his New Jersey childhood with a warning to look out for inanimate objects during May’s Bike Safety Month, while another writer from the state says he knows he’s taking a chance, but riding a bike is therapy right now.

A Virginia company is distributing free bike locks to frontline workers after reading about an Irish doctor whose bike was stolen during her 12-hour shift.

Heartbreaking story from Mississippi, where an 11-year old girl was killed by a hit-and-run driver as she rode her bike next to her mother, after they were both run down and left in the street to die.

Sad news from Florida, where a 71-year old man was killed, and a 70-year old woman injured, when a pickup driver slammed into the tandem bike they were riding.

 

International

Canadian bike advocates say people taking up riding for the first time during the pandemic need a new mindset to stop thinking like they’re driving a car.

Famed Italian bike builder Ernesto Colnago has a new boss, after his eponymous company was sold to an Abu Dhabi investment fund.

No bias here. A European website says Spanish bicyclists are out of control after finally being released from the county’s severe lockdown, and fed-up residents are ready to teach them a lesson.

 

Competitive Cycling

The revised WorldTour calendar has been released, assuming pro cycling will return in 2020 — which is a big if right now; all three Grand Tours will take place, along with the Monuments, although the the compact calendar means the Giro and Vuelta will overlap. There will also be a women’s Paris-Roubaix on the same day as the men’s race.

Legendary French journalist Philippe Brunel looks back on 40 years of the Giro d’Italia, as well as Italian cycling great Marco Pantani.

Speaking of legends, the BBC looks back on triple Giro and double Tour de France winner Gino Bartali on the 20th anniversary of his death; as great as he was, Bartali’s cycling exploits are overshadowed by his secret work to save Jews during WWII.

 

Finally…

Apparently, investing is just like riding a bike. And who needs a Naked Bike Ride when you can just strip down and go for a ride?

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

Slow Streets promised in LA bike plan but never built, tracking US bike deaths, and Pasadena offers free bike work

I had an interview yesterday about the sorry state of bicycling in Los Angeles.

And in the course of our discussion, it belatedly dawned on me that if LA had actually built out the 2010 Bike Plan that was unanimously approved by the city council, we wouldn’t need to beg the city for Slow Streets for social distancing

Because the Neighborhood Bikeway Network we were promised as part of the plan — one of three bike networks that would support everything from local family rides to crosstown commuting — would already give us exactly that, in every neighborhood in the city. 

Rich, poor and otherwise.

Just one more reason to demand that the city recommit to the Mobility Plan 2035 that they already committed to.

After all, we only have 15 years left to build out the transportation paradise they promised by 2035.

Unless maybe they had their fingers crossed.

Or it was all “aspirational.”

Photo by David Mark from Pixabay.

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It looks like Outside is entering my world.

Yesterday, the magazine announced a new program to track every bicycling fatality in the US this year, saying you can’t stop something if you don’t see it happening.

Which is exactly why I started reporting on SoCal bicycling deaths a decade ago, to shine a light under the deadly rock city and state officials were hiding them under.

The magazine leads off with a hard-hitting infographic on bike deaths, including the frightening stat that California accounts for 18% of bicycling fatalities, tied with Florida.

As the nation’s most populous state, California has an explanation, but no effing excuse. Especially when state and local leaders talk about Vision Zero without doing a damn thing to actually save the lives of people, on bikes or on foot.

That’s followed by a trio of stories expounding on the subject.

First, former Bicycling editor Joe Lindsey examines how the bigass SUVs Americans love are killing us. Literally.

That’s followed by advice on what to do if you’re hit by a driver, and how to navigate the legal and medical minefields that follow. Although the headline continues the sloppy journalistic practice of putting the blame on the vehicle, rather than the person driving it.

And finally, a writer pens a missive to the hit-and-run driver who left him in the street to die.

They’re not easy reads.

But it’s vital to read them if we’re ever going to change the deadly culture on our streets.

I wish them luck.

Tracking bicycling deaths is very hard, depressing work. Something the Bike League learned the hard way when they tried documenting every bicyclist killed on American roadways several years ago.

And quit after one year.

But maybe, just maybe, it will go a little easier this time, as Covid-19 continues to keep many drivers, and their killing machines, of the roads.

We can hope.

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Pasadena is partnering with ActiveSGV to provide free basic bike repairs and self-guided neighborhood tours.

Meanwhile, the advocacy group wants your support for ebikes in National Parks.

https://twitter.com/ActiveSGV/status/1257380723780091906

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Enduro World Series pro Jesse Melamed explains how to break down a mountain bike trail.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton rebuts the silly argument that Angelenos don’t need Slow Streets because we have more sidewalks than any other US city. We also have more streets; that doesn’t mean those sidewalks are adequate even under normal circumstances.

Forty some odd years later, Dennis Quaid is still one of us, as the Breaking Away star goes for a Westside LA bike ride with his fiancé; Road.cc patiently explains just what the Daily Mail got wrong in writing about it.

Jason Statham is one of us, too.

Hoodline lists the top four affordable bike shops in Long Beach — or rather, their computer does. And the best in Santa Ana, too.

 

State

WTF? San Diego has approved a plan for Slow Streets promoted by bike advocates — and opposed by local business groups, who for some strange reason didn’t want people to exercise while social distancing in front of their closed shops.

I’ve long been a fan of Richmond’s Rich City Rides bike co-op, as well as founder Najari Smith; California Streetsblog looks at how the group is caring for the local community during the coronavirus crisis.

 

National

Maybe the software is getting better. After repeated reports that self-driving cars had trouble spotting people on bicycles, a Tesla driver says a new upgrade helped spot a bike rider who was hidden from view.

An urbanist website says Seattle’s densest neighborhoods need open streets, too.

The goalie for the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche is one of us; Philipp Grubauer is using his downtime to ride “about 100 miles” a day.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole an adaptive bicycle from a Minnesota special needs kid.

No bias here. A Connecticut man was killed when he crashed his bicycle into a stopped garbage truck. But no one mentions the likelihood that the truck may have stopped short as he followed it, like they often do.

Anne Hathaway is one of us, going for a ride with her husband along the beach near their Connecticut home.

A writer for New York Streetsblog says the city’s open streets need to lead to permanent changes limiting motor vehicle use.

Baltimore did what LA can’t, or won’t, opening several miles of streets for bike riders and pedestrians to practice social distancing.

It only took the injuries of two teenage bike riders to spur Maryland officials to install a buffered bike lane on the same road. Maybe someday we can actually get bike lanes installed before someone gets hit.

