Tag Archive for bike helmets

Study calls for more and better bike helmet testing, bike/ped safety ratings for trucks and SUVs, and how to live carfree

We’ve said it many times before.

Bike helmets can help in a crash, but not as much as they could.

Or should.

Now Bicycling reports a new study confirms the same thing, saying more rigorous testing is needed to improve them.

  • Bike helmets are designed to protect you against a traumatic brain injury (TBI), yet testing them in a way that mimics real-world falls and collisions has been lacking, a new study suggests.
  • Current manufacturer methods tend to test helmets with falls from right angles, which is how you’d land if the bike was stationary.
  • The research describes a new method of helmet testing where crash test dummies hit the ground at an angle as they were moving—basically, the way you’d actually fall off a bike.
  • However, previous research indicates helmets still significantly reduce the risk of skull fractures and other TBIs, so it’s important to wear one while riding.

That last point is important.

I probably wouldn’t be here now if I hadn’t been wearing mine during the infamous beachfront bee incident — which is exactly the kind of relatively slow speed fall bike helmets are designed to protect against.

Not the high speed collisions most drivers seem to think.

But even with one, I still spent a night in intensive care, and the better part of a week in the hospital.

That’s also the only time I’ve needed one in four decades of riding.

But I’m damn glad I had it on.

As usual, you can read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

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Interesting idea.

A bill in the New York legislature would impose a safety rating system on trucks and SUVs to rank the danger they pose to bike riders and pedestrians.

But then what?

Studies have previously shown that the flat grills, high hoods and high road clearance of today’s trucks and SUVS — let alone their ever-increasing size — are a key factor in the rising rate of traffic deaths in the US.

And while it might be helpful to know which vehicles pose the greatest risk, it’s pretty meaningless if that’s as far as it goes.

There needs to be additional action to force improvements for the lowest rated vehicles, such as fines that increase with each drop in safety ratings.

Or better yet, force the SUVs and trucks with the worst safety rating off the road. Then give the next lowest tier five years to improve their safety before removing that one from the road, too.

And keep going until every truck and SUV qualifies for the highest safety rating — which, chances are, none do now.

Yes, safety ratings are a good idea.

But ratings without action will just mean more needless deaths on our streets.

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They get it.

NACTO, aka the National Association of City Transportation Officials, came out against the proposed transportation bill introduced in the US Senate, arguing it “largely maintains the status quo that made American transportation so inequitable, unsustainable, and unsafe to begin with.”

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The Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition is hosting a webinar tonight to discuss how to live your life carfree.

 

Then again, all you really need is three simple steps.

Step 1: Sell your car.

Step 2: Buy a bike.

Step 3: Ride it. Everywhere.

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

Once again, someone has sabotaged a bike trail in the UK, planting upright spikes on a Scottish mountain bike path where they were most likely to trap, and possibly seriously injure, unsuspecting riders. And once again, this should be treated as the serious crime it is, not just a mere prank.

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

Florida police arrested a 39-year old ebike-riding man for tossing a cooler full of human shit outside a Jewish school in a Miami suburb, two days after he shouted anti-Semitic slurs and threw a bag of shit at the temple nextdoor.

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Local

Micromobility providers are ready to roll out again as America reawakens from its coronavirus slumber, including Santa Monica-based Bird and West Hollywood’s Wheels.

Nick Jonas credits his wife Priyanka Chopra with helping him recover from a broken rib he suffered falling off his bike while filming an undisclosed project with his brothers.

 

State

A 64-year old San Diego man suffered serious injuries when he was cut off by a driver pulling out an alley in the North Park neighborhood, and slammed his ebike into the side of the car; the victim suffered a broken ankle, in addition to other non-life threatening injuries.

The Santa Rosa bicyclist who died last week after he and another bike rider were hit by an alleged drunk driver was a skilled winemaker with the Gary Farrell Winery in Healdsburg; the 12-year old boy who was also injured was not related to him, and just happened to be riding in the same area.

A Sonoma County writer asks how safe it is to ride a bike in the county, then fails to answer the question.

 

National

Black Girls Do Bike is teaming with Little Bellas to encourage more “Black, Indigenous, Girls of Color” to start riding with Little Bellas, which is dedicated to encouraging girls to ride bikes, then to continue riding with the Black Girls Do Bike community once they outgrow the Little Bellas program.

In case you need a refresher, the Southern Nevada Bike Coalition explains how to correctly wear a bike helmet. First step, make sure it’s not on backward, which I’ve somehow seen too many times.

A Las Vegas man was killed when he crashed into a small dog while riding a motorized bicycle; sadly, the dog didn’t make it, either.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee is reintroducing The Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Areas Act, which would allow local managers to decide whether and how to allow bicycles in wilderness areas; the original bill expired in the previous congressional session before any action was taken.

Arkansas is hosting a statewide bike summit to talk road safety this month.

A Chicago writer says the city’s new bikeshare ebikes are a game changer — so stop tossing them into Lake Michigan.

Peloton is responding to last year’s shortages created by increased demand during the pandemic by building their first US factory in Ohio.

Charges have finally been filed against a Pennsylvania man who killed a man riding a bike back in 2019, while allegedly stoned on methadone, Klonopin and Xanax. The only question is what the hell took so long?

 

International

Road.cc rates the 15 best chain lubes, while examining the eternal question of wet vs dry.

A street-racing Liverpool man was sentenced to two years behind bars and banned for driving for four years for slamming into a man on a bicycle, leaving the victim with lasting brain damage after languishing in a coma for a full month; the 28-year old future inmate recently suffered a stroke, which he describes as “karma.” The other driver was sentenced to 13 months.

A London police commissioner called for a ban on e-scooters before their wide rollout in the city next month, warning that more people will be hurt. So wouldn’t it make sense to ban cars instead, since they hurt far more people, more seriously?

London should provide more cargo bike parking and make market deliveries by cargo bike, according to a new report from a sustainability think tank.

No bias here. A former Scottish deputy police chief says the bike boom means traffic laws have to be enforced — especially against the people on two wheels.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a 76-year old man got just two and a half years behind bars for running over a ten-year old boy on a bike, then backing up and running over him again — as the boy’s father and others watched in horror — while driving at over twice the legal alcohol limit. Fortunately, the kid survived, but with major injuries.

An Irish man faces charges for a strong-arm robbery in which he pushed a woman off her bike as she was riding to work, then punched her in the face as she lay on the ground before making off with her bike, all while “extremely intoxicated” on booze and Xanax.

Cycling Tips highlights six unique brands from the Australian Handmade Bicycle Show, including one that makes wooden handlebars, and another that makes a tail light designed to illuminate the rider’s legs, rather than the roadway.

 

Competitive Cycling

Tour de France winner Egan Bernal tightened his grip on the pink leader’s jersey by winning Monday’s 16th stage of the Giro, which was shortened by nearly 40 miles and two mountain passes due to rain and snow.

 

Finally…

No, you probably can’t get this much air on a mountain bike. And sometimes, two wheels are faster than four.

Especially when it’s this four.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

And get vaccinated, already.

LA Times calls for permanent Slow Streets and no parking minimums near transit, and bike helmets as the last line of defense

They get it.

The LA Times calls for eliminating minimum parking requirements within a half mile of a major transit stop or transit corridor; according to the paper, AB 1401 would encourage much needed housing while reducing emissions from cars.

That follows their recent call to keep the “Slow Streets, parklets, temporary bike lanes and outdoor dining areas” in a post-pandemic America.

Like all those temporary, popup bike lanes that weren’t build in Los Angeles, for instance.

But at least we have a number of Slow Streets, which could be made permanent and expanded to form a network of Bicycle Friendly Streets.

Photo by Ekrulila from Pexels.

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Here we go again.

A Houston professor of pediatric medicine gets it wrong, saying the first rule of bicycle safety is to always wear a helmet, and don’t ride at night.

Yes, a bike helmet can cut your risk of a head injury if you come off your bike, though studies disagree on just how much.

But what helmet advocates seem to forget is that bike helmets are designed to protect against relatively slow speed falls. Not high speed collisions with a couple tons of semi-ballistic steel and glass.

They should always be seen as the last line of defense when all else fails, not the first; the key to bike safety is to ride defensively so you don’t get hit in the first place.

