Tag Archive for dangerous intersections

Riding a bike shouldn’t be so dangerous, a look at LA’s Vision Zero fail, and Garcetti cuts LA’s transportation budget

Happy Earth Day.

Or as Los Angeles officials call it, Friday.

LA’s elected leaders will undoubtedly pontificate and issue all kinds of public statements stressing the importance of protecting the earth and fighting climate change.

But won’t do a damn thing about it.

And if you happen to see outgoing CD5 Councilmember and current candidate for City Controller Paul Koretz, ask him how he can be a self-professed environmentalist while blocking bike lanes in his district.

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He gets it.

In today’s must-read story, a columnist for the New York Times writes that riding a bicycle in the US shouldn’t be this dangerous.

Using the recent death of a 13-year old Mountain View boy as a starting point, Farhad Manjoo writes that the boy was right hooked by a truck driver who reportedly never saw the kind on his bike hidden in his blind spot.

And that Andre Retana and the man who killed him didn’t do anything. But Andre lost his life anyway, thanks to roads designed to prioritize automotive throughput over everything else.

Including human lives.

Manjoo goes on to say this —

The United States is in the midst of a traffic fatality crisis. Nearly 39,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes on American roadways in 2020, the most since 2007. American roads have grown especially dangerous to “nonoccupants” of vehicles — that is, bicyclists and pedestrians. In 2011, 16 percent of traffic deaths were of nonoccupants; in 2020 it was 20 percent. The trends are a major reversal — from the 1970s until the late 2000s, deaths on American roadways of bicyclists, pedestrians and people in cars had steadily declined. There are a number of potential reasons for rising deaths — among them that many more of our cars are big and deadly S.U.V.s, that states keep raising speed limits, that ride-sharing vehicles have made our roads more chaotic, and that people drove much more recklessly during the pandemic. But while many cities, states and the federal government have unveiled plans to mitigate the horror, progress has been elusive.

The intersection of El Camino and Grant Road illustrates a major part of the problem. A big reason our roads are unsafe is because they were designed that way — because, as the advocacy group Smart Growth America puts it, policymakers at nearly every level of government continue to prioritize the speedy movement of vehicles over the safety of everyone else on our streets. And even when the dangers of our bad roads become glaring, officials have limited options for fixing them.

Our roads are deadly because officials will still call the inevitable consequences of this ill-design a tragedy rather than a choice.

It’s more than worth taking a few minutes from your day to read the whole thing.

Go ahead, we’ll wait.

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Call this one another must-read.

LAist’s Ryan Fonseca looks at the failure of LA’s Vision Zero and the city’s mobility plan, citing a lack of funding and political will that has led to a dramatic increase in traffic deaths, rather than eliminating traffic deaths by 2025 as we were promised.

Despite putting both plans in motion more than six years ago, L.A.’s streets are deadlier now than they were then, especially for people walking.

In 2015, 186 people were killed in crashes on city streets. Last year, the death toll was 294, according to city data. Pedestrians make up the largest share of victims, with 132 people killed by drivers while walking last year. That’s up 50% from 2015.

Fed up, a coalition of safety advocates and community groups is working to get a measure on the local ballot this November. The measure would compel the city to follow its mobility plan whenever it repaves a street. That’s rarely happening now, according to the group, called Healthy Streets LA.

Once again, it’s worth a few minutes of your day to read the entire piece.

Because, to paraphrase the NYT’s Manjoo, riding a bike — or walking, or even driving or riding in a car — shouldn’t be this dangerous.

Or deadly.

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Unfortunately, the mean streets of Los Angeles aren’t likely to get any safer anytime soon, as the mayor’s new budget cuts $14 million from the city’s already underfunded transportation budget, while pumping another $125 million into the LAPD’s bloated $3.2 billion budget.

Things like this are why both the LA Times and I have endorsed Kenneth Mejia for city controller, because he’s already doing the controller’s job of digging into the city’s finances to uncover what’s hidden there.

