Tag Archive for bike helmets

Morning Links: New helmet study finally studies head injuries, stop fat shaming bike riders, and the war on bikes goes on

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover after Friday’s unexcused absence. 

So grab your coffee and settle in. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

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Finally, a bike helmet study actually looks at head injuries for a change.

Most previous studies have compared helmet use to fatalities — but without saying how many of those deaths actually involved head injuries, or whether their injuries might have been survivable with one.

At least this one is different.

A new study from researchers at UCLA and LA’s Charles R. Drew University of Medicine & Science examined ten years of data on bicycling injuries from the National Trauma Bank.

They found that only 22% of adult bicyclists who suffered head and neck injuries were wearing helmets at the time of the crash, a number that dropped to just 12% for riders under 17.

Or looking at it another way, a full 78% of adult bike riders who suffered head and neck injuries weren’t wearing a helmet, along with 88% of riders under 17 years old.

Yet somehow, the authors conclude that the solution is mandatory helmet laws. Even though 21 states and over 200 local jurisdictions already require them for anyone under 18.

Call me crazy, but when 88% of injured riders under 17 weren’t wearing one, that would seem to suggest that helmet laws just aren’t that effective.

The study also found that women were slightly more likely to wear a helmet, at 28% versus 21% for men; helmet use was even lower for people of color.

Then there’s this.

Bicyclists who were wearing helmets when accidents occurred generally had less severe injuries, spent less time hospitalized, including shorter stays in intensive care, and were less likely to have died as a result of the accident…

Men were also 36% more likely die as a result of a crash.

Black bike riders were 16% more likely to be killed than white riders, while Hispanic riders were 17% percent more likely to die due to a bicycling crash. However, that may be due to well-documented differences in medical outcomes for people of color.

So whether or not you wear a helmet is up to you. And should stay that way.

It’s also important to remember that bike helmets should always be seen as a last resort when all else fails.

But if it does, you may be better off with one that without one.

Photo by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay.

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A self-described fat cyclist says she’s an athlete now, not in some alternative thin body.

And she doesn’t need to fix herself, thank you very much. But the attitudes of the fat-shaming bike world could use some work.

Seriously, take a few moments to read this one.

Because there’s an inherent bias in the bicycling community in favor of strong, thin and “healthy” bicyclists. And an all-too-real tendency to look down on anyone who doesn’t fit that mold.

I’d be the first to admit I was one of them, albeit unconsciously, even though there’s been no shortage of large and fluffy women in my life, including my own mother.

I should have known better.

But it took getting to know women who didn’t let their size dictate what they could and couldn’t do on a bicycle to get it through my thick skull.

Just one of the many lessons I’ve learned from the readers of this site. And for which I am eternally grateful.

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Why stop riding at the water’s edge?

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

A New York woman was the victim of an apparently random attack by two men who knocked her off her bike and punched as she was riding in a bike lane; in traditional New York fashion, dozens of people allegedly watched but did nothing to help her.

A British Member of Parliament said there was a major problem in his district with car passengers pushing people off their bicycles; local police said it actually happened just once, with the victim suffering a broken shoulder blade. Then again, once is enough.

A British man out riding with his kids had to use his mountain bike to fight off a man who lunged at them with a kitchen knife.

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Local

A West Adams bike shop owner and real estate agent led a bike tour of the historic — and historically black — neighborhood, leading to the same questions of gentrification that have rocked Boyle Heights in recent years.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a Los Angeles man’s $2,000 custom handcycle. Although someone should tell KNBC-4 the difference between a quadriplegic and a paraplegic, because they don’t appear to know.

In a bizarre crime, a burned body was found stuffed in a shopping cart at a homeless encampment along the bike path through Balboa Park; police say the victim was burned somewhere else and moved to the site. However, they’re not ready to label it a homicide, despite a rash of fire attacks on homeless people in the LA area.

This is why we can’t have nice things. A driver crashed into a parklet in front of Book Soup on the Sunset Strip, apparently due to a mechanical failure.

 

State

Plans for a makeover of the nearly defunct Brea mall include over 300 apartments, and a walk and bike path connecting the mall to the civic center.

Uber has pulled its Jump ebikes and scooters from the streets of San Diego, blaming the new rules the city adopted in April; San Diego is also threatening to revokes permits for Lime, and previously suspended permits for Wheels until the company made modifications to its scooters.

Imperial Beach has jumped on the Vision Zero bandwagon, joining just two other cities in San Diego County in committing to end traffic deaths.

A hit-and-run driver has been charged with murder, manslaughter while intoxicated and driving with a suspended license for killing a 61-year old Visalia woman as she rode her bike; he has a long string of priors ranging from animal cruelty to assault with a deadly weapon.

The CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group was lucky to escape with minor injuries after he was clipped by the wing mirror of an apparently driverless motor home while on a charity ride from Big Sur to Hearst Castle. There’s not one mention in the piece of the driver of the vehicle, or even if it had one. Thanks to Robert Leone for the link.

This is who we share the roads with. Pedestrians are taught to walk facing traffic, drivers not so much — especially on major highways — as two people were killed in Mountain View when a driver somehow sped the wrong way on a freeway. Thanks again to Robert Leone for the link.

Now that’s more like it. A San Francisco councilmember responds to a rash of traffic deaths in the Tenderloin district by proposing to ban cars entirely in the neighborhood.

Something doesn’t add up. San Francisco police blame a 73-year old man for making a left turn and crashing into a car traveling in the opposite direction, suffering life-threatening injuries.

San Francisco’s “Fruit Jesus” travels the city towing a half-ton of fresh fruit on a trailer behind his bike, delivering carfree to customers throughout the city.

An Oakland bike cop is a hero after resuscitating a clinically dead man who collapsed in the parking lot of the Raider’s opening game against the Denver Bronco’s.

A Berkeley woman was busted after fleeing the scene of a crash that left a bike rider seriously injured after she left crossed the man with her SUV, dragging him underneath it for several seconds.

A bike and pedestrian bridge in Mill Valley has been closed indefinitely after inspectors discovered one of the 12 piers supporting it has been “compromised.”

An obelisk made entirely of children’s bike parts has been named Project of the Year by the Sacramento chapter of the American Public Works Association.

Next time you visit Lake Tahoe, you’ll have a place to park your bike, after the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition installed 126 new bike racks, for a total of 340 in the past two years, along with two public fix-it stations.

 

National

Bicycling recommends eleven bicycling accessories that they say aren’t necessary, but will enhance your ride. I can personally vouch for the Polar Bottles to keep your water cool and drinkable for hours.

Outside reviews the new documentary Motherload, saying the story of one woman’s emancipation from the drudgery of the carpool foretells the coming cargo bike revolution.

Gear Junkie takes a ride on Walmart’s new $6,000 29er hardtail mountain bike, and likes it. And concludes it’s priced much lower than comparatively spec’ed bikes.

Apple’s is rumored to be working on a tracking chip that will be far more accurate than Tile, and could revolutionize the ability to track down a stolen bicycle. Or anything else, for that matter. Thanks to Mike Cane for the heads-up.

Arizona investigators offer a driver a Get Out of Jail Free card after he plowed into a group of bicyclists, injuring “five or six” bike riders, in a crash police blamed on glare from the sun. So apparently, in Arizona it’s perfectly legal to step on the gas when you have no idea what the hell is in front of you.

A new Denver map shows 400 miles of low-stress streets to encourage more people to get out and bike. We could really use something like that here in LA, since our existing bike “network” isn’t one, and isn’t likely to be one anytime soon.

A Boulder CO bicyclist says greater density means more cars. And more cars are bad for people on bicycle. Except the main benefit of increased density is that locations are closer, so people don’t have to drive long distances to shop or dine. As a result, it accommodates population increases without increasing the sprawl that forces people into their cars.

After a short rant about getting t-boned by a blond bike rider, a Durango CO writer gives a look at the vitriol, bile and threats spewed towards bicyclists on Facebook. But says the solution is for the people on two wheels to stop annoying the people threatening to kill us.

Good question. A Montana sixth grader wants to know why would anyone steal a kid’s bike.

A Nebraska mayor has summarily decided to rip out a six-year old road diet and bike lanes after the previous mayor spent $300,000 to put them in, because he says they confuse out-of-town drivers. No, really.

After being diagnosed with a neurodegenerative brain disease, a Massachusetts man set out to spend his last days giving bikes to kids in Massachusetts and Vermont; he now employs 34 people and has a stock of 2,000 bicycles ready to give away.

New York’s Central Park is now an obstacle course, no matter how you try to get around it.

Philadelphia church and temple goers enjoy relaxed parking regulations, avoiding the tickets they’d otherwise get. Even when they park in a bike lane.

A Virginia man describes what it’s like to move from bicycling’s second-class status in the US — if that — to ruling the roads as his family learns to ride like natives in the Netherlands.

Seriously, you just can’t win with some people. A retired Georgia police chief complains about a group of bicyclists riding single file on a narrow road, then complains when they start riding abreast when the road widens. And just can’t comprehend why people like to ride on narrow, curvy roads.