And telling people not to ride after dark makes no more sense than telling them not to walk or leave their house.

Then again, they do that, too.

While the period from 6 pm to 9 pm is the most dangerous time of day for bike riders, you can cut your risk dramatically just by putting bright lights and reflectors on your bike. And always riding like your life depends on it.

Because it does.

And yes, wear a helmet. Just don’t count on it to save your life.

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The University of Oregon is suing a fired campus cop to recoup the settlement the university had to pay out for his off-campus stop of a Latino bike rider.

The college settled with the family of the victim for $115,000 as a result of the 2018 case, when the cop briefly chased him in his patrol car, then bizarrely pulled his gun on him, despite a total lack of probable cause.

The university alleges the officer, Troy Phillips, lied about what happened, and hid the existence of video and audio recordings of the incident, accusing Phillips of unlawful arrest, malicious prosecution and fabricating evidence.

And says he should be on the hook for the settlement, rather than the school.

In a tragic coda to the story, the victim, 40-year old Eliborio Rodrigues Jr. was shot and killed by a cop the following year, after refusing to show his ID and asking for a sergeant when he was stopped for taking a plastic bottle out of a recycling bin.

Yes, he was killed over a lousy piece of trash.

The shooting was inexplicably ruled justified, despite the flimsy probable cause, when the cop claimed Rodrigues reached for his taser.

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Nothing like criminalizing bike riding, and treating little kids like wanted terrorists or insurrectionists.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the link.

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is one of us, riding his bike around New York as he pledges to fight climate change in a new campaign ad.

Even though Schumer’s wife, former New York DOT commissioner Iris Weinshall, led the fight against the bike lane in front of their home.

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So, if a heavy bollard can’t keep a car out of a building, how are those little plastic bendy posts LA uses to demarcate “protected” bike lanes supposed to do the job?

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A Toronto family insists that tall bikes will save the world, with video of their creations to back it up.

I’ll take the double-deck tandem with one rider perched above, not behind, the other.

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

A road raging British driver will have to pay the equivalent of nearly $1,250 for hiding in some bushes on the side of the road, and pushing a man off his bike as he rode by.

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

Police in the UK are looking for a bike rider who beat a man who was walking his dogs in an apparently unprovoked attack.

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Local

LA Magazine says Hollywood’s newly trendy Sycamore Ave, home to SiriusXM and the offices of Jay Z and Beyoncé, are due to get bike lanes soon. Even though they really belong one block west on busy La Brea Blvd.

Patch says two separate hikers had to be rescued in Pacific Palisades. Even if one of those hikers was traveling on a mountain bike instead of hiking boots.

 

State

For a change, there’s good news from the California legislature, where a bill to decriminalize jay walking passed passed the Assembly Transportation Committee by a ten vote margin. Put another way, AB 1238 would legalize crossing the damn street like a grownup.

San Diego considers a plan to slowly transform car-choked El Cajon Blvd into a series of people-friendly neighborhood hubs, along with a shared rapid bus and bike lane.

 

National

Cosmo wants you to pedal around in style this summer, pitching nine “cute” bike helmets to protect your noggin. Because really, the most important thing is how cute you look on your bike.

T3 offers a beginner’s guide to buying an ebike, including whether you should get one. Hint: yes.

Seattle is eliminating curbs to create people-friendly streets where vehicles are guests. Although not everyone likes the idea.

An Arkansas bike rider learned the hard way that drivers aren’t the only risk we face on the roads when he was attacked by a pack of angry dogs that came charging out of a couple’s yard; he was rushed to the hospital with a tourniquet on his leg. Never mind that the dogs should have been secured so they couldn’t rush out into the street like that, for their own safety, as well as others. 

A Wisconsin man is biking to Louisiana to raise awareness for living organ donations, a year after donating a kidney to a total stranger he met in a bar.

An Ohio man will spend the next eight months behind bars for stealing an 81-year old man’s bicycle. And pay a whopping $75 restitution to buy the victim a new bike.

A new poll conducted by PeopleForBikes shows Pittsburgh residents don’t hate bike lanes after all, with three-quarters agreeing that additional bike and pedestrian infrastructure would more it a more desirable place to live.

Philadelphia begins work on improving six bike lanes throughout the city to improve safety, just days after a woman was killed riding her bike. Why is it that cities always seem to only do the right thing after it’s too late?

A Florida driver belatedly turned himself in a year after killing an 18-year old bike rider in a hit-and-run.

 

International

Toronto bikeshare usage has surged during the pandemic, as people have turned to bikeshare in record numbers after shunning transit. Thanks to Donna Samoyloff for the tip.

It was a bad day for scofflaw Manchester drivers, as a cop in Manchester, England commandeered a bicycle from a passing rider to catch a car thief before he could flee on foot after crashing. And a pair of bike cops in a French district by the same name chased down and busted a Porsche driver for driving recklessly.

A British study shows planting the right shrubs along a roadway can cut pollution by 20%. And even more if there are bikes on that road instead of cars.

A UK air quality and emissions site examines whether the country’s Low Traffic Neighborhoods are the latest victims of the culture wars.

She gets it. A Brit letter writer says cars are destroying her town, while NIMBYs fight anything that would reduce car dependency.

Sadly, the hit-and-run pandemic has spread around the world, infecting Scotland and Japan.

Four of Singapore’s most scenic bike routes for your next trip to the island nation.

 

Competitive Cycling

Prominent German ski mountaineer Anton ‘Toni’ Palzer makes the unusual leap from pro skiing directly to pro cycling’s World Tour.

Bicycling Australia says Gen Z is taking its rightful place on the WorldTour podium.

 

Finally…

Popular bike route Topanga Canyon looked just a tad different a century ago. Presenting the world’s most polite recap of a bike protest.

And take a nine-minute trail break with a good bike, and a better dog.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

And get vaccinated, already.

Lyft e-bikeshare coming to Santa Monica, Arroyo Seco bike path finally patched, and new survey on bike helmet laws

E-bikeshare is back in Santa Monica, following the demise of Jump Bikes after their sale to Lime earlier this year.

Now Lyft is introducing a new ebike system in partnership with the city.

The bikes will be docked at the existing Breeze bikeshare docks, after Santa Monica’s municipal bikeshare bites the dust this November, eventually expanding to 500 bikes.

Here’s what the company has to say.

The new ebikes allow riders to travel around Santa Monica and West Los Angeles with less effort. When the rider pedals, the ebikes use a small electric motor to boost the rider’s pedal power, making longer trips easier and more accessible. Users will be able to rent ebikes in the Lyft app for $1 to unlock and $0.34 per minute – just scan the QR code and go. Riders can lock the bikes to any one of 80 Breeze stations with the attached cable, or to any public bike rack within the service area for an extra $1. For more about pricing and service area, visit the Lyft website

Lyft also offers a Community Pass for bikes and scooters in Santa Monica. The Lyft Community Pass is a reduced-fare membership program for qualifying residents of Santa Monica and LA. Membership costs $5/month and includes discounted ebike rides at $0.05/min. The Community Pass program is available to residents ages 18 and older who qualify for the Big Blue Bus Low Income Fare is Easy (LIFE) program, Calfresh, Medicaid, SNAP, or the SCE Energy Savings Assistance Program and to qualifying Santa Monica Community College students.

 

Correction: I originally wrote that Jump had been acquired by Lyft, but they were actually purchased by Lime. My apologies for the error.

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Speaking of Santa Monica, David Drexler confirms that the 5 mph speed limit signs have been removed from the newly widened beachfront Marvin Braude bike path through the city.

As we noted last week, the signs with the ridiculously low speed limit were installed temporarily as part of a construction project.

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It looks like they’ve finally gotten around to patching that gaping hole in the Arroyo Seco Bike Path, which should be open again soon.

The lengthy delay in getting it fixed could stem from the mishmash of public agencies involved in the repair work, including, but possibly not limited to,

  • LADOT
  • Bureau of Engineering
  • Board of Public Works
  • LA County
  • Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • StreetsLA (nee Bureau of Street Services)

Maybe someone should form a single umbrella agency to manage the city and county river channel bikeways so it doesn’t take the local equivalent of a UN Security Council negotiation every time something goes wrong.

