Tag Archive for carfree streets

US achieves road death pariah status, carfree streets and the people who love & hate them, and more open streets on tap

Good grief.

Apparently, the United States is now in favor of traffic deaths.

Or at least disagrees with the rest of the world — literally — on the urgent need to keep people from dying on our streets.

Writing in Forbes, British bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid points out that the United States was the only one out of more than 140 nations which refused to sign on to the Stockholm Declaration from the Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety held in the city last week.

Because of the latest dissent it’s likely that road safety professionals will say the U.S. is a “road-death reduction pariah.” Pedestrian organizations, including the leading American one, have already expressed disappointment at the U.S. decision to dissent…

Among the key conference resolutions was the call to rein back speed on the world’s roads. The Stockholm Declaration wants countries to “focus on speed management,” with increased enforcement of existing speed limits and “mandate a maximum road travel speed of 30 kph (18.6 mph) in areas where vulnerable road users and [motor] vehicles mix.”

The declaration noted that speed reductions would result in improvements in air quality and could therefore help countries tackle climate change.

And that’s where they lost American support.

The U.S. delegation at the Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety objected to a declaration that wants to shift “toward safer, cleaner, more energy-efficient and affordable modes of transport and promote higher levels of physical activity such as walking and cycling as well as integrating these modes with the use of public transport to achieve sustainability.”

Also, the U.S. dissociated from a declaration that aims to focus attention on the “safety needs of those road users who are the most vulnerable including pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and users of public transport.”

A statement from the U.S. delegation said it “dissociates itself from references [to] climate change, gender equality, reduced inequalities, responsible consumption and production” claiming that these issues are “not directly related to road safety.”

So, in addition to the usual climate change denial from our nation’s leaders, we’re evidently now opposed to energy efficiency, walking, bicycling and public transit. Or gender equality in transportation, for that matter.

Not to mention saving the lives of vulnerable road users.

Something I would have thought no one could possibly oppose.

And yet, here we are.

The world’s only traffic safety deniers and road-death reduction pariahs.

I don’t care whether you’re liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. Or anything else in-between, above, below or beyond.

Some things are just wrong.

Then again, Lego doesn’t seem to love alternative transportation, either.

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Today’s common theme is carfree streets.

Downtown News considers how we’ll get around on Broadway if cars are banned from the DTLA corridor.

A San Francisco bike shop owner comes out against a proposal to make Valencia Street carfree, apparently preferring the business he gets from motorists to all the additional sales he might get from people who no longer have to worry about getting hit by cars and the people in them.

An Arizona family owns two cars, but prefers to leave them parked for a bike-based, virtually carfree existence.

A Philadelphia bike advocate calls for making the city’s Chestnut Street carfree.

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Yesterday’s CicLAvia is just the beginning.

https://twitter.com/ActiveSGV/status/1230947573243863041

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Give your input on plans to improve mobility on the Westside.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on. 

A mixed race Indiana couple are accused of harassing two teenage bike riders and running them off the road because they were flying pro-Trump flags on their bikes. I’ve spent the last several months training the foster corgi to ignore dogs he disagrees with; we shouldn’t have to do the same thing for people in cars who don’t like someone else’s politics.

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

A pair of bike riders fatally stabbed a man waiting at a bus stop in East LA in what is believed to be a gang attack. Thanks to Orange House for the link.

Talk about keeping dangerous people on the streets until it’s too late. An Irish man got a well-deserved eight years behind bars for crashing a stolen bicycle into an English tourist as he was making his getaway, leaving her with life-changing injuries; he had a whopping 92 previous convictions, including several involving gratuitous violence.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton argues that LA’s plan to widen Magnolia Blvd is straight out of 1999, and ignores more modern standards adopted in the mobility plan adopted just four years ago.

Seriously? An idiot from Metro Metro’s Chief Program Management Officer tries to argue that most of the agency’s highway projects don’t make greenhouse gas emissions worse. Apparently with a straight face.

Letter writers in the LA Times come out strongly in favor of enforcing speed limits. The problem is, there aren’t enough cops in the country to catch every speeding driver. Which is why we need to legalize automated speed cameras in California.

 

State

No bias here. Only a windshield-biased motorist’s organization could find something to love in California’s deadly 85th Percentile Law, which allows drivers to set speed limits with their heavy right feet.

A San Diego letter writer says stop pushing bike lanes as a solution to traffic, insisting the city has failed to convincingly demonstrate demand. Although as someone much smarter than me once said, you don’t demonstrate the need for a bridge by counting the people swimming across a river.

