Tag Archive for Bureau of Street Services

Getting the mythical war on cars all wrong, road rage rising on LA streets, and LA Streets chief Greg Spotts heads to Seattle

No bias here.

An economics professor and former deputy assistant secretary for research and technology at the US Department of Transportation gets it exactly wrong, saying the US shouldn’t follow Europe’s lead in the mythical war on cars.

Cities are being hollowed out by pedestrian precincts, with commerce for residents moving outside the centers of town, leaving the quaint city streets for tourists. Locals need not visit.

American transportation policy is mistakenly copying Europe, and it’s not only the higher gas prices and smaller planned electric vehicles. Bike lanes are proliferating and parking spaces vanishing. One example: the District Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C., is planning to reconfigure Connecticut Avenue, one of the major arteries into the city, by removing two major lanes of traffic and replacing them with bike lanes. The plan doesn’t account for fire engines pulling out of their stations or existing right-turn lanes. Other bike lanes in Washington see minimal commuter traffic.

With regard to parking spaces, the motto among U.S. transportation planners seems to be “if you don’t build them, they won’t come.” A planned reconfiguration of Union Station in Washington, D.C., will result in the loss of hundreds of parking spaces. Restaurants are taking over valuable curbside spaces for dining.

She goes on to decry city centers filled with pedestrians and thriving merchants, as well as areas where driving is actively discouraged in favor of more beneficial forms of transportation.

Which is a good thing, actually.

And which makes it kind of frightening that someone like her was helping to form transportation policy in the Trump administration.

Then again, that explains a lot.

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No, it’s not just your imagination.

There really is more anger out there on the streets. And more people willing to act on it.

Too often, with guns.

Crosstown LA reports Los Angeles set a record in June with 90 reported incidents of road rage, topping the previous record set just one month earlier.

From Jan. 1–June 30 there were 459 reports of road rage in the city, according to publicly available Los Angeles Police Department data. That is a 32.7% increase over the same period last year, and almost 140 more incidents than were tallied in the first half of 2019.

Never mind that most road rage incidents never get reported to the police, making those record figures just the tip of the iceberg.

So be careful out there. Drivers don’t need a weapon when they’re already in one.

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In a surprise announcement, Seattle’s Department of Transportation reveled LA Street Services head Greg Spotts is taking over their new leader.

Damien gets it right.

Spotts is, or was, one of the few Los Angeles department heads who really seemed to get it, and will be sorely missed.

Besides, he’s one of us. And it made sense to have a bike rider in charge of LA streets for a change.

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The LAPD’s official Twitter account shares a great story, as their officers pitched in with other organizations for LA’s first Bike Safety Camp Day, including a new bike for 30 lucky kids.

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The popular Eastside Mural Ride returns a week from Saturday.

I’m told from people who’ve done it in previous years that this is one ride you don’t want to miss.

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The California Office of Traffic Safety presents the winner in the completion for a DIY traffic safety ad.

Maybe you’ll like it more than I do.

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

No bias here, either. After a Jersey City city councilwoman flees the scene after crashing her car into someone on a bicycle, a writer for a New Jersey website insists the real problem is irresponsible bike riders who blow through stop signs and red lights.

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

Police in Cleveland are looking for a bike-riding man who got into an argument a street vendor, then pulled out a gun and shot the victim several times when the argument got physical.

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Local

Road closures keep coming on the new 6th Street Viaduct as police struggle to halt bad driver behavior, with speed bumps likely coming to the new bridge. Which couldn’t be better proof of a bad road design.

The LA Times says just forget the whole thing, and close the 6th Street Bridge to cars and let the people on foot and two wheels take it over.

An artist in South LA was struck by a hit-and-run driver while he was riding his ebike to finish a mural; the woman got out of her car to help him, but took off without identifying herself. A crowdfunding account to help pay his medical bills and replace the ebike he relied on for transportation has raised over $6,000 of the modest $10,000 goal.

This is who we share the road with. A woman driving with a bunny crashed into a Lyft driver, a utility box and a fire hydrant, knocking out power in DTLA.

This is who we share the road with, part two. A pickup driver injured 11 people in Pacoima when he struck three vehicles in a gas station, and knocked over one of the pumps. Oops.

 

State 

Police arrested a 39-year old suspect in the stabbing death of 26-year old Marcos Guzman Reyes, who was killed as he stood next to his bike on a Ventura bike path.

The director of Strategic Initiatives for COAST+SBBIKE writes to clear up misconceptions about a planned Santa Barbara bike path that’s been under attack, over fears it would lead to the removal of trees in a protected sanctuary.

 

National

CNN recommends accessories for your next bike trip.

Streetsblog examines why US cities are so bad at counting bike riders, and why it matters.

Great piece from The Radavist, about the bicycle nomad who rode 1,900 miles to retrace the route of the famed Buffalo Soldiers on the 125th anniversary of their bike ride from Missoula, Montana to St. Louis.

Sadly, it’s not even surprising anymore when the NYPD blames the bike-riding victim, insisting a woman was riding salmon when video of the fatal crash shows just the opposite.

New York bizarrely turns its speed cams off at night and on weekends when speeding is the worst, even though speeding is a leading cause of fatal crashes.

DC advocates rallied to protest the city’s 22 traffic deaths this year, including three cyclists and a pedestrian killed just this month.

 

International

After a London thief stole a kid’s dirt bike-style bicycle, he returned it the next day with a note of apology, explaining he was drunk and stupid.

British bicyclists can be fined the equivalent of up to $3,000 for riding dangerously, as well as other infractions.

 

Competitive Cycling

European time trial champ Marlen Reuser soloed to victory in Wednesday’s stage four of the Tour de France Femmes, winning by nearly a minute and a half.

Dutch great Marianne Vos held on to the yellow jersey after stage four, leading Silvia Persico  and Kasia Niewiadoma by 16 seconds.

SBS Sport captures five moments of chaos on the gravel of Wednesday’s stage, questioning whether including gravel sections in the race was a good idea.

Spanish champ Mavi García was taken out by her own team car as she tried to catch up to the peloton after a pair of flats.

