Tag Archive for car culture

Morning Links: Getting crushed by car culture, safety versus convenience, and LA’s new sideways bike lane sweeper

Let’s start with today’s must read, as an editor for The Outline says he’s seen the future.

And it’s not us.

There is also the unrelenting, often murderous hostility of drivers toward pedestrians and people on bikes. No cyclist I know has not been menaced by an enraged driver — brushed past within inches, bumped at an intersection, run off the road — and most of us have been menaced more than once. No pedestrian who has to cross at a mid-block crosswalk is unfamiliar with the experience of a driver actually speeding upwhen they see you; no one who has crossed at a regular intersection is unfamiliar with a turning driver laying on the horn and waiting until the last second to jam on the breaks as you scurry out of the way.

The car is a very specifically American symbol of freedom, but like so many instruments and symbols of American freedom, it is a tool of domination and control. A car is a missile and a castle, a self-propelled, multi-ton fortress, hermetically sealed against the intrusions of weather, environment, and, of course, other people. Drivers view the world through the lenses of speed and convenience — most of the anger at cyclists, in my experience, is at having to drive at something resembling a normal urban speed limit because there’s a bike in front of them — but also through the lens of ownership. Streets belong to cars. The rest of us are interlopers, invaders, invasive species.

He goes on to blame car culture, not the internet, for the crushing disconnection and loneness rampant in out society, as we move things further and further apart, forcing us to live more and more of our lives in motor vehicles.

Seriously, take a few minutes to read it.

We’ll wait.

Then take a couple more to see just how right he is, as a new traffic congestion study is criticized for being too pro-car, while ignoring the “new realities of multi-modal transport.”

Making it all too clear that the auto-centric way of thinking won’t die easily.

Photo by John Howard from Pixabay.

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Then there’s this one from Grist, questioning whether New Orleans can keep bike riders safe, as it revamps the streets with 75 miles of bikeways surrounding the downtown area in the next few years. 

This is a life-saving effort,” De Wulf said of his krewe’s push. “Would you rather have someone die on a bicycle, versus someone being inconvenienced for five minutes of their day?

Sadly, I’ve heard the answer to that one too many times, in dozens of public meetings, and in the comments online.

Because far too many Angelenos would rather get home a couple minutes earlier, your life or mine be damned.

And that, my friends, is what we have to change.

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On the other hand, it looks like Claremont bike riders may have won that battle, at least on Foothill Blvd.

Michael Wagner’s excellent CLR Effect reports on the progress of Claremont’s nearly completed curb-protected bike lanes on Foothill Blvd, which is looking pretty damn good at this early stage.

Hopefully neighboring cities will pick up on it, and extend them beyond Claremont’s city limits.

Although, like anywhere else, some drivers are a little slow to take the hint.

One of my major regrets lately is that I don’t have time to keep up with some of my favorite blogs. Starting with Wagner’s, which does an exceptional job of keeping up with biking in the Far East. 

Of LA County, that is. 

So don’t make my mistake. Bookmark CLR Effect now, and keep checking back to see what’s new.

It’s okay if you got so caught up you miss a new BikinginLA every now and then. Just don’t let it happen too often.

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After trying out several models, Los Angeles is ordering a cute little mini-street sweeper for protected bike lanes.

Hopefully it will work upright, as well as sideways. Although it won’t get a lot of use either way unless LA builds some more protected lanes.

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A new study shows women who say they have genital pain and numbness while riding a bike are far more likely to suffer from sexual dysfunction.

So don’t grit your teeth and try to ignore it.

Get to a bike shop and buy a new seat to take the pressure off. Or get a good bike fit to change your positioning in the saddle.

Even if you have to get a friend to help and do it yourself.

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Local

A writer for City Walk talks with bike and Complete Streets supporter Sarah Kate Levy about her race to unseat David Ryu in LA’s 4th Council District; Glendale has an election coming up next year, too.

WeHo sheriff’s deputes wrote 72 tickets to e-scooter riders over an 18-month period ending in July, mostly for riding on the sidewalk, compared to 800 scooter tickets over the same period in Los Angeles.

Surprisingly, Pasadena is working on a return of the legendary ArroyoFest next year; the original 2003 event may have been the region’s first modern day open streets event, shutting down the historic Arroyo Seco Freeway, aka the Pasadena Freeway, to motor vehicles, and opening it up to all human-powered forms of transportation.

Boulder CO-based Bicycle Retailer and Industry News is looking for sponsors for an ebike tour of Long Beach, Pasadena and Santa Monica bike shops next month. Or better yet, just sponsor me and I’ll be happy to ride an ebike almost anywhere you want.

Long Beachize’s Brian Addison reports that 20 people have been killed in motor vehicle collisions in the city this year, including ten pedestrians and three people on bicycles. Yet no one there is calling for a ban on cars, unlike bikes or scooters if their users dare ride on the sidewalk or collide with someone.

Simon Cowell is one of us. And so is his son, as the TV talent show judge hopped on his bigass ebike to take the five-year old boy for a ride through the ‘Bu.

 

State

A former San Diego County sheriff’s deputy has pled guilty to sexually assaulting 16 women while on duty, including a woman he groped while she was riding her bike; he faces a well-deserved five years behind bars, and will have to register as a sex offender.

 

National

A new app promises to let you use bikeshare, scooters and transit systems across the US, including Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus.

Outside profiles a 57-year old African-American grandmother who rode her bike across the US just five years after suffering a stroke, learning about gears along the way. And she plans to do it again.

A Milwaukee convenience store owner says he’s fed up with getting robbed by roving gangs of bike riding kids, saying he’s losing $5,000 to $6,000 worth of merchandise a day.

After retiring, a kindhearted Michigan man spends his days fixing up bicycles to donate to kids in need.

A Connecticut Bikes for Kids program gave out 36 bicycles and helmets to underprivileged kids over the weekend, a small part of the 500 bikes they give out each year.