A Rancho Mirage bike rider was lucky to escape with minor injuries when she was struck by a driver Friday morning. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

A state legislator introduced legislation that would keep Bay Area bridges free for bike riders and pedestrians.

Caltrans will shut down the popular new bike and pedestrian lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge for parts of the next three weeks for inspections, even though it just opened a few months ago; the agency will provide a shuttle to ferry riders and walkers across the bridge.

 

National

A writer for Jalopnik buys a 1980s Schwinn, intending to swap it out with modern components. And finds it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Speaking of Schwinn, the newly trendy bike maker is back with a modern take on the classic Stingray Krates that’s designed to grow with your kids.

Streetsblog makes the argument that Vision Zero is missing something big — like getting more cars off the road, which will make everyone safer.

A Portland writer has his bike stolen. And uses a bluetooth tracker and plausible deniability to get it back. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.

Longtime Seattle-area guitarist Dave Sims makes a comeback album with his band Archer, 22 years after shattering his spine in a bicycling crash.

Washington became the latest state to require a minimum three-foot distance to pass someone on a bicycle.

Good news, as the Bureau of Land Management, aka BLM, backs off on a uniquely bad idea to lease land for oil and gas drilling that could have threatened Moab, Utah’s famed Slick Rock mountain bike trail.

Chicago’s rapid shift to become bike friendly is largely leaving people of color behind.

A new exhibit in a Boston Museum traces how two women from the same neighborhood broke bicycling barriers in the 1890s — one by riding solo around the world, and the other by competing as a black women.

A Massachusetts paper opines that masses of kids swerving and popping wheelies in traffic — and often against it — is a recipe for disaster.

No bias here, either. The New York Post’s notoriously bike-hating columnist calls out the city’s plans for a bike lane on Sixth Avenue, insisting it “raises the bar for malicious streetscape tampering.” Because evidently, no one who works in those high rise professional buildings would ever want to ride a bike to work.

Brazen bike thieves are targeting ebike delivery riders on New York’s Queensboro Bridge with violent assaults to take their bikes and personal possessions.

A North Carolina columnist performs the mental gymnastics that accompany the switch from bike-hater to one of us.

A year after the drunken Mardi Gras parade crash that killed two people and injured several others, a New Orleans paper questions whether the city is any safer for people on bicycles, as improvements suggested by the mayor continue to exist only on paper.

 

International

That feeling when your road bike just doesn’t have enough high-end bling.

An English city is offering residents the equivalent of up to $3,800 to ditch their cars in favor of bikes or transit.

After a British woman has her bike stolen, her kindhearted co-workers pitch in, raising the equivalent of $580 to buy a new one.

Afghans take to the streets — and onto their bikes — to celebrate a preliminary step towards ending the country’s decades of open warfare.

Dubai now has a 780-bike, 78-station ped-assist bikeshare system.

Kindhearted Aussie cops replace a five-year old girl’s bike after hers was stolen.

A Philippine physician makes the case that bikes are good for the country’s cities. And every other city, too.

A bike-riding American priest and Medal of Honor winner in the Korean War is being investigated for a possible pathway to sainthood.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews examines how the world’s largest women-only mountain bike race, Colorado’s Beti Bike Bash, returned from the brink of financial ruin after a ten-year run.

Tour de France, Giro and Vuelta winner Chris Froome makes his long-delayed comeback from severe injuries suffered in a training ride crash last summer, saying “it feels good to be a bike racer again.”

If you swear you saw Welsh Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas riding the mean streets of Los Angeles last month, you’d be right.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss argues that gravel grinding won’t save bike racing in the US.

 

Finally…

Nothing like celebrating four months of sobriety by getting drunk and stealing a motorcycle. Now you have to start looking for drivers falling from above, too.

And that moment when you suddenly realize you need a change of underwear.

Huizar calls for carfree Broadway in DTLA, Arroyo Seco Bike Path finally open, and studies support bus and bike lanes

Breaking news: KNBC-4 reported that a bike rider was critically injured last night in a collision at Hollywood Blvd and McCadden Place. However, video from the scene appears to show the victim may have been seated on a Wheels scooter rather than a bicycle.

Unfortunately, nothing has been posted online yet.

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Outgoing CD14 Councilmember Jose Huizar responds to the question of whether other California cities will close streets to cars — or rather, open them up to people — in the wake of San Francisco’s closure of Market Street.

Huizar called yesterday for the possibility of a complete closure of historic Broadway in DTLA to motor vehicles between 1st and 12th Streets, with the exception of buses.