A New Orleans letter writer complains about scofflaw bike riders, and wonders how they’d react if he drove the same way. Apparently forgetting that he’s behind the wheel of a big dangerous machine, and they’re not.

 

International

Bikes are leading the way out of the lockdown in cities around the world.; even tourism websites are starting to notice.

Cycling Weekly examines how the bicycling industry is fighting the coronavirus.

FloBikes offers their picks for the year’s best bikes in several different categories.

No bias here, either. An Edinburgh columnist says bike riders need to start obeying the law in exchange for new pop-up bike lanes. Because no one ever builds a new roadway before drivers promise to stop speeding and put their phones away, or make pedestrians pinkie swear before installing a crosswalk.

Bicycling belatedly catches up with the French plan to give people the equivalent of up to $54.50 for bike repairs to encourage bike commuting after the country reopens; the 20 million euro plan will also pay for bicycling education and increased road space to make bikes “the little queen of de-confinement.”

If this photo doesn’t make you want to ride your bike through the mountains of Islamabad, nothing will.

 

Competitive Cycling

Maybe you missed this year’s edition of the Redlands Classic, which took place virtually on the wonderful world of Zwift.

 

Finally…

Seriously, don’t use a flare gun as a bike theft security alarm. Your next lock could track your bike through 100 countries if it gets stolen; then again, if the lock worked, it wouldn’t have to.

And apparently, the new AmazonBasics bike lock is as bad as you might think.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

LA blames Vision Zero fail on texting drivers, anti-bike bias on Bay Area bridge, and Arroyo Seco repairs underway

The Los Angeles Times pretty well sums up LA’s Vision Zero failure in two short paragraphs.

Last year, 244 people were killed in traffic collisions on city streets, a decrease of 0.8% compared to 2018, according to preliminary figures from the city. The victims included 134 people who were walking and 19 people biking.

The data may change slightly with additional analysis, officials said. But the early figures suggest another year of lackluster progress for Vision Zero, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s initiative to eliminate traffic deaths on city streets by 2025.

That’s two more bicycling deaths than I showed in my records. Which isn’t too surprising, since too many fatal crashes never make the news.

But instead of placing blame on the city’s insistence at nibbling on the edges of traffic safety, rather than making the wholesale changes to LA streets that define a true Vision Zero program, the city insists on pointing the finger at texting drivers.

Which is a major problem, of course.

But Vision Zero is supposed to be about accepting that people will always make mistakes behind the wheel — like texting, for instance. And designing roadways in such a way that those mistakes don’t become fatalities.

According to the story,

The Transportation Department made more changes to streets in L.A. in 2019 than in the prior two years combined, said spokeswoman Connie Llanos. Those 1,529 modifications to crosswalks, traffic signals, intersections and other elements of the street are designed to improve the safety of the street.

Yet none of those modifications included a single road diet or protected intersection.

Or, to the best of my recollection, a single new protected bike lane.

Rather than making simple changes to intersections, the city needs to take aim at changing the city’s car culture, said John Yi, the executive director of Los Angeles Walks, a pedestrian advocacy group.

If zero deaths is really the city’s goal, “we need to have a visionary plan that matches the scope of that goal,” Yi said. “We have failed to do that.”

There is every argument for making those kinds of wholesale changes to the streets, from saving lives to reducing traffic congestion and fighting climate change.

And only one reason not to — city leadership that fears angry voters, and lacks the political will to do what they know must be done if this city, and the people in it, are to survive and prosper.

As exemplified in the mayor’s action in unceremoniously ripping out the Playa del Rey road diets and bikes lanes less than a month after they went in, before they had a chance to prove themselves and drivers could adjust to the changes.

Yet they were elected, not to follow the will of those who scream the loudest, but to actually lead their constituents by making the hard choices to do the right thing, and build a city that works for all of us.

Not just impatient drivers. Or wealthy homeowners.

And not one that continues to kill too many of it’s most vulnerable road users.

Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush from Pexels.

………

Just in case anyone wants to argue that Vision Zero doesn’t work, Helsinki, Finland didn’t have single pedestrian death last year, following a slow decline from a high of 60 in 1970.

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He gets it.

Then again, Peter Flax always does.

This time, the former editor-in-chief of Bicycling and near-daily bike commuter goes on a polite rant over a recent highly biased article blaming bike lanes on the Bay Area’s Richmond–San Raphael Bridge for making poor, suffering teachers late for work.

Not, say, all those other drivers on the bridge.

This is how efforts to build safe and convenient places for cyclists are demonized—as something that screws up the lives of motorists struggling to get somewhere important. This is how American car culture operates in 2020, when record numbers of cyclists are killed by drivers and efforts to do something about it are viewed as impractical and an attack on the driving public’s way of life.

Swan’s story is better reported than its clickbait headline might suggest, but upon close examination it reads like inadvertent propaganda. Though she name-checks the real problems plaguing miserable commuters, the central premise of her piece lends credibility to the absurd idea that the basic needs of embattled, working-class commuters are being trampled upon by people riding bikes…

He goes on to point the finger where it really belongs.

Let’s be frank. The congestion on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (and roadways in every U.S. city) can really suck. But it doesn’t suck because of cyclists or bike lanes. The traffic sucks because of sprawl and cheap gas and Americans’ love of cars. The traffic sucks because cities and states don’t put enough effort into housing, carpooling, telecommuting, micromobility, and financial tools like congestion pricing (in which motorists pay a modest surcharge to use roads at busy times, a tactic that has decreased traffic in European cities). These systemic problems—less suited to cranky populist headlines—are the real cause of traffic.

As with anything Flax writes, it’s a good read.

But more to the point, it’s an important one. Because we face this same sort of seemingly innocuous bias on a daily basis, with drivers failing to the real traffic problem is facing them back in the mirror.

And it’s not caused by bikes, bike lanes, or the people who use them.

………

Repairs are finally underway on a storm damaged section of the Arroyo Seco Bike Path.

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The LA Daily News is hosting another candidate forum in CD12 on the 17th.

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The 2020 Regional Bike Summit kicks off today, hosted by the San Diego Bike Coalition. The mayor of Encinitas, in North San Diego County, will be taking part.

Then again, so should every other mayor in the area.

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A beautiful handmade lowrider bike takes first place in a bent wood competition.

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Sometimes, though, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

Edinburgh, Scotland police are looking for a sidewalk-riding “bike thug” who got off his bike and beat a total stranger for no apparent reason, sending him to the hospital with facial injuries.

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Local

Congratulations to Sunset For All, after the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council voted to support protected bike lanes on dangerous Sunset Blvd.