I’m told credit goes to LA Bicycle Advisory Committee member John Laue for getting this done.

Thanks to Kent Strumpell for the heads up.

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Researchers at San Jose State University want your input on a survey exploring the relationship between mandatory helmet use regulations and adult cyclists’ behavior in California.

Scroll all the way down to agree to participate.

Thanks to Robert Leone for the link.

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You may remember Christopher Kidd from his days running the LADOT Bike Blog, which is about the last time the agency communicated effectively to the general public.

Since then, he’s been building a successful career as a Complete Streets planner in the Bay Area.

Which should make this an interesting talk.

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Local

Bike the Vote LA’s Michael MacDonald has written his own progressive guide to the 2020 election in LA County.

 

State

Governor Newsom has signed SB-288, which removes CEQA oversight of bike, pedestrian, light rail and bus rapid transit projects, eliminating a tool too often abused by opponents to halt environmentally friendly projects.

La Jolla Black Lives Matter supporters say they’re going to keep drawing chalk signs on the bike path supporting the movement, no matter how many times the city washes them off.

A San Diego op-ed argues that riding a bike isn’t just good for your health, but for your career, as well, allowing you to work out work problems while you ride. I’ve done some of my best work on my bike; it’s particularly effective to get out and ride when you feel stuck.

 

National

An urban planner writes that we have an “opportunity to make a generational shift to supporting walking, cycling and public transit over vehicular” transportation, and to reclaim our neighborhoods.

WaPo offers advice on how to safely and politely travel bike trails during the Age of Coronavirus.

Outside recommends accessories to make your gravel riding smoother and more comfortable.

Singletracks offers their choices for the best bike seats to bring your toddler along on your mountain bike. But maybe avoid flying down those downhill trails until they get the hang of it.

No bias here. Time Out picks the best bike trails to view fall foliage. But somehow doesn’t manage to name anything west of Texas.

A Seattle man speaks out after a bike cop was caught on video rolling a bicycle over his head during a racial justice protest, saying he was roughed up by arresting officers after the incident, and received no medical attention during the four hours he spent behind bars.

Washington bike riders will now be able to treat stop signs as yields, as the state becomes just the latest to adopt a modified form of the Idaho Stop Law. California should join Oregon and Washington in adopting the law, making it uniform throughout the West Coast.

Denver bike riders are scouring homeless encampments looking for their stolen bicycles.

A Nebraska bike nonprofit is looking for a new home after losing their current location; the organization rescues and restores bicycles, and allows at-risk kids to work on them to earn their first bikes.

He gets it. A Houston writer explains that ghost bikes are memorials to the failure of drivers to pay attention to the road around them.

Michigan conducted a bike safety enforcement crackdown of their own earlier this month, ticketing 186 motorists and giving warnings to 116 drivers and 117 bike riders.

Usage stats for New York’s bridges show the bike boom is still going strong, with ridership up as much as 88 percent over March’s pre-pandemic levels.

 

International

How to maintain your ebike.

Cycling Weekly offers advice on how to keep your bike safe at home. My best advice is to keep your bike inside your home if at all possible; if you have to use a garage, make sure it’s locked to something that’s secretly anchored.

A new bike wheel promises to literally suck the smog out of the air from all those stinky cars around you.

A new Brit bike taillight flashes brighter to warn drivers when they’re too close.

In the latest non-scandal to hit the UK, a London councilmember admits he wants to take advantage of the Covid-19 traffic slowdown to make popup bike lanes and street closures permanent. Which was kind of the idea behind the whole thing to begin with.

Stardom has changed life for the better for the 15-year old Indian girl who rode a bike over 700 miles to carry her injured father home earlier this year; she now has a new home, eight bikes, two possible movie deals and an offer to train with the national cycling team when the pandemic loses its grip.

A South African man says he barely survived a bike-jacking when a masked gunman fired at him, because the gun jammed; he was able to escape a second shot on his bike.

A Kiwi writer with a cool name discusses the humiliating yet thrilling experience of learning how to ride a bike as an adult.

A new book argues that Australian police botched the investigation into the death of endurance cyclist Mike Hall during the 2017 Indian Pacific Wheel Race across the continent; Hall was killed by a 19-year old provisional driver, who police absolved of responsibility by claiming Hall was hard to see, despite an array of ultrabright taillights.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could be a Beemer — although I like this one better. Before you build a new bike path, maybe make sure you own the land.

And anyone can ride across the country. But how many can claim they rode from Poo Poo Point to Pee Pee Creek?

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

Boing Boing doesn’t get bike helmets, California exempts bike lanes from CEQA, and racism on the South Bay bike path

How to write about bike helmets, and make it clear in the first two sentences that you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

Nobody thinks they’re going to get into an accident, which is half the reason why bicycle riders often sneer at wearing a helmet. The other half of the reason is obvious — helmets usually make you look incredibly dorky.

Who knows, the rest of the article may be brilliant.

But that’s where I stopped reading.

Because from my experience, most people are painfully aware of the risks we assume every time we get on a bike.

And I’ve never known anyone who made the very nuanced choice of whether or not to wear one based on how they make you look.

As I’ve noted before, I never ride my bike without a helmet. And I credit mine with potentially saving my life during the Infamous Beachfront Bee Incident.

But that’s the only time I’ve needed one in four decades of riding a bike.

The simple fact is, bike helmets are designed to protect against relatively low speed falls, not high speed impacts like car crashes.

They also do nothing to protect any other part of the body, which is why it’s often meaningless when police or the press report on whether or not a crash victim was wearing one, without indicating whether the crash would have been survivable either way.

And unless you spring for a MIPS or WaveCel model, they do absolutely nothing to prevent against traumatic brain injuries.

Which is why I got to spend a night in Intensive Care, and a couple more under observation, after getting my bell rung like a carillon in the aforementioned incident.

Some argue that bike helmets have other downsides, from encouraging risky behavior and closer passes, to making bike riding appear far more dangerous than it actually is.

Especially since no one seems to call for helmets in the shower, when climbing ladders or riding in cars, all of which have a significant rate of head injuries.

I know where I come down in the debate — and yes, there is one, despite all the overly simplistic “no brainer” comments.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s a cheap form of insurance, on the off chance I ever need it. I’d much rather ride with one I’ll never need, than need one and not have it.

Besides, it gives me a good place to mount my bike cam without hogging handlebar space.

So use your own judgement.

But chances are, no one bases their decision on whether it makes them look dorky, or messes up their hair.

Except maybe Boing Boing readers.

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The California state legislature has passed a bill exempting bike lanes from air quality restrictions for the next ten years — cutting red tape and eliminating a tool opponents have long used to halt any changes to the streets, no matter how beneficial.

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Sadly, this is who we share the South Bay bike path with.

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Why let a little thing like a bike lane — or a playground — get in the way?

https://twitter.com/mobimaw/status/1300110780692680710

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How to give your bike a bath.

GCN also answers the eternal question of whether a gravel bike can keep up offroad.

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

Someone is boobytrapping bike and pedestrian trails in Victoria, British Columbia, stringing nearly transparent finishing line where it could trip someone walking or riding a bike.

An Irish man was pulled off his bicycle and repeatedly punched in the face by three other men while riding on a bike path, for no apparent reason.

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

A Texas man was stabbed in the stomach by a homeless man as he was riding home from a bar, and got into a dispute with the other man riding in the opposite direction.

Horrible story from New York, where a 15-year old boy was slashed in the face by a bike-riding man using a razor blade attacked to a pole, in an apparently random attack in Times Square.

No bias here. A Singapore driver offers a windshield perspective of a bike rider cutting in front of his car without looking, then inexplicably going ballistic over a gentle tap on the driver’s horn. Although something tells me there’s more leading up to this that got left on the cutting room floor.

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Local

Streetsblog says LA’s “already driver-permissive” Slow Streets program is being watered down even more, in the city where cars continue to come before people.

The next time you take your bike on a bus or train in LA County, the trip could be free, as Metro’s CEO wants to eliminate fares next year.

 

State

San Diego authorities have identified a pair of suspects in the hit-and-run crash that left a bike-riding man with life-threatening injuries; the couple got out of their SUV to look at the victim, then casually removed his bike from underneath the vehicle before driving away.