This comes after years of efforts to revitalize the corridor, including a road diet that cut the number of traffic lanes in half, and reopening or repurposing many of the street’s grand theaters.

Note to KCBS-2: Despite the headline in the above link, the proposed ban is on cars and trucks, not feet. 

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The Arroyo Seco Bike Path is officially open, after being closed for a year to repair damage caused by last year’s rains.

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No surprise here.

A new Portland study shows bike riders are safer sharing a bus only lane with transit vehicles than sharing regular traffic lanes with everyone else.

And if you build it, they will come. A new British government reports shows that investing in bicycling pays, as building bike lanes encourages people to bike more and drive less.

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Former New York DOT Commissioner Janet Sadik-Khan teams with another writer to examine the real global health crisis —

Deaths caused by motor vehicles and the people who drive them.

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Some things are universal. And definitely worth 35 seconds out of your day.

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

It’s a well-deserved three and a half years behind bars for a road raging New Mexico driver who put his car in reverse, floored it and slammed into a group of senior Santa Fe bicyclists; he’ll have to serve at lest 85% of his sentence — and attend anger management sessions. Thanks to Brian Kreimendahl of Bike Santa Fe for the link.

A Kenyan driver takes a punishment pass to the extreme, sideswiping a pair of bike riders and speeding away without stopping.

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Local

The Daily News provides a look at the race for LA city councilmember in CD4 as three candidates vie to unseat David Ryu.

More on Santa Monica’s plan to give Wilshire Blvd a safety makeover to protect bicyclists and pedestrians, including a ban on left turns onto the boulevard from cross streets.

The Savage Hearts Love Ride 2020 will roll from Marina del Rey tomorrow to provide care packages and love to those in need.

 

State

The community turned out to show their support for fallen bicyclist Kevin Wilson as the hit-and-run driver who killed the beloved postal worker near El Cajon was sentenced; the victim’s wife said his killer got less than four years behind bars, but she got a “life sentence without the love of my life.”

Indio is investing $1.25 million to build four miles of new art and music-enhanced bike lanes.

After a video circulated of a Turlock special needs boy getting assaulted and robbed by three other kids, a Good Samaritan stepped in to replace his shoes and bicycle.

San Jose puts its money where its mouth is, providing $7 million upfront to fund their new Vision Zero plan, as well as forming a task force to curb traffic deaths.

After three Marin County men were charged with building an illegal offroad trail, a Marin paper calls on everyone to work together to create legal multiuse ones.

Healdsburg is installing wayfinding signs to help bike riders navigate the Sonoma County city.

Ten years after a Nevada City bike rider was killed by a distracted driver, the memorial ride and run held in his honor is still going strong, with up to 300 riders participating.

 

National

A must-read from Curbed, which argues that public meetings are broken and offers advice for how to fix them. Anyone who’s been shouted down by traffic safety deniers and NIMBYs in recent years knows just how broken the current system is.

A supercar designer introduces a new autonomous electric car so cute, that will probably be your last thought as it runs you over. Thanks to Mike Cane for the heads-up.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says recent Los Angeles transplant LeBron James is the new hero of bikeshare and bike lanes, saying children need access to bikes and safe places to ride them. Rumor has it he also plays basketball here in LA. LeBron, that is, not Weiss.

They get it. Boulder CO bike commuters say every day is Winter Bike to Work Day; the official international Winter Bike to Work Day is this Friday. Except in Los Angeles, where the weather would be perfect for it. 

A new Pueblo CO bike bank is fixing up bicycles and giving them to homeless people.

A Colorado CEO plans to ride a bike barefoot across the US, from Disneyland in Anaheim to Disney World in Orlando, to call attention to human trafficking; it’s the first known attempt by anyone to pedal barefoot across the country.

A Texas writer explores Fort Worth by bikeshare, and discovers it’s a lot easier and more fun than he could imagine.

An Iowa bill that would require bike riders to wear high-viz and have both front and rear lights is moving forward in the state legislature, even though no groups support it.

New York learns the hard way what happens when a protected bike lane isn’t protected enough.

New York preschoolers are learning to recycle cans to buy a new bicycle for their school gym.

A DC adjacent Maryland county is considering a proposal to make bike registration voluntary, instead of the current mandatory, but usually ignored, requirement.

A DC site says the city can learn from Oslo and Helsinki when it comes to Vision Zero, both of which didn’t have a single bike or pedestrian death last year. Then again, so can every other city.

A Virginia transit system has spent five years and $3.8 million to build two secure bike corrals, and they’re still not done. Give me a million dollars and a few tools, and I’ll build the damn things myself. Seriously. 