Voice your opposition to plans to widen deadly Magnolia Blvd — one of the city’s Vision Zero High Injury Network streets — next Monday at the North Hollywood Neighborhood Council meeting

 

State

Uber’s self-driving cars are on their way back to California, three years after the company got its hand slapped by the DMV for unleashing them in San Francisco without permits.

As we noted earlier, San Diego’s popular Ocean Beach bike path will be closed for construction work for the remainder of this month.

Nice gesture by a Santa Maria man, who returned a Kobe Bryant jersey that belonged to a fallen teenage bike rider to the boy’s mother nearly 13 years after he was killed in a collision; the boy had left it at the man’s apartment shortly before his death.

The Vallejo police union blames the victim after a cop is cleared in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager who fled a traffic stop.

A new San Francisco report contradicts the usual narrative from motorists, finding that drivers were responsible for two-thirds of collisions with pedestrians in the city last year.

Lime Bike wants to make a comeback in the Bay Area, despite pulling out of other cities in favor of e-scooter rentals.

Plans are underway to link 15 towns in Sierra, Plumas, Lassen and Butte County with more than 300 miles of new motorized and non-motorized trail bike trails in the Lost Sierra region.

 

National

The New York Times says new digital data streams are driving new approaches to transportation, using LA’s data-sharing requirement for e-scooters and dockless bikeshare as a prime example.

On the topic of bikes going nowhere, Flywheel cops to ripping off Peloton’s patented streaming technology.

Specialized has a new e-mountain bike for you, if you’re willing to fork out $6,500 — or $16,500 for the carbon model.

Life is cheap in Washington, where a man walked with time served after copping a plea to vehicular homicide for fatally right-hooking a 75-year old bike rider while driving stoned, despite a commitment to never drive after using medical cannabis for a bad neck. Evidently, DUI and homicide is just no big deal up there.

This is why I love the bicycling community. When the owner of a Cincinnati mom-and-pop bike shop had to go to the hospital, ten bike mechanics from other shops offered to fill in for him. And a crowdfunding page raised over $9,000 since Sunday night — nearly double the modest $5,000 goal.

Chicago Streetsblog says the city needs a Rapid Response Team, arguing that inaction in the wake of tragic crashes is unacceptable. Which is exactly what I argued for before and after Los Angeles announced its Vision Zero program; every death should be immediately investigated by a multi-disciplinary team to determine contributory causes and prevent another one.

Speaking of the Windy City, the Department of DIY struck once again, spray painting bike lane markings at a Chicago intersection where a woman was killed, after the city failed to maintain them.

New York City could soon require side guards on large trucks to prevent bike riders and pedestrians from being pulled underneath. These should be mandatory everywhere, for reasons that should be obvious.

Pennsylvania votes to allow protected bike and pedestrian lanes on state roadways.

A DC website questions whether “war on cars” is a useful term, after a WaPo reporter insists the district is waging one. Probably not, considering only one side is dying, and it ain’t the people in motor vehicles.

A local website discovers that some people actually like an Alexandrian VA road diet that’s being maligned by very vocal opponents.

 

International

Treehugger confronts the recurring myth that fuel for a bike rider causes as much CO2 emissions as someone in car. Short answer, no. Longer answer, hell no.

They get it. A column in Cycling Industry News says if the bike industry wants to draw new customers, people need to feel safe riding their bikes. Which is the best argument for why bikemakers and bike shops should get involved in local advocacy. But few do.

Even the Cayman Islands need better bike lanes.

Bicycling offers five tips from the world’s coldest bike ride, Canada’s Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra, to help keep you warm here in frigid Southern California.

Saskatoon, Canada, could soon remove a requirement for bicyclists to ride in bike lanes, arguing that faster riders should be allowed to ride in traffic lanes if they feel more comfortable.

Great Britain is debating whether to allow e-scooters in the country, where they are currently banned; a Swedish professor argues that cities should embrace them.

One place you can cross off your bike bucket list — the mean streets of Gaborone, Botswana, where bicycles are unwanted and unwelcome, along with the people who ride them.

A teenage Aussie driver faces multiple charges for killing two men out for their usual early morning bike ride while driving on the wrong side of the road.

 

Competitive Cycling

The San Diego Union-Tribune says USA Cycling CEO Rob DeMartini is taking the organization in bold new directions after years as an afterthought, as the sport went its own way without its help or oversight.

VeloNews says they already miss the Amgen Tour of California, which was cancelled this year after a 14-year run.

 

Finally…

If one shade of bikeshare doesn’t work, just keep going through the colors until one catches on. If you’re going to steal a bikeshare bike, at least be casual about it.

And world famous bike rider LeBron James wants to get you on a bicycle; rumor has it he also plays basketball or something.

 

CA bike deaths set 25-year high, bicycling cop pays dangerous driver a visit, and bike video captures Kobe crash conditions

Yes, they really are killing us out there.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that California bicycling fatalities are the highest they’ve been in 25 years.

The NHTSA analyzed the data for the state, and found more bicyclists died in traffic collisions in the years from 2016 through 2018 than any other three-year period since Bill Clinton took office.

And that’s a long damn time ago.

Needless to say, LA County once again led the way for the entire state, with an average of 35 deaths per year in that same three year period, compared to a little less than 25 per year from 2006 to 2008.

Also needless to say, the best way to stop people from dying on the streets is to lower the damn speed limits.

Which would require repeal of the deadly 85th Percentile Law, and legalization of speed cams to enforce it.

And that can’t happen soon enough.

Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

………

A bike-riding LAPD cop describes going to visit a reckless driver who nearly ran down a pair of bicyclists at Ohio and Veteran in Westwood.*

And for a change, it has a happy ending. Well worth a short six minutes of your day.

Thanks to Zachary Rynew for the heads-up.

*Exactly where I used to ride both coming and going at least three or four times a week before we moved to Hollywood.

………

Apparently, Mr. Rynew has been a very busy boy, filming the first bike video connected to the helicopter crash that killed nine people, including Kobe Bryant and his daughter.

Then stumbling on the Coaster Bike Challenge.

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Streetsblog is hosting a Transportation Town hall in CD12 next month; both regressive incumbent John Lee and progressive challenger Loraine Lundquist have been invited, but only Lundquist has confirmed so far.

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Once again, the Marines have decided to some military stuff on Camp Pendleton — like helicopter operations, according to the base — which will mean shutting down the bike path for the week of February 10th.

However, people on bikes are allowed to ride I-5 through the base, while cursing the Marines for forcing them out there.

Thanks to Robert Leone for the tip.