A writer for the New York Daily News says a new bike lane will endanger children because they might get run down by speeding bike riders. Or maybe because emergency vehicles might get stuck in traffic. Or, something.

The NYPD continues to blame the victim, saying an ebike rider was at fault for the crash with a garbage truck that left him critically injured; not surprisingly, Steetsblog sees things differently.

Maybe they could have a chat with the CHP. After a South Carolina high school guidance counselor was killed in a rear-end collision, state troopers charged the driver with driving too fast for conditions. The same law is on the books in California, but the CHP doesn’t seem familiar with that section of the vehicle code. Then again, LA County Sheriffs could use a brush up, too.

 

International

A British woman is planning to swim the English Channel, five years after losing a leg when she was run over by a truck driver while riding her bike; she’ll be joined by a pair of air ambulance paramedics on her swim, including the one who saved her life.

Just heartbreaking. Moments after finishing a 45-mile Scottish charity ride, a man learned his father had collapsed and died while taking part in the same bike ride.

The family of a fallen Irish bike rider calls for safer infrastructure and a ban on dangerous passing to protect bicyclists on the Emerald Isle.

Your next Dutch bike could be very strange, heavy, uncomfortable-looking and 3D-printed.

A new study suggests Barcelona’s plan to limit car use and reserve 70% of street space for bicyclists and pedestrians could save 667 lives a year. Which seems like an oddly specific number.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews explains why Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic finds himself in the Vuelta’s red jersey instead of competing in the Tour de France earlier this year. And looks at former mountain biker Sepp Kuss’ rapid rise to a stage victory in the Vuelta.

The next time someone tells you ebikes are cheating, point them to Belgian pro cyclist Wout Van Aert, who’s using one to rehab a severely torn muscle suffered during the Tour de France.

London’s Independent looks back on legendary 1960s Italian cyclist Felice Gimondi, one of just seven riders to win all three Grand Tours, including his first Tour de France when he was just 22. Even in his best dope-fueled days, Lance never even tried to win any of the other Grand Tours. 

If James Joyce was a mediocre bike racer. Or writer, for that matter.

 

Finally…

Until you get eyes in the back of your head, a new bike helmet could be the next best thing. If you’re going to break out of prison, at least try to change clothes before getting on a stolen mountain bike the next day.

And we may have to deal with f’ed-up LA drivers, but at least we don’t have cope with schtupping copperheads.

Or toxic plants, for that matter.

 

Morning Links: Eliminating car culture amid Vision Zero fail, and bike greenways at tonight’s Pasadena council meeting

Good essay by James Ramsey for Gothamist, questioning whether New York City should completely eliminate car culture.

It’s debatable whether New York City is a car town. On one hand, it’s obviously not — the majority of us take public transportation to work, cycling is at an all-time high, and there are people walking around at all hours of the day and night.

But the recent death of Jose Alzorriz, a 52-year-old cyclist from Park Slope, highlights a different reality about how the city is designed, and for whom…

But as economist and longtime cyclist Charles Komanoff wrote this week in an op-ed for Gothamist, the individual decisions of reckless drivers are merely the “proximate causes” of these tragedies.

“The wellspring of cycle fatalities lies deeper, in driving’s culture and sheer volume,” Komanoff writes.

Which is why he’s joining several prominent officials, most notably City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, in saying we need to “break the car culture.” That means making it far more expensive to drive in the city; less placating of reactionary community boards (see the cases of the 14th Street busway, or the Central Park West bike lane); and taking away huge chunks of space currently devoted to free or cheap parking.

Komanoff goes on to add that ending car culture also means “placing public transit, biking, and walking at the center of all city planning decisions.”

Incrementalism isn’t enough, he argues. Adding a few bike lanes won’t “change the cultural assumption that cars reign supreme” in New York.

The same holds true for Los Angeles.

When the city was looking for public input on Vision Zero, several of us argued for the urgent need to break attitude that LA streets are for cars and the people in them.

And that Vision Zero would never succeed as long as the city’s longtime philosophy of autos über alles was allowed to continue.

Which was quickly agreed with. And then, like most bold steps in the City of Angels, promptly forgotten.

Instead, we got a weak-kneed call for drivers to watch their speed from the punter for the Rams.

Evidently, the city concluded the best way to change driver attitudes was to bore them to death, and start over with the next generation.

Like New York, we’re long past the point where incremental changes will make a damn bit of difference.

It’s time for bold action and real change from a mayor and council who seem afraid of both. Or more accurately, afraid of angry windshield-biased NIMBY voters.

That’s where genuine leadership and political courage must come in. Elected leaders willing to stand up and take the heat for changes the city must make if we’re going to survive the coming decades.

And that’s exactly what the city lacks right now.

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If you live or ride in the Pasadena area, drop whatever you were planning to do tonight and head to the meeting of the Pasadena city council, where officials will discuss proposals for four bicycle greenways, aka bike boulevards.

  • El Molino Ave between Atchison Street and Bonita Drive
  • Wilson Ave between Washington Blvd and California Blvd
  • Sierra Bonita Ave between Washington Blvd and Colorado Blvd
  • Craig Ave between Orange Grove Blvd and Del Mar Blvd

Unless you were already planning to be at the meeting.

In which case, carry on.

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Over a hundred people turned out for yesterday’s march to demand safer streets in response to a hit-and-run that has left a 15-year old bike rider hospitalized for the past three weeks.

At least it now looks like he’s going to survive.

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Not only is former NBA star Reggie Miller one of us, he got a new gravel grinder for his birthday.

