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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Morning Links: Feds say wear a helmet or else, cross-country bike tourist killed, and bike parking on South Pas agenda tonight

A new report from the National Transportation Safety Board says the most common cause of bicycling fatalities is drivers passing people on bicycles.

Or rather, failing to.

That’s followed by “problems with parallel bike and vehicle lanes” — presumably meaning painted bike lanes — bicyclists failing to yield and bicyclists making a left turn.

Bearing in mind that those stats are based on police reports that can suffer from a severe case of windshield bias when it comes to assigning blame.

And the NTSB’s recommended solutions?

Protected bike lanes. Blindspot cams for SUVs. And mandatory bike helmet laws in every state.

Seriously.

Never mind that bike helmet laws have been shown to reduce bicycling rates at exactly the time we need to increase riding to fight climate change.

Or that requiring everyone to wear a helmet every time someone rides a bicycle is like addressing gun violence by requiring everyone to wear a bulletproof vest whenever they leave home.

Except bulletproof vests are a hell of a lot more effective than bike helmets, which are designed to protect against a fall off your bike — not an impact with a speeding SUV driver.

And as we’ve pointed out before, they do nothing to protect against injuries to any other part of the body.

As we’ve said before, a bike helmet should always be considered a last line of defense when everything else fails.

Like better infrastructure, lower speed and safer motor vehicles.

Yet the board still approved the last-minute addition to their agenda, even though staff members had specifically recommended against it.

Mike Cane used screen grabs to capture much of the discussion leading up to the vote.

It should be stressed, however, that at this point, it’s just a recommendation for each of the 50 states. Although the NTSB’s recommendations have a habit of getting turned into laws.

Meanwhile, Washington lawmakers from both parties are finally talking about ways to reduce bicycling and pedestrian deaths.

Of course, talking is what they’re good at.

We’ll see if they can actually get anything passed in today’s highly divided Congress.

………

Once again, a bike-riding visitor to this country will be going home in a coffin.

A 27-year old Korean man was killed in South Carolina on Monday when he was struck by a delivery truck driver.

He was riding down the East Coast before turning west, planning to arrive in Los Angeles in early January.

Now he’ll never get here. Or anywhere else.

Seriously, there’s something very wrong when someone can’t visit this country without risking their life.

………

Active SGV reminds us that South Pasadena will consider bicycle parking at tonight’s City Council meeting.

And Megan Lynch reminds South Pasadena to consider the needs of disabled bicyclists.

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He gets it.

Bay Area State Senator Scott Weiner says fighting climate change means making it easier for people to cut back on driving.

………

America’s oldest surviving veteran of the excruciating WWII Battle of Iwo Jima was one of us, still riding his three-wheeled bike two weeks before his death at  103.

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The crowdfunding page for dirt bike legend Micky Dymond has raised just under $24,000 of the $100,000 goal for his medical care, after suffered critical injuries going over the handlebars of his time trial bicycle.

There are a lot worse things you could do with your money.

Thanks to Steve S for the reminder.

………

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

As one OC bike rider learned the hard way yesterday.

But sometimes its the people on bikes behaving badly.

San Diego police are looking for a man who beat another man senseless with a bicycle, or part of it, in a 7-11 parking lot.

………

Local

This is who we share the roads with. After a pedestrian was killed by a street racing, hit-and-run driver while crossing an LA street, dozens of people continued to drive past his body lying in the street without stopping to help.

Curbed’s Alissa Walker says the problem isn’t the new ride hailing management system at LAX, it’s the cars. And it won’t get better until the airport finally embraces mass transit. Thanks to Jeff Vaughn for the heads-up.

Metro approves funding for Rock the Boulevard, a $16.2 million Complete Streets makeover of Eagle Rock Blvd. Even if it will be awhile before we see any changes to the street.

Lime is launching a new hyperlocal ad campaign focusing exclusively on the LA market.

Hollywood Burbank Airport will try to cut its emissions, in part by encouraging employees to bike, carpool or use transit.

Culver City restaurant Hatchet Hall will honor noted LA chef and fallen bicyclist Joe Miller with a special dinner tomorrow night, with proceeds going to No Kid Hungry; the Michelin Star-winning chef died of a heart attack while riding in New York recently.

Santa Monica Next says a record jump in available parking spaces in Downtown Santa Monica presents a rare opportunity to reclaim the city’s streets.

Long Beach wants your input on the city’s Safe Streets Action Plan.

 

State

Instead of encouraging bicycle riders to use bike lights, or providing free lights to riders who don’t have any as other cities have done, San Luis Obispo police will be cracking down on lightless bicyclists with a pop-up checkpoint today, subjecting bike riders to a fine up to $200.