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Every bike event should be held in a craft brewery. And every bike path should lead to one.

Just saying.

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Robert Leone also forwards opportunities for San Diego bike riders to get more involved, courtesy of the San Diego Bicycle Coalition.

This Tuesday, January 28th from 5:30pm to 6:30pm at our office downtown (300 15th St. San Diego, CA 92101) we will have a presentation from Susan Baldwin on Measure A. She will highlight the importance of smart growth and how crucial this is for the San Diego region. Learn more here. We invite you to join us and learn more so that you may make informed decisions when you vote.

This Wednesday, January 29th at 6pm the Draft Active Transportation Plan (ATP) for the City of Chula Vista will be presented at a specially scheduled Safety Commission Meeting in the Council Chambers. Click here for the agenda. Click here for the Draft ATP. The address is 276 Fourth Ave. Chula Vista, CA 91910.

Next Monday, February 3rd, 2020 at 2pm the City Council members from the City of San Diego will vote on the Budget Priority Memos they each submitted Friday, January 10, 2020 to the Mayor’s office. Click here to see what they submitted. If you would like to attend and speak, please join us. There will be a lot of people who plan to attend with their requests. The more we can speak up for cyclists the better!

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It may not have been easy, but Bicycling once again proves there’s no such thing as a theft-proof bike lock.

Then again, as one cop put it, all you really have to do it make easier for a potential thief to steal someone else’s bike instead.

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The Hollywood Reporter reviews the latest Lance Armstrong documentary, which premiered at Sundance in advance of its airing on ESPN.

But this pretty well sums up what you need to know.

Every word he says in the documentary feels either lawyered to death or endlessly rehearsed over countless solitary bike rides…because he’s still halfway between victimhood and martyrdom in his own mind.

Touché.

To paraphrase an old country song, how can we miss him if he won’t go away?

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

A road raging New Mexico driver faces a well-deserved four and a half years behind bars after he was convicted of shifting his vehicle into reverse and backing into a group of senior bike riders he’d just passed, after exchanging words with them. Thanks to Brian Kreimendahl of Bike Santa Fe for the link.

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

A Wisconsin father hopes a $10,000 reward will lead to the two people riding bicycles who stabbed his son to death in an apparently random attack last September, then disappeared without a trace.

A Florida bike rider faces charges for pulling out a hammer and attacking a driver who almost hit him, after the driver told him he’d been watching out for cars, not people on bicycles. I’ve practiced nonviolence since I was a teenager, but I’d still be tempted to take a swing at him myself for that.

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Local

Bike West LA, Bike Culver City and the Central NBA/Sunset4All will host the second annual Mobility Mixer tomorrow night at the Bike Shop California on Motor Ave in West LA.

ULCA’s Daily Bruin reports Wheels sit-down scooters will soon come with an attached helmet. Somehow I doubt those hygienic liners they promise to provide will keep people from sharing their scalp critters, though.

Ride Around Pomona and Pomona Valley Bike Coalition will hop in the wayback machine for a 1950’s themed casual ride through, yes, Pomona.

 

State

Give it up, scofflaw scooterists. Lime will soon know if you’re riding on the sidewalk illegally. Now if they can just figure out how to tell when they’re parked blocking the sidewalk.

Speaking of scooters, San Diego just voted to ban them from the city’s boardwalks.

This is who we share the bike paths with. A 70-year old Santa Cruz woman was busted for her third DUI after driving the wrong way on a local bike path. Just one more example of government officials keeping dangerous drivers on the roads. Or bike paths. 

Streetsblog says the Bay Area suburb of Fremont will soon have the area’s best curb-protected bike lanes. And definitely puts to shame anything we have down here.

 

National

Bike Snob breaks down and admits that some bike do have souls.

CityLab offers its predictions for the scooter industry.

Bicycling talks bike baskets, and lists the ones they recommend. But which is the best one for toting a corgi?

Forbes says much of the initial information about the killing of bike rider Elaine Herzberg by a self-driving Uber car in Tempe AZ was wrong, including the myth that she “came out of nowhere.”

A Texas TV station corrects a letter writer, saying runners and walkers are required to face oncoming traffic, but bike riders are forbidden from riding salmon.

Seriously, what good is a bike box if the cops won’t keep drivers out of it? The Chicago Tribune wants to know.

Congratulations to New York, which came out on top with the least impact in a ranking of the climate impact of 100 metropolitan regions, followed by the Bay Area. Los Angeles ranked a surprisingly good 34, scoring high for bike use — no, really — and transit, but losing significant points for vehicle miles traveled.

Mourners released balloons on Tuesday in honor of Deondrick Rudd, the Louisiana bike rider who was killed by street racing brothers last weekend; Rudd was preparing to propose to his girlfriend on Valentines Day. Don’t do that. Mylar balloons can short power lines, causing fires and blackouts, while latex balloons pose a risk to birds and wildlife once they come back down. And they always come back down. 

 

International

Unlike some bicycling magazines and sites we could mention, Road.cc apparently recognizes that not every bike rider has wads of money falling out of their Rapha, recommending five roadies under the equivalent of $390, as well as ten of the best affordable bike shorts.

A Montreal website says the city’s Vision Zero program is revolutionizing the way people think about Montreal’s streets. That compares favorably with Los Angeles, which is revolutionizing the way a Vision Zero plan can gather dust on the shelf.

An English writer stumbles on his stolen bike, and swears his way into getting it back.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a truck driver gets off with a measly eight months behind bars for killing a woman riding a bike while talking to his wife using a handsfree cellphone, despite blinding glare from the wet road.

An Irish paper breaks down where the country’s political parties stand on bicycling issues. All of which show more support for bikes than both of America’s two major political parties.

Paris offers yet another incentive to get people out of their cars, reimbursing residents up to the equivalent of $660 for buying an ebike or cargo bike.

Damn. A Bali mob beat a man to death over an accusation that he’d stolen a bike helmet; police have been unable to confirm the theft, let alone who did it.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews tells the tale of how Primož Roglič, aka he whose name must be copied and pasted, made the unusual leap from ski jumping to the top of the cycling world.

A writer for Cycling Tips struggles to find hope in the hopeless at the Tour Down Under — or as he calls it, the brushfire tour.

Cycling’s governing body has pulled the plug on China’s Tour of Hainan next month due to fears over the new coronavirus.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to make your bank robbery getaway by bicycle, maybe try something a tad more nimble than a cruiser bike. If you want to go unnoticed after shoving 30 purloined cellphones into your pants, maybe spandex bike shorts aren’t the best choice. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for that one.