Florida may be the nation’s deadliest state for people on bicycles, but one Central Florida county hasn’t had a bicycling death in two years.

 

International

Four intrepid travelers recount lessons learned from riding fat bikes around St. James Bay in Antarctica. Here’s one more tip: Go in the summer next time.

This is who we share the roads with. A Calgary prosecutor says a driver high on meth chuckled when he learned he’d killed a 15-year old boy riding a bike and injured his companion.

Forget a bike bridge. Local officials are considering opening a bike ferry across the Saint Lawrence River to connect an upstate New York city with another in Ontario, Canada.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says forget that 350 million pounds he promised for active transportation projects in England; he really meant £1 billion for biking and walking.

Once again, a bike rider is a hero, as a man in the UK discovers three barely living lobsters on the side of the road that had apparently fallen off a truck, and carries them back to the sea on his bike to set them free.

An Irish writer says she still gets flashbacks from getting hit by a driver while riding her bike. And that just going for a bike ride shouldn’t feel like going to war.

The Netherlands has fined over 21,000 bike riders for using a handheld phone while riding in the first six months the ban has been in effect. That compares to 98,000 California drivers in all of 2017, with over twice the population.

A new Ai Wei Wei sculpture in Abu Dhabi continues his celebration of pedal power, made from 720 carefully stacked bicycles.

Your next bike could be handmade from bamboo in Kathmandu with seating for three. Or a lot more, judging by the last photo.

Pink Bike looks at the potential impact of the novel coronavirus, aka Covid-19, on the bicycle industry, at a time when most bikes and parts come from the Middle Kingdom.

 

Competitive Cycling

Actor and bicyclist Patrick Dempsey will serve as the honorary captain of the US Olympic Cycling Team at the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

The nation’s largest fat bike beach bike race will be held in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina next month.

Who needs a mountain for downhill mountain bike racing when you’ve got a perfectly good city?

 

Finally…

Your next bike could have skis instead of wheels, but it only goes downhill. Your next saddle could have a rat on it; no, not you.

And sometimes you just have to bust out of preschool and ride your bike.

 

Proposal for bike-friendly Hollywood Blvd, where to ban cars from LA streets, and a bigger Bird hits Los Angeles

CD13 City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell unveiled proposals for a much-needed head-to-toe makeover of Hollywood Blvd.

The plans calls for reducing or eliminating parking, widening and fixing the already wide sidewalks, and installing bike lanes on either side.

However, the plans don’t call for protected bike lanes, or closing the boulevard entirely to create a pedestrian plaza at Hollywood and Highland.

If approved — and it still has a long damn way to go — they could create the first east-west bike lanes in Hollywood.

And no, sharrows don’t count.

They could also improve safety for the tens of thousands of tourists who visit the street every day, while improving livability for the rapidly growing residential population in Hollywood.

O’Farrell reports that $4 million in funding has already been secured for the project, which could go a long way towards making it a reality.

Rendering by Gensler.

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As we’ve discussed for the past few weeks, cars are now officially banned San Francisco’s formerly busy Market Street.

The LA Times throws down the gauntlet, saying if the Bay Area city can close one of its largest and most iconic streets to motor vehicles, Los Angeles can do it, too.

Streetsblog then picks it up, suggesting ten LA-area streets from Pasadena to Santa Monica that could use a similar treatment — including the afore mentioned Hollywood Blvd; we mentioned Curbed’s seven suggestions earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Car and Driver wants to know how far this carfree streets thing is going to spread, and Fast Company lists 11 additional cities where it already has.

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Call it Big Bird.

C|net reports that Bird is introducing a heavier, more durable and hopefully, more vandalism resistant e-scooter they’ve dubbed Bird Two.

The vehicle comes with “autonomous damage sensors” that are designed to detect potentially dangerous maintenance issues. It has puncture-resistant tires, an anti-tipping kickstand and “enterprise level anti-theft encryption.” And its design minimizes exposed cables and screws.

“The absence of excessive exposed screws helps create a sleeker design while also reducing injuries and vandalism,” the company said in a statement. Bird said this feature will also help with safety (which makes sense considering some scooter haters like to cut brake cables).

The site says the company is introducing the scooters in San Francisco, then eventually rolling them out to other cities.

Evidently, they forget to tell that to their LA-area staff.

I spotted this one while walking the foster corgi in Hollywood; other Twitter users reported seeing them along the Figueroa corridor.

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

Long Island police are looking for a bike-riding man who stole $3,000 from an unlocked car. Then again, what kind of idiot leaves three grand in his car, and doesn’t bother to lock it?