View this post on Instagram

YAASSSSSS it’s my Birthday, thanks @santacruzbicycles for the best gift EVER, my Stigmata CC.. Here on my new Santa Cruz Stigmata I’m rocking the new Sram Red AXS with the power meter integration into the front chainrings and a Kogel bottom bracket to keep it spinning. The gearing is 46/33 in the front and 10/33 for the cassette to get me climbing up the hills. Now to keep me rolling I’m on the Santa Cruz Reserve carbon rims laced to some Industry Nine torch hubs. For the tires I’m using the @vittoriatires 700x37c Terreno Zeroes and orange sealant to keep me from getting flats. For the cockpit I have some Easton bars and stem to keep me upright, to allow me to go the distance I have my Selle SMP Dynamic seat with carbon rails. Thanks @dropdeadzep for being the best Producer/Director of this video and @browncastle for the best bike fit and acting cameo.. Big ups to @nitrothomas and @incyclebicycles for fine tuning my new everyday machine.. Watch whole video on my IGTV.. 🎶 @wizkhalifa #BlackAndYellow #NewBikeDay

A post shared by Reggie Miller (@reggiemillertnt) on

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

Toronto bicyclists are turning to civil courts to confront road raging drivers after the criminal court system lets them down.

Three British teenagers have been charged with murder for ramming a popular, 18-year old taekwondo star and role model as he rode his bike in southwest London, then getting out and beating him as he lay on the ground.

Two Irish thieves rammed a rider to knock off his bicycle and into a ditch, then got out of their car and mugged him before taking off with his bike.

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Local

The number of e-scooter riders ticketed by the LAPD is soaring, mostly for riding on the sidewalk — even before the Paul Koretz-inspired crackdown on sidewalk scooter riders began.

Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies ticketed 74 people during their recent crackdown on traffic violations that endanger bicyclists and pedestrians, half of which were for distracted driving.

When Pomona police officers tried to return a young boy’s cellphone after it was stolen by older kids as he walked to school, they learned he was afraid to walk to class anymore. So the kindhearted cops surprised him a new bicycle, helmet and lock so he could ride to school, instead.

Active SGV considers LA County’s plans for protected bike lanes.

 

State

Yes, those cars with dark tinted windows are illegal in California. Which doesn’t mean they’re not out there threatening your life and safety on a daily basis.

Police are investigating a crash between a bicyclist and a motorcyclist in Rancho Santa Margarita that left one man dead; for a change, it was the man with the motor. Which does not make it any less tragic.

Sadly, a 48-year old San Diego man suffered life-threatening injuries when he crashed his motorized bicycle into the side of a car while attempting to ride across a street; no word on whether he was on an ebike or one with a gasoline engine.

A Clovis woman apparently broke both arms and legs when she allegedly ran a red light and was struck by a driver.

The San Francisco Chronicle accuses Caltrans of trying to steamroll SB127, the Complete Streets bill that would force the state agency to consider the needs of all street users.

 

National

After the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed claiming “new left urbanists” want to use infrastructure to “make the masses conform to one vision of how to live — which unfortunately is hidden behind their paywall — a writer for Jalopnik responds that he never knew an op-ed could be so stupid.

A writer for the LA Times takes an ebike-aided bike tour of the Oregon Cascades. Which just happens to be where my brother is now on his solo bike tour across the west, except he’s currently on the coast.

Police, fire and EMS personnel rode 650 miles across Texas in eight days to honor fallen first responders.

After a homeless man stole a $10,000 road bike off a car rack, Tulsa OK police quickly mobilized to track him down, busting him a few hours later riding the purloined bike while carrying bolt cutters.

A Michigan man with muscular dystrophy will have to start over after his coast-to-coast fundraising bike ride to fight the disease was interrupted when a careless driver slammed into him and his riding partner with just 800 miles to go, leaving both with several broken bones; the driver played the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, claiming he just didn’t see them. Which should be seen as a confession rather than an excuse, but seldom is.

A Maine man is suing Ford for $1 million over a crash when he was riding his bike with his son. Not over the gardening truck that passed them, but for the the 50-year old Ford lawn mower in the back whose blade came off and nearly severed his leg.

If you’re riding a bike in Boston with a loaded gun in your pocket, try not to act so damn suspicious.

Hundreds of New Yorkers rode to honor a fallen rider and demand safer streets. And called for the city’s mayor to stop running for president and come back to deal with the recent rash of bicycling deaths.

A Philadelphia op-ed says taking steps to hold drivers accountable signals a change in the city’s pervasive car culture.

Philly goes all out for the city’s annual naked bike ride, and they’ve got the photos to prove it.

A Palm Beach FL columnist inadvertently shows how windshield bias can determine who gets blamed for bike and motorcycle crashes, pointing out that drivers get most of the blame in one county, and people on two wheels in the next. Even though studies show drivers are to blame in the majority of crashes.

A Florida woman is under arrest after slamming into a bike rider during her morning commute, then driving to work to begin her shift; she called her husband and asked him to return to the crash scene for her, but never bothered to call the police.

Seriously? After an older person complained about bikes in a Florida park, a city department ordered signs from — from Amazon, no less — banning bicycles in the park, knowing they weren’t official and couldn’t be enforced.

 

International

A pair of British Columbia bike thieves broke into a parking garage and made off with an $11,000 Yeti mountain bike, as well as another as-yet unidentified bicycle.

A 73-year old Victoria BC letter writer says he just rode in a new bike lane, and contrary to the usual hysterical reports, didn’t crash into any pedestrians, get hit by wobbly bike riders or run over by cars coming from a parking lot.

After a drunk, half-naked man got tossed out of an English supermarket, he grabbed a bicycle and tried to smash his way back in through the glass.

A British couple are riding over 3,700 miles to draw a bicycle across the face of Europe to call attention to the environmental impact of traveling by motor vehicle.

The breathless UK media freaks out over a man riding his bicycle on a “busy” street carrying a baby in one arm. For a change, they’ve got a point; a kid should always be in a child’s seat or some other type of safe child carrier on a bike.

An Irish government committee calls on the country to legalize e-scooters. Which means you could soon take a Bird to the Blarney Stone, or a Lime to Limerick.

Cargo bikes are becoming status symbols in Deutschland, as Germans turn away from electric cars in the switch to greener transport.