And if you think a dangerous pass is a good idea, this British cop has some advice for you.

 

Morning Links: The real reasons bike riders keep dying, $100k OCTA bike safety grant, and Oaxaca Day of the Dead race

Last week, Peter Flax explained why the NTSB — the National Transportation Safety Board — was wrong about their call for mandatory bike helmets to cut the rising rate of bicycling fatalities.

This week he’s back to spell out the real reasons people are dying on our streets.

And it ain’t a lack of helmets.

He starts by recounting the last decade’s decline in bicycling deaths.

Then this.

The situation seemed great—until it wasn’t great. Right around 2011, things started arcing in the wrong direction. In 2010, a total of 618 cyclists were killed—hardly miraculous, but the lowest toll in at least 40 years. Then every year after that, the number of casualties has gotten progressively worse. The newly released 2018 statistics mean that the fatality rate for riders has risen 37 percent in just nine years—and NHTSA data indicate that the death rate for urban and female cyclists has soared even more.

So while the NTSB analysis focused primarily on encouraging or mandating greater helmet use, as well as things cyclists, road designers, and carmakers should do so riders are more conspicuous to motorists, those factors don’t really explain why a serious, sustained uptick of deaths began in 2011. It’s not like helmet use had a major decline, or cities ripped out quality protected bike lanes, or high-viz apparel or auto headlights got worse. These factors, especially related to road design, might have an impact on fatalities going forward, but they don’t explain why more cyclists have been dying in the past decade.

It’s a must read for anyone who wants to understand what the real problems are, and why we keep dying.

And do something about it.

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Orange County’s OCTA announces a grant to improve bicycle safety and education.

The Orange County Transportation Authority has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety for a year-long community program dedicated to pedestrian and bicycle safety classes and distribution of safety equipment for people walking and biking.

The aim of the program is to increase safety and reduce traffic-related injuries and fatalities. OCTA will use the funding as part of the agency’s ongoing commitment to deliver transportation solutions, including for active transportation – biking, walking and skating.

“OCTA appreciates the strong partnership we have formed with the state’s Office of Traffic Safety to work toward enhancing safety on our streets,” said OCTA Chairman Tim Shaw, also a City Council member in La Habra. “OTS has provided grant funding for the past three years to develop programs improving conditions for walking and biking, and ongoing grant funding will help us with one of our primary goals of reinforcing safety throughout Orange County.

Activities to be funded by this year’s grant include:

  • Pedestrian and bicycle safety classes
  • Distribution of bicycle lights and helmets
  • Distribution of reflectors for pedestrians

The need for increased safety training is clear. Bicycle and pedestrian-related collisions have been on the rise for the past decade.

“No matter which way you get around, you play a part in roadway safety,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “These grant programs are intended to educate residents on ways they can make themselves and those around them safe when they walk or bike.”

The pedestrian and bicycle safety program and distribution of safety materials will occur throughout 2020. Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For more information on bicycle programs and safety in Orange County, and to stay updated on where classes are being scheduled, visit octa.net/bike.

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The LACBC is looking for volunteers to help give out free bike lights to riders who don’t have them in Koreatown next week.

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Tune into Bike Talk at 6 pm tonight to hear, and maybe chat with, Juli Briskman, the Virginia woman who lost her job after flipping off Trump’s motorcade.

And responded by running for office — and winning.

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

A 13-year old New York boy credits an Emergency 911 app on his phone with scaring off a group of older boys on bikes who tried to rob him.

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Local

A 35-year old Fontana man was arrested for a Pasadena hit-and-run that left a juvenile bike rider hospitalized with critical injuries; he was booked on suspicion of hit-and-run and DUI resulting in serious injury or death. Let’s all say a pray or offer best wishes that the kid makes a full and fast recovery.

People for Bikes invites you to join the weekly Ride and Pint mountain bike ride rolling out of Pedlar’s Fork in Calabasas every Thursday. You can find it, and other great rides, through their Ride Spot app.

The future of Santa Monica’s Breeze bikeshare is in doubt as it faces stiff competition from dockless bikeshares; the city will have to fork over $225,000 in subsidies just to keep it operating for the next year. West Hollywood has already pulled the plug on its money-losing sister operation.

 

State

Seven Orange County communities will host the first Meet on the Beach festival, offering a carfree open streets experience along 1.5 miles of Beach Blvd to reimagine what the street could be. Thanks to the Orange County Bicycle Coalition for the heads up.

Temecula is opening a new pump track bike park this Tuesday.

A new 32-page manual put together by a pair of San Francisco advocacy groups explains how to build protected bike lanes that work for everyone, including pedestrians and disabled people.

The long-promised bike and pedestrian lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge connecting Contra Costa and Marin counties will open tomorrow, despite continued efforts in some quarters to convert it to a yet another lane for motor vehicles. Because everyone knows just one more traffic lane will solve all our traffic problems forever.

 

National

EcoWatch makes the case for why your next car will be a bike.

Joe Biden attempts to boost his run for president with a new infrastructure plan that’s heavy on high-speed rail, transit and bicycling.

An Oregon Republican proves conservatives can support bicycling, too, as he announces his run for Congress.

Be careful carrying that bike. A 74-year old Detroit man was found dead after he fell down the stair while trying to carry his mountain bike up them.

He gets it. An op-ed in the New York Daily News calls for eliminating free parking to pay for free transit.

Britain’s Beryl bikeshare brand makes a beachhead in New York’s Staten Island, booting Lime and Jump; meanwhile, Lyft is pulling the plug on their e-scooter operations in six smaller market cities.

After a Virginia boy’s new bike was stolen, his bighearted neighbors pitched in to buy him a new one. Stories like this remind us that there’s still a lot of good in this world, despite how it may seem these days.

Florida’s Jack the Bike Man says he needs a miracle to keep giving thousands of refurbished bikes to kids in need, after the building housing the nonprofit was sold and the new owner jacked his rent up over $100 grand a year.

 

International

Cars could be killing us even without touching us. A new study has linked pollution from motor vehicles to brain cancer for the first time.

Bicycle Retailer reminds us that Trump’s trade war with China is still going strong, and the bikes are losing.

Your next bike helmet could be a custom-made, 3D printed number with individual hexagon-shaped crumple zones that the company says is safer than MIPS or WaveCel — if you have an extra $390 on hand.

A writer for Gear Patrol offers lessons learned from Trek’s mountain bike camp at the Whistler resort in British Columbia.

A pair of British doctors set a new Guinness record for circumnavigating the globe on a tandem bike, covering 18,000 miles in 218 days and 22 hours, breaking the previous men’s record by nine days.