No bias here. According to the local paper, a Chino bike rider somehow struck a moving pickup, while somehow riding distracted. Which makes this a story that is somehow totally useless.

A 74-year old Victorville man was critically injured by a hit-and-run driver who abandoned his car after his passenger moved it, and both fled in another vehicle.

Fremont will invest $750,000 to protect ten miles of existing bike lanes.

Good question. An Orinda hit-and-run victim wants to know why police don’t enforce laws to protect bicyclists.

A Tahoe-area paper looks back to the first crossing of the Sierras by bicycle.

 

National

Outside offers a few considerations to take into account before replacing those car trips with an e-cargo bike.

Figures. A new mystery thriller revolves around a man on his way to a cycling competition. Except he turns up dead in the first few pages.

Schwinn is shifting marketing gears to ride the crest of the bike boom.

Singletrack lists 12 things mountain bike magazines need to stop doing. Including making lists like that.

Probably not the best idea to assault a cop in an Arizona ER, then ride your bike into Walmart and steal a bottle of booze after crashing into the display.

Now that’s more like it. A Nebraska man was sentenced to 18 years behind bars for the hit-and-run death of a Colorado bike rider. In California, that likely would have gotten a measly four-year sentence — if prosecutors didn’t bargain it down just to get a conviction.

A group of Wisconsin men dedicated the first 4.3 miles of a group ride to Chadwick Boseman, and call attention to health risks facing Black men.

Milwaukee firefighters rode 183 miles to honor a fallen compatriot.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a customize adaptive bike from a Michigan boy with cerebral palsy.

Kindhearted Ohio cops bought a new bike for an eight-year old boy after the bike he got for his birthday was stolen.

A Massachusetts bike charity gave 200 bicycles to help children in need.

The bike boom is claiming a victim in the Philadelphia area, as an 85-year old family-owned bike shop is shutting its doors because they can’t get the bikes and parts they need to stay in business.

A Virginia nonprofit donated 23 custom-built adaptive bicycles to children with disabilities; the organization was founded by a disabled vet who personally learned the difference an adaptive bike could make in his life.

Over 130 bike riders turned out to honor a 57-year old North Carolina man who was murdered in an apparently random attack as he rode his bike on a local bike path.

No bias here, either. A New Orleans man was killed when an on-duty cop crashed into his bike with his patrol car; as always, the cops blame the victim for somehow coming into the officer’s lane.

 

International

International financial services giant Deloitte predicts the rate of bicycle commuting will double around the world over the next three years, as technological changes make riding faster, easier and safer.

One unexpected effect of the coronavirus bike boom — bike thefts in an English town are up as secondhand bike prices spike.

The Guardian offers tips on how to keep your bike from being stolen. Or maybe just how to keep your bike, period.

A British man uses himself as proof that heavier people can ride bikes, too.

Frightening story from the UK, where a man’s bike and cycling shoes were stolen after he was rammed with a van.

The bike boom has come to Finland, too

It’s not often that a story can be heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. A two-year old Polish boy rode a trike for the first time after losing both feet to sepsis when he was just an infant; he was initially given just a 0.1% chance of survival.

An Indian paper says unlike European cities, bike commuting in Delhi is fraught with danger for the poor. Meanwhile, Bengaluru is crowdsourcing routes to create the city’s first European-style cycling district.

More people are riding bicycles in Singapore, although one rider describes biking in the city as “a pain.”

 

Competitive Cycling

Since the Tour de France is available to nearly everyone on cable TV, we’re going back to our usual spoiler-free recaps, in case anyone is letting the race stagnate in their viewing queue.

Stage one of the Tour delivered a surprise winner in a rainy, crash-filled stage. Or at least it was a surprise to everyone but the eventual winner.

Sunday’s stage winner out-sprinted the peloton to claim the race, and dedicated the race to his late father, who passed away in June. Philippe Gilbert and John Degenkolb are already out, and a number of riders started the second stage banged up.

Monday’s stage three should be a day for the sprinters.

A 23-year old California man became the first Native American to take part in the Tour de France, and one of just three Americans in this year’s race.

CNN looks at the problems of staging what they call the world’s toughest bike race in the middle of a pandemic.

The men get 21 stages in the Tour de France, but the women get just one. Britain’s Lizzie Deignan out sprinted defending champion Marianne Vos to win La Course, a one-day, 60-mile circuit race.

In the latest cycling scandal, Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Davide Bramati was caught on camera removing something from the pocket of injured cyclist Remco Evenepoel and covertly slipping it into his own pocket, after Evenepoel crashed in Il Lombardia.

 

Finally…

If your girlfriend rejects your proposal, it may not be the best idea to respond by whacking her with your bike. Just what every bicyclist needs — a combination stationary bike, back scratcher and cookie dispenser.

And bike racing has been around longer than the talkies.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

……

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

Bike helmets don’t protect against cars, self-driving radar finally sees cyclists, and anti-racism in outdoor industry

An executive for Giro confesses what we’ve been saying for years — bike helmets were never intended to protect against crashes with cars.

“There are many misconceptions about helmets, unfortunately,” says Giro’s Richter. “We do not design helmets specifically to reduce chances or severity of injury when impacts involve a car. As mentioned earlier, the number of variables is too great to calculate – the speed of the car, the mass, the angle of impact, the rider, the surface, the speed of the rider, did the driver or rider swerve a little or hit the brakes before impact. All of these variables and more are unique in every instance, and there is no way to accurately predict what is going to happen or the forces involved.

“What we do is work to make riders more visible, create helmets that provide relevant coverage so that riders wear them whenever they ride, and advocate for better infrastructure to help reduce the chances that you’d encounter an impact with a car.”

In other words, ride defensively and fight for safer streets.

And wear a helmet to protect against falls.

But don’t count on it to protect against distracted or careless drivers, because that’s not what it’s designed for.

………

The big problem with self-driving cars has been their inability to recognize bike riders and respond correctly.

Now a new doppler radar system developed by Princeton University claims to be able to spot bicyclists, even around corners.

………

Today’s must read comes from pro cyclist Ayesha McGowan, who looks at how we can build an anti-racist outdoor industry. And says the work must continue long after the protests stop.

Before a few weeks ago, it didn’t seem like the outdoor industry was very concerned with Black lives, but now that the calls for action are extending beyond BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) consumers, there’s a sudden interest. I will admit I still can’t believe that we’ve made it to a place where it’s frowned upon to be anything other than loud and emphatic about what your company is going to do to help protect Black lives. But here we are. This is a moment for action. White tears, white guilt, and empty words are a waste of everyone’s time and energy. The blinders are finally off, so what are you going to do now? What does action look like?…

Don’t just focus on Black grief and Black death. Include Black joy. We are more than our struggle, we aren’t just fighting to stop being murdered, we are fighting for the right and the ability to live full lives. We want to ride bikes, climb mountains, traverse slot canyons, and surf waves. Black folks deserve to enjoy the outdoors in every way. We all have to work together in order to make that experience feel truly free so that Black people don’t have to risk our lives to enjoy it. “

Meanwhile, a writer for the Eno Center for Transportation calls out the problem of unequal enforcement when it comes to Black and brown pedestrians and bike riders.

………

Up to 10,00 New York bike riders turned out for the city’s fifth mass bike protest ride, calling out what they call the “pernicious history of America’s tainted Fourth of July holiday.”

………

If you’re going to use your ebike to tow a plane, try turning off the plane’s automatic safety shutdown system first.

………

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

Three British men face charges after chasing down a man on a bike and attacking him with a samurai sword when he stopped to defend himself.

The Daily Mail says dog walkers have thrown logs at bike riders, and people have booby trapped bike trails with nails, as tensions boil over due to bike riders and pedestrians competing for the same limited space during the UK’s pandemic lockdown.

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

Police in Virginia are on the lookout for a serial butt slapper who has been assaulting women on a local bike path. And no, that’s not funny.

………

Local

A new study ranks Pasadena as the ninth healthiest city in the US, in part thanks to a “vast network of bicycle lanes and parks.” Which may come as a surprise to many people who ride there.

Santa Monica has charged three people with allegedly looting the REI and Patagonia stores, among others, during the first weekend of Black Lives Matter protest, as they took advantage of the peaceful protests to make off with at least one bicycle.