About damn time. San Francisco responds to another traffic death by declaring a state of emergency for pedestrian and bicyclist deaths. Now maybe Los Angeles can take the hint and actually do something about the deaths down here.

Heartbreaking news from Petaluma, where an bike rider who was killed two weeks ago in a crash with a semi driver was identified as an 89-year old man riding an adult tricycle. Anyone who can still ride at that age, on two wheels or three, deserves better.

More bad news comes from nearby Santa Rosa, where a bike rider was killed when he inexplicably crashed into the trailer of a flatbed truck he was riding next to yesterday, in a crash that doesn’t make any sense at all the way its described.

 

National

Depending on how they decide, and how broadly the justices rule, a case currently before the Supreme Court could make hit-and-runs easier to prosecute by ruling that police can assume the owner of a car is the person driving it.

A driving website makes a surprising case for getting rid of your car altogether. Trust me, I’m working on it.

A 70-year old woman is on a six-year quest to ride around and across the United States in the shape of a peace sign; so far, she’s logged over 40,000 miles through the US and Canada.

Outside says mountain bikes make great “self-sufficient adventuremobiles” for bikepacking trips.

Indoor cycling company Bkool has pulled the plug on their turbo trainers and exercise bikes, and will be focusing on the software side of their business.

Evidently, bicycling must be kosher, as the Jewish Journal picks up a story from Wired concluding that the vehicle of the future is a bicycle.

Speaking of the NTSB, the board concluded that the new software for Uber’s self-driving cars would have spotted a bike-riding Tempe AZ woman in time to avoid the crash that killed her.

Congratulations to Virginia’s Juli Briskman; the woman who gained fame by flipping off Trump’s motorcade while riding her bike just got elected to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, where she’ll oversee the president’s golf course.

A Florida state trooper is asked if drivers are allowed to use a bike lane to pass a stopped car. Short answer, no. Longer answer, hell no.

 

International

Your next Segway could be half mountain bike, half dirt bike, and all electric. Although it would be considered a motorcycle under California law, and require a motorcycle helmet and license.

Bike Radar offers advice on how to determine what kind of bike you need, based on how you plan to ride.

The Guardian’s Laura Laker rides a ped-assist ebike from one end of the UK to the other; she joined 800 other bicyclists on the ride, but was one of just two on ebikes.

More heartbreak, as a British man decides to end his life by turning off his ventilator, six years after he was paralyzed in a mountain biking crash.

One hundred Dublin bike riders held a die-in outside city hall to protest the dangers of riding in a city without adequate bicycling infrastructure, following the death of a local man riding his bike.

German students are learning about the Berlin Wall by riding their bikes alongside it, 40 years after it fell.

Ebikes are surging in popularity Down Under, even as a lack of safe bicycling infrastructure puts lives at risk. Just flip the globe over, and you could be talking about Los Angeles.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling looks at the five most badass American women crushing cycling right now.

Former Olympic champ Alexandre Vinokourov and fellow cyclist Alexandr Kolobnev have officially been cleared of fixing the 2010 Liege-Bastogne-Liege race, after prosecutors said they gave them the benefit of the doubt.

New Zealand cyclist George Bennett will be riding next year with three fewer ribs.

 

Finally…

Even world champs get their bikes stolen; teenage state champs, too. When you’re a registered offender riding your BMX with several outstanding warrants, maybe you should try leaving the meth and guns at home.

And nothing like posting your own anti-bike self-own.

 

Morning Links: Mandatory bike helmet law is the wrong answer, Palm Springs death confirmed, and happy birthday Slickrock

Don’t get me wrong. I like David Whiting.

The longtime columnist for the Orange County Register is one of us.

His heart is in the right place, showing time and again he cares deeply about the safety of people on bicycles.

But sometimes, not often, he’s just wrong.

And this is one of those times.

I wish he’d reached out to me before writing his latest column, calling for a mandatory bike helmet law for adults, as well as children.

We could have discussed why that’s a bad idea.

As well as clarifying that while this site is about advocacy, I’ve been the only one behind it since the Corgi died.

We might have started out with this observation.

Two girls, one about eight, the other about six, rip along in the middle of streets on motorized scooters that — and I am not making this up — zoom along at a solid 10 miles an hour.

Now, 10 mph may not seem like a lot if you’re tucked safely in a car. But hitting the asphalt at 10 miles an hour can destroy flesh, bone and skull, especially if a child is struck by a vehicle.

Yet that’s not what terrifies me.

What terrifies me is that these kids don’t wear helmets, an occurrence I see more and more.

I would have pointed out that, yes, anyone under 18 is required to wear a helmet on a scooter, just like on a bicycle.

There’s good reasoning for that. Children’s skulls and brains are still developing, and they lack the judgement to make an informed decision on whether or not to use a helmet.

