Tag Archive for carmakers

How to fight muscle car makers on Los Angeles streets, and bike rider holds up Canadian truckers protest

Let’s start with an email I received yesterday.

Joel Falter offers an entirely reasonable suggestion on how to fight back against overly aggressive muscle cars on our streets.

I have been thinking about today’s post regarding the tragic accident in Las Vegas. I suspect reaching out to folks at Fiat-Chrysler and suggesting they stop building muscle cars capable of stupid-fast speeds will get as far as telling them, Ford, and GM to stop building larger pick-up trucks that wreak great harm on pedestrians and people on bikes.

Maybe we should try and get the City of Los Angeles to stop permitting the filming of these commercials on LA streets, bridges, and tunnels. After all, they are leaders in the City’s commitment to vision-zero.

Yeah-Right.

It’s not a bad idea.

As Joel points out, we’re not likely to get carmakers to change a successful marketing strategy appeals to a certain motor-addled segment of society.

But we might be able to do something about it right here at home, if we can convince councilmembers that human lives and fighting climate change matter more than making money from ad makers.

Okay, you can stop laughing now.

We’ve fought this battle before, when Hollywood filmmakers threw a temper tantrum over Downtown’s new green bike lanes, convincing the mayor and councilmembers to rip them out rather than just covering them up during filming or removing them in post production.

But you never know. They might actually listen to us this time.

Especially if they think they can score some points for standing up to Detroit.

Photo by mike noga from Pexels.

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Apparently, it only takes one person on a bicycle to hold up a right wing Canadian truckers anti-vax protest.

Somehow, I can’t look at that without being reminded of the man holding up a convoy of tanks in Tiananmen Square.

But here’s what the bike rider in question had to say about it.

And note that he uses his unexpected notoriety to encourage donations to local bike nonprofits.

Oh hey, that’s me!! Do you mind sending me this?

Edit: thanks for the kind words and gold y’all. It was pretty terrifying to plant in front of the convoy but I felt a lot better with the passerbys giving me the thumbs up and support.

The best part of this photo is that it caught the “Karen” coming up to me to say that I was disrupting traffic.

Edit 2: holy fuck, things got wild. I appreciate all the “hero we need but don’t deserve” comments. But we kind of do deserve and need more people to stand up against the loud minority. To all those offering me drinks, meals, coffee, what I really need is a titanium bike lol. I encourage you to donate to Kickstand Community Bikes or Our Community Bikes who will benefit far more and put more people on bikes.

Thanks to our anonymous correspondent for the heads-up.

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

Maybe when someone describes themselves as anti-cyclist, it’s not worth asking their opinion on British Highway Code changes intended to improve safety for people on two wheels, as well as everyone else.

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Local

Metro is looking for volunteers to serve on the I-710 South Corridor Community Leadership Committee, to consider propose changes to the freeway corridor after the EPA rejected earlier plans to widen the highway. This is your chance to keep them from flushing another billion dollars down the toilet on harmful climate change and induced demand inducing highway projects, which could be better spent on transit and alternative transportation projects.

 

State

San Jose officials finally get around to identifying a 60-year old man who was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike nearly a month ago.

A new bike and pedestrian bridge over Menlo Park’s Bayfront Expressway officially opened Saturday, allowing riders to access a new park and the headquarters of self-referentially named Meta.

Sad news from Marin County, where a 58-year old man was killed by a driver while riding his bike near Fairfax Saturday morning.

 

National

A new Seattle study shows red light cameras cut collisions by 23%. Unfortunately, they were all removed in Los Angeles to appease drivers who would rather risk a crash than get a ticket in the mail for breaking the law.

A Denver writer describes how he found a community through bicycle advocacy, which is an experience many of us can attest to.

A pair of Colorado bike shops are collecting bicycles to give to victims of the recent pre-New Years fire, including one in my hometown.

The scientists at the USGS Yellowstone Volcano Observatory remember the historic 1896 ride of the Buffalo Soldiers Bicycle Brigade to Yellowstone.

A pair of Dallas gelato and donut shops say the loss of parking in front of their store for a curb-protected bike lane is destroying their businesses. Although it’s hard to blame the bike lane for the gelato shop’s problems, since it hasn’t reopened since closing down for the pandemic. 