 

State

Caltrans has adopted a new high-priority action plan to reduce car use and improve walking, bicycling and transit throughout state, including an additional $100 million to spend on bike and pedestrian projects.

North American mountain bike resorts are slowly reopening after the pandemic lockdown, including California’s Mammoth Mountain, but with new restrictions in place.

 

National

They get it. Popular Science says cities are failing bike riders, despite a 28% increase in ridership in the US thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. And bike lanes are just the beginning of what needs to be done.

A writer for Jalopnik discovers the feeling that comes when you sell a couple of old Schwinn, and spend the money to buy another one.

Bicycling offers advice on when to replace your chain, and how.

Bike shoes you can wear whether you do your cycling inside or out. Or both.

Some jerk drove through the door of a Portland bike shop and stole a prototype ebike the owners developed in conjunction with Phil Wood & Company.

Oregon is removing new highway guardrails that improved safety for drivers while increasing the risk for people on bikes.

Life is cheap in Boise, Idaho, where a driver walked without a single day behind bars despite killing an elderly couple in their 80s as they walked in a crosswalk.

A Denver outdoors site says bike theft is on the rise in the city, and offers advice on what to do about it. Then again, the same story could be written about virtually any major city in North America, including Los Angeles.

Talk about not getting it. A Denver TV station offers a warning to new bike commuters about the dangers on the roads. But illustrates it with an amateur racer who fractured his skull after hitting a rock while descending at 40 mph.

A Change.org petition calls for Yeti Cycles to stop calling their owners a tribe; so far, fewer than 400 people have signed.

A Fargo ND bike shop owner explains why it’s so hard to buy a bike these days.

After someone stole the bike a North Dakota boy saved up $400 to buy, the community came together to replace it.

As if Texas drivers weren’t enough to deal with, someone hacked a Forth Worth bikeshare and likely stole customers’ credit card information.

Bike riders in Tulsa, Oklahoma turned out for a two hour ride in honor of a police sergeant who was fatally shot during a traffic stop.

A kindhearted cop talked a Walmart manager into giving a nine-year old Ohio girl a new bike after hers was stolen for the second time.

Yes, that’s J.Lo and A-Rod under those masks and on their bikes in the Hamptons.

According to the local paper, a 15-year old New Jersey boy was killed when he was run down by a Chevy SUV, followed by a Ford SUV — neither of which had drivers, apparently.

 

International

Bosch offers a first look at the ebike of the future, complete with an onboard computer and ABS brakes.

Bike Radar writers offer tips on things they wish they’d known as beginning riders.

An excerpt from a new book tells the story of a Canadian mountain biker who disappeared without a trace in 2014.

A London-based Vogue editor explains how she overcame her reluctance to ride a bike in the city.

No bias here. A British member of parliament forced the removal of a popup bike lane due to the “predicted traffic chaos” that might be caused by what he called a “nonsensical cycle scheme.”

The 15-year old Indian girl who carried her injured father 700 miles back home on the back of her bike now has a movie deal to make a Bollywood film based on her life.

 

Competitive Cycling

A writer for Bicycling pens an open letter to Lance, and says yes, it was about the bike. It was always about the bike.

Meanwhile, Cyclingnews recounts the difficulty of covering the press averse, yet publicity hungry, ex-Tour de France champ.

 

Finally…

Who needs an expensive ebike when you’ve got an old washing machine motor? This is about what you’d get if you crossed an ebike with your kid’s Hot Wheels.

And nothing like swapping parts while popping wheelies.

………

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

LA has America’s worst traffic, NY bike rider accused of pedaling 80 mph, and man gets his 14th DUI on a Buffet bike

No surprise here, as a new survey ranks Los Angeles as America’s worst traffic city.

If you have the patience to click through all 51 pages, you’ll see we’re in good company here in the late, great Golden State, with San Francisco checking in at #3, followed by San Jose at #4.

Also in America’s top — or maybe bottom 50, you’ll find San Diego at #12, Riverside at #16, Sacramento at #18, Fresno #27, and Bakersfield at #31.

Yes, Bakersfield.

The good news, though, is that Los Angeles has only the 31st worst traffic worldwide. So it could be worse.

And probably will be if we keep adding more and more cars to the streets, without providing safe alternatives to driving.

On the other hand, Los Angeles isn’t even on the list of America’s 20 deadliest cities for people on bicycles, per capita.

Although Southern California is well represented by San Bernardino (#3), Chula Vista (#6) and Bakersfield (#11).

Yes, bucolic, fog-shrouded Bakersfield is the only SoCal city to make both unlucky lists. If you want to stretch the definition of Southern California a little.

However, the point of the second list is to show how many of those people killed in each city were wearing helmets at the time of the crash. Bakersfield checks in with a big, fat zero, as does Chula Vista; San Bernardino does a little better with 14% helmet use.

As always, though, there’s no breakdown on how many of those people died as a result of head injuries, or whether their injuries might have been survivable even with a helmet.

So take it with a grain of salt. If not an entire bag.

But you might want to be careful riding in Bakersfield.

Photo by Aayush Srivastava from Pexels.

………

Unbelievable.

A Rochester NY bike rider got rear-ended by a pizza delivery driver while trying to make a left on a surface street, despite reflective panniers, a red blinkie and a reflective rain suit.

Naturally, the driver played the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, claiming he never saw the victim until he was on his hood.

But about a month later, the guy on the bike was sued in small claims court for $900 in damages to the car that hit him.

Somehow, though, the location of the crash described in the suit moved from a surface street to an Interstate highway. And instead of rear-ending the victim, the driver claimed the guy on the bike hit him while pedaling at 60 mph.

Or maybe 80.

When a reporter asked him about the bike’s remarkably high speed, the pizza man claimed it was doable if the victim was riding an expensive bike.

So maybe those $12,000 or more bikes are worth it, after all.

………

This is who we share the road with.

A Michigan man will spend the next four to ten years behind bars after he was busted for his 14th DUI in 38 years, while on the maiden ride of a motorized Jimmy Buffet-themed bicycle he’d finished building out.

Despite telling officers he’d had just one beer four hours earlier, his BAC measured 0.17 — over twice the legal limit, or “super drunk” under Michigan law.

But he will get eight days credit for time served.

Just to be clear, alcoholism is a disease.

But deciding to get behind the wheel after drinking — or on the saddle of a motorized bike — is just plain, old fashioned stupidity.

………

Speaking of who we share the road with…

That’s exactly the kind of truck that killed nine-year old Nicholas Vela in Anaheim in 2009, because the driver couldn’t see a little kid riding his bike in the crosswalk directly in front of him after he stopped for a stop sign.

I’ve never forgotten the sheer, effing needlessness of Vela’s death, all because a driver somehow felt the need to jack up his pickup to the maximum level allowed by law.

Something tells me he never will, either.

Maybe someday someone can tell me why machines like this are even allowed on the streets.

Because I’ll never get it.

………

Enough said.

………

Here’s your chance to learn how to wrench your own track bike.

………

The latest online trend appears to be barely dressed young — or mostly youngwomen posing on, if not actually riding, bicycles.

Personally, I’ll take Walmart’s Grumpy Gran on a bike, instead.

………

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

Two Miami salmon bicyclists are lucky to be alive, as police search for a driver who intentionally tried to hit them head-on.

………

Local

This is the cost of traffic violence, as one of LA’s top chefs will be out of action for awhile after he was seriously injured when he was run down by a driver on Pico Blvd last week.

Metro will be free on Election Day, including a single 30-minute ride on Metro Bike. But with ten days of advanced voting in LA County prior to next Tuesday, isn’t every day this week Election Day?

Speaking of Metro Bike, the LA bikeshare network just installed its 200th docking station at the intersection of Sunset and Silver Lake.

CiclaValley tags along as Gravel Bike California grinds through Eagle Rock and Topanga State Park.

 

State

Calbike is hosting their annual California Dream Ride down the Left Coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles in October. And not only are ebikes allowed, they’ll let you borrow one if needed.

Silicon Valley cycling isn’t going away, it’s just shifting from fast paced venture capitalists to casual coffee and cake rides.

It may not be the carfree street that’s been discussed, but San Francisco’s Valencia Street will be getting protected bike lanes, complete with protected intersections.