A Taipei, Taiwan committee calls on the transport ministry to prevent bike crashes, which they mostly blame on the people on two wheels.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling News lists ten cyclists to keep your eye on in this year’s Vuelta, which kicked off on Saturday — including a rising young American rider for a change.

Twenty-two-year old American cyclist Chloe Dygert-Owen dominated the inaugural women’s Colorado Classic, winning all four stages, as her husband was 5,000 miles away in Spain competing in his first Grand Tour.

 

Finally…

Anyone can go biking on a mountain, but try riding a third of a mile under one. Are you a biker or a cyclist — or just someone who rides a bicycle?

And why ebikes burn like Jimi Hendrix’ guitar.

Morning Links: Iconic LA interchange condemned Angelenos to car hell, and 2nd US e-scooter death in DC crash

Nice piece in The Guardian from LA’s Nate Berg, who says one of the most famous — and infamous — buildings in LA is a freeway interchange.

He singles out 1948’s groundbreaking four-level freeway interchange in DTLA, which set the standard for cities around the world.

For better or worse.

And helped condemn the city’s residents to a life dependent on cars; an unwilling addiction we’re still fighting to overcome.

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Sadly, it was almost inevitable.

The nation’s second e-scooter death was announced over the weekend, as a man riding one was killed in a DC collision, just weeks after a Dallas man died after falling off a scooter — a crash his family blamed on a hit-and-run.

And no bias here, as a tech website unfairly puts the blame on Lime for the deaths.

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Brandi D’Amore forwards news that Bike Index is rapidly nearing their 5,000th stolen bicycle recovery. Just one more reason to register your bike right now.

And if you want to donate to Bike Index, here’s the link.

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Local

Nice gesture from 3rd District LA Councilmember Bill Blumenfield, who introduced a motion in the council (scroll down to the ninth page) that would allow permanent memorial signs calling for safer driving where bike riders were killed. If they did the same for pedestrians, there’d be a sign on nearly every corner. Thanks to TJ Knight for the heads-up.

CiclaValley offers his thoughts on placing a ghost bike for the victim of last week’s bicycling crash in Winnetka, saying it didn’t have to happen.

Loyola Marymount University held its own Bike Week last week to introduce students to bicycling on campus.

Writing for the Pasadena Star-News, Steve Scauzillo offers lessons learned from Pasadena’s failed Metro Bike bikeshare program, placing the blame on a lack of sponsorship and safe streets.

 

State

San Diego’s Bike IB rolled from Imperial Beach yesterday to encourage women to be more comfortable riding a bike.

Thousand Oaks opened a new park offering six miles of trails and a bicycle skills park.

San Jose residents turned out in force to celebrate the city’s fourth annual open streets event.

 

National

Wired considers the nation’s stubborn bicycling gap, saying American cities are either cycling cities, or hardly one at all.

The conservative AASHTO guide has finally added design standards for protected bike lanes.

The Electrek website looks at the new ebikes introduced at last weekend’s Interbike bike show in Reno, while a writer for Singletrack compares the show with earlier editions in Las Vegas.

Bicyclists in a St. Louis suburb have started a petition calling for a Complete Streets ordinance that would require it to consider bike riders and pedestrians in any street project.

Milwaukee bike riders are worried about the city’s new streetcar after a number of riders have been injured on the tracks, months before it actually opens.

A Wisconsin letter writer says, contrary to common perceptions, bike riders already pay more than their fair share.

A new Minnesota study shows drivers are less likely to buzz bicyclists in bike lanes, especially in protected bike lanes.

No bias here, either. A Detroit writer complains about a growing sense of entitlement and invulnerability among pedestrians, blaming the victims for the rising rate of pedestrian deaths. If she thinks pedestrians are entitled, just wait until someone tells her about drivers. Or just hands her a mirror.

An Ohio bike shop owner says yes, riding a bike on the sidewalk is dangerous, but sometimes it’s the best choice.

Streetsblog says charging a New York bus driver who killed a bicyclist with a misdemeanor for violating the victim’s right-of-way is like “letting Jack the Ripper off with a misdemeanor for soliciting a prostitute.” Yet somehow, a British tabloid still finds a way to blame the victim. A video showing the crash was released last week. However, I wouldn’t recommend watching it; there are some things you just can’t unsee.

Definitely no bias here, as an Annapolis, Maryland newspaper asks if a new downtown bike lane broke the city.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 85-year old Virginia man still rides his age on his birthday.

A New Orleans website says the city is literally walking and biking away from their cars.

 

International

Sony introduces a set of wireless earbuds that are designed to enhance environmental sounds, allowing you to hear both your music and the noises around you.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A British expert in human and molecular genetics who was researching hearing and sight loss in children was killed in a collision with a London black cab driver.

An English woman still has her bike because a bystander intervened to stop a young thief as he was riding off with it.

A man in the UK is riding 200 miles on his seven-year old daughter’s pink bicycle to raise awareness of the brain tumor that killed her three years ago.

Britain is planning to connect a network of existing horse trails to create a 1,000-mile offroad bikeway running the entire length of the country.

A British high school has ordered students to place numbered license plates on their bikes so people can report any antisocial behavior to the school. However, anyone who arrives on foot or by car is apparently welcome to carry on, antisocial or otherwise.

A road raging Irish cab driver intentionally brake checked a man, knocking him off his bicycle after arguing with him moments earlier; the whole incident was caught on video.

Oslo, Norway is taking a number of steps to actively discourage driving in the city center to “give the city back to the people.” Which drivers naturally see as a war on cars.

Three-quarters of Swiss voters agreed to enshrine bicycling in the country’s constitution to protect the rights of bike riders, forty years after voters protected hiking and walking. And no, that’s not likely to happen here in the US anytime soon.

A Venice, Italy design exhibition features the work of British bespoke bicycle maker Hartley Cycles, founded by a former artist and jewelry maker.

A bicycle ambulance program is saving the lives of people suffering from malaria in Zambia, and could be rolled out across Africa.

Collisions between bike riders and kangaroos are on the rise in Australia, and expected to double the normal annual total as a drought brings the wild animals out of the bush.

