In a decision that shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been paying attention lately, yet another LA council member has caved to the demands of the city’s entitled motorists.
This time on Temple Street.
Despite the city’s lip service to Vision Zero, it’s clear, to paraphrase Casablanca, that the deaths of a few innocent people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy town.
The latest example came on the other end of Temple, after Councilmember Gil Cedillo had already killed plans for a lane reduction in his district.
Now neighboring Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell has joined him, citing a lack of significant, widespread support for the vital safety project.
If that’s going to be the standard, we might as well toss Vision Zero in the scrapheap of Los Angeles history right now. Because we may never get a majority of Angelenos to believe that saving lives trumps saving a few minutes on their commute.
City officials are elected to do the right thing, not the popular thing. And make the difficult choices that they know will prove correct down the road, even if they initially lack “significant, widespread support.”
Like saving lives, for instance.
Instead, O’Farrell became just the latest LA councilmember to back down in the face of organized opposition from angry motoring activists, settling for a number of incremental improvements to the street that may make it a little safer and slightly more pleasant, but likely do nothing to stop speeding drivers from running down more innocent people.
In part, because of attitudes like this from Rachael Luckey, a member of the Rampart Village Neighborhood Council.
A road diet on Temple, Luckey says, would have been too extreme.
“I hate to use the words ‘acceptable loss,’ but we do live in a metropolitan city, and it’s a dangerous world we live in,” she says. “As far as Temple Street is concerned, I don’t know that it is a crisis per-se. If we were seeing 20, 30, 50 people run over, I would be a lot more alarmed.”
A California Highway Patrol collisions database shows that from 2009 to 2017 on the stretch of Temple Street between Beverly and Beaudry, 34 people have been severely injured and five people have died in traffic crashes.
I wonder if she’d still consider it an acceptable loss if one of those victims was a member of her own family.
And once again, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti was too busy running for president to weigh in on one of his own signature programs, exchanging pledged commitment to Vision Zero for zero involvement.
When Vision Zero was first announced in Los Angeles, I questioned whether the city’s leaders had the courage to made the tough choices necessary to save lives, and help make this a healthier, more vibrant and livable city.
The answer, sadly, is no.
On a related subject, a new journal article from Chapman University assistant law professor Ernesto Hernandez Lopez examines the legal aspects of the LA Mobility Plan.
And the auto-centric bikelash that threatens to derail it.
Here’s how he summarizes the paper, titled Bike Lanes, Not Cars: Mobility and the Legal Fight for Future Los Angeles:
- Examines LA’s Mobility Plan 2035
- Summarizes lessons from biking scholarship
- Uses these lessons to make sense of the litigation on the Mobility Plan 2035
- Suggests how law and politics can help city bike lane policies and advocacy and policy making for these
- Relates bike lanes to Vision Zero (safety), “first and last mile” (intermodal), and mobility (de-car)
- Correlates the litigation and LA experiences with Vehicular Cycling and Automobility theories
The family of Cole Micek have called on the public to help identify the two drivers who smashed into him as he rode his bike in Long Beach earlier this month, leaving him to die in the street.
Los Angeles County is now offering a $25,000 reward to help bring his killers to justice.
The San Gabriel River trail will be closed at Carson Street in Long Beach today for an emergency repair due to water damage. Riders will be detoured to Town Center Drive.
The path should be reopened on Saturday, unless they run into unexpected problems.
By now, you’ve probably seen the dashcam video of the first fatal crash caused by a self-driving car, which occurred earlier this week in Tempe AZ.
If not, take a few minutes to see if you can reconcile what you see with the local police chief’s insistence that the victim, a homeless woman walking her bicycle across the street, darted out of nowhere into the car’s path.
Then look closely at the interior view, which shows the clearly distracted emergency human driver looking down the whole time, until just before the moment of impact.
The car should have been able to detect the victim; the fact that it didn’t indicates a major flaw in the system. And the woman behind the wheel definitely should have, if she’d been paying the slighted bit of attention.
Correction: The initial stories identified the driver as a man, Raphael Vasquez. However, it appears that Vasquez has been living as woman, Raphaela Vasquez, since being released from prison in 2005. Thanks to Andy Stow for the correction.
Writing for Outside, Peter Flax says something like this was just a matter of time and shows that autonomous cars aren’t ready for cyclists. Or pedestrians, evidently.
A motoring website insists that Elaine Herzberg’s death isn’t just Uber’s problem, it’s everyone’s.
Curbed’s Alissa Walker observes this is the moment we decide that human lives matter more than cars. If only.