Some kindhearted Savannah GA cops bought a new bike for a 10-year old boy after the one he received for being student of the month was stolen just a week after he got it.

 

International

It’s back. Just when you thought it was safe to ridicule expensive airbags for bike riders, the inflatable Hövding bike helmet is out with their third generation, promising improved performance and faster response times. Though I’m going to hold out until they offer a full bodysuit that inflates on impact.

A Vancouver, British Columbia cop will face a traffic charge for colliding with a suspect who was trying to make his getaway on a bike as the officer pursued in his patrol car.

A nonprofit’s donation of 43 bicycles to two elementary schools in Canada’s Yukon Territory hit a snag when officials discovered it would cost more to ship them than the bikes’ $30,000 price tag.

No bias here. A Toronto columnist says “cycling zealots” are demanding “a cycling Shangri-La superimposed on the Toronto grid.Apparently she’s still angry over her failed attempt to ride a bike, and insists on taking it out on everyone who can.

Royal-in-law James Middleton, brother of Kate and Pippa, appeared thrilled to be riding his stolen and recovered bakfiets on the streets of London, as was his Labrador retriever.

No surprise here, as the Times of India says Bengaluru just isn’t bike-friendly, calling the city’s drivers “very rash.”

Vigilante justice can be swift in India, where a drunk man was beaten to death for attempting to steal a bicycle when the owner and three of his relatives spotted the man riding off on it. Not something I’d recommend, tempting though it may be. 

They get it. An Aussie website asks who’s really paying for free parking? Hint — It ain’t the people not paying to park there. Or even just the ones driving.

Strange and tragic news from Down Under, as a 76-year old Australian man died after crashing his bike to avoid an attacking magpie.

A 64-year old Singapore man opened a bicycle cafe along a popular bike path with views of jets taking off and landing at the airport.

 

Competitive Cycling

Thirty-year old former Slovenian ski jumper Primož Roglič carried the Vuelta’s red jersey to victory in Madrid. Meanwhile, Movistar’s directeur sportif called out cycling’s governing body for letting Roglič use a team car’s slipstream to catch up with the peloton after a crash on stage 19.

About damn time. California takes the lead in creating equity in pro cycling, mandating equal prize money for men’s and women’s cycling. Meanwhile, VeloNews asks the experts what’s the best way to build interest in the women’s sport.

Great story from Outside, as 78-year old Thomas Camero was happy to finish his third self-supported Trans-Am transcontinental bike race on his $700 second-hand Surly in 99 days — dead last and 58 days behind everyone else.

A British Paralympic cyclist opens up about the surgery she endured to relieve her painful saddle sores.

Bicycling examines the newest frontier in cheating, comparing e-sports hacking to the next generation of doping.

 

Finally…

Call it a very roundabout way to set a record. If you’re going to break into someone’s home, try not to leave your shoes, phone and bike behind.

And how many times do we have to say it? If you already have a record and you’re carrying meth on your bike, put a damn light on it already.

 

Morning Links: Road rage driver attacks LA bike rider, WeHo mayor OKs blocked bike lanes, and protected bike lanes AOK

Sorry about that. 

My apologies for yesterday’s unexcused absence. 

Blame it on my diabetes, after a bout of low blood sugar knocked me out for several hours. 

I’d like to say it won’t happen again.

But it probably will. 

Road rage photo by Wendy Corniquet from Pixabay.

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Un-effing-believable.

A man riding to work on Santa Monica Blvd was repeatedly harassed, brake checked, and physically assaulted by a driver in an unmitigated display of road rage that lasted over 6 minutes.

All for the crime of riding a bike, legally and exactly where he was supposed to be.

And to top it off, she accused him of scratching her car after she blocked his bike against another car, and proceeded to door him multiple times.

Seriously, watch the whole thing — with the sound up.

According to KCBS2/KCAL9, the road rage attack took place two years ago. The poster child for road rage driver was arrested after the victim called 911, and was recently sentenced to 450 hours of community service.

Which is why he’s just releasing the bike cam video now.

Hopefully, that will be enough to get her road rage temper under control. And help her realize that bikes do, in fact, belong on the streets.

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The LAPD is stepping up efforts to find the heartless coward who slammed into a 15-year kid riding legally in a South LA crosswalk, and left him lying crushed and bleeding in the street.

Meanwhile, advocacy nonprofit SAFE — Streets Are For Everyone — is hostingMarch for Safety and Healing – In Honor of Roberto Diaz this Saturday.

Diaz is the victim of the crash, who remains hospitalized.

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Evidently, the mayor of West Hollywood is perfectly okay with mail carriers and delivery drivers blocking the city’s few bike lanes.

Which isn’t much of a problem.

Unless you’ve ever had to go around someone blocking the bike lane in heavy traffic on Santa Monica Blvd.

Because it’s apparently just too much to ask them to remove a parking space or two to create a loading zone.

Oh wait. Maybe I wasn’t the first one to say that.

After all, it’s much easier to accuse people of “outrage culture” than to take a small step to protect human lives.

WeHo can clearly do better than that. And should.

In fact, it does, no thanks to the mayor, apparently.

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No surprise here.

After the the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released a study questioning the safety of some protected bike lanes, John Pucher and Ralph Buehler, two of North America’s leading bicycling academics, say it ain’t necessarily so.

According to a Forbes piece by British bicycle historian Carlton Reid, this is how Pucher responded in an email.

“Finding problematic intersection design of cycle tracks here and there in three U.S. cities does not at all negate the overwhelming evidence that protected bike lanes are both safer, in fact, than unprotected lanes or no facilities at all, and that the vast majority of cyclists and potential cyclists overwhelmingly prefer such protected facilities and feel safer on such facilities, thus leading to sharp increases in cycling rates.”

Pucher stresses:

“The IIHS study focuses on the dangerous intersections, but overall, cycle tracks are definitely safer. I agree, however, that intersection design is absolutely crucial to the safety of cycle track systems, and that special intersection, roadway markings, traffic signs, and traffic signals are necessary.”

So don’t stop fighting for protected bike lanes.

Just make sure they’re designed properly.

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The Malibu Times reports that local pro mountain biker Marshall Mullen’s short film The Woolsey Fire Through the Eyes of Marshall Mullen will make its local debut at Casa Escobar restaurant.

The paper notes that the film been on YouTube since late May. But oddly doesn’t bother to include the link.

Fortunately, we can do better than that. Even though this version has a much shorter title.

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They get it. No, they totally get it.

GQ recommends their picks for the best bike helmets for any kind of road riding.

But they begin their piece this way.

No, you don’t have to wear a bike helmet. If you were to, say, get hit by a garbage truck on your commute, a small piece of foam and molded plastic is not going to make much of a difference. But since this is America and not Copenhagen, where cyclists are demonized for taking a sliver of space away from precious steel boxes and commuters are regularly in fear of their lives, it’s best to hedge your bets. Wear a helmet. (But whatever you do, please don’t helmet shame those who prefer to let their locks flow.)

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Sometimes it’s the people on bikes behaving badly. 

A San Francisco man suffered life-threatening injuries when he was hit over the head with a bicycle. The attacker fled, but it sounds like police know who the attacker is, since they know his age.

An Aussie bike rider faces charges after he rode across several lanes of traffic to spit in the face of an anti-abortion protester. Seriously, don’t do that.

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Local

The LAPD is responding to CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz’ recent anti-scooter campaign by establishing a special task force to ticket e-scooter users riding on the sidewalk along Beverly Blvd, Melrose Ave and 3rd Street. Apparently, he’d much rather they get their asses run over on those narrow, busy streets that don’t offer any other place to ride. Or just not ride scooters, which is what he really has in mind.

Streetsblog talks with Bird’s sustainability chief.

Montebello Blvd is getting bike lanes and new medians in a 1.4-mile improvement project. And aggravating drivers in the process.

California is sending $315 million to LA County for highway repairs funded by the recent gas tax increase, along with $5.4 million for active transportation projects.

 

State

The proposed Complete Streets bill will stay alive in the state legislature, despite a “farcical” estimate from Caltrans that appears to be an effort to kill it.

The driver who killed Costa Mesa Fire Captain Mike Kreza as he rode his bike in Mission Viejo last year had seven different drugs in his system at the time of the crash, including prescription drugs, street drugs and various metabolized drug byproducts; 25-year old Stephen Taylor Scarpa is facing a murder charge in Kreza’s death, and remains behind bars on a $2 million bond.

Beautiful piece by an investigative reporter for the LA Times about the remarkable recovery of a man who was nearly killed in an Oceanside bike crash, after lingering in a near vegetative state for months. And her efforts to convince someone he was still alive in there.

San Diego advocates are calling on the city to reconsider plans to remove parking spaces to install bike lanes on 30th Street because of the impact it could have on elderly and handicapped people. Because apparently, it’s impossible to pull over just long enough to let someone out of a car. And elderly and handicapped people never, ever ride bicycles, as everyone knows.