But you’re also required to be at least 16 year old and have a driver’s license to rent a scooter, let alone ride it. So someone needs to have a good talk with their parents.

Then the conversation might have moseyed along to this study.

Rosenthal and Kreeger is a California law firm that specializes in injuries, but also does actual research that tilts toward actually saving lives.

“Since helmet laws have been instituted in the majority of states, at least for children the death rate for that age group has decreased,” the firm points out. “But research shows that over half of adult bicyclists still do not use a helmet at all.

However, there have been studies that suggest the reason bicycling death rates have declined for children is simply that fewer children are riding bikes these days, as parents ferry them to and from school and soccer practice. And everywhere else.

Some people blame helmet laws for that decrease, saying it makes bicycling seem dangerous.

I’m not sure I buy that argument; I think the reason is the just the dangers on our streets, real and imagined.

But that would have led to discussion of the mandatory, and much hated, bike helmet laws in Australia and New Zealand.

While those laws are similarly credited with a decrease in fatalities, they’re also blamed for a corresponding decrease in bicycling rates.

Which some argue makes the streets even more dangerous by reducing the safety in numbers effect.

And bike helmet laws lead to punitive enforcement, which convinces even more people that riding a bike is just not worth it.

And don’t get me started on how Seattle’s bike helmet law is blamed for killing that city’s first bikeshare program. Something they wisely addressed before taking another stab at it by allowing dockless bikeshare, which has been more successful.

But that’s another problem with bike helmet laws.

Using bikeshare is often a spur of the moment thing, and no one wants to cart around an awkward helmet all day on the off chance they might rent a bike or scooter.

That would lead us to this discussion.

Between 2010 and 2017 (the latest year available), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports cycling fatalities increased by a whopping 35%.

In 2017, nearly 800 people were killed riding bicycles. Not surprisingly, there has been a corresponding increase in bicycle injuries — many of which are never reported.

I’ll add that California has one of the highest death rates in the nation, and Los Angeles and San Francisco made the top 10 list for the most deadly cities.

Yet there is no helmet law for adult cyclists.

Yes, the increase in bicycling fatalities is frightening, and has to be addressed.

But banning SUVs, with their deadly flat grills, and preventing cellphones from working in moving vehicles for anything other than directions and calling 911, would probably be more effective at reducing deaths than putting a bike helmet on every head on two wheels.

The problem with citing figures like that is that we have no way of knowing how many of the people who died were wearing helmets, or how many suffered head injuries.

We can project that from various studies, but at best we can only achieve a very rough estimation.

We also have no way of knowing if those people died as a result of head injuries, or if those injuries would have been survivable if they’d been wearing a bike helmet. Or if they suffered other injuries that would have cost them their lives anyway.

And that’s the last point I would have made.

Because bike helmets aren’t designed to protect against crashes with a car going 70 mph. Or 30, for that matter. And they don’t protect against injuries to any other part of the body.

Even the most expensive helmets are only required to withstand relatively minor impacts.

In other words, a fall off your bike, not a collision with a bus.

They also do nothing to protect against a traumatic brain injury, as I learned the hard way, unless you spring for the more expensive MIPS or WaveCel models.

And the jury is still out on those.

So yes, a bike helmet may help reduce the force of impact in a collision, as well as the severity of any head injury.

Or they may not, depending on the speed of the vehicle and angle of impact.

That’s if the straps don’t break and the helmet stays on. And if it’s still effective, and not degraded due to age or previous impacts.

A bike helmet is a single use device. Hit the pavement or bounce off a bumper just once, and it needs to be replaced.

That’s when I’d tell Whiting that I never ride without mine.

But I also recognize its limitations, and don’t count on a bike helmet to save my life. A helmet should always be seen as the last line of defense, after everything else — from street design to defensive riding skills — have failed.

There are also arguments that they actually increase the danger to riders, whether as the result of closer passes from drivers and riskier behavior by riders, or the dangers of rotational injuries.

Regardless of my own choices, however, I respect people who have made the decision not to wear a helmet, and I respect their right to choose.

Which is what adult bike helmet use should be.

A choice. Not a law.

So I would have ended by saying I respect you, David. I think you’ve done a lot of good for the bicycling community.

But next time, call me first.

Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

………

Sadly, Victor Bale forwards confirmation that a bike rider was killed in a Palm Springs hit-and-run Monday night. I’ll post a story later today.

Meanwhile, Consumer Reports responds to the increase in bicycling and pedestrian deaths by saying pedestrian detection systems should be standard on all cars. Even though they don’t really work all that well.

………

Say happy 50th birthday to Moab, Utah’s famed Slickrock Trail.

………

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

The recent assaults on Brit bike riders added yet another victim when a man suffered a broken collarbone after a passenger in a passing car pushed him off his bike.

………

Local

No news is good news, right?