Streetsblog says if self-driving cars aren’t safer than human drivers, they don’t belong on the streets.
According to Treehugger, the fatal crash shows we need to fix our cities, not our cars.
The head of a European bike industry trade group responds that bike riders will have to wear beacons to identify themselves to autonomous vehicles. Why stop there? Why not implant all newborns with transponders so self-driving cars can see them regardless of how they travel, and choose to kill the one person crossing the street rather than the three people in a car.
The Wall Street Journal reports the human behind the wheel — it’s hard to call her the driver — was a convicted felon with a history of traffic violations.
The AP says it raises questions about Uber’s self-driving system. Gee, you think?
Just hours later, another self-driving Uber car was caught running a red light in San Francisco. So apparently, they do operate just like human drivers.
On the other hand, a Florida writer says he’ll worry about autonomous vehicles the first time a robot flips the bird and runs him off the road.
Great piece from Peter Flax on the short-lived and sadly lamented Wolfpack Marathon Crash Race, which he calls the most captivating, inclusive and deliciously bat-shit crazy bike race in the history of the sport.
Bike the Vote LA has released their voter guide for next month’s elections in LA County.
A former Los Angeles Times staff writer calls LA streets a contested space where no improvement — such as the Venice Blvd Great Streets project — goes unpunished.
Caught on video: CiclaValley captures a red light-running driver who checks most scofflaw motorist boxes.
Another from CiclaValley, as he notices the unwelcome addition of another traffic lane in Griffith Park.
The LA Daily News examines the bikelash against dockless LimeBike bikeshare bikes scattered around the CSUN campus.
Bicycling talks with the founder of LA-based women’s bikewear maker Machines for Freedom.
Monrovia partners with Lyft and dockless bikeshare provider LimeBike to improve mobility options for residents.
Forbes talks with Harvey Mudd College Professor Paul Steinberg about his bike-based course that takes students on a two-wheeled tour of the LA region to explore the challenges of creating bicycle-friendly cities.
A San Francisco writer describes the bike ride that hooked him for life.
You’ve got to be kidding. Life is cheap in Yolo County, where a garbage truck driver walked in a plea deal in the death of a bike-riding college professor after pleading no contest to vehicular manslaughter. And was rewarded with a deferred judgement and a lousy 80 hours of community service.
We missed this one from last week. If you have a Louis Garneau Course helmet, it could be subject to a safety recall.
Writing for Outside, Joe Lindsey says the Vista Outdoors boycott was doomed from the start, despite media attention.
Eugene, OR decides to make a six-block test road diet permanent, concluding it was worth the effort despite initial concerns. Sort of what might happen here if more city officials had the guts to actually try it.
Traffic delays caused by highway construction enticed an El Paso, Texas man to sell his truck and buy a motorized bicycle, improving his health and saving at least $800 a month.
A Milwaukee newspaper reminds us that we’re just a week away from 30 days of cycling.
The Michigan state legislature moves forward with a three-foot passing law.
Another one we missed: A New York professor who doesn’t ride a bike explains why he still supports bike lanes, and why he feels safer on streets with them.
The Wall Street Journal looks at cycling attire that doubles as office wear. If you can get past their paywall.
A tragic story from North Carolina, where a hit-and-run driver left the rider of a motorized bicycle lying in the road, where he was subsequently struck by four other drivers.
Cycling Weekly considers the symptoms, tests and recovery for concussions. Sooner or later, everyone comes off their bike, and chances are, you can’t count on your helmet to protect you from TBIs, because that’s not what most helmets are designed to do.
CNBC examines the increasingly green future of public transportation, including bicycles.
A new reports says 43% of the Ontario, Canada bike riders killed between 2010 and 2015 were struck from behind. And 25% were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Wired says London may have reached peak cycling unless they can get more women and non-white men on two wheels.
They get it. A British website says yes, the country’s road rules need to be modernized, but adding offenses for riding a bike is no place to start.
A 30-year old man is bicycling across India to collect stories.
South Korean bike paths are now officially open to ped-assist ebikes, and riders will no longer need a drivers license.
The president of Air Asia has apologized after video of airline employees recklessly damaging bicycles in Kuala Lumpur goes viral; to make up for it, they’re letting bikes fly free next month.
A young Canadian cyclist looks at the problem of sexism in cycling.
A pharmacist says it’s time to finally ban the pain killer tramadol in cycling. No shit.
And a brief look at Toronto, where the Idaho Stop Law already applies to drivers.
Just like LA. And everywhere else.