The Mayo Clinic is now officially a bicycle friendly business. So feel free to ride your bike to the ER the next time a driver runs you down.

San Francisco Streetsblog editor Roger Rudick turns up in an unexpected place, urging Pittsburgh officials to build a collapsed bridge back better.

 

International

Ebike prices continue to come down. Case in point, the petit Propella Mini, which sells for a buck less than a grand; Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter gives it a thumbs-up for getting around the city.

Toronto now has a newly minted bicycle mayor. Which is a reminder that Los Angeles doesn’t.

A London writer tries riding an ebike around town for a week, and says now he doesn’t know how he can live without it.

The Guardian’s Peter Walker questions whether the conservative London Times has declared war on bicyclists by calling for licensing and insuring bike riders, just ten years after making waves with a groundbreaking campaign for bicycle safety.

 

Competitive Cycling

Welcome to our world. Italy’s Matteo Trentin argues that training on public roadways is getting too dangerous, saying the streets are more of a jungle than a proper training environment. It’s not so safe for the rest of us, either.

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can join a virtual blockchain-based bike club. That feeling when your 2,500-mile bike ride to Istanbul includes a brief stint in a Romanian prison.

And if you’re going to push a shopping cart into Walmart and ride a new bike out without bothering to pay for it, maybe leave your drug stuff at home.

………

Happy Lunar New Year to everyone celebrating today!

恭喜发财

新年好

행복한 새해되세요”

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới

สวัสดีปีใหม่!

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

Calling out carmakers deadly lies, Biking While Black in Los Angeles, and reimagining what Ventura Blvd could be

Let’s start with a couple powerful pieces more than worth a few minutes of your time this morning.

First up is a Gainesville, Florida op-ed comparing the auto industry to big tobacco — and the lies tobacco companies told that kept killing their own customers for decades.

Sort of like carmakers keep building deadly machines designed to protect the people inside, while becoming increasingly lethal for people outside.

Not to mention building flashy distractions into the dash, which can take a driver’s attention off the road for as long as 40 seconds — enough time to drive a half mile at 50 mph, virtually blind.

Here’s just a small taste of what op-ed writer Emily Hind had to say.

To achieve change, it’s going to take more than my energy spent yelling at drivers from the safety of the sidewalk. Just like the smoking cessation advocates who took on big tobacco, I’m up against billions of dollars in advertising for the automotive industry.

In 2019, the automotive industry in the U.S. spent $13.8 billion on digital advertising and $70 million on lobbying in this country. Who is funding that big money? You are, sucker. And you’re dooming our children to climate-changed ruin, not to mention robbing them of a childhood of outdoors mobility.

I don’t dare transport my child to most of the places we go on the bike because I’m afraid one of you will murder him by car. Vehicles are more lethal now: The higher off the road they sit (thanks for nothing, SUVs and trucks), the higher the odds that an impact on the human body will be fatal.

She concludes, in part, with this.

If the fight against big tobacco is any indicator, we’re in for a long slog against the obvious untruths spun by the automotive industry. Like smokers before them, drivers are likely going to defend self-defeating habits by standing up at public meetings and railing about the “right to drive” and “right to park” no matter whom it hurts — or kills.

Seriously, it’s more than worth the click to read the whole piece.

And maybe get a little mad about it.

Artwork by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.com.

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Next up is a short film about the difficulty of Biking While Black in the City of Angels, which comes off as far less than angelic.

A number of Black bike riders talk about things like giving up biking to work after getting stopped repeatedly by the same cops. Or deciding that it just wasn’t worth the hassle to ride through Beverly Hills, day or night.

Yet they somehow continue riding a bike.

It’s a reminder that for far too many of us, distracted drivers aren’t the only dangers we face on the streets. And that everyone deserves to be treated like a human being, regardless of the color of their skin, or how they travel.

Go ahead, watch it. I’ll wait.

The nine minute documentary was sponsored with a grant from SCAG’s Go Human campaign.

………

This is what Los Angeles streets could look like.

If — and only if — our elected leaders ever took their own words seriously about reducing traffic, fighting climate change and improving livability.

As the saying went, they’re great at talking the talk, not so much at walking the walk.

Or making it safe and enjoyable for anyone to walk. Or bike.

