Ever get the feeling your issues are taking a backseat in local politics?
In a year where all of the leading candidates for mayor of Los Angeles are focusing their campaigns on crime and dealing with the homeless — one way or another — providing safe alternatives to driving hasn’t even been an afterthought.
Just take a look at the websites for Karen Bass, Rick Caruso, Kevin de León, Mike Feuer and Joe Buscaino, and see if you can find a single mention of traffic safety. Let alone biking, walking or transit.
No mention of Vision Zero. Not a single word about building out the mobility plan to fix traffic congestion and fight rising gas prices. And nothing about investing in clean transportation to fight climate change.
Not. One. Damn. Word.
But at least Buscaino directed me to a nearly four year old op-ed he penned about embracing smart mobility options, after I complained about that on Twitter.
And as Barry J. Neely reminds us, Bass is one of us.
I know for a fact that @RepKarenBass is a cyclist IRL. I’m curious to hear what she might do.
— barry j neely, composer (@barryjneely) March 10, 2022
So let’s hope they all get around to addressing safe streets and alternatives to driving, however belatedly, as the campaign goes on.
Otherwise, it could be a very long four years, regardless of who wins.
Correction: Someone representing Mike Feuer reached out to me directing me to the page on Sustainability on his website, which contains one whole sentence about improving transit and building protected bike lanes, but only in the context of reducing greenhouse gases.
Which, sadly, makes him the leader at this point.
Today’s photo shows Los Angeles City Hall awaiting its next, hopefully bike friendly, occupant, with a little more commitment and follow-through than the current one.
Today’s common theme is people turning to bicycles to fight high gas prices, even though Los Angeles had a decade to get ready for this moment. And didn’t.
Streetsblog offers tips for new bike riders in the City of Angels.
Record gas prices are boosting ebike sales in San Diego, which are seeing exponential growth credited to prices at the pump.
The New York Times explains why California gas prices are so high. Although the best way to reduce price pressure at the pump is just not to play, and find another way to get around.
An Iowa writer says the state’s high gas prices make her want to ride a bike everywhere — even though their gas is over a buck and a half cheaper than California.
Rising gas prices are a double-edged sword for bike shops in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, driving up demand while increasing costs.
Seems like a good time for a reminder that many, if most, Los Angeles car trips could easily be done by bicycle.
If they had a safe way to get there, that is.
HALF of Los Angeles car trips are under 3 miles. (< 18 minutes by bike)
1 of every 5 car trips is UNDER 1️⃣ MILE.
A surprisingly-high number of car trips are surprisingly short and can easily be cycled — if there are safe, separated #bike lanes where people live, work and shop. pic.twitter.com/EA8LN5gOhf
— Spicy Garage (@spicygarage) October 27, 2021
This might be taking things a tad too far.
An international group of climate activists are combating SUVs in an effort to drive the polluting, gas-guzzling and deadly vehicles off the road.
Thought to be an offshoot of Britain’s Extinction Rebellion, Tyre Extinguishers — the spelling points out their roots in the UK — punctures the tires on SUVs, with a goal to “make it impossible to own an SUV in the UK’s urban areas.”
And leave behind a politely worded note explaining their actions, while telling aggrieved drivers not to take it personally.
Which is kind of hard to do when someone leaves you feeling literally deflated, to put it mildly.
The group has targeted vehicles in London’s upscale Chelsea, Chiswick, Notting Hill and Belgravia neighborhoods, where they are colloquially known as Chelsea tractors.
And now the informal group has reportedly spread to Los Angeles, where someone allegedly inspired by their actions claims to have punctured SUV tires here .
I’d be the first to admit that I’d like to push every damn SUV into a pile and blow them all to hell. But I wouldn’t, even if I could.
Because vandalizing other people’s property is always wrong. Even if it is done for the right reasons.
The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.
Nothing unusual here, unfortunately. A bike rider was shot in the leg from someone in a passing car while riding on the UC Davis campus. And no, that’s not a prank, it’s a crime. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.