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Los Angeles filled in yet another missing chunk of the LA River bike path in the San Fernando Valley, as the city works to complete the entire 72-mile pathway in time for the 2028 LA Olympics.

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So tell me again how bicyclists don’t ride in the damn bike lane?

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The estimable Will Campbell offers a video love letter to the little known 4th Avenue bike and pedestrian bridge over the !0 Freeway.

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

More blowback for the coal-rolling Texas car tuner, as bike riders call for a boycott of the shop over the video of a driver enveloping a bicyclist in his truck’s exhaust, which was apparently posted by the shop owner, who somehow feels like he’s the victim the victim in the whole thing. Hint: He’s not.

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Local

A writer for the LA Times gets four of the five mayoral candidates on the record for their stands on environmental issues, including calls for better bike infrastructure; billionaire Rick Caruso evidently couldn’t be bothered to do more than email it in.

This, too, is the cost of traffic violence. A mountain lion was killed on the busy 405 Freeway just south of the Getty Center early Thursday morning, apparently trying to get across the massive billion dollar car sewer.

Over one hundred people turned out to honor fallen bike rider Andrew Jelmert with a ghost bike ceremony Wednesday night.

 

State 

Calbike credits their advocacy work for California’s 4th place ranking in the Bike League’s roster of bicycle-friendly states.

Costa Mesa opens a new bollard-protected bike lane on Bristol Street, while “enhancing” existing bike lanes on Baker Street. That protected lane is pretty much just separated bike lane marked by green plastid bollards that aren’t going to stop anyone.

La Jolla’s Traffic & Transportation Board unanimously approved plans to repave and restripe the city’s deadly Via Capri to narrow traffic lanes and add buffered bike lanes, after a $1.32 million settlement over a man who was killed when his motorcycle hit one of the street’s many potholes.

Fontana has decided to abandon an undeveloped piece of property the city has owned for 25 years, while vowing to continue the bike races that often start and end there.

Cambria’s Eroica California vintage bike ride returns to San Luis Obispo County next weekend.

 

National

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says bike companies may not be perfect when it comes to protecting the environment, but they should keep doing what they’re doing.

Low-income resident’s of Corvallis and Eugene, Oregon can get a $1,200 rebate on the purchase of an ebike.

The wives of fallen bicyclists Adam and Matthew Bullard, the Whittier brothers killed while riding near St. George, Utah, thanked tlocal residents for honoring the men with a ghost bike; the city is also moving forward with plans for a permanent memorial near the site.

Indiana University’s legendary Little 500 is set to roll this afternoon; the race was made famous in Breaking Away.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole an adaptive tandem bike belonging to a Missouri special needs kid.

 

International

The City Fix calls out five ways to cut oil and gas use through clean transportation, including building safe bicycling and walking infrastructure, and prioritizing both in transportation budgets. Unlike, say, the budget presented by LA’s mayor this week.

The Belize cycling federation called on all bicyclists to don their team jerseys to ride along with the funeral procession honoring cycling coach and race organizer Edison “Vintage” Usher, who died just days before his 49th birthday when the motorcycle he was riding with another man exploded while on their way to livestream a women’s cross country race.

Canadian mountain bikers call for an apology after an Adidas marketing manager wrote a “willfully ignorant” blog post “steeped in white privilege,” which they say suggests the reason women of color don’t succeed in the sport is due to their own lack of hard work.

The president of a Malaysian road safety research institute says there’s no law banning bike riders from any road in the country, as long as they adhere to basic safety requirements.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews says Dutch pro Mathieu van der Poel may be wiser and more dangerous than ever after bouncing back from a nagging back injury.

Paris-Roubaix really was the Hell of the North for France’s Florian Sénéchal, who claims a spectator doused him with urine during the race. Yet he still managed to finish 13th, despite an earlier crash.

VeloNews offers photos from the first stage of this year’s Redlands Classic.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you just want to go for a buck naked bike ride. Nothing like biking with a goggles and bowtie wearing kitty.