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Local

A Larchmont newspaper profiles all four candidates in the CD4 race — incumbent David Ryu and challengers Sarah Kate Levy and Nithya Raman, as well as write-in candidate Susan Collins; both Levy and Raman have been endorsed by Bike the Vote LA. And speaking of Levy, she’s asking transit and mobility fans to canvas for her this weekend.

Santa Monica could cut the number of dockless bike and e-scooter providers in the city by half under new rules approved by the city council.

 

State

Eroica California returns to Cambria this April, now with rides for modern and classic bikes on different days.

Tragic news from Galt, 27 miles south of Sacramento, where a 34-year old man riding a bike was killed in a collision with a motorist.

A Sebastopol writer talks with a zero-waste, locavore, electric vélomobile owner.

Plans for a median-protected bike lane move forward in Modesto, despite the inevitable complaints from local businesses that it would take space away from cars.

 

National

Streetsblog says the national transportation policy proposed by the Democrats in Congress has a lot to offer, even if it has little chance of becoming law.

A writer for Mashable tries out a $4,000 ebike for a year, and is surprised to learn it’s heavy, and can replace a car, but only in good weather. Never mind that lots of people ride ebikes and regular bikes year ’round, in all kinds of weather.

Ebike prices continue to drop, like this barely sub-$1,000 bike from Propella. And no, I’ve never heard of the brand, either.

A new active transportation advocacy group intends to make Spokane WA friendlier for people on bikes and on foot.

Once again demonstrating that the Bureau of Land Management has no respect for the land they’re supposed to manage, the BLM has put two parcels up for oil and gas drilling near Moab, Utah, even though it could result in irreversible damage to the famed Slickrock mountain bike trail.

You’ve got to be kidding. Life is really cheap in Wisconsin, where a hit-and-run driver got a lousy three months behind bars for the drunken crash that injured a bike rider; he hit the victim as he was driving to another bar, and blew over twice the legal limit when he was arrested.

Tragic news from Brooklyn, where a bike rider was killed in a collision with the driver of a flatbed truck, becoming the first bicyclist killed in New York this year after the city suffered a nearly three times increase in bicycling deaths last year. As usual, the driver wasn’t ticketed or detained, despite being caught on video making an illegal U-turn. Warning — that last link clearly shows the victim getting hit, so be sure you really want to see that before clicking it. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up. 

A North Carolina mother is under arrest after her four-year old son was found riding his tricycle naked at 12:30 am, in front of a bar, in 40° weather.

Nice gesture from a New Orleans Mardi Gras krewe, which is hosting a block party to call for bike and pedestrian safety at the site of the drunken crash that killed two bike riders and injured several others during last year’s Mardi Gras celebrations.

 

International

A young man from Matamoros, Mexico just graduated from a college in Brownsville, Texas, thanks in part thanks to the $40 flea market bicycle he rode across the border every day.

A London woman describes how she went a full year using only her feet or bicycle for transportation.

The mayor of Paris says if she’s re-elected, every street in the city will by bicycle-friendly by 2024.

SUVs should be banned from urban areas, according to a Brussels-based safety think tank, which called for urgent action to protect bike riders and pedestrians.

A Belgian ex-cyclist-turned-journalist makes, then deletes, then apologizes for a sexist joke about how little an Argentine reporter was wearing; apology not accepted, evidently, after she responded by calling him a brontosaurus.

Vienna is offering free admission to museums and concerts to people who leave their cars at home in an effort to cut traffic and pollution.

VeloNews goes to Germany to jerk their chains. And otherwise test 13 of the most popular bike chains.

A South African radio station says it could be the death of motoring, as Millennials and Gen Zers are falling out of love with cars.

It better be a damn big reward. Indonesian authorities want a volunteer to take a motorcycle tire from around a 13-foot crocodile’s neck.

 

Competitive Cycling

A Colorado man looks back on a half-century as a cyclocross racer, starting long before most American cycling fans ever heard of the sport.

Still more sad news, as British cyclist Josephine Gilbert was killed last week when she was struck by a truck driver while riding in the UK; the 25-year old rider was called an inspiration by her teammates. She becomes just the latest in a long line of professional and amateur racers killed or seriously injured by drivers in recent years.

 

Finally…

It may be broken English, but “Abandoning boy to death” drives the point home better than the more pedestrian “hit-and-run.” If you want to keep passing as a blind beggar, leave the SUV at home.

And this is who we share the roads with. And yes, it’s pretty much the definition of an entitled driver.

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