F1 star Valtteri Bottas is taking some time off from the car racing circuit to assist his girlfriend, Australian cyclist Tiffany Cromwell, as she competes in the TdFF.

Paracyclist and Air Force vet Dustin Baker’s hopes of competing in next month’s Para-cycling Road World Championships were dashed when a driver read-ended his bike on a North Carolina training ride, leaving him with broken ribs, a damaged rotator cuff, a concussion and road rash. Not to mention a shattered bike.

Danish fans seemed kind of happy to see Tour de France champ Jonas Vingegaard in his first post-race appearance back home.

 

Finally…

That feeling when a visibly drunk hit-and-run driver is captured by a chef — and an emu. Your next ebike could look like a 1920s motorcycle, and do up to 40 mph, which is kind of illegal in most states.

And we’ll leave you with this today, marking the intersection of bicycling, feminism and motherhood a hundred years ago.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

A breakup letter with 6th Street Viaduct, CalBike ED moves to People For Bikes, and CA ebike rebates fail to launch

He gets it.

Well, of course he does.

Michael Schneider, founder of the transformational transportation Political Action Committee Streets For All, is the latest to accuse Caltrans and LADOT failing to protect bike riders on the new $588 million 6th Street Viaduct.

Los Angeles’ Bureau of Engineering, LADOT, and Caltrans have sent a “love letter” that is actually a breakup letter to people on bikes. Whether intentional or not, it signals that the city doesn’t really care about the safety for people on bikes (or they do, unless the space is needed for cars). Spending $600M of our taxpayer dollars on a substandard multi modal bridge in 2022 isn’t acceptable. The striping should be changed ASAP to accommodate broken down cars and emergency vehicles in the center while physically protecting people on bikes with concrete and extending the lane for the full length of the bridge.

We’ve already discussed that failure several times in recent days. So take a moment to read Schneider’s Medium piece.

Then get mad.

Damn mad.

Because as much as we want to love the new bridge, city and state officials have made it clear that your life and safety is worth less to them than a broken-down car.

And it should come as no surprise to anyone that drivers on the bridge are already behaving badly.

Rendering from From 6th Street Viaduct Twitter account.

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CalBike Executive Director Dave Snyder is leaving the statewide bicycle advocacy group.

Snyder has led the California Bicycle Coalition, better known as Calbike, nearly half of its existence, joining the 26-year old organization in 2010.

According to a press release posted by Bicycle Retailer and Industry News,

Under Snyder’s leadership, CalBike’s tenacious, hardworking team has passed model e-bike legislation, pushed through Complete Streets reform at Caltrans, defeated a helmet mandate, legalized protected bike lanes, and gotten several bills passed to protect bicyclists, including the Three Feet for Safety Law requiring motorists to give bicyclists 3 feet of space when passing. They have gotten more funding for bicycling as well, securing an increase in state-level funding for biking and walking from around $100M to over $1 billion, and winning $10M for e-bike purchase incentives.

CalBike has helped to coordinate more than twenty local advocacy organizations with a combined membership of over 100,000, influencing elections for the California State Assembly and Senate and building support for ballot measures such as the successful defeat in 2018 of a proposed repeal of the gas tax.

He’s leaving to take a position as Senior Director of Local Innovation with Colorado-based People For Bikes.

He’ll be missed.

Current CalBike Operations Manager Kevin Claxton will step in as Interim Director while the group conducts a search for new leadership.

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Streetsblog continues to stay on top of California’s continued failure to launch a promised and fully funded ebike rebate program.

Despite the overwhelming success of Denver’s ebike rebate program, California’s minimally funded $10 million program, which was supposed to launch this month, has been dead on arrival, apparently due to the state’s inability to select anyone to administer it.

Putting off a decision adds delay to an already slow-moving process, and could push the program start date out until after the end of the year. Other sources of e-bike incentives, including under the Clean Cars for All program being handled by regional air districts, have been just as slow to get going.

It almost feels as if CARB is more than reluctant to offer these incentives, even though it is increasingly clear that e-bikes can be excellent replacements for private cars. Their carbon footprints, costs, parking requirements, and the space they take up on roads is also considerably less than that of electric cars, and CARB doesn’t seem to have much trouble pushing EVs as a climate solution.

Never mind that California provides $425 million to purchasers of electric vehicles, which offer far fewer public benefits than electric bicycles.

You’d think that a cost of just 2.3% of the EV program while getting more cars off the road would be enough of an incentive for the state to get its shit together.

But apparently, you’d be wrong.

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Just 136,000 of the reasons I’m a fan of the East Side Riders.

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The LA area’s biggest bike race of the year is coming to the South Bay on Sunday.

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This is what can happen when a country’s leaders actually give a damn about ending traffic deaths.

Unlike a certain North American country we could name.

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

A Rhode Island man faces multiple charges for intentionally backing his car into a 12-year old boy’s bike, then following the kid and knocking him off his bike, all because he took offense at comments the boy made to his friends.

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Local

You see a lot of things riding a bike.  Like a cackling arsonist starting a brush fire, and a bike rider with a bleeding head injury who insists on riding off rather than waiting for paramedics. Seriously, if someone insists you need medical help, listen to them.

 

State 

Bad news from Oxnard, where a 14-year old boy was critically injured when he was struck by a 19-year old van driver while riding his bike.

The writer of a Santa Barbara op-ed, who apparently doesn’t know the difference between a Class 1 bike path and Class 2 bike lanes, opposes the former because it could mean the loss of trees on a street that already has the latter.

Santa Rosa bike riders are complaining about the unexpected closure of a bike path due to a small homeless encampment that officials said was “impeding safe public use of the trail.”

 

National

Bicycling offers expert advice on how to lead a group ride, in an article that’s exclusive to subscribers. And apparently anyone who has access to Yahoo.

A writer for The Oregonian suggests leaving your car at home, and taking your bike on an Amtrak train if you’re headed to the World Athletics Championships in Eugene.

Sheriff’s deputies in Pocatello, Idaho are increasing bike and foot patrols to cope with high gas prices.