And answering the age old question of why do bicyclists shave their legs?

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Website wildly exaggerates LA bike deaths, taking a deep dive into LA’s Vision Zero fail, and muscle car driver kills 9

Maybe biking in LA doesn’t suck as much as we thought.

On Friday, we linked to yet another ranking of the best and worst bike-friendly cities in the US.

And to the surprise of almost no one, LA checked in at the very bottom of the bottom, once again being named as the nation’s worst city for bicycling.

But it ain’t necessarily so.

The chart from Tower Electric Bikes shows a bicycling fatality rate of 15.6 per 10,000 residents.

In other words, they say Los Angeles averages 15.6 bicycling deaths per capita for every 10,000 people in the city.

But with a population of nearly 4 million, that works out to 6,162 people killed riding their bicycles every year in the City of Angels.

Which is a little more than seven times the total number of bicyclists killed in the entire US in 2019.

As if the 18 people who needlessly lost their lives riding a bike in the city last year wasn’t bad enough.

Where they got that figure, I have no idea. A footnote on the chart says the stats came from PeopleForBikes annual rankings, but there is no mention of fatality rates on the Los Angeles page, and no reference to that 15.6 per 10,000 figure.

And it doesn’t seem to correlate to any other actual statistics, from any credible source.

So take it with a grain of salt. Or maybe a bag, given just how far off they are from anything close to reality.

Riding here can certainly suck at times, for any number of reasons.

But at least we aren’t that bad yet.

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LAist takes a deep dive into the failure of LA’s Vision Zero program, with city streets claiming the deadliest traffic toll in two decades last year.

And just how we got in this mess, six years after the mayor signed the program into being, and just three years before Los Angeles traffic deaths were supposed to be a thing of the past.

Okay, you can stop laughing now.

Safety activists believe that work is going far too slowly. Pedestrian and cyclist groups say the city has spent decades prioritizing fast car travel on its streets at the expense of everyone else using the roads — and the rising death toll is the tragic but inevitable result.

“This is not the trajectory of a modern city,” said John Yi, executive director of the pedestrian advocacy group Los Angeles Walks. “The last thing we want is to double down on cars while other cities are reimagining what their streetscapes would be without cars.”

That total of nearly 300 people killed on city streets last year — including 18 people on bicycles and 132 pedestrians — could rise even further as more detailed analysis is done.

Meanwhile, a listing of the city’s most dangerous intersections give us all a roadmap of places to avoid.

Two of which are within a short walk from my own home, let alone a ride.

For pedestrians:

  • Caesar E. Chavez Ave. and Soto St.
  • Avalon Blvd. and Imperial Highway
  • De Soto Ave. and Lassen St.
  • Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave.

For cyclists:

  • Humboldt St. and San Fernando Road
  • Anaheim St. and King Ave.
  • Valley Vista Blvd. and Van Nuys Blvd.
  • La Brea Ave. and Sunset Blvd.

For total collisions:

  • San Pedro St. and Washington Blvd
  • Florence Ave. and Vermont Ave
  • Oxnard St. and Van Nuys Blvd
  • Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave

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This is who we share the road with.

Absolutely horrible news from Las Vegas, where nine people were killed in a multi-vehicle collision when the driver of a Dodge Challenger ran a red light at high speed, striking five other vehicles in what was called a mass casualty event.

In other words, driving exactly the way the company actively encourages in its ads.

Hopefully, the survivors of those victims will get good lawyers, and sue the hell out of Dodge, not just for making machines capable of mass mayhem, but promoting their use in the most dangerous ways possible.

And if they need a good lawyer, I’m happy to recommend a few.

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Things are looking up in Eagle Rock, even if you do have to ride in or near the door zone.

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Note to LADOT — This is what real bollards look like, not those little white car-tickling bendie posts you seem to prefer.

This is also exactly what we need on Hollywood Blvd, particularly at Hollywood & Highland, where the city has done absolutely nothing to protect tourists and pedestrians from motor vehicle terrorists and out-of-control drivers.

