Tag Archive for bikes are good for business

Morning Links: Bikes are good for business, victim-blaming in the press, and 1st ‘Tis the Season of the season

Once again, a study has shown that bikes are good for business.

Researchers in London concluded that people who arrive at businesses by bike, walking or transit spend 40% more than people who get there by driving.

Yes, forty percent.

Yet most business owners will insist that their business can’t even survive the loss of a few parking spaces.

But that’s just the start.

The study shows that improving access for people on bikes and on foot nearly doubles the number of people walking in a given neighborhood.

People also spent more time there, increasing activity such as going into shops and cafés by a whopping 216%.

At the same time, retail rents increased 7.5%, with a 17% decline in retail vacancies.

Which proves once again, that business owners who fight bike and pedestrian improvements are just shooting themselves in the foot.

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This is how easy it is to blame the victim in a bike crash.

According to the Sacramento Bee, a 75-year old man was killed in a crash while riding his bike Saturday evening.

This is how they described it.

A 50-year-old Carmichael man was driving a red Lexus, the release said, when he entered an intersection at the same time as the biker, who was not using a light or wearing a helmet. The impact caused the biker to be thrown from his bicycle onto the roadway.

Note how mentioning the lack of a light and helmet subtly shifts the blame, even as the next sentence notes that the crash is still under investigation.

And never mind that every crash is the result of the operators of two or more vehicle attempting to occupy the same space at the same time.

The question is why.

But chances are, after reading the above description, most people would assume that a 75-year old man somehow ran a stop sign or a traffic signal.

Whether or not there even was one.

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‘Tis the season.

An Oklahoma charity is building bikes to give to children for the holidays; last year they bought, built and gave away 1,350 bicycles.

Fifteen Minnesota bike riders braved snow and icy streets to collect $450 worth of food for victims of domestic violence in the annual Cranksgiving ride.

Baton Rouge Cranksgiving bicyclists turned out to collect food for a local food bank; last year they collected over 400 pounds of food.

A group of cycling Santas took to the streets of Windsor, Ontario to spread some pre-Thanksgiving Yuletide cheer in the form of $5 McDonalds gift certificates for the homeless and others in need.

And Road.cc offer a Christmas gift list for bike riders for whom money is no object.

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Nice promo piece from Metro says we refuse to be labelled a car culture.

At least some of us, anyway.

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Turns out former Tour de France champ Vincenzo Nibali is pretty good on gravel, too.

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Local

Metro wants to know where you’d put new bikeshare docks as they plan their expansion west from Downtown. Unfortunately, Hollywood is still not an option.

Speaking of Metro, should we really be surprised that they’re recommending replacing plans for the recently cancelled 710 extension with equally car-centric surface street plans?

UCLA transportation expert Michael Manville talks about the benefits of congestion pricing in an NPR podcast, saying a toll that would reduce driving less than 5% would increase speeds up to 20%. Although increasing speeds isn’t exactly what we should b doing under Vision Zero.

Uber’s JUMP has beaten out Lime and Bird to score LA’s first official e-scooter permit.

Bike SGV is hosting their annual Noche de las Luminarias awards bash and fundraiser on December 1st. Which would be a great way to get in the mood for the next day’s CicLAvia.

 

State

Friends, family and fellow firefighters turned out on Saturday to remember fallen Costa Mesa Fire Captain Mike Kreza, who was killed by an allegedly stoned driver while riding his bike in Mission Viejo.

San Diego is considering requiring homeowners to fix their broken sidewalks before they sell, after paying out $11 million for bicyclists and others injured on them.

San Diego State University has opened a bicycle-themed art exhibit in their downtown gallery.

Still more San Diego news, as the city is planning its first bike and pedestrian promenade through the Hillcrest district.

San Francisco has received a $75,000 to educate bicyclists and pedestrians to improve safety. Even though they could improve it a lot faster by getting drivers to slow down and put their phones down.

 

National

The owner of Performance Bike, and distributor of a number of bike brands, has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, though the CEO insists it will survive. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the link.

NBC News examines the rise in e-scooter injuries as providers spread across the US and around the world. The two scooter deaths that have occurred so far are two too many. But in context of the massive scooter usage numbers — Bird alone has surpassed 10 million rides — it’s not significantly more dangerous than riding a bicycle, and perhaps even safer.

Speaking of which, NPR looks at why Ford is getting into the scooter business.