Sad news from Bakersfield, where a woman was killed trying to ride her bike in a crosswalk; the CHP immediately absolved the driver of blame because it was dark. Apparently, Dodge Challenger’s like the one the driver had don’t have headlights, and the CHP has never heard of the state’s basic speed law, which prohibits driving too fast for current conditions. Like when it’s too dark to see what’s in the road directly ahead of your car.

A pair of men were busted for making off with six bikes worth $30,000 from a Santa Cruz bike shop after they were observed by a witness.

A car thief received the maximum sentence for plowing into a San Francisco bike cop as he attempted to flee from the police; Willie Flanigan was convicted on charges of “assault with a deadly weapon, hit-and-run, evading and resisting an officer, fleeing the scene of an accident, receiving stolen property and being an unlicensed driver.” Yet somehow, despite all those charges, the maximum sentence was just 12 years and 8 months.

Seventy-five-year old Courtney Rudin was convicted of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for the head-collision that killed a woman riding in a Sonoma County charity ride when he made dangerously ill-advised passed around a slower vehicle; he faces just one year behind bars. Seriously, killing another human being should never be a misdemeanor, intentionally or not.

An 85-year old Los Osos man was critically injured after he suffered some sort of medical issue and fell off his ebike, even though he was wearing a helmet.

 

National

Bike Lawyer Bob Mionske says excusing careless drivers by blaming their victims just ensures that other drivers will keep driving that way.

No shit. Streetsblog says testing self-driving cars on the roads endangers pedestrians. And everyone else.

Forbes says bicycle-oriented development is a growing force with the larger field of transit-oriented development throughout the US, now that bicycling is the nation’s fastest-growing form of transportation.

Entry-level ebike prices continue to drop, as Rad Power Bikes introduces their new RadRunner cargo bike, which can be ridden in e-assist or full throttle mode.

A moving and hard-hitting photo essay says Portland is spending millions to stop drivers from killing people, but it’s not working.

He gets it. A Salt Lake City-area father and bike rider says aggressive driving should be treated as a crime. Preferably before they kill someone.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 86-year old Utah man still rides 1,000 miles a year on a tandem with his son; he was riding 3,000 miles a year on his own until he was hit by a driver three years ago. Although I’d just as soon skip that whole “hit by a driver” part, thank you.

Former Bicycling editor and elite cyclist Andrew “Bernie” Bernstein speaks out from his hospital bed about the dangers of distracted, drunk and/or speeding drivers, a month after he was left to die by a hit-and-run driver outside Boulder CO.

A bike shop in my hometown is struggling to clear its name after police arrested someone selling stolen bikes on the Let Go app, and making it appear the bike shop was doing it.

A Dallas man faces a murder charge for allegedly running down a man riding a bicycle for allegedly stealing his gun, then allegedly beating him to death with a piece of wood.

Horrible news from Oklahoma City, where a professional magician suffered severe spinal damage when he was struck by a police car while riding his bike; the officer was placed on paid leave, while the victim may be permanently paralyzed and unable to speak.

The owner of three pit bulls that killed a nine-year old Detroit girl as she was riding her bicycle has been charged with second degree murder for not controlling his dogs; the dogs, one of whom was shot by a rescuer, will likely get the death penalty.

An Indianapolis teenager says he forgives the driver who fled the scene after running him down on his bike, leaving him lying in a ditch unable to move.

I want to be like him, too. Bicycling offers four tips from the 91-year old Indiana cyclist who keeps breaking age group records.

Rapper Kadeem’s new album World Sport takes on a bicycling theme, reflecting the time spent on his ‘87 Schwinn World Sport as he was recording it, as well as his time on two wheels navigating the streets of Boston, dealing drugs and delivering for DoorDash.

New York prosecutors threw the book at the 18-year old driver who ran a red light and caused the collateral damage crash that killed a Brooklyn bike rider two weeks ago, charging him with criminally negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, vehicular assault, disobeying a traffic device and doing 61 mph in a 25 mph zone. In other words, driving his Dodge Charger exactly the way the carmaker suggests he should. Thanks to Shaggy for the heads-up.

The New York Times examines why drivers rarely faces charges for killing bike riders; prosecutors have to show the driver’s behavior was “egregious,” and that they broke at least two traffic laws. Although it seems unlikely that the same standard would apply to killing someone with any other kind of weapon.

In the eternal battle over car storage, Philly residents are on the warpath over new bikes lanes that removed over a hundred parking spaces.

 

International

Forbes recommends six bike tours from around the world, including a self-guided tour of LA-area movie star homes, for people who are into that sort of thing.

Road.cc offers a guide to group ride hand signals. No, not that one.

Montreal will soon start ticketing drivers who violate Quebec’s equivalent of a three-foot passing law by using an ultrasound device that measures the distance between a bike and a passing car. The LAPD apparently has no interest in that, despite being told about the device multiple times as part of the department’s bike liaison program.

This is why you should always get checked out by a doctor after any bike crash. A London man died after a blood clot caused a heart attack two weeks after he fell off his bike. That’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way.

A report from the UK Parliament says forget electric cars, get Brits on bikes. Good advice on this side of the Atlantic, too.

Evidently, placing solar panels in a French roadway was a bad idea.

Germans call for expanding bicycle infrastructure after bicycling deaths reach their highest total since 2010.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews suggests four story lines to follow at the four-stage women’s Colorado Classic bike race, which kicked off yesterday in Steamboat Springs CO. You can livestream the races on the magazine’s website.

The New York Times offers an obituary for Felice Gimondi, one of just seven cyclists to win the Tour de France, Vuelta a España and Giro d’Italia.

 

Finally…

Yes, you can find bikeshare above the Arctic Circle, in case you were wondering. If you’re riding your bike with several outstanding warrants, just put a damn light on it, already.

And your next bike could be a Harley.

No, really.

 

Morning Links: Pasadena anti-bike lane bias, sharing shared scooter helmets and return of LaGrange Grand Prix

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I accused the Pasadena Star-News of showing an anti-bike lane bias for a story that said protected bike lanes would come at the expense of traffic lanes, even though city’s the first one, on Union Street, wouldn’t.

Except it does. 

My understanding was that only parking spaces would have to be removed to make room for the bike lanes. But the truth is just the opposite. 

Advocacy group Active SGV informs me that local residents and business want to preserve as much parking as possible, preferring to give up a largely unused traffic lane to losing parking spaces. 

I’m not sure how I got it wrong, but clearly, I did. 

My apologies to the Star-News for the error. And thanks to Active SGV for the correction. 

Here’s what I originally wrote:

No bias against bike lanes here.

The Pasadena Star-News considers the proposal for Pasadena’s first two-way cycle track, imagining that protected bike lanes must come at the cost of traffic lanes — even though the one proposed for Union Street won’t.

They also suggest that the protected bike lane on Temple City’s Rosemead Blvd is a failure, because one councilmember says he seldom sees more than one or two riders using it at any given time.

Which would actually make it pretty busy, given the few seconds a passing driver can devote to noticing it.

And bearing in mind that anecdotal evidence isn’t worth the traffic study it’s not based on.

Credit Joe Linton with the photo, which was shamelessly stolen, uh, borrowed from LA Streetsblog.

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Unfortunately, the story is hidden behind a paywall.

But evidently, LA-based sit-down scooter company Wheels has applied for a patent to build a detachable helmet directly into the scooter itself.

Which means you’ll share that helmet with whoever used it before you. And unless they can also build some sort of disinfectant and insecticide into the scooter, whatever was on their heads and in their hair.

I’ll pass, thanks.

………

I’ve been expecting someone to introduce this sooner or later.

A new clip-on device promises to turn any bicycle into an ebike, yet is small and light enough to fit into a backpack. Allowing you to carry it with you, and snap it on when you need a little extra boost to make it up a hill or get back home.

………

LA’s Velo Club LaGrange has set a date for the return of the bike club’s formerly annual Grand Prix, which will now be held in Carson, rather than Brentwood.

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Local

LA Times letter writers says traffic deaths won’t end until drivers change their attitudes. Meanwhile, the Times’ Steve Lopez says a carfree future doesn’t sound all that bad.

Metro talks Bike Month in a sponsored Streetsblog post.

Santa Clarita jumps back in the saddle with a number of events to celebrate Bike Month.

 

State

San Francisco is getting new red light cameras to help stop dangerous drivers. Meanwhile, Los Angeles isn’t, after they were yanked out several years ago to appease angry drivers.

A new study shows that capping the number of e-scooters in San Francisco just drives more people back into cars, while Bird announces a monthly rental program to get around those restrictions.

Alaska Airlines is offering Bay Area residents airline miles to bike their commute on Bike to Work Day.

 

National

The Oregon house passes a bill to correct a bizarre court ruling that concluded bike lanes don’t exist in intersections unless they’re striped all the way across.

A San Antonio TX public radio program looks at the city’s Vision Zero, and concludes its roads aren’t safe for people on bicycles.