An Aussie mom has forbidden her teen children from bicycling after concluding the country’s drivers are too aggressive behind the wheel.

 

Competitive Cycling

British Cycling officials have approved adding a sixth day to the women’s Tour of Britain, which already offers prize money equal to the eight-day men’s race.

 

Finally…

Seriously, stealing a kid’s bike is bad enough without taking a dump on their lawn. How to lie and beg your way into a new bike.

And Trump ordering the removal of bike lanes is just a bad joke.

For now, anyway.

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Join the Militant Angeleno and BikinginLA for the first-ever Militant Angeleno’s Epic CicLAvia Tour at the Celebrate LA! LA Phil 100 CicLAvia this Sunday!

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: NYT shines national spotlight on LA’s deadly car culture, and open season for open streets

Los Angeles’ hit-and-run car culture and deadly streets takes their bow in the national spotlight.

And the picture isn’t pretty.

The New York Times, in an article by LA-based reporter Jose A. Del Real, examines the problems on our streets and the rising toll among bike riders, through the tragic death of Frederick “Woon” Frazier in South LA.

Cyclists have long risked danger in Los Angeles, where a loose and lackluster network of bike lanes means they often ride alongside speeding cars. Today, cyclists draw a special kind of vitriol from drivers in America’s car capital, where traffic congestion is increasingly intolerable as the region’s population grows by an estimated 50,000 people a year.

In poor areas of the city, where people are more likely to depend on walking and cycling as the sole means of transportation, residents complain of a disregard for their well-being by drivers who treat their neighborhood streets like highways. City data shows that the dangers to pedestrians and cyclists are particularly acute in South Los Angeles — where Mr. Frazier was killed — which lags the rest of the city in safety infrastructure.

He note that the mayor has promised to ramp up advertising to fight the carnage on our streets.

That’s right, advertising.

“I am confident that without our efforts, things would be even worse,” Mr. Garcetti said earlier this year. He said the city’s transportation department would ramp up advertising related to road safety.

The purpose of Vision Zero is to remake our streets so that human mistakes don’t result in fatal crashes.

It’s hard to see how even the most hard-hitting ad can equal the life-saving effectiveness of a single road diet.

It’s an important read.

One that even quotes me couple times, along with the newfound advocates who’ve risen in the wake of Woon’s death.

And Del Real did me the favor of not quoting most of the things I said, as he caught me in one of my more pissed off moods at the inaction of city officials in the face of the rising bike and pedestrian deaths and lawlessness on our streets.

Then again, I don’t think they could print most of that in the Times, anyway.

Maybe that national spotlight will embarrass our mayor as he angles for higher office.

And make him realize he has a lot more work to do right here in the City of Angels first. Along with a few city council butts to kick.

We can hope.

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The streets are officially open.

The Los Angeles Daily News looks at another successful CicLAvia in the North San Fernando Valley, and contrasts it with the dangers riders face on LA streets. KCBS-2 reports from earlier in the day.

Los Angeles wasn’t the only city celebrating open streets on Sunday, as thousands turned out for the fifth CycLOUvia in Louisville KY.

And just a tad further north, Winnipeg, Canada celebrated its ninth annual Ciclovia.

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The Ad Council has posted the winners of their annual student film contest focusing on the dangers of texting while driving.

Hopefully they’ll show these to the sheriff’s department.

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Local

The city council’s Transportation Committee has voted to approve protected bike lanes on 5th and 6th Streets in LA’s Skid Row. That should make it almost a done deal, since the full council usually rubber stamps decisions made in committee. Update: Joe Linton informs me that the full council has already approved the motion, voting 11 to 0 on Friday to install the lanes.

The LA Times travel section offers tips on how to choose a car bike rack for your next road trip. Best advice: Whatever rack you choose, make sure your can lock it to your car, then lock the bikes to the rack. And take them inside when you stop for the night or leave your car for any length of time.

Calabasas-based 10 Speed Coffee is opening a new bike-themed outpost in Santa Monica.

 

State

San Juan Capistrano police give a six-year old boy a new bicycle to replace the one he managed to jump off of, saving his own life just before it was crunched by a red light-running driver. However, it’s strange that the driver was booked on a felony hit-and-run charge, which requires serious injuries under California law; otherwise, it should be a misdemeanor.

The new captain of the Chino Hills police department is one of us, and a long-time member of Redland’s Citrus Valley Velo cycling club. 

Cycling legend and commentator Bob Roll takes a low-tech roll through Silicon Valley.

 

National

Trump’s tariff’s as he ramps up a trade war with China could come at the expense of the booming growth of ebikes, most of which are made in the Middle Kingdom.

A new study refutes the myth that more and wider roadways are necessary for regional economic success, showing that the cities that don’t have traffic congestion are the ones that are dying.

Bicycling takes a look at the new old Harley Davidson bicycle, which can be yours for a mere $4,200.

Popular Mechanics rates the best multi-tools, and says every kind of bike is going electric, from motor scooters to cargo bikes. Thanks to Tim Rutt for the heads-up.

An Anchorage AK bike shop suffered $75,000 in losses during a late night burglary, as thieves appear to be targeting high-end bicycles in the city.

Taking distracted driving to a new extreme, the backup driver responsible for overseeing the self-driving Uber car — and preventing the crash that took the life of Elaine Herzberg as she walked her bike across a Tempe AZ street — was watching The Voice on Hulu, instead of the road. Police had initially blamed Herzberg, calling the crash unavoidable before realizing it was anything but.

Three Utah bicyclists participating in a charity ride were seriously injured when they were run down from behind by a “drowsy” driver coming home from working a night shift; fortunately, their injuries were not life-threatening.

While the rest of the country is just discovering protected bike lanes, Boise ID had them in the ’70s, but let them fade away.

This is why you should always question police investigations following a crash. Colorado police reversed themselves after initially blaming the victim for a serious crash after they were finally able to talk to her in the hospital; she refuted the driver’s claim that she was riding her bike on the shoulder and illegally turned in front of him.