Bay Area bikeshare users are revolting online after Lyft jacks up the prices for their dockless ebikes, while Uber’s Jump ebikes withdraw from the area.

No surprise here, as weekend ridership in the new barrier protected lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge is over three times the weekday figure.

 

National

Curbed’s Alissa Walker says the failure of the US to sign onto a worldwide pledge to eliminate traffic deaths is the safe streets equivalent of withdrawing from the Paris climate accord.

Your next pen could write anywhere, on anything. And comes in a handy hi-viz to make you more visible as you ride your bike with it in your pocket. Thanks to Robert Leone for the heads-up.

How the bicycle almost became the Humvee of the 1890s.

They get it. Vancouver, Washington decides to remove 400 street side parking spaces to make room for protected bike lanes, after concluding that the safety of pedestrians and bike riders is more important than convenient parking.

Moving essay from a Charlotte NC advocate argues you shouldn’t have to wrap yourself up in Christmas lights with a flashing helmet to be seen and safe on a bicycle. And if you don’t have the decency to stop after a crash, you shouldn’t be driving in the first place.

A Miami-area councilwoman got “clipped” by an apparently driverless car she claimed couldn’t see her while riding on a sidewalk. But only an innocent hedge was held accountable. Seriously, if the car had a driver, someone would have mentioned it. Right?

If you want to get along with Florida drivers, move to Boca Raton.

 

International

A Cambridge, England safety barrier is intended to protect against terrorists, but could be putting bicyclists at risk instead.

Cycling Weekly discusses ten bespoke British bike brands.

A hit-and-run driver who killed a South African bike rider will finally end up behind bars, after dropping his seven-plus year appeal of a modest three-year sentence; if he hadn’t fought it, he could have been out four years ago.

A Texas couple is traversing Australia by bike and on foot, just because they want to.

 

Competitive Cycling

Chris Froome opens up about the training crash that almost ended his cycling career, and the excruciating comeback to get back on his bike.

US Olympic medalist and world champ Chloé Dygert didn’t even want to be a cyclist, but her dad kept buying her bikes until she gave in.

The Tokyo Olympics could be at risk of being cancelled due to the coronavirus.

 

Finally…

When your rack needs a rack. Repeat after me — if you’re riding a bike with meth, a knife and drug paraphernalia in your backpack, put a damn light on it.

And if you want to make sure passing drivers give you a wide berth, this ought to do it.

Morning Links: LA misses newest list of US bike-friendly cities, best bike helmets, and All City Toy Ride on Friday the 13th

No surprise here.

A day after Los Angeles — which was named America’s worst bike city just one year ago — was inexplicably ranked 20th on a list of the world’s most bike-friendly cities, it didn’t even make the top ten American cities in another.

But Long Beach did.

According to real estate site Redfin, Minneapolis lead the list of the most bikeable cities in the US, followed by Portland, Chicago, Denver and San Francisco.

All of which have been busy building connected bikeway networks.

Then again, so have the others on the list. Including Long Beach, which checked in at number ten.

So while it hasn’t yet accomplished its goal of being America’s most bike-friendly city, Long Beach — by far the smallest city on the list — is getting there, at least by some standards.

And continues to lap its much larger neighbor to the north.

………

Let’s talk bike helmets in the news.

LA-based Wheels e-scooters will now come with a bike helmet built into the frame, complete with a disposable liner to theoretically protect from whatever the previous user had in his or her hair. I’ll pass, thanks.

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech has come out with their latest list of the top ten bike helmets, based on rigorous testing. And finds that MIPS rules the roost, but Bontrager’s WaveCel isn’t far behind.

Dr. Oz jumps on the bike helmet bandwagon, saying 541,000 bicyclists were treated for head injuries between 2014 and 2017.

Just to clarify, I always wear a helmet when I ride. But I never forget that bike helmets are designed to protect against slow-speed falls, not getting hit by a speeding driver in an SUV. And should always be seen as the last line of defense when all else fails.

Not the first.

………

LA’s annual Midnight Ridazz toy ride will roll this weekend, making Friday the 13th a lucky day for kids who might not otherwise get a toy for the holidays.

………

Forget the impeachment.

Clearly, the biggest year-end news remains that infamous Peloton ad. Which just won’t go away, no matter how much we close our eyes and click our heels together.

The actress who will forever be known as the Peloton Wife says she feels very lucky, and people have been so nice since the whole ad controversy broke. Unlike the way the Peloton Husband has been treated, who just hopes it won’t kill his acting career.

A CNN writer, and “hooked” Peloton user, considers it just a faux controversy.

The company’s stock dropped 6% yesterday to $32.55 after a short-selling analyst said it’s only worth $5 a share.

And with tongue placed firmly in cheek, Elle says the biggest snub in Monday’s Golden Globes nominations was the lack of noms for the entire Peloton Wife Cinematic Universe.

Now, can this all just please go away? Pretty please?

………

Who says Contador has lost it?

Although his win may be given to Schleck in a few years pending dope tests.

………

‘Tis the Season.

An unknown urbanist guerrilla secretly decorated a Chicago protected bike for the holidays.

The “Bike Man” of Springfield MA has dedicated whatever time he has left to building bikes for kids after being diagnosed with a degenerative brain disease from his work as a bouncer; he’s given away over 1,400 bicycles, including a custom-made bike for a girl with dwarfism.

A North Carolina woman will give away nearly 1,500 bikes, continuing the tradition her late husband started 30 years ago.

An Alabama rural health association will team with a bank to give away 100 bikes to kids next week.

Runner’s World considers the best gifts for the bike rider in your life. Which means Bicycling will probably be out with a gift list for runners any day.

And the San Diego Chargers of Los Angeles once again played bike Santa for some LA kids.

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

A Wichita KS bike rider hopped off his bike to write a racial slur in the middle of a residential street before riding off. But at least the racist jerk did it in chalk.

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Looks like the 5th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive is still going strong.

So let me offer a heartfelt thank you to Paul F, Nina M and Dennis E for their generous donations to the fund drive.

Your support helps ensure all the best bike news and advocacy will keep coming your way every day!

………

Local

A ghost bike will be placed Thursday night for the man killed in a collision while riding his bike at Victory and Kester in Van Nuys last week.

The mother of fallen bicyclist Frederick “Woon” Frazier will host a protest walk on Saturday to remember her son and demand solutions to hit-and-runs.

A new interactive map shows LA’s most dangerous areas for pedestrians, with pedestrian injuries and deaths skyrocketing in the five years since Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Vision Zero, but failed to implement it. The same streets usually correspond with the most dangerous places for bike riders, as well.

CiclaValley takes a video ride along DTLA’s new Main Street protected bike lanes.

Los Angeles is handing the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority responsibility for maintaining and patrolling the LA River Bike Path through the West San Fernando Valley, replacing a jumble of jurisdictions as part of a pilot program.

A Long Beach man was hospitalized in stable condition after his bike was struck by a hit-and-run driver in a stolen car; police found the vehicle after the driver ditched it in an alley and walked away.

 

State

The LA Times says maybe the reason Californians can’t drive is because they can’t decipher the DMV’s confusing driver’s handbook.

Caltrans new executive director says his primary goal is improving safety, followed by a switch to multimodalism.

Donate just five bucks to support San Diego trails, and you would win a free Canyon Strive mountain bike courtesy of Canyon, the Belgian Waffle Ride, and the San Diego Mountain Biking Association.

Opening a new front in the never-ending battle against induced demand, a Lake Elsinore freeway interchange will get a $45 million expansion. But at least they’ve got the good sense to improve walkways and bike lanes as part of the work.

Who says bike riders aren’t tough? After a Sunnyvale man suffered a non-life threatening injury in a drive-by shooting, police found him half a mile from the crime scene because he kept riding, despite the injury.

A Palo Alto columnist says Idaho Stop or not, you’re putting your life at risk by riding through stop signs or red lights — especially without lights on your bike.

A San Francisco bike shop plans to reopen in a week or so after it was damaged in a strip mall fire early Friday morning, along with another shop.

Sad news from Empire, where a 27-year old man was killed when he rode around railroad crossing arms in the fog and was struck by an Amtrak train. One more tragic reminder to never go around lowered crossing arms, even if you don’t see a train. They’re down for a reason.

