Tag Archive for community engagement

BOLO alert for Westlake hit-and-run, more on NY bikeshare Karen, and Life/Cycle-riding doctor running to replace Schiff

The seemingly epidemic of heartless LA hit-and-run drivers just keeps on going.

The LAPD is looking for the driver who left a bike rider bleeding in the streets of Westlake, suffering from what is described as “severe, though not life-threatening injuries.”

The crash occurred around 8:45 pm on Saturday. May 13 at Hoover and Carondelet streets in the Westlake District.

The suspect vehicle is described as an older model white Nissan, with likely with damage to its front end, hood and windshield from the impact with the victim.

Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD Detective Juan Campos at 213/833-3713, or email 31480@lapd.online. Or call the Central Traffic Division Watch Commander at 213/833-3746 after hours or weekends.

As always, there is a $25,000 reward for any hit-and-run resulting in serious, but not fatal, injuries in the City of Los Angeles.

Photo by Artyom Kulakov from Pexels.

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There’s always another side to the story, even when everyone has already taken sides.

It’s been clear for some time that we’ve only heard one side of the story about the white New York hospital worker filmed in a viral video trying to wrest and whine a bikeshare bike out of the hands of a Black teenager.

The woman, who has become infamous as the Citi Bike Karen, has spoken through her attorney, who claims he has receipts showing she rented the bike she was trying to claim.

She’s raised over $124,000 from people who thought she was unfairly accused of racism.

Now the family of the teenager she was trying to take the bike from is finally speaking out for the first time. According to them, the 17-year old boy’s life and family have been in turmoil since the incident.

They explained that as the son of low-income, West African immigrants on public assistance, he was entitled to discounted 45-minute bikeshare rides, after which the rate increases.

The day of the incident, he and his friends rode from his home in the Bronx to visit friends in Harlem. After 45 minutes, he re-docked the bike to reset the clock, before setting out again at the reduced rate.

Which is when he claims his life went to hell.

He says the hospital worker approached the group as they briefly rested with the bikes, asking each one in turn if she could use their bike. Each boy said no, because they were about to take them back out again.

So she stepped onto the bike anyway, using her phone to scan the bike’s QR code as he held onto the handlebars, and tried to take the bike out of his hands.

According to New York’s NewsOne,

It was 7:24 p.m., and that is when the boys began recording…

Michael insisted Sarah Jane Comrie knew he was planning to use the bike. He said she asked him and his friends to use theirs, and they all informed her they were using the bikes and would be leaving shortly.

He said she seemed annoyed that they wouldn’t willingly give up their bikes to her. He also said he believes she wanted that bike as opposed to the others that remained docked in the rack because he had one of the newer e-bikes.

The rest of the interaction plays out in the video. Sarah Jane Comrie, dressed in scrubs bearing the NYC Health + Hospitals logo, removed her work ID badge from her neck, placed it in her bag along with a brown paper bag she was holding and began screaming for help.

Proving once again there’s always another side to the story.

We have no way of knowing who is right, or exactly how the events played out in the minutes before the camera was turned on. But the incident offers a Rorschach Test for today’s America, as people on both sides of the political divide quickly chose sides.

A white woman received over a hundred grand, while a young Black man has his life upended. Although a crowdfunding campaign started yesterday has raised over $37,000 for his legal fees in less than 24 hours.

Because once again, we’re all taking sides.

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He gets it.

A reporter for Vice takes on former LADOT head Seleta Reynolds recent comments comparing building bus and bike lanes without community engagement to bulldozing houses to build freeways.

This difference of intent and scale is worth dwelling on because it is why the comparison is so misguided. The U.S. Department of Transportation has estimated 475,000 households containing one million people were displaced due to highway construction from 1957 to 1977. That is the equivalent of displacing the entire population of modern-day Austin, Texas. Likewise, a Los Angeles Times analysis found that an additional 200,000 people have lost their homes due to highway construction since 1990. To the best of my knowledge, there has not been a single housing unit destroyed or person displaced to build a bike or bus lane anywhere in the U.S. On these grounds alone, it is simply absurd to compare urban highway construction to bike and bus lanes. Projects of such vastly different scopes and scale deserve different approaches and mindsets.

But there is another good reason to reject this comparison, one that is equally revealing about the biases of modern transportation officials. Reynolds asked, “What makes us so confident we know best?” Another way of asking this is, what makes us so confident we know bike and bus lanes are better than masses of parking and multiple travel lanes for private cars for everyone?

The answer is: we’ve got the receipts. In this case, decades of scientific study and experiments carefully tracked and evaluated by local departments of transportation.

The sheer absurdity of Reynolds’ comments, coming from someone who should surely know better, is appalling.

It also explains why so little was done to improve LA streets while she ran the department. And why we shouldn’t hold our breath for any major innovations coming from her new position as Metro’s Chief Innovation Officer.