Auto-centric Houston TX puts Los Angeles to shame, building 50 miles of bike lanes in the past 12 months, while LA’s mayor is only willing to commit to ten. And “commit” may be a strong word.

Great idea. A Milwaukee ferry company offered free tickets worth $161 to anyone who brought in a gently used bicycle they could donate to local kids for Earth Week, even though they exceeded their own 500 bike limit.

A Memphis morning news anchor was lucky to escape with a leg broken in two places when her bike was hit head-on by a driver.

Streetsblog talks with the mayor of Cambridge MA, crediting him with finding a way to neutralize anti-bike lane NIMBYs.

New York police are looking for a hit-and-run bike rider who collided with a woman in Queens, leaving her with a broken arm.

The father of a fallen bicyclist calls on New York’s mayor to stop senseless traffic deaths.

A New York cop was busted for beating an ebike delivery rider who nearly hit the officer’s little girl. Which may be understandable, but is still wrong. And illegal.

A DC website says the Red Cup Project shows how vulnerable people are riding without protected bike lanes.

A Baltimore letter writer says a parking protected bike lane is a disaster waiting to happen, and should be ripped out because there are more children, parents and grandparents than there are bike riders. Because evidently, children, parents and grandparents don’t ride bikes. Or care about safety.

The stumbling drunk driver who killed two bike riders and injured seven others near a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade was indicted on two counts of vehicular homicide and seven counts each of hit-and-run and vehicular injuring.

A Florida safety expert explains why it’s the deadliest state in the US for people on bicycles.

 

International

A British grocery chain refuses to let bicyclists leave their bikes inside on “hygiene grounds.” Yet allow people to walk inside with their shoes on, which touch the same dirty streets bike tires do.

Pink Bike looks at eight “gorgeous” bikes from the Aussie Handmade Bicycle Show.

No bias here, either. The Japanese edition of Stars & Strips relates the rules of the road for the bike riders, while saying most most riders are oblivious to the laws, and many are crazy.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling calls Nebraska’s Ashton Lambie the most interesting bike rider in America, as he prepares for the Olympics after just two years of racing.

 

Finally…

If you know when and where a group ride will be coming by, just stay out of their way, already. That feeling when your massive corporation somehow feels the need to fight a bike path logo that no one would ever confuse for yours.

And more proof bikes can go where cars can’t.

Morning Links: Incycle bike thieves busted, elected officials in Hollywood, and finally a better bike helmet

Good news.

Chino police have busted three people accused of running over an Incycle bike shop manager after stealing a $10,000 bike.

Incycle store manager Megan Rodriguez ran into the parking lot in an attempt to stop them after they walked out with the bike, and slipped under the truck’s wheels when they refused to stop.

Fortunately, she’s been released after being hospitalized with critical injuries. A crowdfunding page raised over $35,000 for her medical care.

Kern County residents Ronald Wolfe, Kyle Stewart and Nichole Stewart were booked on suspicion of robbery, conspiracy and attempted murder for the Incycle heist. Police say they may have conducted similar crimes — without running over anyone else — throughout Southern California.

Let’s hope authorities take this case as seriously as those potential charges suggest.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

………

Here’s a great opportunity to advocate for bikes and safer streets. Or maybe just give officials a piece of your mind.

Representatives for city, county, state and federal elected officials will be gathered under one roof at the Will & Ariel Durant Library in Hollywood from 3 pm to 6 pm today.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it, even though the library is just walking distance from my home. Or would be, if I could actually walk these days.

So feel free to show up in my place, and demand some serious action on improving street safety in Hollywood, and throughout the LA area.

……….

Big news on the bike helmet front, as Trek’s Bontrager division introduces what they claim is the safest helmet ever made.

According to the company, the new WaveCel design is 48 times more effective at preventing concussions than tradition foam helmets, without adding much weight.

And it offers significantly greater protection than MIPS helmets, which had been the gold standard for preventing concussions.

The downside is, it will cost you at least $150. But if you’re a helmet user, it could be worth it.

Speaking for myself, after spending time in the ICU when my helmet failed to prevent a serious concussion in the infamous beachfront bee incident, I may be the first in line to get one once I can ride again.

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Somehow, we missed this one last year.

But if you’ve got eleven minutes to kill, you could do worse than watching pro mountain bikers shred on tiny bikes.

Or spend just half the time taking in this Streetfilm of bike advocates sharing the most ridiculous comments they’ve heard in opposition to bike lanes.

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Local

Streetsblog LA announces the honorees for their May 9th fundraiser; the list now includes Active SGV, Jason Islas, Asm. Laura Friedman, Justice for Woon, and the David Bohnett Foundation. You can get tickets here.

After pulling the plug on its WeHo Pedals bikeshare, West Hollywood will go forward with an 18-month pilot program for dockless ebike bikeshare, though with strict limits on where they can be parked — which kind of defeats the purpose of dockless systems. And still no e-scooters will be allowed in the city.

Seriously, the former Governator riding his e-fat bike to the gym just isn’t news anymore.

State

A proposed bill in the state legislature would double the penalty for a fatal hit-and-run from four to eight years; the bill will move forward after emotional testimony from the widow of the hit-and-run victim it’s named after.

San Diego has finally thrown in the towel and given their long-suffering docked bikeshare provider the boot; the city is looking to dockless bikeshare to take up the slack.

Berkeley pulls a page from LA’s former playbook and continues to let the city’s streets deteriorate, saying they would cost $120 million to fix, and another $50 million to transform them into Complete Streets. Which is probably cheaper than the legal settlements they’ll pay out for not fixing them. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

San Francisco bicyclists rally to demand more protected bike lanes. Meanwhile, a San Francisco city supervisor’s call for lowering speed limits butts into the deadly 85th Percentile Law. Maybe if San Francisco joins LA in demanding changes, we might actually get somewhere.

Gear Patrol reveals the winners from last weekend’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Sacramento.

National

A website from the American Society of Landscape Architects recounts the recent National Bike Summit to examine why bicycling has flatlined in the US.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says confronting the driver who almost killed you is never worth it. As someone who’s done exactly that for most of my riding career, I’ve had some very positive conversations with drivers who’ve unintentionally threatened my safety. But the bad outweighed the good by a significant margin.

Schwinn is introducing a 28 mph gravel ebike, which would require a helmet in California. And you’ll have to be over 16 to ride it.

Bicyclits say a popular Portland bike path is virtually unridable due to homeless encampments and piled up trash.

Interesting idea. A Boulder CO bike shop is offering a certified pre-owned program for bikes, including a pre-defined trade-in or buyback schedule to encourage buyers to trade their bikes back in ever 18 months.

Iowa City, Iowa is conducting a road diet on a major street, stressing that it’s being done to improve safety and that the extra space for bike lanes is just an added benefit. No word on whether the locals will revolt like West LA’s entitled drivers.

A Houston congresswoman has proposed federal legislation to improve bike safety by adding it to driver’s license exams, improving street signage, and leveraging funds to build bike lanes.

Now there’s some honesty for a change. The mayor of Philadelphia says the streets of the city suck when it comes to safety. And used exactly that word.

A North Carolina bill would require bike owners to license their bicycles for a $10 annual fee, with the funds going to support bike safety projects. Except studies have shown that it would cost more to license bikes than a program like that would bring in. And result in more bikes rusting in the garage once the registration expires.

Atlanta drivers who stop or park in a bike lane will now be subject to a $100 fine. If it’s actually enforced, which is usually the problem.

No surprise here. The drunk driver who slammed into several bike riders at a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade, killing two innocent people, was over twice the legal limit; police estimate his BAC was around .215 at the time of the crash. Also no surprise that he’s asking for a reduction in his half-million dollar bail.

Heartbreaking news from Mississippi, where a 12-year old boy is in an induced coma and facing multiple surgeries after he was badly mauled by a pack of dogs, who knocked him off his bike and dragged him into a ditch. The dogs were put down, but owner won’t face any charges because there are no regulations for dogs in the county.

The Juice is no longer loose. Orlando, Florida’s Juice docked bikeshare is shutting down after two years in the face of competition from dockless bikeshare; the city hopes to bring it back in a dockless form.

International

Specialized’s new MIMIC saddle line promises to provide greater comfort for women with a design specifically made for a woman’s body.

Mexico City’s famed Paseo de la Reforma now has its own all-woman bike cop squad.

Great Britain’s Royal Mail is trying out eight e-trikes in an attempt to help clean up London’s dirty air. Maybe they need to bring back Pashley-riding posties.

Britain considers lifting a ban on e-scooters that dates back nearly two centuries before they were invented.

We may have to deal with distracted LA drivers. But at least we hardly ever have to worry about getting live cobras stuck in our wheels like these Indian bike riders.

Competitive Cycling

Britain’s dominant Team Sky will now be known as Team Ineos, as Britain’s richest man assumes sponsorship.

Finally…

If you’re going to flee the scene after a crash, take the front end of your car with you. Pedaling with pornstars.

And seriously, if you’re wanted on a murder charge, wear a damn helmet when you ride a bike if that’s what the law requires.