………

A Low Traffic Neighborhood in the UK — the equivalent of a Slow Street in the US — demonstrated benefits throughout the neighborhood.

Results that would probably be replicated here, if anyone bothered to do the studies.

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

A road raging Irish driver faces charges for pushing a man off his bicycle and repeatedly kicking him in his head and body, resulting in at least one fracture and significant bruising.

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

Ventura police busted a 28-year old man accused of attacking a woman for no apparent reason as he rode his bike past her on a bike path.

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Local

The LAPD has released video of the vehicle driven by a hit-and-run driver who killed a woman riding circles around a Venice intersection last month; police are looking for a black, large-sized SUV, possibly a Chevrolet Suburban.

This is who we share the road with. It’s bad enough that so many people have to live on our streets. Worse that their lives are at risk from overly aggressive, distracted, drunk, stoned or merely careless drivers who can’t manage to keep their cars from banging together.

Streetsblog looks at Monday’s celebration of Streets4All and the LACBC meeting their $25,000 goal for the city’s first public/private partnership; the money will fund initial engineering and outreach to reimagine dangerous Sunset Blvd as a complete, livable street.

Walk Bike Glendale is hosting their first post-pandemic bike ride this Sunday. Although Delta and Mu might beg to differ with that description.

 

State

San Diego’s KPBS wants to know why the city is still widening roads when they’ve promised to shift away from cars.

The San Francisco Chronicle considers whether lower speed limits would save lives on the city’s most dangerous streets — if you can get past their paywall, that is. Short answer, yes. Longer answer, hell yes.

An 18-year old Chico woman suffered “significant” leg injuries when she was apparently right hooked by a garbage truck driver while riding her bike; her injuries aren’t considered life threatening, so let’s hope she recovers quickly and completely.

 

National

A provision in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that recently passed the US Senate provides $1 billion to restore urban neighborhoods by removing highways or lessening their impact on the community; too many Black and Brown neighborhoods were destroyed building them.

Morgan Stanley says the death of the American city has been highly exaggerated, although Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose are lagging in growth due to the high cost of living.

Interesting idea. A new Kickstarter campaign is selling flat pedals with LED lights to make you more visible from the front, side and rear. Now if they’d just make them for cleats, we’d have a deal.

More on the driver who somehow couldn’t resist zooming along Chicago’s DuSable Lake Shore Drive, dangerously weaving in and out of the bike riders enjoying the ostensibly carfree Bike the Drive on Sunday.

Chicago Streetsblog wants to know why no one has been arrested for the hit-and-run death of a 70-year old entertainment lawyer, despite three witnesses, police camera footage, a license plate number, and the name of the vehicle owner. Good question.

A couple Indiana boys reportedly hopped off their bicycles and stood at attention as a funeral procession for an 89-year old military vet passed by, and remained at attention until the final gun solute before getting back on their bikes and riding off.

Nice. New York will remove parking on one side of the city’s Navy Street and replace it with a two-way protected bike lane, while keeping an unprotected bike lane on the other side of the street.

There’s a special place in hell for the heartless coward who refused to stop after knocking an 83-year old Florida man off his bicycle in the country’s largest retirement community. Never mind that hitting a bike rider with the passenger side mirror is a pretty clear violation of the state’s three-foot passing law.

 

International

A new bikeshare company hopes to undercut London’s famed Boris Bikes and Lime by offering app-based dockless ebikes with no fee to unlock, and the first ten minutes free.

Scotland’s newly-appointed active transport minister — the first anywhere in the UK — is coming under criticism for not wearing a helmet when he rides a bike, saying wearing one makes him feel like he’s competing in an extreme sport. We could use someone like that in an official government capacity here, with or without a skid lid.

Heartbreaking followup to the story of India’s Bicycle Girl, who gained worldwide fame for carrying her injured father 700 miles to their home on the back of her bicycle at the beginning of the country’s pandemic lockdown; her father died of a heart attack a year later, and the funds she received for her feat are exhausted after helping her family weather the pandemic.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling Australia is already looking forward to the world road championships coming to Wollongong, New South Wales next year, even though this year’s worlds in Flanders is still over ten days away.

 

Finally…

How wasted do you have to be to hear a gunshot while sitting on a bike path, and realize you’ve been shot — without realizing you did it yourself?

And nothing like a crustacean bike traffic director.

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

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