Bike-friendly Portland makes plans to grow without adding more cars.

That’s more like it. A Washington man got nearly eight and a half years behind bars for the hit-and-run death of a teenage bike rider on his way to work.

Evidently, Los Angeles isn’t the only place homeowners leave trash cans in bike lanes. After Washington rider writes to complain — following a crash with a fog-shrouded garbage bin — a columnist says don’t leave your trash there, even if there’s no law against it.

Over 6,000 people took part in the 36th annual Tour de Tucson on Saturday.

A Utah bike shop owner explains why you should support your local bike shop.

Local riders say Topeka KS has made great progress in making the streets safer and more inviting for people on bicycles.

A Kansas City entrepreneur says coming up with bad ideas for bike safety first is what led to plans for colored bike lanes and harsher punishments for drivers that hit bicyclists. Or she could have asked just about any bike advocate, most of whom have been calling for those things for years.

Boston bicyclists mark the World Day of Remembrance by installing a ghost bike for a rider who was killed last week. Meanwhile, a local news site asks what the city should be doing to improve safety for people on bicycles.

No bias here. A Florida writer freaks out over the $35 million price tag to put a seven-mile bike and pedestrian path on a local bridge. But doesn’t seem at all fazed by the $841 million being spent to make the bridge over for drivers.

 

International

Road.cc says the Toronto cop who walked for dooring a bike rider while stopped in a bike lane got credit from the judge for successfully not dooring three other riders before he nailed one.

After losing her leg in a bicycling crash, a British woman says it’s time to recognize the dangers of traffic collisions. And actually do something about it.

There once was a teenager from Limerick, who stole 14 bicycles in four months. And no, it doesn’t rhyme and the meter sucks, just like the crime.

At least no one died when California drivers rose up in a failed attempt to roll back a gas tax increase. One person was killed and over 100 injured when French drivers rioted over plans to increase fuel taxes in that country. Thanks to Larry Kawalec for the heads-up.

An Indian writer explains why riding a bike to work in Delhi around the Diwali holiday isn’t a great idea. And not just because of the pollution.

A New Zealand driver is pissed off when she finds herself following a group of bicyclists riding up to four abreast. Even though they stayed in just one lane, and didn’t take up any more lane space that a single rider taking the lane would have.

A Brisbane, Australia paper says the city’s river brings $70 billion in financial benefits every year, including a riverside bike path that brings a whopping 80,000 people to work each year, with 30,142 bike rides each working day.

 

Competitive Cycling

Maybe it’s just me, but a pro cyclist talking about how much she enjoys suffering and watching others suffer on their bikes probably isn’t the most effective to get more women to ride. But I could be wrong.

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas says fellow Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins is just looking for attention by praising ex-Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

Bicycling looks at how former world champ Lizzie Deignan got a new pro contract, even though she’s six months pregnant.

 

Finally…

The new Cirque du Soleil is one of us, too. Riding a sort-of bike at speeds approaching 90 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

And no. Just…no.

 

Morning Links: Did Santa Barbara driver commit 2014 road rage, and bike lanes really are good for business

Maybe there’s more to the story.

Yesterday we mentioned the Santa Barbara bike collision that sent two-time Olympic gold medal volleyball player Craig Buck to the hospital with major head trauma.

Now Cyclelicious points out the similarities between the pickup involved in that collision, and one involved in a 2014 road rage assault on a pair of bicyclists.

In the earlier case, photographer Carson Blume reports the driver buzzed within inches of them as they rode along a road in coastal Santa Barbara County, then cut to the right, grazing Blume and knocking his companion over.

The driver then brake-checked Blume, and briefly shifted into reverse before driving away laughing. Then came back on the other side of the road, shouting profanities.

Yet despite the presence of an independent witness, police did nothing more than issue the driver a ticket for unsafe passing.

And yes, it certainly looks like the same truck was involved in both cases.

Which would call into question the CHP report that Buck “…cut the corner, driving (sic) on the wrong side of the roadway, while failing to stop at a posted stop sign…” where he hit the side of the pickup.

Unless there’s an independent witness who saw any of that, police may be relying on the testimony of a driver who is accused of using his truck as weapon to attack people riding bikes at least once before.

One who has every incentive to paint the victim’s actions in the worst possible light. And who I’m told is silver tongued when it comes to dealing with police.