He gets it. An Irish letter writer reminds the anti-bike crowd that roads are a public service that we all pay for.

A European bikemaker came up with a smart, if somewhat creepy and invasive, sales promotion, scanning Paris license plates to determine how much CO2 each car puts out, and using that figure to offer the owner a discount on a new bicycle.

Tom Vanderbilt explains how he went from riding solo to taking his family along, thanks to a trip to Italy.

Now that’s more like it. A stoned, speeding Australian driver will spend the next 11 years behind bars and be prohibited from driving for two decades after walking away from the crash that killed a Dutch woman riding a bike.

 

Competitive Cycling

Britain’s Cyclist magazine recalls the Motorola team that rose from the ashes of America’s late, great 7-11 team after the convenience chain declared bankruptcy — including the tragic death of Italy’s Fabio Casartelli in the 1995 Tour de France.

The UAE Team Emirates cycling team is considering legal action against Croatian pro Kristijan Đurasek following his four-year ban for doping. But cycling officials keep telling us the era of doping is over, right?

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can get your very own ebike branded by your favorite soccer team — as long as your favorite team is Paris Saint-Germain. When your round-the-world bike trip gets interrupted by a water-logged passport, just fly home and get a new one.

And nothing like a little Dia de los Muertos mountain bike racing in the middle of Oaxaca.

 

Man killed riding a bicycle on the Gardena Freeway in Compton Thursday morning

Once again, a bike rider has been killed while riding on a SoCal freeway.

According to a story from the City News Service, 43-year old Compton resident Nelson Mariano Velez-Segovia was inexplicably riding in the right lane of the 91 (Gardena) Freeway near Wilmington Ave in Compton early Thursday morning.

At 6:40 am, a driver was reportedly unable to avoid him, and slammed into Velez-Segovia at roughly 55 mph.

Not surprisingly, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The LA County Coroner’s office places the location as the freeway onramp; however, neither source mentions which direction he was traveling in.

No explanation is given for why he was riding on the freeway, particularly in the traffic lane; bicycles are prohibited from all limited-access highways in Los Angeles County.

It’s possible he may have been riding on the shoulder, and moved into the traffic lane when the shoulder disappeared at the onramp. Or he may have been forced into the lane by cars entering the freeway.

Unfortunately, we’ll probably never get any answers beyond what is contained in the brief story.

This is at least the 57th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 25th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Nelson Mariano Velez-Segovia and his loved ones.

 

Morning Links: Why LA’s Vision Zero is failing, rebutting SaMo Jump bike death rumor, and getting the helmet story wrong

This is why people continue to die on our streets.

The LA Times belatedly discovers the rising pedestrian death toll in the US, but neglects to mention the corresponding jump in bicycling fatalities.

And they put the national figures in context with the City of Angels, along with what passes for an LA Vision Zero program.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti launched Vision Zero in 2015 with the goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2025. The city has completed hundreds of projects, but the pedestrian death toll has soared — up 80% from 2015 to 2017, when 134 died. The number killed last year dipped slightly, to 127.

Eliminating traffic deaths is an “aspirational” goal, Dan Mitchell, chief engineer for the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, said. “But what other goal is acceptable? How many people, if it’s not zero? How many people should be allowed to die just getting around the city streets?

And there’s the problem.

We were told the 2010 Los Angeles bike plan was “aspirational” shortly after it was unanimously approved by the LA city council, too.

That’s exactly why Vision Zero is failing here, when it’s succeeding in other places. 

Because Vision Zero isn’t aspirational. And it’s not a goal.

It’s a commitment.

It’s an unshakeable commitment to do whatever it takes to stop traffic deaths, and not settling for a lousy “aspirational” vision.

And until our elected leaders and the people charged with carrying it out get that, people will keep dying needlessly on our streets.

Whether they’re on two feet or two wheels.

Or surrounded by two tons of glass and steel.

………

Two bike riders were seriously injured in Santa Monica collisions over a three-day period last week.

Persistent rumors have spread online saying the first victim, a teenage boy riding a dockless Jump ebike, was killed when he was struck by the driver of a Mini Cooper at 20th and Santa Monica Blvd Thursday afternoon, or that he passed away sometime afterwards.

As of Monday afternoon, neither was true.

At last word, he was still receiving care at a local hospital, though medical privacy laws prevent the release of his name or condition.

So let’s all say a prayer or send a few good thoughts in hopes that remains the case until he’s able to walk out on his own power.

………

Talk about getting the story wrong.

A Boston TV station says a new UCLA/Drew University study shows that the vast majority of bike riders don’t wear helmets.

Except it shows nothing of the sort.

As we mentioned yesterday, the study measured how many people who suffered head and neck injuries while bicycling were wearing helmets at the time of the crash.

It had absolutely nothing to do with measuring bike helmet usage in general.

The study concluded that just 22% of those injured bike riders were wearing helmets.

Not that only 22% of bike riders do, which is a completely different thing

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For today’s video entertainment, the world’s first front flip tsunami on a downhill bike. And no, I didn’t know what that is, either.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.

Gangs of UK moped riders are getting their jollies filming themselves pushing people off their bicycles, which could result in serious injuries.

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

New York police are looking for a bike-riding groper who’s attacked four women in recent months.

And sometimes it’s both.

Road-raging bike and Vespa riders come to blows — and kicks — in a Denver park. As the news anchor says, that’s not a good look for anyone.

Thanks to Mike Cane — that’s C-A-N-E, not C-R-A-N-E as I mistakenly wrote yesterday — for the heads-up.

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Local

CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell is looking for a $4 million grant to complete a 2.2-mile bike path on the east side of the LA River in Atwater Village. Los Angeles officials love bike paths, because they get people on bikes off the streets without annoying people in cars. Maybe he could look for a similar grant to fund the road diets and protected bike lanes that might actually improve safety in his district. Thanks to CiclaValley’s Zachary Rynew for the link.  

A man on a bike was fatally shot in South LA’s Florence-Firestone neighborhood Sunday night; unfortunately, there’s no information on the shooter, or the victim.

KNBC-4 reports on a possible bike chop shop at a homeless encampment in Playa del Rey, apparently failing to notice what goes on at virtually every other homeless camp in the LA area.

Santa Clarita is adding new bike lanes in Saugus and Valencia after making sure they won’t affect traffic circulation. Because God forbid you should slow down a few cars to save a life or two.

Streetsblog looks back at Sunday’s COAST open streets event in Santa Monica.

Groundbreaking comedian Richard Pryor was one of us. And so is legendary actress Pam Grier, who bought him a bicycle so they could ride on the beach together.