A kindhearted stranger stepped up to buy a nine-year old Michigan boy a new bicycle, after the bike he got for his birthday was stolen the first night he had it.

Political pranksters have added a faux historical marker denoting Brandon Falls, the coastal Delaware location where Joe Biden fell off his bike last month; the name is a play on the “Let’s go Brandon” chant that stands in for a much cruder epithet. Meanwhile, the former Mayor Pete — now Transportation Secretary Pete — says he’s just “glad to have a president who can ride a bicycle.”

 

International

A British Columbia farm region is offering a free bicycle lending program, allowing local residents, refugees and migrant workers to simply take one when they need it and return in good working order it when they’re done.

South London is being plagued by knife-armed bike thieves on motorcycles.

London’s Independent tries out the Brompton’s nee $4,400 ebike foldie for a month, and likes it.

This is who we share the road with. An English police commissioner was caught speeding five times in just three months, after vowing to crack down on heavy-footed drivers.

UK bike riders argue that slowing down due to the country’s extreme heat leads to more aggressive passing from overheated and sleep deprived drivers; it was a record-setting 104° in London yesterday.

Swedish mobility company Vässla is switching to e-cargo bikes to deliver their mopeds through crushing Parisian traffic.

Taiwan is now allowing bicyclists and scooter riders to forgo their face masks.

 

Competitive Cycling

Canada’s Hugo Houle captured the biggest win of his career yesterday, topping the podium as the Tour de France entered the Pyrenees for the final week of racing; Houle dedicated the win to his little brother, who was murdered by a hit-and-run driver ten years ago.

NBC offers a beginner’s guide to the Tour’s various leaders jerseys.

Twenty-four-year old Italian pro Marta Cavalli hopes to build on her second place finish in the Giro d’Italia Donne, as the inaugural eight-stage Tour de France Femmes prepares to rollout on Sunday.

L39ion of Los Angeles pulled its men’s and women’s teams out of Sunday’s Salt Lake Criterium after an incident of the final lap led to an exchange of blows following Saturday’s race; US pro crit champ Kendall Ryan says she’s astonished by the disrespect she gets as a member of the team.

 

Finally…

How to carry three on a tandem. Few things suck more than getting your new ebike stolen just an hour after you bought it.

And that feeling when you walk away from a promising cycling career to run the local post office.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

18 Los Angeles bike riders killed in 2021 Vision Zero fail, speed cams improve safety, and Sidney Poitier was one of us

It’s worse than we thought.

A lot worse.

Tracking bicycling deaths in Los Angeles last year, it became clear that what I was seeing was clearly a major undercount.

Because the numbers I was seeing were too good to be true, as if LA’s Vision Zero has suddenly started showing results, despite years of just nibbling at the edges of traffic safety.

It’s a problem that has developed over the past few years, as local newspapers and TV stations stopped reporting many bike crashes after the pandemic forced major cutbacks in the newsrooms.

At the same time, the LAPD has taken to telling the public about bike and pedestrian deaths only when there’s a crime involved — and even then too often waiting weeks, if not months, to issue a press release in some parts of the city, particularly in the case of hit-and-runs.

And LADOT has backtracked from their promises to track bike and pedestrian deaths under the Vision Zero program, which has receded to where it seems more like an inconvenience than a priority for the city’s transportation agency.

As a result, I counted just eight people killed riding bicycles in the city last year, a fraction of the 15 to 20 or more deaths that would have been expected in pre-pandemic days.

Sadly, I was right.

According to the Los Angeles Times, that was less than half of the actual total of 18 people killed riding their bikes in the City of Angels in 2021 — a 20% increase over the 15 people killed on bikes in the first year of the pandemic.

The paper points out the ongoing failure of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s underfunded Vision Zero pledge to cut traffic deaths by 20% by 2017 — a target the city didn’t come close to meeting. And the virtual impossibility meeting his commitment to ending traffic deaths in the city entirely by 2025.

According to Los Angeles Police Department data through Dec. 25, 289 people were killed in traffic collisions last year, 21% more than the same period in 2020 and 19% over the same period in 2019. A total of 1,465 people were severely injured, a 30% increase over the same period in 2020. The LAPD defines severely injured as needing to be transported from the collision.

The city’s streets are increasingly dangerous for pedestrians in particular, with 486 being severely injured by motorists — a 35% increase over 2020. Pedestrian deaths rose 6% to 128.

The numbers frustrate transportation advocates, who’ve long argued that Vision Zero — a program to end traffic deaths unveiled in 2015 by Garcetti — is underfunded and given a low priority by the mayor and City Hall leaders.

Then again, that’s what can be expected when our elected leaders quake in fear of getting recalled by angry drivers, and lack the courage to make the hard choices and changes necessary to save lives.

But Garcetti isn’t one to take such criticism lying down.

Garcetti cited the distraction of cellphones as a cause of collisions and said the city has added bike lanes during the pandemic, studied the city’s most dangerous intersections to come up with solutions, and supported a new state law designed to help cities have more control over speed limits.

“But it shows how tough it is,” Garcetti said Thursday.

He pushed back against criticism that he doesn’t mention Vision Zero as frequently as he touts other initiatives. “I speak out all the time,” Garcetti said. “I do on panels, I go out there, internationally, to kind of be part of this movement to make sure that we have more walkable, livable cities.”

So it’s nice to see Garcetti has done what he seems to do best.

Talk and attend conferences.

To be honest, I’ve wracked my brain in recent months, but can’t recall any elected official I’ve voted for and actively supported who has been a greater disappointment than Eric Garcetti. 

He started out great in his first term, before apparently setting his sights on higher office — including the presidency — and appearing to lose interest in the daily work of being the mayor of Los Angeles.

But I can tell you this.

I will not vote for anyone for mayor this year who does not fully commit to making Vision Zero a top priority, and funding it at levels necessary to result in real change. And commit to making the difficult choices and changes we need on our streets to actually reduce deaths and make our streets survivable.

And I won’t support anyone for city council who doesn’t, either.

It’s clear that homelessness will be the primary issue in this year’s campaign. We need to fight to raise traffic safety to a top priority, as well.