Unless maybe her chief innovation is even more pointless, never-ending public meetings.

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Openly gay, Lebanese-Armenian global health leader Dr. Jirair Ratevosian is the latest candidate to toss his hat into the ring to replace outgoing Rep. Adam Schiff in California’s 30th Congressional District.

He’s also one of us, regularly taking part in the annual 545-mile AIDS/LIFECYCLE ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, which benefits the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

However, Ratevosian faces stiff competition from Burbank Assembly Transportation Chair Laura Friedman, California State Senator Anthony Portantino, and former Boy Meets World star Ben Savage, among others.

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

A Columbus, Ohio bike rider is calling for more protected bike lanes after a road raging driver brake checked him, then threw a drink at him. That came just days after another road raging driver deliberately backed into a bike rider when the man on the bike refused to get off and fight him.

No irony here. A London man goes on a rant about the city’s LTNs, or Limited Traffic Neighborhoods, while filming himself in front of a congested, non-LTN jammed with cars.

An award-winning British TV producer, writer and comedian was fined the equivalent of more than $1,200, plus another $1,250 in court costs and victim surcharge, for flipping off a bike cam activist when he was caught using his smartphone from behind the wheel of his $173,000 Aston Martin.

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

After a Seal Beach letter writer complains that it seems petty to ticket a pair of senior citizens on a tandem for rolling a stop sign, a cop explains that bicycles are treated as vehicles in California, and bike riders have to obey the law, too. Even laws that most drivers don’t. Which is one more argument to pass the Stop As Yield bill in the state legislature, and get Governor Newsom to sign the damn thing this time. 

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Local 

For some reason, I can’t seem to embed tweets today. So click through for some great shots of bicycles over 100 years ago in LA’s historic Chinatown, forwarded by Erik Griswold.

Los Angeles Public Press examines LA’s gender-expansive group rides designed to make biking in the city more comfortable, safer and accepting.

 

State

No news is good news, right?

 

National

The CPSC, aka Consumer Product Safety Commission, is looking for public input as they consider how to update federal regulations governing bicycles to accommodate ebikes. Read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

Bloomberg’s CityLab says American cities are failing female bicyclists by failing to invest in bike infrastructure.

A writer for the Christian Science Monitor relates riding cross county from Boston to Oregon in the ’70s with just a bike and $200, back when ATMs and cellphones didn’t exist.

After saying that dismantling yet another claim that bike and bus lanes cause pollution is uninteresting and a complete waste of his time, a Seattle writer considers the philosophical function of the automobile, instead.

A Colorado man takes to the road on an adaptive recumbent bike, eight years after he was injured hitting a pothole, which eventually cost him both legs.

A 28-year old Kentucky man is dead after a pickup driver crashed into his bike; police excused the crash because glare from the setting sun kept him from seeing the victim. Never mind that the correct course of action would have been to pull over to the side of the road until he could see, before he killed anyone.

The New York Times says the Citi Bike bikeshare has become part of New York’s street life as it marks its tenth anniversary.

Several members of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles participated in a fundraising ride to benefit an autism nonprofit while wearing winged bike helmets to match the ones they wear on the field.

This is who we share the road with. A 32-year old Philadelphia woman faces murder and vehicular homicide charges for a December hit-and-run crime spree that killed on man and injured two other people; she is accused of hitting three cars and a scooter rider, then crashing into a bike rider before fatally slamming into a man walking in a crosswalk, and fleeing from all three crashes.

 

International

British Columbia becomes just the latest city, state or province to offer ebike rebates before California’s long-delayed program finally gets off the ground, with purchase credits ranging from $350 to a maximum of $1,400.

After a UK city announced plans to encourage bike riding by giving away 2,500 bicycles and free bicycling lessons, local advocates argued the city needs to address the “huge issue” of providing safe places to ride them.

This is what it looks like to hit a pothole while riding at speed, as a British man suffered a broken pelvis when he only managed to avoid three out of four potholes in his path.

 

Competitive Cycling

Leader Geraint Thomas held off an attack by by Primož Roglič and his Jumbo-Visma team on stage 18 of the Giro, while Italian champ Filippo Zana broke away from the pack to claim the stage win; the stage came on Thomas’ 37th birthday.

Bicycling says the colossal amounts of elevation gain in the last few stages of the Giro will make the final days of racing a slugfest. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t appear to be available anywhere else, so you’re on your own if the magazine blocks you. 

Cycling Weekly pulls nine bikes out of the Worldtour pro peloton to name one as their racing bike of the year.

The annual Tour of Nevada City Bicycle Classic as been officially cancelled this year, following years of declining attendance.

 

Finally…

As long as people hate bicycles and semi-trucks, you might as well do them both. That feeling when you take your javelina bike out for a spinthanks to Dr. Grace Peng for the link. 

And that feeling when you can’t decide between a BMX and pogo stick. So you do both.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

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