 

State

Evidently, scooters pay. San Diego has received $1.5 million in licensing fees from micromobility companies in just the last six months.

Sad news from Fresno, where a bike rider was killed when he was run down by a stoned driver. Yet the CHP couldn’t resist blaming the victim for wearing dark colored clothing.

Danville cops reel in another thief with their locked bait bike. And they’re smart enough to use a bike worth more than $1,000 so it qualifies for felony theft.

A San Francisco letter writer says forget cars rolling stop signs, the real problem is people on bicycles. And apparently has a speed gun built into his glasses. Seriously, if you’re not going to stop, always obey the right-of-way, especially around pedestrians. And ride carefully around people on foot, who can be unpredictable, and are the only ones more vulnerable than we are.

San Francisco is slowly adding more red light cams to improve safety. Meanwhile, Los Angeles doesn’t have any, after removing them all to appease angry drivers.

 

National

The Bike League has a new boss.

A new bipartisan bill would take Vision Zero nationwide, providing cities with federal funds to design and implement Vision Zero programs, with a time limit of 20 years to eliminate traffic deaths.

Cycling Tips recommends ten bike books for the holidays. Whether you want to give one as a gift, or need something to get you through a visit with your relatives.

Believe it or not, you can actually get a “decent” ebike foldie on Amazon for less than $700.

A driving website recommends their picks for the best bike lights.

A veteran of the Afghan and Iraq wars is taking the long way across the US, riding 6,000 miles from DC to San Diego to call attention to PTSD.

Portland residents respond to a weekly’s recent call to stop driving and switch to ebikes. Some of which actually make sense, while others are exactly what you’d expect.

Police are dealing with an increase in thefts from Portland apartment and condo building bike rooms. You’re much better off keeping your bike in your unit, if possible; thieves love bike rooms because a) they’re usually empty of people at night, and b) full of bikes.

Kindhearted cops in a Washington town team with bighearted deputies to buy a little boy a new BMX bike after his was stolen.

Life is cheap on an Albuquerque Air Force base, where a truck driver got two and a half years for a) running a stop sign, while b) talking on his cellphone, and c) killing a man riding his bike.

A new documentary examines Minnesota moms who are ditching their cars for cargo bikes.

Bicycling catches up on the story of the Minnesota man who spent the last six years riding every street in his county. Meanwhile, another man did the same thing in central London.

The next time someone tries to tell you bike riders aren’t tough, tell them about the Detroit man who rode his bike to a gas station — after taking a shotgun blast to the face. He’s hospitalized in critical condition.

A Kentucky radio segment tells the story of a century bike race, from a previous century.

New York is responding to recent traffic deaths by retiming traffic lights to create a Green Wave, allowing riders to get a series of green lights to avoid having to stop; naturally, drivers are concerned that it might inconvenience them.

NYC installs its 100th mile of protected bike lanes under ex-presidential candidate and current Mayor Bill de Blasio. But Gothamist wants to know what’s holding up the long-promised bike lane on Queen’s Boulevard of Death. We could ask the same question about the entire LA bike plan.

Apparently having solved all the other crimes, Hoboken NJ hires a pair of officers to fight the scourge of scofflaw micromobility users.

Automotive sacrilege from a Streetsblog op-ed, which calls for New York to build protected bike lanes alongside bus-only lanes — even if it means a loss of parking.

 

International

More proof bike thieves just don’t care. It takes a real schmuck to steal the homemade ebike a Winnipeg high school student spent four years and thousands of dollars building from scratch.

A UK community is warned it won’t meet 2030 climate goals unless it cuts car ownership in half within the next ten years.

A writer for Cycling Tips takes his Tern to go carfree at Eurobike, the world’s biggest bike show.

When a Dutch rider can’t afford a mountain bike, he decides to shred an Austrian mountain on a BMX with no suspension and one “dodgy” brake.

A design website falls in love with the “timeless design” of a Swedish bike bikemaker, who believes the bicycle was perfected 100 years ago.

Heartbreaking story from Aukland, New Zealand, where an 18-year old champion track cyclist will never be the same after a driver ran a stop sign and slammed into his bike, leaving him with a major head brain injury and nearly costing his life.

 

Competitive Cycling

Merced makes its bid to host a stage of next year’s Amgen Tour of California, with a route that would pass Yosemite National Park and the birthplace of Ghirardelli Chocolates

Outside says this is the golden age of American cycling, as long as you look past the men’s WorldTour.

A US Army sergeant picks herself up off the pavement after leading most of the day, and rallies for an 8th place finish in women’s road race of the Military World Games in China.

 

Finally…

Using your noodle to call for safer streets. Trump’s China tariffs mean more cars parked in the protected bike lane.

And as if LA drivers aren’t bad enough, now we have to deal with distracted rats behind the wheel.