The question is whether he did it again, and whether the police will once again let him get away with it.

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A Chattanooga business owner gets it, saying new protected bike lanes are way better for the downtown area than a few extra parking spaces.

A study from Salt Lake City proves him right, as sales increased more than the citywide average after spaces were removed for protected lanes and other street improvements.

Which may be why streets with scarce auto parking are the best places to remove it, according to People for Bikes.

And unlike some cities we could name, Seattle’s mayor didn’t cave in the face of opposition, but carefully worked out a compromise to overcome a challenge from 300 businesses worried about losing parking spaces for a 1.7 mile protected lane. Thanks to David Atwell for the heads-up.

Which sounds sort of like what happened with the My Figueroa project that’s scheduled to break ground on South Figueroa next year.

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The safety video prepared by the PCH Task Force has won a national award for Best Public Service Announcement.

You tell me. Maybe it’s better than I think it is.

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Ian Crane, the pro cyclist who nearly died after going through the rear windshield of a support vehicle in last year’s USA Pro Challenge, turned down a chance to re-sign with the Jamis team for next year in order to focus on his recovery.

The owner of the world champion Velocio-SRAM pro team says the future looks bright for women’s cycling.

And Greg LeMond, America’s only remaining Tour de France winner, gets credit for the innovations that led pro cycling into the modern high-tech era.

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Local

The editor of the Los Angeles Business Journal calls for an end to the mythical war on drivers; Streetsblog’s Damien Newton very politely suggests he’s full of it.

Turns out the most popular day in LA cycling history was the first-ever Valley CicLAvia back in March, according to Strava data. Pretty impressive when you consider that many CicLAvia attendees have probably never even heard of Strava.

Santa Monica’s two-to-three mile long Colorado Esplanade is on track for completion by spring of next year, including separated bike lanes and walkways. But serioualy, shouldn’t they know how long it’s going to be by now?

The New Urbanism Film Festival screens this weekend, from Thursday through Sunday. Vancouver’s Modacity will come to LA as part of the film fest, with additional engagements Thursday at the Echo Park Film Center and Sunday in Santa Monica.

 

State

An Orange County judge hears testimony from the victim’s relatives as he considers a plea deal for Dylan Thomas Randluby in the death of fallen rider John Greg Colvin in Laguna Beach last year.

Garden Grove’s Main Street goes car-free this Sunday with the seven-hour Re:Imagine Garden Grove By Day and By Night open streets festival.

Long-time Long Beach expats The Path Less Pedaled offer three reasons to attend the National Bicycle Tourism Conference in San Diego next month.

Horrifying case from Fresno, as two people are on trial for torturing a woman and forcing her to watch the murder of another man after she knocked on their door to look for her stolen bike.

City Lab’s Sarah Goodyear takes an in-depth look at San Francisco’s attempt to pass an Idaho Stop Law. What we really need is support to pass the law on the state level, which has authority over all traffic laws. On the other hand, I can’t imagine Jerry Brown actually signing it.

 

National

Denver CO plans to install the same sort of protected bike lanes nearby Boulder is ripping out.

A Kansas driver gets just one year in jail for killing a bike rider he never even saw because he was busy looking at the GPS on his cellphone.

An Albany NY man rides 200 miles with his daughter, retracing the route he took to Boston 20 years earlier to receive a heart transplant.

Gothamist looks at the practice of shoaling, wherein one rider cuts in front of others at a red light. And it’s usually a slower rider, which means having to move into traffic to pass them once the light changes.

New York considers adding bike and pedestrian lanes to the iconic Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Philadelphia bike riders shout the universal refrain about the dangers of cars parked in bike lanes, calling for greater enforcement so riders aren’t forced to ride in traffic.

The Wall Street Journal takes a luxe cycling journey along rail-to-trail paths through the Pennsylvania and Maryland rust belt.

An Atlanta musician is running and riding to New York to protest police brutality.

 

International

Advice on how to buy a used bike.

Pot, meet kettle. English cab drivers call cyclists reckless after one jumps a red light in front of Cambridge cops.

A road raging British driver is on trial for driving up on a sidewalk to hit a cyclist before crashing into a salon — with four kids in her car, no less.

No distraction here. A British rider catches a driver watching a movie behind the wheel, while claiming she was only listening to it.

An Irish paracyclist will attempt to set a new hour record this Saturday.