Emotions run high as 18 bike riders return home to Oklahoma after a three-week ride through seven states, retracing the steps of the Cherokee tribe during the infamous Trail of Tears.

LimeBike is threatening to walk away from Chicago’s pilot dockless bikeshare program over a clause that requires bikes to be locked to a stationary object when not in use.

A Massachusetts town celebrates its history as a bicycle factory town by giving new bikes to 19 kids.

An op-ed in the New York Times says if we want to build a sustainable future, cities and people must take priority over cars.

Sad news from Pennsylvania, where a woman was killed riding her bike home from her new job because she didn’t want to bother anyone by asking for a ride; her relatives didn’t even know she owned a bike. Naturally, police blamed her for the rear-end crash for riding in the traffic lane on a 45 mph road, rather than on the shoulder.

 

International

City Journal examines the worldwide problem of vandalism and destruction that’s causing a major retreat by bikeshare providers, docked and otherwise.

Road.cc reviews five of the best foldies, and considers 26 of the best books in bicycling. As if anyone has time to read when you could be out on your bike.

Bike Radar recaps the week’s best new bike gear.

A 29-year old Belgian man stopped in Winnipeg on a 30-month bike trip from the tundra of far northern Canada to the tip of southern Argentina.

Caught on video: A Toronto bike rider catches a crash on a bike cam when he’s hit head-on by a driver making an illegal U-turn, who drove off after giving him a fake name and phone number. Amazingly, police don’t consider it hit-and-run since he didn’t need immediate medical attention.

A commentator on a conservative website says a call for banning right turns on red lights in Toronto is based on junk science, saying that stats showing 13% of crashes occurred when drivers were turning right just means that 87% didn’t, and that drivers aren’t always at fault. By that measure, running red lights should be legal too, since it doesn’t always result in a wreck, either.

A London writer says putting signs on the back of large trucks isn’t enough to protect bike riders and pedestrians from getting killed in their drivers’ blind spots. But ads will stop deadly crashes in Los Angeles, right?

A English minister says he understands the benefits of bicycling, but may get rid of the bikes in his garage because of the dangers posed by motorists. Although he says “militant cyclists” don’t help the cause of bicycling by trying to impose their rights. Which is another way of saying people who want to legally ride their bikes without getting run off the road.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A South African driver’s mother suffered a heart attack and his father has suffered from depression after he was sentenced to ten years for killing two bike riders. Then again, if you think that’s bad, imagine the suffering of his victims’ families.

Nepal paid tribute to the country’s national cycling champion after he was killed falling into a river while competing in Sri Lanka.

Aussie police warn of an “epidemic” of headphone-wearing cyclists and pedestrians killed in traffic collisions. If you can call an average of two a year an epidemic — and if the headphones were actually what caused the crashes. After all, if headphones cause crashes, car sound systems and hermetically sealed, soundproof vehicles should, too. 

Touching story as a Japanese man flew to Taiwan to thank the man who cared for his son when he was fatally injured by falling rocks while mountain biking.

Now you can tour Vietnam and Sri Lanka by ebike.

 

Competitive Cycling

The fourth time is the charm, as SoCal’s Coryn Rivera nips Megan Guarnier to win her first US Pro national road race championship. Tennessee’s Emma White dominated the women’s U-23 races.

An Idaho man was part of an eight-person team that set a new record of just under five days, four hours in the Race Across America.

Bicycling explains how to watch the Tour de France this year. And no, streaming it live on your handlebars while you ride probably isn’t the best idea.

Seriously? Team Sky’s coach says Chris Froome’s safety is at risk after five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault calls Froome a cheat over his failed drug test.

The race of the century — or at least the next few weeks — will roll on July 1st as the grudge match between LA’s own Phil Gaimon and alleged motor doper Fabian Cancellara will charge up Switzerland’s Col du Pillon. You can cheer Gaimon on with your own cookie-themed kit.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you miss your train, and end up beating it to your destination. Even Transylvania is becoming bike friendly.

And presenting the Uniform Manual of Traffic Engineer Excuses.

 

Morning Links: Former Councilmember Bill Rosendahl near death; led fight to make LA better for bike riders

Bill Rosendahl addressing the city council to announce an end to cur culture in LA

Bill Rosendahl addressed the city council in 2010 to announce an end to car culture in LA

Heartbreaking news, as Councilmember Mike Bonin reports on his personal Facebook page that his predecessor and mentor, former Westside Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, is near death and receiving hospice care at home.

Rosendahl set the standard for what a city councilmember could and should be here in the City of Angels — caring, responsive and committed to doing the right thing, and serving the whole community. Whether or not it was the popular stand at the time.

As chair of the council’s Transportation Committee, it was Rosendahl, more than anyone else, who set the city on the path to becoming more welcoming to people on bikes, leading to the adoption of the Cyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance and the 2010 bike plan, now part of Mobility Plan 2035. As well as revoking the city’s bike licensing requirement, which was often used by police as an excuse to harass riders.

It was Rosendahl who famously said “The culture of the car is going to end now!” in addressing the full council. And Rosendahl who got then new LAPD Chief Beck to sit down with cyclists and listen to their grievances, leading Beck to promise — and deliver — a new relationship between cops and cyclists on the streets of the city.

It’s hard to believe the bad old days for LA cyclists were just six years ago. And that so much has changed for the better in such a short time.

Admittedly, there were many catalysts for that change. The 2010 Bike Plan. CicLAvia. Mayor Villaraigosa’s road to Damascus conversion. A more assertive LACBC.

But in reality, it all began with Rosendahl, and his impassioned response to a driver who deliberately injured a pair of cyclists on Mandeville Canyon. And a promise to do everything in his power to prevent it from happening again.

And one he kept.

He will be sorely missed. This will be a much poorer city when Bill Rosendahl is gone.

But one he’s leaving much better than he found it.