 

National

City Lab says carfree streets will soon be the norm. We can only hope.

Paul Reubens — aka Pee-wee Herman — is going on tour next year to mark the 35th anniversary of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, including stops at the Wiltern in Los Angeles next February, as well as in San Diego and San Francisco.

Outside honors their Outsiders of the Year, including teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg and American world mountain biking champ Kate Courtney.

The late Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volker was one of us, riding his bike across Europe instead of writing his doctoral thesis while attending the London School of Economics in the 1950s.

Condo shoppers in Chicago, Minneapolis and Portland are considering the building’s bikeability as the determining factor before buying.

Boise, Idaho mountain bikers got a shiny new bike park for Christmas this year, complete with double black diamond trails.

A Milwaukee bike burglar was busted for multiple break-ins to steal bicycles, including hitting a bike co-op dedicated to providing repairs and jobs for youths four times.

Seriously? An apparently well-meaning Minnesota college student says it’s time to study the problem of distracted bicycling. Trust me, that’s not what’s killing them.

No surprise here, as a new study from Queens NY shows that women are more likely to bike if there’s a protected bike lane.

A writer for Patch in Pennsylvania confirms the site’s lack of veracity, by saying Vision Zero isn’t working because its primary goal is to increase daytime traffic congestion. Um, no. And Los Angeles and Chicago weren’t the first cities to adopt it, either.

 

International

A writer for London’s Independent newspaper says Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative party claims to support bicycling, but their platform suggests just the opposite.

Stranded in London overnight, a tourist rented a bikeshare bike and rode it 67 miles around the city, visiting 25 landmarks in eight hours.

An English bike rider says he survived a sudden heart attack while riding thanks to some Good Samaritans and a nearby defibrillator.

A British rider rented a three-geared bikeshare bike, drove 680 miles to France, rode it up the legendary Alpe d’Huez and returned it to the docking station, all within 24 hours.

Thieves backed a truck up to a UK bike shop and made off with 60 new bikes, many still in the box.

She gets it. A Dublin, Ireland writer says the city has to make alternatives to driving into the city more attractive to commuters. More proof that the problems, and the solutions, are the same all over the world.

Your next custom bicycle could come from a 100-year old Parisian bespoke bikemaker. I mean, just in case anyone has me on their Secret Santa list this year.

Amsterdam’s bike mayor says bicycling can save the world.

An Aussie mom-to-be says she’s still biking to work while eight months pregnant, despite the comments of concerned onlookers.

Fortune considers the rapid rise and fall of China’s bikeshare companies. And says you might want to consider those lessons before investing in the country’s artificial intelligence startups.

 

Competitive Cycling

Sprinting great Mark Cavendish will be looking to regain his former speed with the newly-unveiled Bahrain-McLaren cycling team, after the famed sports car builder took half ownership of the team. Maybe this will help.

Oregon’s Bicycle Racing Association will allow a board member accused of “pervasive transphobia” to keep his position.

 

Finally…

Once again, if you’re carrying coke, meth and weed in your coat, put a damn light on your bike. No, really, if you’re carrying meth, pain killers and a metal club in your backpack, don’t hand your bicycle to someone fleeing the police on foot.

And it appears the well-dressed manatee will not be wearing a bicycle tire this holiday season.

 

Morning Links: More mandatory helmet fallout, dog hitches ride at Phil’s Fondo, and SaMo bikeshare may go dockless

In yet more fallout from the NTSB’s ill-considered call for mandatory bike helmets, a Fresno paper questions whether they’re really needed for adults.

That’s despite living in what they say is one of the nation’s most deadly cities for bike riders.

Meanwhile, executive director of the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition says “The problem isn’t that we don’t wear helmets, it’s that we’re forced to share space with much faster vehicles.

Photo by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay.

………

Local

Phil Gaimon’s Phil’s Fondo brought out hundreds of bicyclists to ride the Santa Monica Mountains, along with one miniature bulldog who hitched a ride in his owner’s backpack.

Santa Monica is considering getting rid the docks for its Breeze bikeshare, replacing the current system with dockless ebikes.

 

State

Bike Mag says San Diego’s mountain bike scene is finally on the rise. Or maybe they’re just discovering it.

No bias here. A writer for a San Diego paper calls e-scooters today’s Pet Rock — and simultaneously a plaything for 30-somethings, a toy best suited for children, and what’s keeping Millennials from walking.

That’s more like it. San Francisco plans to address the need for more bike and scooter parking by installing 100 new bike racks every month for the foreseeable future.

A Bay Area bike advocate says the new protected bike and pedestrian lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge may not draw a lot of regular use, but it’s a better transportation policy than adding another motor vehicle lane.

Sacramento is done handing out warnings, and ready to crackdown on scofflaw bikeshare and scooter riders.

 

National

Presidential candidate and former VP Joe Biden offers a $1 trillion transportation plan that keeps America addicted to motor vehicles.

Good question. A science writer says she cares about climate change, so why does she still drive an SUV?

A Kansas paper totally misses the point, after woman followed a man in her car before trying to run him down as he jumped off just in time, then chased him across the parking lot with it. But the local paper only says she hit a bike ridden by a man. Note to Salina Journal — the past tense of ride is rode, not road.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. A Chicago woman only faces a trio of misdemeanor charges for killing a man riding a bike, despite driving with a suspended license.

A former Minnesota Ford plant will be redeveloped as a low-income housing community, with an emphasis on getting around by bicycling, walking and transit.

Bighearted Kentucky residents pitched in to buy a new bicycle for a 62-year old local celebrity after his was mangled when he was hit by a motorist; the man is known for riding his bike around town and waving as he goes by.

New York police are looking for a group of men who surrounded a delivery rider, striking him in the head before making off with his ebike.

The Virginia Tech student newspaper says trading a car for a bicycle could be one of the best decisions students could make during their time on campus.

Kindhearted Virginia race organizers buy a new handcycle for a man who lost both legs due to complications from diabetes.

Police say the Florida bike rider who was run down by a hit-and-run driver in a crosswalk after rolling a stop wasn’t at fault, because regardless of any other factors, drivers are required to stop for anyone in a crosswalk — including people on bikes.

 

International

A new European study shows that bicycling just 20 minutes is enough to ward off heart disease in people over 60.

The Sun says a “shocking” study shows 20% of British men can’t ride a bike. Which really just means a full 80% can, which is pretty damn good.

The founder of London’s Black Cycling Network says he was stopped and frisked by a cop who swore he could smell weed on him.

Four women take a video boat and mountain tour of Norway and Sweden.

Modern Family star Ariel Winter is one of us, posing with a bicycle in front of an Amsterdam canal. There’s just something about a bicycle that makes anyone look good. Although it helps if you already look good without one, too. 

Uber is preparing to make the big jump to Rome with their dockless Jump ebikes, hoping that Romans won’t trash them like they have every other bikeshare system that dared besmirch the city’s streets.

A Romanian bicycle factory promises to be the biggest in Europe, producing 1.5 million bikes a year.

A pair of Indian parliament members arrive by bike for the current session.

 

Competitive Cycling

UCI is making plans for an annual, cross-discipline world championships that would award titles in virtually every form of cycling over a two-week period.

 

Finally…

If you’re trying to escape the cops on a stolen bike, try to keep it upright. Seriously, it’s not that hard — even a dog can do it.

And how many times do we have to say it? If you’re already on probation and riding your bike carrying a concealed weapon after dark, put a damn light on it.

The bike, not the gun.

………

On a personal note, we’re once more hearing the pitter patter of corgi feet around our apartment. We’re fostering a ten-year old corgi for the next few months while his owner is in rehab. 

This is Bowser — that’s really his name — sleeping off the trauma of what his owner claims was his first ever bath. 

And yes, he smelled like it.

 

 

Morning Links: Motion to unprotect Yucca Street, more on the Great Helmet Debate, and Elizabeth Warren gets it

It’s hard to fight for safer streets when we have to keep fighting to protect what little we already have.

Case in point:

motion before the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council would remove a key traffic diverter from LA’s first — and shamefully, only — bicycle boulevard, on Yucca Street in Hollywood.

Also known as bicycle friendly street in LA bike plan parlance.