 

State

He gets it. A writer for a car and motorcycle enthusiast website says California’s new law allowing some low-income people to trade their cars for ebikes is great, but it’s another thing to ensure they’re safe on the streets once they do.

The Department of DIY strikes in San Diego, where someone posted flyers claiming that everyone now supports the controversial bike lanes on 30th Street, copying the ones posted by opponents a few weeks ago. Note to KUSI TV — The message on them may be fake, but the flyers are real.

Palm Desert plans to start work next year on their five-mile segment of the planned 50-mile CV Link multi-use path around the Coachella Valley.

A Palo Alto driver, who says he’s wished for safer biking conditions for decades — honest! — wants to know who decided  to “make driving harder, slower, more dangerous and difficult” to do it. And insists on trotting out the myth that whole classes of older and disabled people can’t ride bikes.

Streetsblog SF says San Francisco police were quick to blame the victim when a 73-year old bike rider collided with a driver last week, even though the intersection itself could have been to blame.

A 67-year old Oakland man says that as a lifelong bicyclist, he’s never obeyed all traffic laws, nor should he, because trying to make bicyclists obey laws written for cars is like trying to herd cats (scroll down). Which brings up one of the best commercials ever.

 

National

Now that’s a bikepacking trip. A woman rode solo, much of it off paved roads, to map all 2,200 miles of the Pony Express route from St. Joseph MO to Sacramento.

Oregon welcomed Bontrager’s new WaveCel technology to its new home in a Wilsonville warehouse.

Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw is one of us. Or was, before someone stole her ebike from a doubly secured garage; fortunately, she had the good sense to register it for free with Bike Index and add it to their nationwide stolen bike database. Although a Seattle radio host wants to know why Bagshaw’s stolen bike mattered more to police than her daughter’s did.

A Bellingham WA newspaper asks what the proper hand signals are to use when riding a bike. That depends entirely on how pissed off you are at the time.

Sad story from Washington, where a hit-and-run driver marked a stranger’s 34th birthday by fatally running him down with his car as the man was riding his bike back home to his family. Let’s hope they find the schmuck.

Kindhearted Tucson police buy a new bicycle for a young man whose bike was stolen after learning it was his only form of transportation.

A Utah researcher spent 125 days riding 2,300 miles around the Great Salt Lake on a mountain bike pulling a trailer — and getting shot at — to study the risk of dust pollution as the lake continues to dry up.

Two years later, there still hasn’t been an arrest, or any named suspects, in the murder of mountain biker Tim Watkins, who was shot while riding on a Southern Colorado roadway; the non-suspect list includes a man who was arrested shortly after Watkins death for threatening hikers and bicyclists with a hatchet on the same road.

San Antonio, Texas bicyclists have had enough, and are planning a die-in to protest recent bicycling deaths.

Chicago puts its money where its Vision Zero is, investing $6 million to improve dangerous streets on the city’s West Side.

An Illinois cop’s own body cam shows him citing the law to a well-versed bike rider, who politely points out that he got it wrong. And insists on a ticket so he can prove in court that the officer doesn’t know the law. It’s a common problem. Most cops receive little or no training in bike law, so they go by truncated cheat sheets or what they think it is. And too often, they’re wrong.

Maybe he’s not paying attention. Detroit’s mayor said reports of e-scooter injuries are BS.

That more like it. Ohio officials will install an 11-mile bike lane on a highway where two bike riders have been killed in recent years, while noting that it can’t keep drugged drivers off the roads.

Bicyclists in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood are calling a protected bike lane on Grand Street a grand failure due to the city’s failure to use stronger barricades to keep cars and trucks out.

New York has finally decided not to ban bicyclists during the UN General Assembly next week, instead creating a special protected bike lane to replace two being shut down for it. But they will have to pass through a security check.

Gotta hand it to a New Jersey bike thief, who swapped his bike for a better one at a train station, but at least had the decency to lock it up using the victim’s own bike lock and replaced the victim’s helmet on it before riding off. Although he or she might want to consider investing in a better lock next time.

A bike-riding Miami high school student was seriously injured when he was struck by an on-duty police sergeant headed back to the motor pool.

 

International

The president of the European Cyclists Federation says the election of a new European Parliament and the appointment of the EU Commission are the perfect opportunity for legislators to turn their words into action and refocus on safe bicycling and walking.

Edinburgh bike riders are gearing up for this weekend’s worldwide Fancy Women Bike Ride, a movement that began in Turkey seven years ago to mark World Car Free Day and encourage more women to ride bikes. If there’s an LA edition of the ride this weekend, let me know.

Paris is planning to offer residents a 500 euro incentive to buy an ebike — the equivalent of $550 — to help get more cars off the streets. Something Streetsblog says the US should be doing. Or at least something Los Angeles should do when and if they actually give us a safe place to ride them.

A 20-year old Malawi man is facing a murder charge for twisting his 12-year old nephew’s neck after catching him riding the man’s bicycle, then dumping the boy’s body in a pit latrine. Seriously, you can’t make this shit up. And you probably wouldn’t want to.

The swooping Magpie that caused a fallen Australian bicyclist to crash was so well known to locals that they named it…wait for it…Swoop Dog.

 

Competitive Cycling

Who says cyclists aren’t tough? South African pro Willie Smit finished another 16 stages of the Vuelta with 16 stitches in his knee following a mass crash in stage 15.

https://twitter.com/williesmurfy/status/1170612880594673664?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1170612880594673664&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fcyclingtips.com%2F2019%2F09%2F16-stitches-and-a-life-of-pain-willie-smit-is-cyclings-toughest-rider%2F

 

Finally…

If you’re going to flee from police on a bicycle, try to make sure the cop chasing you isn’t in “near Olympic shape.” Complete Streets, you complete me.

And no. Just…no.

 

Morning Links: Sonoma man faces retrial in death of bike rider, new video in South LA hit-and-run, and Florida duck murderer

Maybe two times will be the charm this time.

A 75-year old Sonoma County man will face a second trial in the death of a Sebastopol woman, who was killed while taking part in a 2016 charity ride.

The driver faces a single count of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for either striking the bike rider while driving on the wrong side of the road, or causing her to lose control and fall.

The driver said he thought he had plenty of room to pass a slow moving truck without hitting the pair of bicyclists coming in the opposite direction, and only realized he might have been wrong when the driver’s side mirror fell off his truck.

An investigator for the CHP somehow concluded that there was no evidence of a crash, apparently believing the man’s mirror just happened to fall off the same time he passed the victim.