………

Local

The President of Fix the City calls plans for bike lanes in the city’s Mobility Plan 2035 a game of Three-Card Monte where the rules are constantly changing, and urges Councilmember Ryu to vote against the plan when it comes back before the council for approval. He’s a little late, though; the city council re-approved the Mobility Plan last year; the only thing under consideration now are a handful of amendments to the plan.

In yet another case of a car being used as a weapon, LA sheriff’s deputies arrested a driver on suspicion of murder after he ran down a man jogging in a Walnut bike lane before smashing through a hedge and into a home.

Registration is open to join the LACBC team for this year’s Climate Ride.

 

State

San Diego plans to install a buffered bike lane on a street where a skateboarder was killed recently.

A Santa Barbara social worker remembers a tireless advocate for the homeless who died in a fall while riding his bike earlier this month.

A San Francisco writer says courtesy is the key when cyclists and drivers share narrow hilly roads; otherwise, the legislature will step in to dictate behavior.

A man broke the window of a Fresno bike shop and stole a bicycle; it’s the second time thieves broke into the store in the last two years. Note to KFSN-30 TV: $500 is hardly an expensive bike.

 

National

A Wyoming man uses bicycling to fight back against a genetic lung disease.

Evidently, there’s a right way and a wrong way to use bike emojis, according to a DC writer.

 

International

A writer for the Guardian says bike touring may be the best way of meeting the world on its own terms.

The weekly blog roundup from the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain continues to offer a detailed look at bike news from around the world that puts this site to shame.

An Aussie writer says a three-foot passing law is a good start, but drivers should be required to give extra attention to cyclists and pedestrians at all times — especially when crashes are considered mere “bingles.” Although local police don’t seem sold on the new passing distance.

A new #helmetsarecool online campaign is gaining steam in Australia. Should we be suspicious that it’s backed by a helmet maker?

Evidently, NIMBYs are the same everywhere. Residents of Christchurch NZ urge the city council to rescind plans for a pair of bikeways out of fear that a) they will negatively impact safety and b) a loss of parking will be the death knell for local businesses. Never mind that bike lanes have been repeatedly shown to a) improve safety for all road users, and b) increase sales and property values, while bringing greater vitality to the neighborhood.

A Singapore website explains why some people are calling for bike licensing, and why it’s not likely to happen.

 

Finally…

It’s not a flag, it’s 33 years worth of driver repellant. When you’re riding with an old, rusty rifle over your shoulder and a drill in a suitcase you probably stole, remember to put a damn light on your bike.

And if you’re going to use a bike as your getaway vehicle, make sure you know how to ride it first.

 

Morning Links: Serious sentence for a serious crime, memorial for 9-year old victim, and blame drivers, not bikes

They continue to take traffic crime seriously in Orange County.

An unlicensed drunk driver got 18 years — yes, years, not months — for fleeing the scene after killing an elderly woman and injuring her blind grandson as they stood in a Santa Ana bike lane to observe fireworks on the 4th of July in 2013.

When she was arrested two hours later, Kelly Michele Wolfe had a blood alcohol level of .31, nearly four times the legal limit.

Now she’s going to have a very long time to sober up.

Maybe someone should tell the LA DA this is what can happen when you don’t bargain away all the serious charges.

Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling for the heads-up.

………

Hundreds of mourners turned out on Sunday to remember the nine-year old boy killed while riding his bike in Irvine on Sunday.

He was a recent Chinese immigrant whose parents had come here looking for a better life.

Instead, they lost a son to this country’s deadly streets.

………

Great piece from Boyonabike, who says we should “tell car companies to take cynical marketing gimmicks like ‘Volvo Life Paint’ and shove it where the sun don’t shine.”

Because, he says, the real problem is dangerous and distracted drivers, a lack of safe infrastructure, and a “car culture that sells cars on TV by overt appeals to fantasies of speed and danger”

Seriously, read it, already.

………

Local

The LACBC’s Eric Bruins examines the investment priorities for a proposed transportation ballet measure.

The editor of USC’s Daily Trojan says bikeshare has the potential to revolutionize transit in Los Angeles if anyone actually uses it, while a writer for the Los Angeles News Group questions if people will pay $3.50 a trip to ride a bike.

Western Avenue in Palos Verdes could trade street parking for buffered bike lanes; for a change, the primary concern of local residents isn’t over the loss of parking spaces.

Writing for Orange 20 Bikes, Rick Risemberg offers advice on how to winterize your riding to prepare for El Niño and what passes for winter in the City of Angels.

Santa Clarita wants your opinion on the city’s off-street biking trails.

People for Bikes looks at Burbank’s own Pure Fix Cycles.

 

State

A San Jose cyclist is killed in a collision after allegedly bicycling under the influence; no word on why police think he’d been drinking.

San Francisco completes its 24th Vision Zero bike and pedestrian safety project three months ahead of schedule. Which puts it about 23 ahead of LA.

 

National

Great news from Arizona, as former US Representative Gabby Giffords takes her recumbent on a 40 mile ride less than five years after her near-fatal shooting.

Evidently, a Colorado letter writer really hates bike lanes; he condemns any government official who puts more than 20 cents into bike lane construction to suffer an eternity of spilling hot coffee in their laps while driving.

A Colorado mountain biker relates the frightening story of how he got lost for nearly two days after falling into a river during a recent Costa Rican race.

A discussion of installing crosstown bike lanes in New York’s Upper East Side draws little opposition, even if one community board member says bicyclists’ lawlessness has resulted in a “complete and total Armageddon.” Not to exaggerate or anything.

A Philadelphia magazine explores the challenges of being African American in white suburbia, including a troubling story of black teenagers just out for a bike ride.

The World Championships didn’t turn out to be the financial windfall for the Richmond area that had been promised.

 

International

London’s Cycling Commissioner says banning large trucks during rush hour won’t save as many lives as making trucks safer and building protected bike lanes. He also called a reporter a liar over claims bike riders weren’t using one of the city’s new cycle superhighways.