Morning Links: New scooter hits Westside LA, ambivalent results in LA helmet study, and stay off the sidewalk

There’s a new player in LA’s Westside scooter wars.

The Wheels scooter program has started spreading across the US, offering riders the opportunity to sit rather than stand.

Which means a lower center of gravity and greater stability — especially with the wider tires.

Unlike ebikes, there are no pedals, just small pegs to support your feet.

I’m told they’ve been a hit in San Diego, where they’ve already been on the streets for a few weeks. And from what I saw over the weekend, they’re proving pretty popular here as well.

Even if their website doesn’t show up on a Google search.

………

More grist for the great helmet debate.

A new study shows 1,454 bike crash victims were treated at Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center over a three-year period; 70% were injured in a crash with a motor vehicle.

Just 14% of the patients were wearing helmets. Yet the prevalence of significant head trauma was virtually the same whether or not the victims were wearing helmets — 35% of the victims were without helmets, compared to 34% of the patients with helmets.

Something tells me just what that means will depend entirely on whatever you already think about bike helmets.

………

A New Yorker flips the script, calling for no more car lanes until drivers get off the sidewalk.

………

Then there’s this from the dawn of bicycling.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the link.

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Local

This is who we share the roads with. Pasadena police targeted dangerous driving on Friday, ticketing 158 drivers over a nine-hour period. And for once, not a single mention of a scofflaw bicyclist.

The sharrows on Hermosa Ave in Hermosa Beach have been renamed in honor of former Public Works Commissioner Julian Katz, known in the community for his love of bicycling.

Long Beach is partially closing 2nd Street at the end of the month to remove the median and build a new bike lane between Marina Drive and the Seal Beach city limits.

State

A Cambria bike shop lost over $100,000 worth of bicycles when thieves cut through a wall from a warehouse, making off with over 50 bikes.

Lime is continuing its recent nationwide pullout from the bikeshare business, withdrawing its bicycles from the Bay Area to focus on e-scooters.

A Bay Area transportation columnist displays his windshield bias, doubling down on a request for pedestrians to wear reflective clothing —  and carry flashlights — so drivers don’t run them over, despite well-deserved criticism.

National

Trek CEO John Burke pens a lengthy op-ed calling for the bike industry to increase its advocacy efforts and funding. Someone tell him he could always start by buying an ad here. Just saying.

Bicycling recommends the best and worst airlines for bike-riding travelers.

Strava’s new route building app promises to help you find the best route to your destination in any city — even someplace you’ve never been..

Mountain bikers near my hometown call on the county to reverse a ban on ebikes on unpaved trails.

A Denver bike rider won a jaw dropping $52.5 million judgement after he was paralyzed when he was hit by a business truck while riding in a bike lane, then run over by a hit-and-run driver.

Life is cheap in Kansas, where a 19-year old driver got the minimum sentence in the hit-and-run death of a man riding his bike. Note to Hays Post: If you’re going to run a story like that, you might want to mention what that actual sentence was. And no, the car didn’t flee the scene, the driver in it did.

Friends call for improvements after a beloved Boston librarian was killed when she was hit by the driver of a cement truck.

That’s more like it. Atlanta commits $80 million to redesigning city roadways after 75% of people attending community meetings call for complete streets.

New York delivery riders are fighting back against the city’s ridiculous ebike ban, calling it persecution against the mostly immigrant workforce.

The Bieb is one of us, going for a bike ride with his minister in New York.

There’s a special place in hell for anyone who’d rob three New Orleans kids at gunpoint to steal a bicycle.

A 19-year old man is under arrest for the drunken, underage hit-and-run that killed a Louisiana man and injured his grandson as they were riding together.

International

Treehugger says bike lanes are transportation and should be kept clear year-round. While we don’t get snow in LA, our bike lanes are too often blocked by parked cars and trucks, trash cans, sofas, sand and other assorted obstacles.

A British man credits a fall off his bike with saving his life when paramedics discovered a lump that led to a diagnosis of testicular cancer.

Caught on vide: A Scottish bike rider dresses down a pair of cops who drove through a red light, nearly hitting him.

Cork, Ireland officials say yes, several retail shops have closed recently, but the carfree makeover of a downtown street is not to blame.

A Kentucky newspaper asks if it’s safe to ride the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan, following last year’s ISIS terrorist attack that left four bicyclists dead, including two Americans.

Mumbai appointed its first bicycle mayor. Which is exactly one more than Los Angeles has.

A New Zealand site looks at the bikelash on the country’s streets, and wonders what can be done to calm drivers’ irrational anger.

A writer says it looks like a bleak future for bike riders on streets dominated by cars in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Finally…

If your girlfriend is pressuring you to pay the electric bill, riding your bike to rob a burger joint probably isn’t the best answer. The Warner Brothers — yes, those Warner Bros — were bike shop owners before they got into the movie business.

And if you’re carrying meth and crack on a stolen moped without a license plate, stay the hell out of the bike lane.

Or better yet, just stay the hell out of the bike lane, period. And off the sidewalk, too.

Morning Links: Preparing for time change, the great bike helmet debate, and Gordon-Levitt pulls an endo

Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday.

So when you turn your clock back, make sure you have working lights for your bike, front and rear.

Even if you don’t plan to ride at night, throw a pair of cheap lights in your seat bag, in case a flat or other mechanical problem keeps you out later than you planned.

It beats the hell out of trying to make it home without them.

And remember that the days clocks change are among the most dangerous days for car crashes.

So ride carefully and defensively until drivers adjust to the earlier darkness.

Meanwhile, New York is using it as an opportunity to roll out a new Vision Zero initiative.

Needless to say, Los Angeles isn’t.

………

Today’s common theme is bike helmets. Or the lack thereof.

Peter Flax explains why he hasn’t worn a bike helmet in five months, despite harassment and trolling from drivers and others, well meaning and otherwise.

An Australian safety expert says a proposal to ease the country’s law requiring bike helmets on sidewalks and offroad trails is “stupid.”

A new Canadian study shows bike helmets reduce the risk of dying in a collision with a motor vehicle by 34%. And that you’re at greater risk of dying if you’re over 35.

………

We already knew the star of Premium Rush was one of us. Now Joseph Gordon-Levitt is healing after appearing to go head over handlebars on a bikeshare bike while filming in New Orleans.

View this post on Instagram

I have bad luck shooting on bikes 🤕

A post shared by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (@hitrecordjoe) on

………

A road raging Portland driver cools down before things go too far — despite a punishment pass and leaping out of his truck to confront a bike rider who was forced into traffic when wet leaves blocked the bike lane.

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Local

Mark your calendar. Councilmember Bob Blumenfield is hosting an open house on November 15th to discuss a planned boulevard improvement project on Reseda Blvd. The improvements include better bike lanes and closing the gap in the bike lanes between Vanowen and Valerio Streets.

The LACBC’s annual Operation Firefly program to hand out free bike lights to riders without them will kickoff this Monday in San Pedro.

Officials from Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beach met to discuss “making beach city streets multimodal, safer, more pleasant and effective.” But they drew the line at a proposal for a Complete Streets makeover of Aviation Blvd, comparing it to the short-lived road diet on Vista del Mar. Thanks to Margaret Wehbi for the heads-up.

 

State

Outside lists the 50 best places to work. Unfortunately, you have to get to number 40 before finding one in the LA area; San Diego’s SportRX — who made the best glasses I’ve ever owned — checked in at 24.

 

National

VeloNews talks with a physician specializing in treating bicyclists about how to avoid the most common bicycling injuries. Step one, don’t fall off your bike. Step two, don’t get hit by cars.

Bicycling suggests that ebikes won’t necessarily cost you your hard-earned fitness, and aren’t really cheating.

HuffPo says Uber and Lyft are helping to cause the congestion they claim to be fixing.

The Houston Chronicle takes an in-depth look at the dangers bicyclists and pedestrians face in the notoriously auto-centric city, where everyone blames someone else for the deadly divide between drivers, bike riders and people on foot.

A Chicago design museum is kicking off an exhibit on the cultural history of bicycling in the Windy City.

A Minnesota letter writer says the “the main difference of the ‘stupid’ cyclist’ and the ‘ignorant’ driver” is that only one is traveling at killing speeds.

Louisville KY is investing $140 million for a six-mile Complete Streets makeover of an overly wide main street, including possibly converting part of the extra wide sidewalks into bike lanes.

WaPo questions whether DC’s plan to ban some right turns on red lights will really save lives.

Things aren’t so great for bike riders and pedestrians in Charleston SC, either. But authorities can’t do much to fix it because most roads are controlled by the state.

 

International

A writer for Quartz says one way to make urban cycling safer is fewer angry dudes. But what she really seems to be saying is that we need more women and children, not fewer men, angry or otherwise.

An eco business website asks if dockless bikeshare represents a green revolution or parasites making a profit off the public space. Unlike Uber and Lyft, taxis, private buses and limos, evidently. Not to mention billboards, and other businesses that make money using public spaces.