The motion would remove the diverter on Yucca Street at Las Palmas Ave that allows bicycle traffic to pass through while diverting motor vehicle traffic off the street, to create a low-stress environment for people on bicycles.

Something that’s desperately needed in high-stress Hollywood, which is virtually devoid of bicycling infrastructure.

Unless you consider sharrows more than just something to help drivers improve their aim.

The Yucca Street motion will be heard at the council’s 6 pm board meeting this Wednesday at the Will and Ariel Durant Branch Library on Sunset Blvd just west of La Brea.

………

More on the seemingly endless Great Bike Helmet Debate.

A writer for Bicycling argues that mandatory helmet laws actually make riders less safe.

And Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter says he got it wrong, and Peter Flax got it right regarding the NTSB’s call for mandatory bike helmet laws, instead fixing the problems that are really killing bike riders.

………

One presidential candidate gets it, anyway.

Elizabeth Warren marks World Remembrance Day for traffic victims with a call to end traffic violence. Thanks to Ms. Fast for the link.

Meanwhile, the transportation minister for Trinidad and Tobago marked World Remembrance Day by saying bike riders will be given more space on the roads in one of the island nation’s most developed areas; that follows the deaths of two bicyclists killed on a club ride last year. Thanks to Stormin’ Norman for the tip.

That compares to Los Angeles, where city officials said nothing to mark the day.

Let alone actually do something about it.

………

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

Police in the UK are looking for the victim of a drive-by BB gun attack after witnesses saw him knocked off his bike and into a ditch by the shooting; the jackass behind the wheel also spooked the horses being ridden by a group of kids.

Now that’s a close pass. A group of British bike riders were lucky to avoid getting run down by a driver in a massive truck speeding down on a narrow country road, who missed them by mere inches as he blew by in the opposite direction.

………

Local

LAist says yes, you can take your bike on Metro buses and trains. Even if the space reserved for bikes on trains is usually full of people without them.

Long Beach gets a $275,000 grant to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety through workshops on the importance of reflective armbands, bike lights, reflectors and helmets. If they really want to improve safety, skip the workshops and stand on any corner to pass out lights, and arm and ankle bands.

 

State

Calbike has a new policy director, promoting former Senior Policy Advocate Linda Khamoushian from inside the organization.

The Orange County Register takes a brief look at yesterday’s Meet on the Beach carfree festival through seven Orange County communities.

San Diego bike riders beware. The city’s police department will be cracking down on traffic violations that put bike riders and pedestrians at risk today, regardless of who commits them. So stop for stop signs, signal your turns and lane changes, and otherwise ride to the letter of the law until you pass the city limit lines.

More bad news from San Diego, where yet another bike rider has suffered life-threatening injuries when he was struck by a pickup driver while ghost riding another bicycle; neither bike had lights.

To complete today’s San Diego trifecta, a lawsuit filed against the city by a bike rider paralyzed in a meth-fueled crash with a wrong way driver on Fiesta Island is finally going to court after five years.

I want to be like them when I grow up. A group of Santa Barbara friends ranging in age from 83 to 91 are still riding together after nearly 60 years.

San Jose residents are complaining about a bicycle chop shop in a homeless camp along the Guadalupe River Trail. You can find countless others just like it down here in Southern California.

A San Jose site takes a deep dive into why the city’s quest for safer streets has failed, resulting in worsening rates for bicycling and pedestrian injuries. Thanks to Robert Leone for the heads-up.

The long-awaited protected bike and pedestrian lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge across the San Francisco Bay finally opened, drawing “hordes” of bike riders that opponents said wouldn’t show up.

 

National

A new study confirms what many of us have suspected — that subtle shifts in how news stories about crashes are reported can affect how readers assess the blame, and what should be done about it.

Who says you need a car to pick up a little extra cash?

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says if you actually look at the numbers, e-scooters aren’t very scary at all.

An Anchorage AK police officer faces charges for allegedly punching a bike rider and kicking him in the nuts in what began as a traffic stop for not having lights on his bike, after the man had sworn at and flipped off a line of police cars; the cop snatched the phone the victim was recording him with, but it continued to record audio of the assault.

A Seattle-area driver fled the scene of a crash at speeds of up to 60 mph after running down a man on a bicycle, dragging his bike under the car for nearly a mile, then covering the car with blankets to hide the damage; when investigators examined the car, they found it peppered with rice from the groceries the victim was carrying.

This is why I like Phil Gaimon. The LA-based former pro is using his new-found celebrity to support No Kid Hungry, stopping in Houston to talk cycling, charity and cookies as part of a nationwide fundraising tour for the group.

An Oklahoma man faces charges for using his car as a weapon to run down a bike rider following a drug deal gone bad.

Chicago bike riders respond to recent deaths by saying the city is falling behind in protecting bicyclists by failing to build more protected lanes and requiring side guards on trucks, along with keeping people and businesses from parking in bike lanes.

A New York State man has been sentenced to 28 months to seven years behind bars for killing a bike rider while driving drunk, then driving home, changing cars and coming back to the scene; he drove to the sheriff’s office to turn himself in after seeing the victim’s body lying in the street.

North Carolina’s Department of Transportation is complaining that local officials and residents don’t want their quiet country roads turned into virtual superhighways. Go figure.

Ben Affleck is one of us, riding his muddy bike through the streets of New Orleans.

I want to be like him when I grow up, too. A Florida pastor celebrates his birthday by riding his age with an 82-mile journey.

A Florida bike rider rolls through a stop sign on a bike path, and into the path of a driver who doesn’t bother to stop — neither before, or for very long after hitting him. And throws his hands up in frustration when he realizes going to get hit. The video captures the full crash, so be sure you really want to see that before clicking the link.

 

International

A Vancouver man is the latest bicyclist to ride every street in his own city.

She gets it. A Toronto op-ed writer says if we want people to give up their cars, we have to fix our streets first. Meanwhile, a writer for City Lab says it will take more than an app to get people out of their cars.

And we thought LA had bad streets. Over 250 people on bicycles have been injured or killed by potholes in the UK.

A English man broke a 133-year old record by riding a Penny Farthing 874 miles from one end of Britain to the other, breaking the old record by 13 hours. Of course, one reason the record stood so long is because it was set on a Penny Farthing.

A British police conduct board has concluded that officers aren’t responsible for the death of a 75-year old man pushing his bicycle up a hill, who was killed by a driver trying to escape the cops at speeds up to 80 mph.

An Irish senator accepted a challenge to get out on a bike himself after tweeting a complaint about bike riders last week, and concludes that maybe he should have seen the conditions bicyclists actually face on the streets before complaining.

They get it, too. Germany is planning to expand bicycling infrastructure and dedicate more road space to bike riders to protect them and fight climate change.

Bicycles are making a comeback in Calcutta, aka Kolkata, after being banned from 174 major streets until just 17 years ago.

A drunken hit-and-run driver talks about the emotional weight she carries after killing a 15-year old New Zealand boy riding his bike last year, and how hard she was slapped on the wrist by being confined to her home for a whole 11 months. Although it probably doesn’t compare to the emotional burden the kid’s parents will carry for the rest of their lives.

A trio of Kiwi brothers are making names for themselves throughout New Zealand for their mountain biking skills — even if the oldest is just 12-years old.

 

Competitive Cycling

Evidently, the pros feel the same way we do. Four months after Italian cyclist Alessandro de Marchi was seriously injured when he crashed out of the Tour de France, he was livid after a dangerously close pass on a training ride nearly put him back in the emergency room; naturally, the driver told him to go to hell when he complained.

America’s only remaining Tour de France winner looks over the crop of rising young American cyclists, and concludes there may be hope for us yet.

Every superhero has an origin story. British cyclist Katie Archibald relates how hanging out with the fixie crowd led to track racing in Edinburgh — and eventually an Olympic gold medal. A reminder that you never know where riding a bike could take you. Or the kids just starting out.

 

Finally…

Nothing like a romantic bike ride after getting dissed by Taylor Swift fans. Before stealing London’s longest bike, you might want to consider whether you can actually sell it.

And if you want to advertise bikes by showing a kid riding one on a beachfront pathway, maybe make sure bikes are even allowed there first.

 

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.

………

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.

………

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

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

 

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