Bicyclists accuse an English county of closing a mountain pass to bikes as an anti-cyclist move “dressed up cheaply as health and safety,” two weeks after landslides closed the road to cars.
No bias here. When asked what should be done to improve safety for bicyclists in Oxford, England in the wake of recent deaths, drivers called for bicycle license plates, hi-viz and bicycling proficiency tests, rather than doing anything to drive safer.
But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.
A Glendale driver reported a hit-and-run bicyclist who fled the scene after crashing into their car. Although something tells me there’s probably another side to that story.
After an 11-year old Springer Spaniel had his leg amputated when he was struck by a man “zooming” along a multi-use path on his bicycle, the dog’s angry owner called for steps to curb “arrogant” bike riders.
The Bike League recognized 33 new or renewing Bicycle Friendly Universities, with LA’s Loyola Marymount University moving up to silver, and Pasadena’s California Institute of Technology holding stead at bronze, while Cal Poly Pomona has to settle for another honorable mention.
Caltrans is looking for public input on its draft Active Transportation Plan for bicycle and pedestrian improvements on state highways in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
San Diego’s mayor wants the city to marginally lower speed limits, using the same new state law Los Angeles is using to lower speeds 5 mph on 177 miles of streets.
NPR relates five ways to bounce back better from bicycle or other sports injuries.
The Today Show suggests their somewhat surprising picks for the best commuter, fitness and cruiser bikes.
A writer for Forbes says bicycle infrastructure saves lives by improving health and fitness, too.
Adventure Journal says yes, you can get a nice gravel bike for 900 bucks, albeit with a few caveats.
The Bike Portland podcast talks with local women behind the ebike revolution.
Phoenix AZ is responding to the death of a popular bicycle ambassador with plans to add more protected bike lanes in the downtown area.
Tragic news from Minneapolis, where a man died a year and a half after he was paralyzed by a driver with a revoked license while riding his bike on the sidewalk. The driver, who had two previous license suspensions, was sentenced to a lousy year in county jail in a plea bargain; if prosecutors had waited just six six weeks, the charge could have been vehicular homicide. Just one more example of allowing dangerous drivers to stay on the road until it’s too late.
A new documentary shows a man’s journey by bike from Chicago to New Jersey, riding alone to exorcise the demons of being abused by a priest as a child, and inspire other clergy abuse victims.
Bicycling profiles a proud Black Southern woman from Alabama, who encourages women to live authentically while advocating for representation in bicycling. As usual, read on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.
It was Bike to Work Day in Florida’s Miami-Dade County, with the county’s leader leading the way.
Tern unveiled a new e-cargo foldie for anyone with an extra three grand lying around.
Horrible news from the Netherlands, where a 21-year old Massachusetts woman studying abroad was killed by a stalker, who placed a tracking device on her bicycle after they met on Tinder.
NatGeo wants to help you plan a bike tour through Belgium’s beer country.
German ebike subscription service Dance is expanding into more European cities, including Hamburg, Munich, Vienna and Paris. Which means the US, UK and Canada will have to wait.
Congratulations to Spanish bikemaker Orbea on being named Bike Brand of the year.
Angry New Zealand bike riders claim a teenage bicyclist didn’t have to die over the weekend, blaming local officials for turning a deaf ear to calls to make the area safer for people on two wheels.
Great news, as NBC announced it will broadcast the first two years of the eight-stage Tour de France Femmes, aka the Women’s Tour de France, starting this July.
Bad news for the competition, as 39-year old Annemiek van Vleuten says she’s still improving after two decades as one of the top women’s cyclists.
Sad news from the UK, where 28-year old Scottish track sprinter John Paul has died; no cause of death was announced.
Forget race results — what really matters is pro cyclists and their animal buddies. Your old bicycle chain could turn into spectacular nude human figures.
And who says a stationary bike has to stay that way?
Thanks to Margaret for her generous annual contribution to support this site, and keep all the best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day.
Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.