London plans to close a busy and dangerous junction in the heart of the city to motor vehicles for at least five years to improve safety and “all round congeniality,” while making more room for bikes and pedestrians.

A UK publication says leave the car at home if you don’t want to die young.

Two Brit bike thieves have been jailed for a long running con; they’d leave a laptop bag as security for taking a bike for a test ride, which turned out to hold nothing but books when they didn’t return. They’d gotten away with 23 bikes worth $93,000 before they were caught.

A British woman is left with a broken hip after a collision with a sidewalk-riding bicyclist. But if he just rode off without stopping, how do they know he had a foreign accent?

Forty Americans biked the length of Israel to show support for the Israeli military.

An 18-year old South African man designed and built his own very cool custom bike from scratch.

An Aussie website says it may be time to rethink the country’s bike helmet requirement.

A Kiwi earthmoving company has installed cameras with a dashboard monitor in their trucks to eliminate blind spots that put cyclists and pedestrians at risk.

A five-year old Chinese boy is able to ride his bike again after getting a 3D-printed hand.

Japanese police are looking for a man who smacked a woman in the head with a blunt object after her clothes somehow got caught in his bike when he rode up behind her.

 

Finally…

Evidently, it’s okay to steal a bike from a celebrity restaurant as long as you’re a hunk with washboard abs. If you’re going to use a bike as your getaway vehicle after robbing a bank, wearing a cycling cap sets the right stylistic tone.

And who says beautiful bikes don’t grow on trees?

………

Thanks to Wes High and Matthew Robertson for their donations to support this site. Thanks to their generosity, the first ever Biking in LA Holiday Fund Drive is now up to, uh, three contributions!

An open letter to the L.A. City Council — let’s move forward, not retreat to our auto-centric past

Dear Council Members,

It was just three years ago that CD11 Councilmember Bill Rosendahl famously stood before his fellow council members and declared that “The culture of the car is going to end now!”

True to his word, the City of Los Angeles has made remarkable progress in the last 24 months, rapidly expanding rail lines, moving forward on the long-promised Subway to the Sea — or Brentwood, anyway — and most improbably, being named a bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community.

Although pedestrians seem to be lost in the process, as the city continues to remove crosswalks as it build others.

But now the city is threatening to backslide into the same old car-focused past that has repeatedly driven the many communities that make up our city into decline over the last half-dozen decades.

A new proposed bond measure promises to repair our crumbling streets, yet contains not one word committing to improvements for anything but motor vehicles, returning us to the bad old days of automotive hegemony that CM Rosendahl had promised was in the past.

On the surface, it seems like a good idea, though not everyone agrees; some are quite vocal in their opposition for a number of reason.

Yet no one can deny that our streets are crumbling. Too many L.A. streets now resemble the cobblestones of Europe, as a broken patchwork of pavement causes collisions and needless costs for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike.

And fixing them now makes sense, sparing Angelenos the estimated $750 a year in added repair costs, not to mention the untold cost to repair countless broken bikes — and broken bones — suffered by cyclists who hit potholes or swerve dangerously to avoid them.

Historic low interest rates mean the city can borrow the money at favorable rates, and repave the streets now at a fraction of the cost it would cost in decades to come. And since the bond will be funded by a relatively insignificant increase in property taxes, the work can be done without adding to the city’s debt burden.

The problem, as always, is in the details.

Or the lack of them, as far too much as been left out of this measure.

Like a commitment to implementing bikeways contained in the city’s new bike plan as those streets are repaved, dramatically cutting the cost of implementation since those streets would need to be repainted anyway. And potentially cutting the time to build out the bike plan from 30 years to perhaps half of that, or less.

Worse, there is absolutely nothing in this massive bond issue that promises to repair the city’s broken sidewalks, estimated to cost $1 billion to $1.5 billion. Leaving a massive obstacle to creating more livable and walkable communities, while failing to give people an incentive to get out of their cars and off our highly congested streets.

My own wife has been injured twice as a result of tripping over broken sidewalks, suffering first a broken foot, followed by wrenched knee that continues to cause her problems to this day. How many others have been similarly injured, or simply stopped walking in their own neighborhoods because it’s simply not worth the risk?

Clearly, this will not be an easy measure to pass.

It will require a two-thirds majority, something very difficult to achieve as the recent failure of Measure J demonstrated, despite getting over 66.1% of the vote.

Which means you’ll need every vote you can get for passage, including the support of bicyclists and pedestrians. And right now, we have no incentive to support it — let alone vote yes in May.

In fact, as far as I’m concerned, this is dead in the water unless significant changes are made.

The city needs to make a firm commitment to building out the bike plan as streets are repaired, and rebuilding our streets using best practices that benefit all road users — based on the new mobility plan currently being finalized, rather than the outdated version it will replace.

It also needs to include provisions to fix our sidewalks. After all, while most Los Angeles residents are drivers, we’re all pedestrians at one time or another. And this will never be the great city it can and should be until we are free to walk when and where we want, safely and enjoyably.

Let’s also not fall into the old trap of treating infrastructure as separate elements; streets and sidewalks and crosswalks should be rebuilt as a single Complete Street designed to move people, not vehicles, and bring renewed life to all our communities. And they should incorporate Safe Routes to Schools, while providing necessary access for the disabled.

Granted, CD12 Councilmember Mitch Englander has promised that much of this will addressed down the road.

But with all due respect, you’ll excuse us if we don’t settle for promises than can be broken down the line. These matters need to be included in the ballot measure, locked in as part of the bond issue.

This morning’s City Council session will be visited, not by three ghosts, but by a phalanx of impassioned bicycling, pedestrian and safety advocates determined to fix this bond measure before it goes to the ballot in order to win their support, and the support of countless like-minded Angelenos such as myself.

Listen to them.

Then act on the suggestions they make.

The success of this bond measure, the livability of our city and the safety of its residents depends on it.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers
Bikinginla.com
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