Because our lives literally depend on it.

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A new Chicago study shows speed cams really do work. And they really do save lives.

A review of the city’s 162 automated speed cams, which state law allows to be installed only within one-eighth of a mile of a park or school, showed that serious crashes went up in those areas.

But not as much as they did in the city as a whole.

According to Chicago Streetsblog,

  • Fatal or serious injury crashes increased only 2 percent near speed cameras between 2012-13 and 2018-19, as compared to a 21 percent increase citywide. This is similar to the 1 percent and 19 percent findings of last year’s study, which compared 2012-13 with 2017-18.
  • Between 2012-13 and 2018-19, overall crash totals increased 1 percent in the cam locations, compared to a 25 percent increase in all crashes citywide. The figures from last year’s study were 4 percent and 26 percent.
  • Speed-related crashes increased 18 near speed cams between 2012-13 and 2018-19, compared to a 64 percent spike city-wide. Those are smaller increases than were seen in last year’s study: 25 percent and 75 percent.

Two bills under consideration in the state legislature during the past session would have established pilot programs for speed cams here in California.

But both died on the vine, apparently because they would have inconvenienced speeding drivers, which tend to make them mad.

Fortunately, Calbike and SAFE — aka Streets Are For Everyone — say they’ll make getting a bill through the legislature one of their top priorities.

So there may be hope yet.

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Los Angeles Bureau of Streets Services Assistant Director & Chief Sustainability Officer Greg Spotts is one of us.

Which should inspire confidence that he’ll get the job done right.

https://twitter.com/Spottnik/status/1479884374053056515

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Now if all cars were just made like this.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the heads-up. 

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The immortal Sidney Poitier was one of us. So was his friend and fellow 1940s alum of Harlem’s American Negro Theatre.

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I want to be like him when I grow up.

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

No bias here. Instead of complaining about the one rude bike rider they encountered, a New Jersey father addresses his complaints to “all the arrogant jerks who ride on New Jersey trails and roadways.” On the other hand, if you’re not an arrogant jerk, his message apparently doesn’t apply to you.

No bias here, either. Two cops were disciplined after Irish officials allowed a dangerous driver to remain on the streets until he killed a man riding a bike, despite 42 — yes, 42 — previous convictions, and being out on bail from three separate courts. But the police commissioner quashed their fines and sanctions.

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

A Montreal bike rider responds to being told to stay in the bike lane by smashing his bike against the driver’s car. Which probably hurt his bike more than it does the car. Seriously, violence is never the answer, as tempting as it is sometimes.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CYcErfYoi8V/?utm_source=ig_embed&ig_rid=310f8a6c-bbd3-4df9-8baa-2b82c601f84b

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Local

Metro Bike is offering a one-month bikeshare pass for just $1.

The director of the LA chapter of the Sierra Club complains that there are no programs in place to encourage customers to ride their bikes to local businesses.

 

State

A California inventor is working on a bike lane sweeper you can pull behind your bike.

Encinitas residents turned out for the city’s Cyclovia open streets event on Sunday, which shut down four letters worth of the Coast Highway to cars, and opened them to people for four hours from D Street to J Street.

Police in Temecula are looking for a pair of burglars who broke into a local bike shop and stole a pair of high-end mountain bikes.

Riverside’s SMART Tire Company has released the second-generation of their airless metal tire prototype, developed in conjunction with NASA in an effort to reduce weight — and the $2,000 price tag — before it goes to market later this year. Although the investors on Shark Tank didn’t approve.

San Luis Obispo kicked a homeless encampment off a local bike path before closing it for the next eight weeks to make improvements along the route.

A San Francisco writer says he won’t be renewing his membership in the de Young Museum and Legion of Honor, thanks to their demands to return “car-free JFK Drive…to a dangerous highway used mostly by shortcut-takers zipping between destinations outside the park.”

 

National

They get it. Wired says if the US is serious about climate change — which remains to be seen — our leaders need to start treating bicycles like replacements for cars, and not toys.

Mashable considers all the ebikes and scooters presented at last week’s CES in Las Vegas — including one with treads and no pedals to get through the snow.

A series of reports about the “the uneasy coexistence of grizzly bears and humans” recounts the horrific tale of a Montana mountain biker who rounded a blind curve and ran directly into a massive grizzly, who did not take to it kindly.

Once again, an ebike battery spontaneously combusted, sparking a four alarm fire in a Bronx apartment building early Saturday. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries, unlike Sunday’s apartment fire sparked by a space heater that killed at least 19 people.

Nearly 40 injured vets took part in the Wounded Warrior Project’s annual ride through the Florida Keys.

 

International

He gets it, too. A British Columbia columnist says yes, he always wears a bike helmet, but bike lanes will do a lot more to improve safety.

A British automotive website looks forward to the upcoming ebikes that are revving their engines.

UK residents laugh at the idea that people could carry their trash to drop-off sites on their bicycles during a garbage strike. Apparently, no one has ever told them about cargo bikes. Or racks. Or baskets. 

National Geographic examines what makes the Isle of Man one of Great Britain’s best places to ride a bike.

Milan is getting serious about bicycling, unveiling a $272 million plan to build an entire 466-mile network of concentric and radial bike paths connecting 80% of the city.

NPR visits Iraq, where women riding bicycles are often seen as promiscuous, though the women see themselves as activists.

A man from Kazakhstan plans to ride 500 miles from Busan to Seoul, South Korea to mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

 

Competitive Cycling

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome is targeting a record-tying number five this year, insisting that he’s fully recovered from a near fatal crash two years ago. Even though He Who Must Not Be Named won seven, before he didn’t.

Cycling Weekly considers who has this year’s best looking pro cycling kit.

 

Finally…

Anyone can hold a naked bike ride in the middle of summer, but a January ride takes balls, uh, guts. If you have to steal an ebike, probably not the best idea to take one marked “evidence” from the police impound yard.