Like the outdoor Vision Zero ad campaign we mentioned the other day, Toronto is using items that belonged to people killed in traffic collisions to create a hard-hitting safe streets art exhibit.

London business owners are calling for a crackdown on pedicab operators, who have a reputation for riding on the sidewalk and ripping off tourists, deserved or not.

A British study shows 26% of people believe the roads are too dangerous to commute by bike. That number would probably be a lot higher here in Los Angeles.

Maybe you want to add bicycling in Montenegro to your bike bucket list.

Tel Aviv cracks down on scofflaw ebike riders.

Norway’s ambassador rides in Canberra, Australia to share his country’s bicycling culture with the less than bike friendly country.

This is who we share the roads with. Over 20% of Aussie drivers admit to directing road rage towards people on bicycles.  Apparently, the other 80% just don’t admit to it.

He gets it. A Kiwi writer says if you think e-scooters are a safety menace, just wait until you hear about cars. Not to mention the people in them.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling profiles former rising pro Adrien Costa, who’s back on a bike after leaving the pro cycling and losing a leg in a rock climbing accident.

Cycling News talks with America’s other ex-Tour de France winner and current legal dope meister as he looks for closure, and tries to move past the “disgraced cyclist” label.

 

Finally…

You don’t have to be a former beauty queen to benefit from bicycling. It’s true, women bicyclists deviate more than men.

And those fake painted speed bumps aren’t fooling anyone.

 

Morning Links: More on the great bike helmet debate, and LA Times sort of says we’re dangerous

Today’s common theme is bike helmets.

Just a day after British bike scribe and new Forbes transportation writer Carlton Reid says he doesn’t wear a helmet when he rides, a couple others chimed in on the subject.

A Montreal writer says the problem with that is that bike helmets are proven to save lives. Which is true, as long as you don’t look at the studies that contradict them.

And pro cyclist Alex Dowsett says helmets “should be compulsory for all cyclists, everywhere, all of the time,” after crediting his with saving his head during yesterday’s stage of China’s Tour of Guangxi.

As regular readers of this site may know, I always wear a helmet when I ride.

But I realize that they’re not magic talismans that protect you from any injury. Except for the new MIPS helmets, they don’t protect against concussions, and they don’t protect any other part of the body.

They’re also only designed to protect against impacts up to 13.5 mph. Which means bike helmets are better in a slow speed fall than a high speed crash.

So yes, they can offer some protection, and may even save your life under certain circumstances.

But they should always be seen as the last line of defense. Not the first.

It’s better to avoid a crash in the first place than count on your helmet to save you.

………

Thanks to the Los Angeles Times for alerting the world to the dangers of this site in yesterday’s daily email blast.

Although I prefer to write it as one word.

Thanks to Chris Klibowitz for the heads-up. 

………

Local

The LA Times offers their endorsements for next month’s election, including a no on Prop 6, which would repeal the recent gas tax increase to fund road repair.

 

State

A new class-action lawsuit against Lime and Bird calls for banning e-scooters in California, with three plaintiffs alleging they were injured by defective and unsafe scooters; the suit also alleges the companies created a public nuisance and abetted assault. On the other hand, they love them in Portland, and are replacing car trips.

The CHP’s Pedestrian and Bicyclist Enforcement and Education Project has received a $1 million federal grant, as San Jose becomes the fourth California city to adopt Vision Zero.

Sad news from Sunnyvale, where a man was killed in a hit-and-run while riding his bike.

 

National

A writer for Business Insider says he can highly recommend REI’s own line of hybrid bikes.

As if anyone still cares, Cosmo updates the world on Britney Spears inner circle 20 years after the release of Baby One More Time. Although if you want to scroll all the way down to #13, Nigel Dick, the director of that video and some of her other hits, is one of us.

A Missouri city administrator explains there are many reasons why he rides a bicycle. But mostly, because it’s fun.

Critical Mass has finally made it to Brattleboro, Vermont, population just below 11,500.

Sure, that’s it. The New York Post’s resident anti-bike crank says local residents are making a last stand to fight a planned bike and pedestrian bridge, arguing that the mere presence of people on bicycles would lower their property values. And that the bridge is just the mayor’s attempt to get even with the governor, whose mother lives nearby. Of course. Who wouldn’t build a multi-million dollar just to get back at your political nemesis?

A WaPo writer says DC pedestrians have to walk at their own risk. And it’s not much better for people on bikes.

Speaking of DC, the district is considering banning right turns on red lights to improve safety for people on bicycles and on foot.

 

International

Most Scots think bicycling is a good thing, but over half say it’s not for them. Meanwhile, a newspaper wonders why so many adults lose the ability to ride a bike when it’s literally child’s play.

A Euro website looks at L’Eroica and the return of vintage steel road bikes.

For the second time in a week, a French mountain biker has been shot by a hunter; the victim was hit in the shoulder by someone who apparently thought he was shooting at a wild boar. Since so many try to escape hunters by bicycle, evidently.

A Kiwi writer says he has seen the future, and it’s dockless bikeshare.

Caught on video: An Aussie bike rider suffered a broken ankle when he was the victim of sidewalk rage, after a large man brushed against him rather than move over a bit to make room.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews calls the just concluded Tour of Guangxi a success, as it builds a cycling bridge between east and west.

 

Finally…

When protected bike lanes come to Dinkytown. And just in time for Halloween, the bicycling dead.

 

Morning Links: Court sticks LA and Caltrans for $9.1 million in PCH crash, and Brown signs e-scooter helmet bill

In the latest massive court case against the City of Los Angeles, a jury awarded $9.1 million to a man injured while riding his bike on PCH.

The Los Angeles Times reports Robert Jeffrey Watts suffered a severe brain injury four year ago, when he swerved his bike to go around rocks and debris on PCH in Pacific Palisades, and was struck by the wing mirror of a passing truck.

Watts came across a pile of sand and rocks on the pavement, and steered into the travel lane to avoid the debris. He was struck by a truck’s side mirror and lost control of his bicycle, resulting in a crash that left him with a “significant amount of brain damage,” according to a complaint filed in 2015 in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Watts was an experienced bicyclist who rode to his office in Culver City for years to keep fit, said his attorney, Boris Treyzon. Watts, who ran a successful freelance camera company, was left unable to work.

The jury split blame for the case, finding Caltrans 40% liable for the crash, with Los Angeles responsible for the rest.

Caltrans, which owns the highway, had hired Los Angeles to sweep the pavement at least once a month and keep it free of debris, but jury testimony and records left it unclear how often the work was performed, Treyzon said.

During the trial, he said, two city street sweepers testified that at the Tramonto slide, “they would simply swing around … and ignore it,” rather than remove the sand, gravel and rocks from the roadway.

No surprise there to anyone who has watched LA City street sweepers in action. Or had to ride through the debris they left behind.

The size of these awards keep climbing. And those payments come out of your taxes.

Money that would be much better spent to fund quality bike infrastructure and safer streets to keep bike riders and pedestrians from getting injured.

Instead of paying out massive legal judgements after they do.

………

Go ahead and scoot without a skid lid.

To the surprise of some — okay, me — Governor Brown signed AB 2989, allowing adult users of e-scooters to ride without a helmet.

In addition, the law allows scooters on streets with speed limits up to 35 mph; current law limits scooters to streets with speed limits up to 25 mph unless they have bike lanes.

No word on when the law takes effect.

………

CiclaValley wants to know whether Decker Canyon or Westlake Blvd offers the scarier descent.

Although Phil Gaiman might vote for Tuna Canyon.

………

Cheetahs don’t pedal.

Just saying.

 

………

Local

Ride Metro Bike bikeshare free tomorrow for World Car Free Day.

A writer for City Watch takes a miserable walk down Fairfax Blvd, followed by a harrowing bike ride. And says Metro could fund trees, sidewalk improvements and bike lanes on Fairfax, as well as on Wilshire Blvd and all the major streets in the area that connect to Wilshire, for less than $50 million. Let’s hope someone is listening to him.

Downtowners weigh in on plans to remake LA’s Civic Center, calling for protected bike lanes and trails with bike and scooter parking.

Bicycling profiles the founder of LA-based women’s bikewear brand Machines for Freedom.

The third annual Gran Fondo Santa Clarita rolls next Saturday.

 

State

The Tahoe-Pyramid Trail is nearing completion, following the Truckee River 116 miles from the north shore of Lake Tahoe to Nevada’s Pyramid Lake.

 

National

A writer for Forbes explains in detail why you have a greater right to ride a bicycle than to drive a car, and proposes a Micromobility Bill of Rights giving you the same entitlement on smaller devices like e-scooters.

Bicycling looks at the “newest and coolest gear” from this year’s Interbike show.

Your next bike could be made of Super Magnesium.

No bias here. A Colorado columnist complains about “Bicyclist Entitlement Syndrome,” saying courteous bike riders are so rare you never see them. And the rest park their bikes on handicap ramps and run over kittens.

Omaha police agree to keep patrolling the city’s paved trails in response to bike riders’ concerns about “wrongdoers.”