More proof that the city has learned absolutely nothing from the automotive attack on the Venice Boardwalk, and the catastrophe at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market.

Let alone dozens of motor-driven attacks in New York, London and other sites around the world.

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

Congratulations to the Fort Myers, Florida New-Press on what may be the worst bicycle-related headline in human history; only after reading the story does it turn out the victim had a little help getting killed, rather than just keeling over. 

No bias here. A writer for The Spectator complains about “the ceaseless self-pity of cyclists,” and complains about hulking male bike riders on huge bikes speeding down sidewalks, plowing everyone out of their way. Evidently, there must be a class of bicycles in the UK at least twice the size of regular bikes. Or maybe she hasn’t seen an actual bicycle since the Penny Farthing went out of fashion. 

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Local

They get it. Following the announcement by CD11 Councilmember Mike Bonin that he won’t run for re-election, the LA Times writes that the current vitriol in politics is driving good people out of public service.

Los Angeles is getting its first ebike cargo delivery service, with package-laden riders spreading out from four hubs throughout the city.

We Like LA takes a walk on the the LA River bike path through Frogtown.

If you found the LA River path blocked by police activity in Long Beach Saturday afternoon, it’s because a man was shot near the bike path around 11:15 am; the victim was hospitalized in critical condition.

New bike lanes could be coming to Western Ave on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, running from San Pedro through Rancho Palos Verdes, Los Angeles, Lomita and Torrance.

 

State

A Seal Beach police lieutenant warns against riding ebikes discourteously, and says bike riders should slow and come to a complete stop at all intersections, unless they have a green light. Which is guaranteed to piss off every driver on the road around them.

A Las Vegas website recommends bicycling amid the breathtaking beauty of Death Valley’s Artist Road.

 

National

Slate talks with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg about the safety crisis on American streets, and what his department plans to do about it.

Salon considers why Peloton has suddenly become television’s latest punching bag.

Texas is fighting to keep the roads deadly, moving to rescind an eight-year old transfer of a state roadway to the city of San Antonio, apparently because the governor doesn’t like plans for a lane reduction to improve safety and livability along the corridor; bike riders call for public outrage over the loss of promised bike lanes along the corridor.

More evidence that we all face the same problems, as advocates push for a better bike network in Western New York, while auto-centric drivers push back hard.

New York Magazine says ebikes are a simple solution to getting cars off the road right now.

 

International

A massive pile of junked bicycles has become a local landmark for London bike riders.

British drivers — and at least some segments of the press — are freaking out over new changes to the country’s Highway Code requiring operators of more dangerous vehicles to take greater care to avoid crashes, while advising bike riders to take the lane and ride two abreast under some circumstances to improve safety.

The Sun warns of an avalanche of lawsuits over the changes, while the Daily Mail insists drivers are powerless to stop bicyclists from riding in the middle of the road. Apparently, they can’t comprehend the difference between riding in the middle of the traffic lane and the middle of the roadway.

Remembering Swedish adventurer Göran Kropp, who rode his bicycle 8,000 miles to Mt. Everest, then climbed the mountain without oxygen.

An Indian man rode over 4,600 miles across the country to raise awareness for road safety, despite being totally blind. He was guided by navigators in cars traveling ahead of and behind his bike.

 

Competitive Cycling

The great Marianne Vos won her eighth world cyclocross women’s title.

Belgium turned tables on the Dutch, sweeping the podium in the men’s U-23 ‘cross championships a year after the Netherlands did the same thing. But the Dutch women held their own, sweeping all three podium spots in the women’s U-23.

The Eritrean cycling team was barred from participating in the Tour of Rwanda because none of the riders have been vaccinated for Covid-19; riders from the country won the race in 2019 and 2020, but no one in Eritrea has been vaccinated yet.

A crowdfunding campaign for Irish champ Imogen Cotter has raised the equivalent of over $25,000, after she was hit head-on by a speeding driver while training in Italy.