And someone get me some ice and a skate, quick.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Morning Links: LA as West Coast e-scooter capital, vehicular murder slap on wrist, and CiclaValley takes a spill

Assistant Director of LA Bureau of Street Services Greg Spotts says Los Angeles could become the shared mobility capital of the West Coast.

Spotts notes that 11 companies have applied to provide a total of 37,000 e-scooters, dockless bikes and ebikes to the mean streets of LA.

The city has a series of community meetings coming up to discuss dockless mobility, starting with one in DTLA on the 26th.

Putting 37,000 alternatives to driving on the street is a good thing. But key to the success of any dockless mobility program is providing safe places to ride and park them.

Hopefully, this will spur development of the city bike plan, as city leaders finally recognize the need for safety. And drivers are more willing to sacrifice a few feet of roadway to get scooters out of their way.

It could happen.

The city also needs to provide on-street parking facilities — ideally converting one parking space per block for e-scooter and bike parking.

We should also require every e-scooter to be equipped with a low-volume beeping device to warn pedestrians when one is approaching. And let people with limited sight know when one is parked in their way.

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Talk about getting the story wrong.

Yesterday we linked to a Kansas story about a teen driver getting a reduced sentence for killing a bike rider in a hit-and-run, but criticized the paper for leaving out just how long he would be behind bars.

Apparently, they left a lot more than that out.

Like actual length of the sentence, which turned out to be just two years — far less than the 16 years the prosecution requested.

Not to mention the fact that the crash was intentional.

A passenger in his car told police the driver passed the man as he was riding in the opposite direction, and made a U-turn to deliberately run him down from behind before fleeing the scene.

And never mind that the victim was Latino and the driver was white, giving a racial tint to both the murder and the lack of justice. .

Amazingly, the judge excused the driver’s behavior because of his young age, clean record and that he had accepted responsibility. Although that came long after he had abandoned the car and gone home to play video games, later calling the police to report his car had been stolen.

Sure sounds like taking responsibility to me.

But no matter how sorry he might claim to be, there is no way to justify just two years behind bars for murder.

If he had used any other choice of weapon, from a gun or knife, to a rock or broken beer bottle, it would undoubtedly have been taken more seriously.

Or maybe the problem was just a victim on two wheels, with a Hispanic name.

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A conservative columnist goes out of his way to illustrate exactly what’s wrong with America’s political divide, saying it’s time for liberals to get the hell out.

And they should use “public transportation or ride your ridiculous bikes in your ridiculous bike shorts to your shriveled hearts’ content!” somewhere else, while all those “normal” Americans keep gleefully destroying the planet with their massive SUVs.

Except by repeatedly plugging his books makes it all come off as a shameless effort just to sell a few more.

I don’t care whether you’re conservative, liberal or anything else. Or whether you walk, bike, ride transit or drive.

We’re all need to stop demonizing one another, and work together to make this country succeed.

Period.

And the same goes for our cities and states.

Because the alternative isn’t pretty.

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CiclaValley offers a firsthand view of what it’s like to blow a tire during a descent.

And to have members of one university cycling team help you up while their rival school just rides on by.

Fortunately, he escaped relatively unscathed, walking away with a few bruises and a banged up wheel.

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I want to be like them when I grow up.

A 73-year old Cherokee elder in Oklahoma overcame excessive weight and crippling diets by taking up bicycling in his 60s; now he’s off insulin, and rides across the reservation when he’s not competing in races around the world.

A 77-year old Chicago woman is biking across the US with a group of other older riders.

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Local

You still can’t legally ride an e-scooter in Torrance. The city is slow-walking approving e-scooters, even as other South Bay cities are moving forward with legalizing them.

Speaking of the South Bay, a Kiwi writer raves about his visit to the beachside cities, including an extensive description of a guided bike tour along the beachfront Marvin Braude Bike Trail.

Long Beach is planning a $1 million project to add bike lanes along Edwards Blvd to connect the quarter-mile street with the beach. Correction: Wrong Long Beach, dammit; this one’s in New York. Thanks to Chris Buonomo and James for the correction.

Long Beach police use fake bullets to apprehend a bike rider with a fake gun.

State

The Mercury News comes to the not-so-shocking conclusion that some people don’t like Complete Streets or improving safety if it means they’re going to be slightly inconvenienced.

At least one city is making progress in fighting bike theft, as the crime drops 25% in San Francisco.

Speaking of San Francisco, Uber-owned Jump dockless ebikes are cutting into Uber’s own car-hailing business in the Bay Area. And the company says they couldn’t be happier.

National

The Atlantic says Washington’s Birthday used to be celebrated by taking your bike for a spin, instead of countless car and mattress sales.

Traditionally libertarian Nevada is considering a proposal to require anyone under 18 to wear a bike helmet when they ride.

The Colorado legislature is considering following LA’s bad example by banning red light cameras in an apparent attempt to keep the streets dangerous.

A bighearted Michigan man founded a program to give bicycles to local kids, refurbishing and buying 150 bicycles in its first year.

Cambridge MA is making progress in its goal of reducing car ownership, but is only halfway towards its goal of a 15% reduction by next year.

Residents in a Louisiana city vow to fight a plan for an offroad bike path that could require removing trees and roadside signs.

Kindhearted Florida cops dug into their own wallets to buy a new bike for a man in his 80s after his was stolen.

Heartbreaking story from Florida, where a man was killed in a crash while riding his bike, the same day searchers fund the body of his missing daughter in a swamp; relatives don’t believe he had learned about her death before he was killed.

International

Ella Cycling Tips examines the studies, and concludes that what you wear or what sex you are may affect how closely drivers pass you. Or maybe not.

Cycling Weekly examines how much protein bicyclists really need in their diet.

Bike Radar considers what they consider the five most confusing topics in bicycling.

You may be out of luck if your bike gets stolen in London, as a special police bike theft unit is redeployed to fight youth knife crime.

A British woman got three years for crash that left a bike rider with serious brain damage; she was still high on coke from the night before when she ran him down in the early afternoon crash — 16 times the legal limit, in fact.

A polite Brit bike thief returned a purloined two-wheeler with a note of apology, saying he borrowed it to avoid a three-mile walk home at three in the morning.