A Chicago city alderman has proposed requiring bike riders to dismount and walk their bikes on the popular downtown Riverwalk, saying it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

The administrators of the bike-hating Northern Kentucky Facebook group we linked to earlier this week have turned it into a closed group after it got public attention, and changed the name to “Share the Road;” local bicyclists are worried it could incite violence against bike riders.

Police in Knoxville TN are the latest department to use an ultrasonic radar device to enforce the three-foot passing law. The LAPD, not so much.

A pair of Cleveland bike riders were brutally attacked and robbed in separate early morning attacks.

New York is closing a pair of key bike lanes, apparently for security reasons, in preparation for next week’s United Nations General Assembly meeting — but leaving open a car tunnel that runs directly underneath.

A DC Twitter bot instantly uncovers the unpaid traffic tickets for any license plate, including one driver with 84 tickets totaling $10,700. Can we get that here in LA? Pretty please?

 

International

The co-founder of Zipcar warns the changes autonomous vehicles will bring could be paradise, or it could be hell.

Bike Radar offers tips on how to take inexperienced bike riders out for their first road ride.

Now that it’s legal north of the border, Canada’s military says don’t drive for 24 hours after you toke.

The Guardian looks at the colorful reinvention of city intersections.

Now that’s more like it. After a driver in the UK tweets that she should have run over a bike rider, police tell her to return her license because she’s clearly not fit to have one.

A British ebike maker says restricting ebikes to 15.5 mph in the UK and European Union is too slow for riders to be safe in traffic.

A Brit bike rider blames Strava for leading thieves to his home, where they stole five bikes worth nearly $16,000.

Heartbreaking news from the Netherlands, where four children were killed when the daycare cargo bike they were riding in was hit by a train.

VeloNews takes a tour of Italian bicycle factories.

 

Competitive Cycling

Forty-three-year old Amber Neben continues to defy the calendar as she prepares to compete for her third road world championship.

But maybe you’d rather watch bike racers about 40 years younger.

 

Finally…

Forget bike polo, it’s Cycleball season. Now you can own your very own British bike chain; no, not that kind.

And maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think those are bike racks.

………

Thanks David D, and everyone who has contributed this week, for their generous donations to help support this site. 

One final reminder, if everyone who visits this site today donated just $10, it would be more than enough to keep it going for a full year.

………

Join the Militant Angeleno and BikinginLA for the first-ever Militant Angeleno’s Epic CicLAvia Tour at the Celebrate LA! LA Phil 100 CicLAvia on September 30th!

Just RSVP to MilitantAngeleno@gmail.com. We want to guarantee a relatively small group to make sure we can keep the group together, and everyone can hear.

Morning Links: Support injured bike rider with new T-shirt design, and new bill could end CA e-scooter helmet law

Here’s your chance to look good by helping out an injured rider.

Several months ago, a man who goes by the name of Hery reached out to me for help after he was injured by the driver of a car.

I gave him what advice I could; unfortunately, he’s still struggling, as the message below indicates.

Eight months ago while riding my bike to work I was hit by car. I woke up with wiring in my mouth and have been on disability ever since. Recently I was informed my Medi-Cal won’t be covering some medical expenses, and over these last 8 months I’ve also accumulated a lot of debt just trying to get by. So I’ve decided to design T-shirts to raise money for bills and other expenses.

This is what Hery’s bike looked like after he was injured in the crash

It’s a great looking design, and a good cause, helping someone get back on his feet after he was injured in a crash.

And it’s available on anything from T-shirts and hoodies, to stickers and coffee mugs.

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A new bill passed by the state senate on Thursday would remove the ridiculous helmet requirement for dockless e-scooters — and the nearly $200 fines too many users have had to pay for breaking the law.

AB 2989 would also cap scooter speeds at their current 15 mph, while allowing cities to permit their use on more types of streets. Powered scooters are currently restricted to streets with bike lanes or speed limits of 25 mph or less.

The bill needs to return to the assembly before it goes to Governor Brown, where experience tells us it will face an uncertain fate.

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Todd Munson does what I’ve often threatened to do, recording two minutes of scofflaw drivers running the stop sign near his home.

I could do the same thing at either of the intersections closest to our apartment, with the same results.

Yet so many drivers seem to get apoplectic they see bike and scooter riders doing the same things they do every day.

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Los Angeles bike riders have to fight to get a bike corral. Riders in the the Netherlands get this, instead.

Thanks to Byron Smith for the heads-up.

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There was a time when Bike the Vote was more than a slogan, as an academic journal site remembers when bike riders were a political block courted by the GOP. And helped deliver the vote to William McKinley in 1896.

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Evidently, it’s not just Los Angeles.

Lincoln, Nebraska residents and bike riders support a lane reduction on major street, while a business association predicts a traffic apocalypse and calls it the first salvo in the war on cars.

In Jacksonville FL, the city wants to remove lanes from a street to improve safety, but local residents insist they like it just the way it is.

And an Edmonton, Canada letter writer says a lane reduction and two-way cycle tracks don’t make any sense, and he can’t understand why bike riders wouldn’t prefer a quieter, tree-lined street. The answer is they probably would, if it went the same places, with no stops and with signalized intersections at major streets, because bike riders need to get where they’re going just like drivers do.

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Local

LA Magazine previews the My Figueroa Complete Streets project, which will be officially unveiled this Thursday.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton writes that a wealthy neighborhood gets street repairs on dangerous Griffith Park Blvd where a rider was injured, while a less well off neighborhood gets signs and a recommendation from the city attorney to remove the bike lanes instead of fixing them.

Curb extensions are installed on Pico Blvd to improve safety at Hauser and Curson. Although it clearly could have been the first step to installing protected bike lanes, instead.

 

State

An Oceanside bike rider is lucky to be alive after surviving a crash with a commuter train that left him with minor injuries. Let that be yet another reminder to never try to go around crossing gates, even if it appears to be safe at the time.

The San Diego Union-Tribune asks if the city is ready to eliminate parking requirements for downtown housing.

Members of Rich City Rides rode to Oakland’s city hall to protest the arrest of founder Najari Smith for Biking While Black.

Sad news from Austria, where beloved Oakland triathlete Alistair Eeckman was killed in a crash with a bus while on a training ride, just one day after finishing sixth in the Powerman Austria; he was just 23. Thanks to Matt Stewart for the news.

 

National

Streetsblog says America’s car culture is literally shortening your life.

Your next Uber may not have a driver — or four wheels. The ride-hailing company’s new CEO sees a shift to ebikes and scooters for short trips.

A Colorado couple literally wrote the book on cycling the Great Divide, with all proceeds going to the Adventure Cycling Association.

Sioux City, Iowa, has made progress when it comes to bicycling, but still has a long way to go.

Tour de France laterne rouge Lawson Craddock returns home to a hero’s welcome at Houston’s Alkek Velodrome, after raising what could be as much as $400,000 to rebuild it following last year’s Hurricane Harvey. And announces it will be the site of USA Cycling’s new Olympic development program.

A Texarkana TX newspaper gets it, explaining that the city’s new sharrows don’t actually change anything, since bicyclists already have a legal right to ride in the traffic lane, but simply remind drivers of that fact.

Around a thousand people turned out for a bike ride to honor a Milwaukee bicycling icon who founded a chain of bike shops and created bike paths across the US.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A Minnesota man rides his age to celebrate his 90th birthday, breaking it up into six 15 mile rides.

A Tennessee family has developed a device to fit on the handlebar ends on kids bikes, that will hopefully prevent puncture injuries that aren’t as rare as they seem. Something like that should be required for every kid’s bike sold; every year, several children are seriously injured or killed by worn bike parts.

Streetsblog says a single double-parked truck can undermine everything the New York Department of Transportation does to keep streets safe for cyclists and pedestrians, because it all falls apart without enforcement.

A DC bike advocate says our streets don’t have to make us unhappy.

A Florida singletrack rider rescued a baby raccoon by putting him in his backpack, and riding him to safety before the coyotes could get him. It may be cute, but most experts recommend against trying to rescue seemingly abandoned animals; chances are, the mother is hiding somewhere nearby.

 

International

Ottawa bike riders are taking to social media to try to track down their stolen bicycles.

Now that’s a close call. An Ottawa bike rider decides he needs to buy some lights after a driver makes a left turn directly in front of him in the dim twilight. Which he should have had long before this ever happened.

Speaking of close calls, a British bike rider was nearly sideswiped by a trailer pulled by a van in a near-miss caught on bike cam.

Pamplona has running with the bulls; Birmingham, England has wheelie-popping teens riding with the buses.

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas says bike helmets should be made mandatory in the UK, adding “I’ve put on a helmet more times than I’ve buckled a seatbelt.” Then tries to walk it back the next day.

A New Zealand Op-Ed says there’s no need for a war between bicyclists and motorists; just slow traffic and build some decent infrastructure.