Sure. Let’s go with that.

An earlier trial ended in a hung jury, leaning 10 – 2 in favor of a conviction.

Apparently most of them didn’t buy it either.

Thanks to Sindy Saito for the heads-up.

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The LAPD has released another video of the hit-and-run driver who critically injured a 15-year old boy as he rode his bike in a South LA crosswalk.

Fortunately, Roberto Diaz survived the crash, though he remains in the ICU following five surgeries, with at least one more planned for today.

Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD Central Traffic Division detectives at 213/833-3713.

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Looking for a good cause to support?

The One Bicycle Foundation urges you be a hero to a kid by supporting their efforts to give bicycles to children in poor countries.

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This is who we share the roads with.

An apparently drunk Florida man was arrested for duck murder after witnesses say he deliberately ran over a family of ducklings swimming in a puddle in the roadway, killing two and seriously injuring a third.

Schmuck.

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Still more kindhearted people, as a Houston TX truck driver collects and refurbishes old, unloved bicycles, and gives them away to people in need.

After a nine-year old Cleveland girl calmly called 911 to report the bike she got for her birthday had been stolen, dispatchers pitched in to buy her a new one, with a helmet and lock, too.

After police rescued a five-year old Boston-area boy who wandered off in his pajamas, while pushing a bike with flat tires and a missing training wheel, an anonymous donor gave him a new one, along with supplies for the new school year. 

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton examines the toxic vitriol directed at supporters of the proposed Nordhoff bus rapid transit (BRT) lane by local NIMBYs, including one woman who called a 19-year old American-born college student an “ignorant Oriental.” Nothing like trotting out outdated, racist slurs to win friends and influence people. Then again, that seems to work with some people these days.

LAist nails it, reporting that yes, Uber and Lyft are contributing to LA’s traffic problems, but LA drivers should take a hard look in the mirror before pointing fingers.

A writer for LA Downtown News ponders bikes, rivers and homelessness in Berlin, Paris and Los Angeles, concluding that if two great European cities can come up with the answers, a great metropolis like LA should be able to, too.

Great piece from LA Taco on how to ride public transportation in Los Angeles, including tips on taking your bike on Metro buses and trains.

Do we really need to see more photos of “ruggedly handsome” Arnold riding his massive fat tire bike through the streets of LA? I didn’t think so.

WeHoVille calls on everyone to get out of your house and out of your car for Sunday’s Meet the Hollywoods CicLAvia.

 

State

No surprise here, as a San Diego group has filed suit over plans for protected bike lanes on 30th Street, alleging it’s illegal because they’re not included in the community plan, and the community didn’t have enough time to weigh in on the loss of parking spaces.

Coronado police use a bait bike to bust three bike thieves in just 72 hours. Meanwhile, the LAPD won’t use bait bikes over fears of being accused of entrapment, even though they’ve been successfully used throughout the state.

Sad news from Clovis, where a bike rider was killed when a 17-year old driver drifted onto the shoulder of the roadway.

Modesto police have issued a BOLO alert (aka, be on the lookout) for a red light-running, hit-and-run driver who injured a bike rider this past July.

 

National

Dominos is turning to ebikes to solve the problems of parking and traffic congestion for their pizza deliveries, while allowing the company to hire people who don’t have a car or driver’s license.

Now that’s more like it. A Seattle councilmember wants to force the city to build bike lanes by requiring them on any street that gets at least $1 million in roadwork.

Boise, Idaho is considering a petition to make a key bike route less safe by reversing a road diet and ripping out the bike lanes, along with the improved crosswalks kids use to get to and from schools. But hey, if it allows drivers to go zoom! zoom! again, that’s all that really matters, right?

South Dakota property owners sing the refrain of NIMBYs everywhere, saying they support bike lanes — just somewhere else.

Residents of a disadvantaged Kansas City neighborhood are questioning why new bike lanes took priority over more pressing community needs, like dealing with blight, crime, illegal dumping and aging infrastructure.

It takes a major scumbag to steal a bicycle after the Houston man riding it was killed in a crash. Unless maybe it was taken by the man’s riding companion, for reasons known only to him or her.

Minnesota police bust a serial bike thief who was selling the purloined bicycles through Facebook to support his drug habit.

New Haven CT police put out a BOLO alert for a wheelie-popping reckless bike rider who allegedly almost caused drivers to crash.

The recent rash of New York bicycling deaths has bike riders wondering if drivers have a license to kill. Short answer, given the reluctance of the NYPD to hold drivers accountable, yes.

New York’s part-time mayor and full-time presidential candidate Bill de Blasio calls for charges against the speeding, red light-running teenage driver who caused the crash that killed an innocent bike rider, while his fellow politicians put the blame on de Blasio. Meanwhile, the victim was remembered as an advocate for bike safety.

New York will soon have a 750-mile biking and walking trail crisscrossing the state. Meanwhile, California doesn’t. And won’t anytime soon, if ever.

Next up on DC’s micromobility agenda, 30 mph dockless mopeds.

Virginia bike advocates call on Amazon to help build a protected bike lane on the street in front of their planned second headquarters in Arlington.

 

International

A Vancouver website says don’t place construction signs in the middle of the damn bike lane. Okay, I may have added the invective to that; they politely called it a terrible mistake. But still. 

The family of an Ottawa man is demanding answers after he was critically injured in a collision, saying not enough is being done to protect people on bicycles. Nice reporting job by the Ottawa Citizen, which managed to get through the entire story without mentioning that the vehicle that hit him had a driver.

A Halifax, Nova Scotia city councilor wants to copy Oregon in placing a $10 to $20 tax on the purchase of any new bicycle. But that’s just the start; he also want bicyclists to be registered, insured and licensed, just like the cars they’re not.

Good question. A British letter writer wants to know why some people always have it in for bicyclists.

Yesterday we mentioned the London woman who was looking for the man who gave her a bicycle as a child in a Dutch refugee camp; the Guardian reports she found him, and will soon get to thank him in person.

 

Competitive Cycling

Hundred of people turned out for the funeral of fallen pro cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht in his Belgian hometown; the 22-year old Lotto-Soudal rider was killed when he struck a concrete culvert while competing in the Tour of Poland. And yes, his teammates attended the funeral.

Denver will celebrate the new four-stage women’s Colorado Classic bike race with a free bike expo and open streets event.

 

Finally…

A-tisket, a-tasket, find your perfect basket. Forget ebikes; your next bike could run on a hydrogen-powered fuel cell.

And peak NIMBYism is fighting the bike lane that was never in the plans to begin with.

 

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