A new Irish TV series explores the lack of bike lanes in the Emerald Isle compared to the rest of Europe. If you can’t imagine a TV show like that in the US, let alone a series, there’s probably a good reason for that.

Here’s another one to add to your bike bucket list, which must be getting kind of long by now — a mountain biking trek through the South Caucasus Mountains in Azerbaijan. Unless maybe you’d rather experience India’s tropical state of Goa.

Officials say road safety must be improved in Zambia, where bicyclists and pedestrians make up 70% of traffic deaths.

Competitive Cycling

No ego here. The legendary Eddy Merckx says yes, Peter Sagan is complete cyclist, but he was better.

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas insists he is definitely not riding in the Giro this year.

A Canadian cyclist rode 5249 laps around a velodrome in 24 hours — the equivalent of 457 miles — to raise funds for much needed repairs; he brought in over $59,000, more than doubling the original $25,000 goal.

Finally…

Nothing goes together like bikes and booze. We may have to deal with LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about getting a monitor lizard stuck in our spokes.

And why shovel the stuff when you can just ride your own bicycle snow plow?

Morning Links: Upcoming bike events, and LA tries out a cute little street sweeper for protected bike lanes

Just a couple quick upcoming events.

Celebrate the Race Across America tomorrow in Oceanside with the RAAMapalooza festival to see off the team racers. Although they can probably expect a nasty letter from the lawyers for a certain copyright-conscious music festival.

Bike SGV will team with Metro’s BEST program to host a free slow roll to the drive-in for movie night on the 23rd.

Also on the 23rd, Glendora will hold ribbon cutting ceremony for the San Gabriel Valley’s newest greenway trail. See flyer on the left.

And the following day, CicLAvia returns to the northern San Fernando Valley, with a route connecting Pacoima, Arleta and Panorama City.

………

LA Street Services may be having a midlife crisis.

The city bureau is trying out a cute little Italian number to keep the city’s protected bike lanes clean.

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Local

Former E! News personality Marc Malkin reveals he’s HIV positive after completing last week’s AIDS/LifeCycle Ride; the Malibu Times features photos from the ride as it passed through on PCH.

The Easy Reader News remembers long-time South Bay bike advocate Julian Katz, who passed away last week at age 88 after a long, full life.

 

State

A San Jose columnist agrees that too many drivers pass bike riders on blind, curvy roads when they can’t see what’s coming; a bike rider says signs saying “Do Not Pass Bicycles on Blind Corners” seems as obvious as “Do Not Hit Yourself in the Head with a Hammer.”

A Palo Alto columnist says she’s not opposed to roundabouts, as long as they’re somewhere else. Funny how so many people with no knowledge of traffic planning become experts when it’s on their street; the facts are that roundabouts actually reduce injury crashes by 75%.

Pink Bike visits Marin, where mountain biking was born and mountain bikes are banned from most trails.

 

National

You can make your next Rapha purchase at the Apple Store.

Moving piece from Bicycling, as a writer remembers her father, and how bicycling brought him back to himself as he slipped away due to Alzheimers.

Pedestrian and bicycle deaths have doubled in Washington state in just the last five years. A Seattle radio host responds by doing the math herself, concluding that you’re much safer driving a car than walking or riding a bike, and that encouraging more people to ride is just driving up death rates. She seems to be forgetting that its those people in cars who make it dangerous for everyone.

Wired says Seattle is ground zero in the bikeshare wars, as several dockless bikeshare firms have moved into the void created when the city’s traditional docked bikeshare went belly up.

A Philly magazine takes a test ride on the city’s new parking-protected bike lanes, and offers advice to drivers on how to not park in them.

Streetsblog says no, a bike lane didn’t do in a New York deli, despite what the owner says.

No bias here. A Charlotte NC TV station somehow conflates LimeBikes and e-scooters with wheelie popping kids weaving through traffic.

 

International

Bike ridership in Edmonton has doubled since the city opened a nearly five-mile grid of protected bike lanes in the urban core.

The Globe and Mail offers five changes Toronto can make to improve street safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. I particularly like the last one — change the decision makers.

An op-ed in the same paper says bicycling is not a contact sport and Toronto has to do better for bicyclists’ safety, while the paper concludes that the city’s Vision Zero is a failure.

A writer for the Guardian says Canadian cities are designed for cars, not people — and people are paying the price.

An Ontario writer says sharrows are a failed experiment and have to go.

The question is, will you answer when your new GPS-equipped handlebars calls to say your London bike is being stolen?

No bias here, either. An English letter-writer says 70% of bicyclists are just uncontrolled yobs who ride through red lights and on the sidewalk.

A UK paper discovers a “hilarious” mishap captured by Google Maps. Although I doubt many people find a little kid falling off a bike funny, let alone hilarious.

Bicycling contributes over $7 billion to the British economy each year, making it more important to the economy than the British steel industry. So you can expect Trump to impose tariffs on bikes and bike parts any day now.

A young Irish girl made the equivalent of $13 washing bicycles. And got a nearly $200 littering ticket for the hand drawn sign she made to promote it.

An Irish writer says no, really, bike riders would prefer to not share road space with trucks, buses and cars.

Survivors of the Kindertransport and their descendants will ride 600 miles across Europe to trace the route taken by 10,000 Jewish children to escape Nazi Germany 80 years ago at the dawn of WWII.

A member of Kenya’s parliament takes to her bike to encourage more people to ride in an effort to reduce Nairobi’s world-class traffic congestion.

A Botswana bikepacking club is teaching 30 young school kids life skills and how to mountain bike.

In LA, we deal with rude drivers; Aussie cyclists just deal with ‘roos.

 

Competitive Cycling

SoCal’s Coryn Rivera edged the great Marianne Vos by the width of a tire to take the second stage of the UK’s Women’s Tour; Rivera holds the leader’s jersey heading into today’s third stage. No need to worry about spoilers, since video of the race — or even the finish — doesn’t appear to exist.

Outside looks at the rapid rise of Ayesha McGowan, the first African American Cat 2 cyclist, who intends to become the first black woman on the pro tour.