Ireland’s transport minister says it should be left up to individual bicyclists to decide whether or not to wear a helmet.

Huh? An Irish paper says spinal injuries due to bicycling tripled, from five in 2010 to 21 in 2014. Which looks more like it quadrupled, but maybe they do math differently over there. And maybe they use a different kind of bike helmet, since the ones we have don’t prevent spinal injuries.

An Indian writer says someone needs to save the cycling from the county’s cycling federation.

South African police are looking for a car full of white men who reached out to drag a black cyclist in a racial attack.

An award-winning New Zealand architect faces charges for running down a cyclist with his SUV, despite the rider’s lights and bright clothing.

Freestyle cyclist Vittorio Brumotti visits the Philippines, and declares Manilla one of the world’s best places for cycling; he was the victim of a viscous assault just two months ago.

 

Finally…

Anyone can ride a bikeshare bike; not everyone can solve a Rubik’s cube in 40 seconds with one hand while doing it. Cycling really is the new golf, unless maybe it’s running.

And today may be the end of the world, so you might as well skip work and go for a bike ride.

Otherwise, I’ll see you here tomorrow, assuming there is one.

 

Today’s post, in which I follow Metro’s lead and issue a challenge to bike lane-averse merchants

I’ve been surprised by the opposition from local businesses to the planned bike lanes that could bring them more business.

Yes, I fully expected some blowback to plans to install bike lanes on busy streets like Westwood, Bundy and Figueroa. Auto-centric residents who can’t comprehend any other means of getting to and from their homes can be counted on to rise up in NIMBYist opposition to any suggestion of reducing traffic flow to a more rational level, or providing a safe alternative to getting behind the wheel.

Even though they don’t have to get out of their cars to enjoy the benefits. But just make it practical for other people to leave their cars behind so they can move more freely in theirs.

But the vehemence of the opposition from the merchants who would benefit from bike lanes has come as a very unpleasant surprise.

It doesn’t take a Masters in Business Administration to realize that anything that enables more customers to come to your door is good for the bottom line. Never mind that bike riders have been shown to visit merchants more often, resulting in higher sales over the long run.

Or that calming traffic — one of the many secondary benefits of bike lanes — can make a shopping district more attractive to everyone, And at the same time, replacing cut-through drivers with destination traffic more likely to actually stop and spend money.

So I was intrigued this morning when I received an email from Metro announcing that this year’s Bike Week will take place from May 13th to 19th. And that a new feature in 2013 will be the first Bike Weekend, in which merchants will be encouraged to offer a discount to bike riders.

Metro invites you to be part of Bike Week LA by offering discounts to any bicyclist who mentions “Bike Week” during Bike Local Weekend, Friday, May 17 through Sunday, May 19, 2013. This is a FREE advertising opportunity to attract and encourage customers to eat, shop, and play locally. Metro wants to promote you as a destination location for Bike Local Weekend through our website, social media network, and other media channels.

Did you know that bicycling is great for local business? Studies show that people who travel by bicycle actually make more visits to small businesses than people who travel by car. These visits add up – cities all across the U.S. are discovering that when bicycling increases, sales revenue does too. In San Francisco and New York City, for instance, retail sales along certain bike lanes is up as much as 50%! Because bicyclists travel at slower speeds than cars, it’s easier for them to stop and smell the coffee. (It also helps that they don’t have to pay for parking).

If your business would like to participate in Bike Local Weekend, please sign up here no later than May 1, 2013. The earlier you sign up, the better we are able to promote you! Please feel free to contact us with any questions at bikeweekla@metro.net or 213.922.5634.

So let me issue a challenge to business owners who oppose bike lanes in front of their shops. Especially those who have been most outspoken in their opposition, like Galcos in Highland Park and A Little Taste of Hoboken in Westwood.

Just give it a shot.

Offer a discount to bicyclists that one weekend.

If you don’t notice any difference in sales, maybe you’re right. You can come to the next meeting and argue that you tried to market your business to bike riders, and it didn’t do any good.

But if, more likely, your business goes up that weekend, you’ll have solid evidence that we bicyclists spend money at places that make us feel welcome.

And that, rather than the highway to financial ruin you fear, a bike lane in front of your business could be the pathway to higher profits. Let alone a better, safer and more livable business district.

The best part is, you have nothing to lose.

Except your misconceptions.

But don’t be surprised if we complain about the lack of bike parking.

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