 

Competitive Cycling

A reminder of the dangers of amateur racing, as 30 riders went down in a mass crash in a Wisconsin race, sending four people to the  hospital, and leaving a number of others with minor injuries.

Three years ago, Staci Nash was a two-time NCAA Division II track champ — the running kind, not cycling. Today, she’s a two-time national mountain biking champ.

Ritchie Porte says I beg your pardon, I never promised you I was going for the general classification in the Vuelta.

Speaking of the Vuelta, Deadspin calls it the strangest, hardest stage race of the cycling season, and predicts this year’s race will kick ass. Meanwhile, Cycling News says it’s the last chance for ten riders.

Great long read from Peter Flax, who recounts the strange happenings 70 years ago as two legendary racers faced off in the 1948 world championships, which neither one won.

 

Finally…

Sometimes riding down a freeway in rush hour traffic calls for nothing more than a g-string. Yes, you can still take a Sunday drive — as long as it’s on a bike.

And when you hear hoofbeats, stop and say hi.

 

Morning Links: Why LA bike riders keep dying, Caltrans gets bike friendly, and Forsyth Cup rolls tomorrow

Yesterday morning, a reporter from outside of LA emailed me with a single, very simple question. 

But the answer was just the opposite. 

She wanted to why Los Angeles continues to be one of the nation’s deadliest cities for bicyclists. 

This is how I responded.

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That’s a complicated question.

There are a number of factors involved, but let’s start with the most obvious. Los Angeles is the second largest city in the US, so ignoring any other factors, we could be expected to have one of the highest traffic fatality rates.

We also have roughly 6,500 miles of surface streets, the most in the US. And due to the city’s mistaken obsession with LOS (Level of Service) until recent years, virtually all of those streets have been over-engineered to move as many vehicles as fast as possible, with little or no regard for safety.

That’s complicated by California’s deadly 85th Percentile Law, which allows drivers to set speed limits with their right foot. So you have streets that have been designed like highways, despite their original speed limits.

As a result, drivers naturally speed, which results in a continual raising of the speed limit until some LA streets have speed limits of 50 mph or more. And on those that don’t, drivers routinely exceed the limit by 10 to 15 mph — and complain in the rare instances that they get pulled over, because everyone else is doing it.

Add to that the smallest police force of any major city, resulting in just a few hundred officers patrolling the streets at any given time, most of whom are too busy dealing with major crimes to bother pulling anyone over for an illegal U-turn or weaving in and out of traffic. And until recently, police couldn’t enforce speed limits on most of the city’s streets, because LA failed to conduct the speed surveys required by the 85th Percentile law.

So is it any wonder that LA has what may be world’s most entitled drivers, who seem to feel they have a God-given right to do anything they want, with little or no fear of consequences?

Then there’s the lack of safe bicycling infrastructure in the city. While the city made great gains under the previous mayor, who committed to building 40 miles of bike lanes a year, that has trickled to a crawl under the current administration, resulting in less than 10 lanes miles a year. We have just a handful of parking protected bike lanes, no curb-protected lanes — the first is expected to open this summer on South Figueroa — and a few of what are questionably called protected lanes, guarded only by thin plastic flex posts, which are easy to drive over with no damage to your car.

To complicate matters, there is nothing even resembling a bikeway network in Los Angeles. With the exception of Downtown LA, it is virtually impossible to plan a safe route from one part of the city to another. Bike lanes start and stop at random, and usually don’t connect to anything, forcing riders to contend with high speed traffic and aggressive drivers.

As a result, a disproportionate number of LA riders use sidewalks instead of riding in the street, putting them at significant risk when they have to cross a side street or driveway. In addition, LA has a large immigrant population, many of whom ride bikes as their only form of transportation. And many of whom learned to ride against traffic in their home countries, and continue the practice here; in some neighborhoods, salmon cyclists make up most, if not all, of the bicycling victims according to the LAPD.

Do I even need to mention that there is no bicycle eduction in most California cities? Some of the local advocacy groups offer adult bike education, but that reaches only a handful of people each year. And usually not the ones who need it most.

Finally, Los Angeles has a weak mayor political system which gives the mayor limited authority, while placing most of the power in the hands of individual councilmembers. As a result, while the mayor has set some bike friendly policies, such as Vision Zero, actual implementation falls on each councilmember to approve or deny safety improvements in their own districts.

A fear of angry drivers — and voters — has resulted in the cancellation of shovel-ready road diets and bike lanes throughout the city, virtually halting any real progress on Vision Zero, let alone providing any alternative to driving for most people. And famously led to the reversal of several road diets installed in Playa del Rey last year when pass-through drivers, mostly from outside the city, rose up in revolt.

Los Angeles has great potential for bicycling. If the city actually builds out its Mobility Plan 2035, and the bike plan within it — which seems highly unlikely at this point — it will transform itself from the nation’s most traffic and smog-choked city into one of the safest and most livable communities anywhere.

But that’s a big if.

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Caltrans celebrates the last day of Bike Month by discussing the role bikes can play as a legitimate form of transportation in reducing greenhouse gasses.

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If you’re looking for some serious bike action this weekend, check out Saturday’s second edition of the Wolfpack Hustle Forsyth Cup under the afternoon skies at the Encino Velodrome.

And enjoy free hot dogs, hamburgers and tacos while you watch some of LA’s best track cyclists, hosted by BikinginLA sponsor Thomas Forsyth.

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The Guardian offers a video explaining why forcing bicyclists to wear helmets won’t save lives.

Just to be clear, I’m a firm believer in using helmets on American roads, and always wear a one when I ride. But they should always be seen as the last line of defense when all else fails.

We’ll save a lot more lives by taming traffic and building better bikeways than by making everyone wear a helmet for every ride.

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Speaking of the Guardian, the paper picked up Peter Flax’s story about the death of bicyclist  Mark Kristofferson at this year’s Tour of Palm Springs, and asking why it’s so hard to charge motorists with murdering cyclists.

It’s an important, if difficult, piece.

So if you haven’t read it yet, take a few minutes and give it a read.

We’ll wait.

………

Local

Former LACBC Executive Director Tamika Butler reminisces about Bike Month — and feeling excluded by members of the bike community.

 

State

Congratulations to San Diego for being named a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists; newly bike friendly Las Vegas got promoted from Bronze to Silver. Meanwhile, Los Angeles remains on the list at the Bronze level, for no apparent reason.

Two participants in next week’s AIDS/LifeCycle ride discuss why they’re riding 450 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

 

National

A writer for The Atlantic really wants to hate e-scooters, but can’t.

Bicycling lists their take on the best bicycling apps, including the Red Cross’ free First Aid app, for reasons that should be obvious. And lists the 25 best American companies for bicyclists. But you have to have the patience to click through 25 times.

Couldn’t agree more. Treehugger says it’s time to stop arguing about helmets, and start building safe infrastructure.

Nashville gives Bird the bird.

The argument over a proposed protected bike lane in New York’s Sunnyside neighborhood boils down to the same old dispute — business owners want parking spaces, while bike riders just want to stay alive.

The New York DOT puts its foot down, and says a protected bike lane is going to be installed on Queens Blvd, whether or not the local community board approves. Which is exactly what needs to happen in Los Angeles, but won’t.

The hotest perk in Gotham real estate — deluxe bike storage rooms.

Neighbors demand bike lanes along a Maryland highway. But as usual, the call for safety comes after it’s too late.

 

International

Bike Biz looks forward to the first ever World Bicycle Day this Sunday.

A writer for the Weekly Standard spent two months riding his bike along both sides of the US – Mexico border, from Tijuana to Brownsville TX. And says the region has much bigger problems than people trying to cross it to find work.

Montreal will invest $15 million over the next year to improve the city’s bicycling network; they expect to have nearly 550 miles of bike paths by next year, connecting 16 boroughs and four cities.

Toronto celebrates Bike Month by promising to clean up its existing bikeways.

A self-described “keen cyclist” in the London’s Waltham Forest borough says bicyclists have turned a local pedestrian plaza into a death trap. Yet he somehow fails to note that no one has actually been killed by bike riders there. Which is not to say riders shouldn’t show extra care and consideration around people on foot.

A severely disabled British woman plans to ride 2018 miles with her service dog in tow to raise money for assistance dog charities.

According to a new study, potholes and trucks keep people from bicycling on UK roadways; 56% of the people surveyed said they would ride more if they felt safer on the streets. Just like pretty much everywhere else outside of Denmark and the Netherlands.

An Australian bike advocacy group says a petition demanding that bicyclists ride single file and banning bikes from roads with speed limits over 50 mph has no merit. Meanwhile, another bike group cites massive fraud, suggesting the petition is full of false names, while Cycling Tips says we can all learn from the misguided petition.

 

Competitive Cycling

Great interview with America’s only remaining Tour de France winner, as Cycling Tips talks with Greg LeMond about what he’s learned.

 

Finally…

Your next new tires could come with a complete bike attached. Don’t put aero bars on a gravel bike — or do if that’s what you feel like.

And why wait for someone else to fix your pothole, when you can just do it yourself?

 

 

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