You’re invited to put your money where Phil Gaimon’s mouth is, and donate to support his grudge match race against fellow former pro Fabian Cancellara on July 1st.

 

Finally…

How to do a few speed drills on your Penny Farthing. That feeling when you film your son riding his bike, and later find a ghost watching out the window.

And to everyone who dreamed of seeing Peter Sagan naked in the shower, today is your lucky day.

………

Eid Mubarak to all observing Eid al-Fitr today!

 

Morning Links: Motions to inspect broken bike lanes move forward, and keeping dangerous drivers off streets

Maybe our broken bike lanes might get fixed after all.

Streetsblog is reporting the approval of both of motions calling for the inspection and maintenance of LA’s bike lanes and bike paths at Wednesday’s meeting of the City Council Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee.

However, assuming the motion passes the full council, there’s still a long way to go, as Joe Linton points out.

Greg Spotts spoke on BSS’s (Bureau of Street Services) efforts to address issues keeping street pavement in good repair. The city faces a reported $3-4 billion backlog in street maintenance. With some recent street repaving monies from the S.B. 1 gas tax and Measure M, BSS is stepping up its efforts to inspect and maintain streets, and now has dedicated staff working to inspect and repair asphalt on city bike lanes.

Spotts noted that BSS has identified 300 bike network locations that need “large asphalt repair.” BSS crews are currently working their way through these sites, having completed 19 repairs to date.

And those are just the ones they know about.

But at least the city has hired six new people to fix and maintain bike lanes.

Meanwhile, there may be hope for LA’s crumbling streets.

Councilmembers Mitchell Englander and Joe Buscaino say at current rates, streets and sidewalks in Los Angeles won’t be repaired in time for the 2028 Olympics — missing the games by a mere 20 years or so.

But money from Measure M and the new state gas tax increase could provide a source of funding that would allow the city to speed up those repairs.

We can only hope.

Of course, if the proposition calling for the repeal of the gas tax qualifies for the ballot, and California voters decide they’d prefer crappy streets and lower gas prices, all bets are off.

………

I’m not always a fan of Bike Snob.

But he nails it this time, saying our current system of licensing drivers and motor vehicles is “woefully ineffectual and does little to keep dangerous drivers off the streets.”

Meanwhile, a Canadian writer asks if driving is a privilege, why is it so hard to revoke?

It’s like Traffic author Tom Vanderbilt put it — a driver’s license is too easy to get, and too hard to lose.

………

Curbed’s Alissa Walker takes a deep dive into the subject of sidewalks, and comes to the conclusion that they’re not even necessary.

Yes, the CEO of Ford, the company that essentially put automobiles on U.S. streets, is calling for a “complete disruption and redesign of the surface transportation system.”

What Ford is preparing for—and championing through its bike share and microtransit shuttle services—is the fact that streets will no longer be planned around this binary use of cars versus everyone else. And the place for new modes to mix is not a narrow broken sidewalk: It’s the safe, shared, slow, well-maintained street that has walking at its core.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all equation of lane widths calculated to move cars quickly, with pedestrians pushed off to the side, the definition of a city street will change based on what people need, neighborhood by neighborhood, says Greg Lindsay, director of strategy for the urban mobility festival LACoMotion.

It’s a great read. And may challenge your concept of what a street should be.

It did mine, anyway.

………

Great idea. A new youth racing program at the LA Velodrome aims to develop at least one track cyclist for the US Olympic Team at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

………

Local

Westside bike co-op Bikerowave is hosting a fast, 25 – 30 mile woman-led ride tonight, and every Thursday. The co-op is also hosting a moderate paced ride to the East LA Art Walk this Sunday.

Sant Monica Spoke and the Santa Monica Planning department are hosting a Kidical Mass ride this Saturday.

 

State

San Luis Obispo decides to move forward with a modified version of the bikeway that’s been drawing all the bike-hating NIMBYs out of the woodwork. Proof that not all NIMBYs live in Los Angeles. It only seems that way.

A new bike and pedestrian trail project would connect downtown Redding to the Sacramento River Trail.

 

National

Streetsblog questions whether the dockless bikeshare revolution is just a mirage.

A former pro explains how he learned to love wearing a helmet mirror.

The new chairman of the Federal Reserve is one of us, as he struggles to convince his security detail to let him keep up his eight-mile bike commute to DC.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune offers tips on how to ride your bike at Mardi Gras, for those lucky enough to go. Pro tip: Avoid Mardi Gras Day, when it’s too crowded move, and go the weekend before when the crowds are smaller and it’s more fun.

 

International

How to roll the dents out of your steel frame bike.

Canadian bicyclists are urged to bike commute tomorrow as part of the international Winter Bike to Work Day. Try not to suffer too much under LA’s sunny skies and 80° temperatures.

Here are ten beautiful places in the UK to add to your bicycling bucket list.

British advocacy groups are “deeply concerned” about plans to ban bikes from a highway that’s a popular time trial route.

In a win for the gig economy, bicycle couriers for Britain’s National Health Service win full employment rights, after their employer had argued that they were self-employed contractors.

That gold-inlaid custom bike built for Irish mixed martial arts champ Connor McGregor cost the equivalent of nearly $21,000.

More proof that bike riders face the same problems everywhere. An Aussie bicyclist complains about pedestrians and dog walkers making a beachfront pathway a nightmare.

 

Competitive Cycling

Australia’s 3,500-mile Indian Pacific Wheel Race has been cancelled following the death of pioneering ultra-distance rider Mike Hall in a collision during last year’s race.

A French design firm reimagines the dreaded broom wagon. Although they somehow think riders in the Tour de France will be able to hop on board to catch a rest, then rejoin the race when they’re feeling better.

 

Finally…

Why should ‘bent riders miss out on all the fat bike fun? Anyone can race a dual snow slalom on skis; try it on a bicycle instead.

And when a dockless bikeshare company fails, it becomes the UK’s cheapest bicycle.

In every sense.

Morning Links: Union Station Bike Hub opens today, and LA wastes millions earmarked to fix crumbling streets

I hope you’ll forgive my unexcused absences for the past few days.

The good news is, my wife is doing well, and should be back home from the hospital before the week is over.

And my beleaguered laptop is up and running again, leaving me somewhat poorer, but back on the job. Let’s hope it stays that way.

We’ll just assume that nothing important happened while we were gone.

Right?

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LA’s biggest Bike Hub is opening today at Union Station. The new Metro site will offer secure parking for up to 200 bikes for $5 a week, or $60 a year.

Photo by Metro’s Julia Salinas, taken from The Source website.

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KCET examines the crumbling state of LA’s streets, and the risks it poses to people on two wheels.

Not to mention the needless expense to the city, as the Bureau of Street Services has returned tens of millions of dollars to the city, rather than making desperately needed street repairs, even as the city pays out millions in legal settlements to injured riders.

………

It’s been a heartbreaking few days for elderly bike riders.

A 76-year old man was killed in a collision while riding his bike in Bakersfield; John Rous was a well-known and longtime member of the local riding community.

An 80-year old British bike rider was killed in a collision with Tesla, which may or may not have been driving itself.

An 83-year old man in the UK was killed when his bike apparently hit a pothole; new rules could mean that more British potholes won’t get fixed.

An 86-year old Indian man was killed in a collision with a truck as he was riding his bike to an outdoor gym.

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Rest easy, folks. Ed Sheeran is playing guitar again, and promises he’ll keep riding his bicycle, despite injuring both arm in a recent crash.

………

Let’s catch up with a couple of stories we missed from last week.

Manhattan Beach voted to install sharrows and bike route signs throughout the city. Even though one councilmember is afraid they’ll just embolden cyclists to ride exactly where they’re supposed to.

UCLA students plan to form their own neighborhood council, and split with the “NIMBY and obstructionist” Westwood Neighborhood Council. While the story is about housing, the Westwood NC has also been active in blocking much needed bike lanes in the area.

Mobility advocates gathered in Leimert Park for Untokening California to discuss creating greater equity in transportation.

Next year’s CicLAvias will include a seven-and-a-half-mile route from Disney Hall to the Hollywood Bowl on September 30th, with performances by the LA Philharmonic orchestra along the way. And ending with a free performance by the orchestra at the Bowl.

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Local

A writer in the UCLA paper calls for an awareness campaign to get students to walk and bike more safely.

Bike SGV names Doug Strange their Community Advocate of the Year; the founder of the reborn La Verne Bicycle Coalition will be honored at their 2017 “Noche de las Luminarias” awards dinner next month.

Pasadena-area Rotarians will meet this weekend to assemble 300 bicycles for underprivileged children.

Santa Monica is moving forward with plans for a “radical” transformation of traffic-choked Lincoln Blvd into a more human-scale Complete Street.

 

State

Newport Beach police are looking for man riding a red cruiser bike who was seen following a San Bernardino County prosecutor before she was severely beaten while jogging in a park this past August.

A Riverside bike rider was shot in the leg as the result of an attempted robbery.

In a bizarre story, a Bakersfield man died in police custody shortly after using a fake gun to threaten a woman riding her horse on a bike path.

Sad news from the Sacramento area, where a 19-year old North Highlands man was killed in a hit-and-run while riding his bike.

Sacramento State University is now a silver-level BFU. And no, that does not stand for Big Effing University.

A Marysville woman has been arrested in last week’s hit-and-run that left a bike rider seriously injured; she was taken into custody after calling the police to claim her car was stolen before the crash. An excuse that never seems to work in real life.

 

National

The GOP Senate wants to take away your measly $20 monthly benefit for riding your bike to work; the Bike League has more information on what you may be about to lose.

Architectural Digest examines how the threat of vehicular terrorism will change our cities in the wake of the New York bike path attack.

Bicycling offers tips on how to wash your bike.

A Seattle grandfather is suing after being left a paraplegic when he crashed into an unmarked bollard on a bike trail, which probably shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

An Iowa bicyclist says no, really, it’s much safer if she doesn’t give you any warning as she glides past on the sidewalk. That is what is technically known as a load of crap.

Evidently, flipping off the president pays. A Virginia woman who was fired from her job after her employers learned she was the bike rider who was photographed flipping off the presidential motorcade will receive at least $77,000 from a crowdfunding campaign. She says she did it because he wouldn’t have heard her through the glass.

 

International

A new crowdfunding campaign promises to turn your bike into an ebike for just $299, with an extra eight pounds of weight.

The Cuban record holder for the world’s tallest tall bike is working in tandem with the previous record holder, LA’s Richie Trimble, on a 20-foot tall tandem.

A Montreal website offers tips on how to stay safe and warm on your bike this winter. Which is especially good advice here in Los Angeles, where it sometimes gets down to a frigid 60 degrees.

Actor Robert Pattinson is one of us, as a gossip site freaks out when he’s spotted riding his bike in London without a helmet. Which is perfectly legal there, just as it is here.

A new UK survey shows 78% of people support protected bike lanes, even if the politicians don’t.

Three people were injured when a French driver with “psychiatric problems” deliberately plowed his car into a group of students.

Lithuanian students illustrate how much space cars take up, and how little bikes need.

A Mumbai website says everyone has a right to be safe when they ride a bike, from milkmen to champion cyclists.

………

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews reminisces about the great Bernard Hinault on his birthday.

Cyclist magazine explores why Chris Froome isn’t considered a legend.

Phil Gaimon released a statement about repeating the rumor that Fabian Cancellara was a known motor doper in his new book, after the Swiss rider’s lawyers demand the removal of the book.

 

Finally…

It’s a sad day when a dog has better form on an upright bike than I do — even if he does need training wheels. No matter how threatened you feel by drivers, riding with an AR-15 is probably not the answer; neither is claiming you just found it in the street and were taking it to the police station.

And if you’re going to ride your bike with a stolen Glock in your pants, put a damn light on it.

The bike, that is, not the gun.

………

Thanks to John P. Lynch for his generous contribution to support this site, as well as his kind wishes for my wife and laptop.

 

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