Two-time Grand Tour winner Egan Bernal says the damage from a training crash last week was bad enough that there was a 95% chance he would end up a paraplegic.

 

Finally…

That feeling when clown bikes get their own rutted lane. Be on the lookout for a serial size 46 bike shoe thief.

And the image below is supposed to be a leopard; it’s He Who Must Not Be Named who’s a cheetah.

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

Weekend Links: Bikes vs Cars, weekend events, a dangerous intersection and good news from Newport Beach

You really don’t want to drive to see Bikes vs Cars, do you?

The documentary is screening in a free outdoor showing Sunday night at the Bowtie Project as part of the Ambulante Film Festival.

There will be a free bike valet, and at least three feeder rides, starting from North Hollywood, Exposition Park/USC, Glendale and El Sereno Parkett.

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A few other notable events this weekend.

The SoCalCross Prestige Series: SCOS2 Krosstoberfest cyclocross races roll in Long Beach’s El Dorado Park today.

Update: Bike SGV is hosting a free, family-friendly Ride to the Twenties Festival at the Workman Homestead Museum Saturday afternoon. My apologies for not mentioning this earlier.

The LACBC’s Sunday Funday Ride rolls through Pasadena this Sunday.

Metro’s Rideshare Week starts Sunday.

And on the 10th, women are invited to join Hrach and the Velo Studio crew for a gentle road ride through Griffith Park.

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Margaret Wehbi sends word of a dangerous intersection at 135th St and La Cienega Blvd in the Wiseburn section of unincorporated LA County, near Hawthorne, where a young girl was hit by a car while riding to school.

She adds that the person who posted the notice dictated her comments, and apologized for the errors.

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at September 30, 2015 15.25.00

Apparently, the girl suffered a broken growth plate, and will be in a sling for awhile. And both she and her mother have been traumatized by the incident.

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Good news from Newport Beach, as a 14-year old girl who was the victim of a hit-and-run while riding her bike has made a full recovery.

Meanwhile, the driver turned himself in, and could face up to a year in jail and a fine of as much as $10,000.

Although I always question whether hit-and-run drivers who come forward a day or two later just gave themselves enough time to sober up.

Thanks to Amy Senk for the heads-up.

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A writer for Sky News celebrates Peter Sagan’s victory at the world’s last week, saying the people’s champion is now the world champion.

World cyclocross champ Mathieu van der Poel is out for the foreseeable future after surgery for a knee injury suffered in an August crash.

And a car racing tour steals a page from bike racing’s book by introducing a team time trial.

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Local

Better Bike’s Mark Elliot calls for traffic mitigation to protect the safety of bicyclists during the reconstruction of Santa Monica Blvd.

A letter writer in the Times says while 11-year old Matty Grossman wants a safe place to ride his bike, her son can’t walk home from school because of the cut-through traffic caused by the Rowena road diet.

LADOT Bike Blog looks at the new California laws to establish traffic diversion schools for bicyclists and a hit-and-run yellow alert system.

Caught on video: CiclaValley watches the owner of H & S bike shops climb the Hollywood Hills wheelie well.

Campus police bust a bike thief at Cal State Northridge on Friday.

Santa Monica’s new Breeze bikeshare system is still on track for a November rollout; the initial test system has proved popular enough that it will be extended past the planned October 1st end date.

Any Hermosa Beach city council candidate who poses for a campaign photo on a fat tire beach bike can’t be all bad.

Get your resume ready. Bike-friendly Long Beach is looking for an assistant city traffic engineer.

 

State

A writer for the Contra Costa Times says too much blood of bicyclists has been spilled on Mt. Diablo. Apparently, drivers have to receive a verbal warning because they don’t have enough sense not to pass on blind curves.

A Palo Alto road diet has won over the city’s skeptics, and will be made permanent after a successful trial phase. Installing road diets on streets like Rowena and North Figueroa on a trial basis could help overcome opposition here, while identifying issues that need to be addressed.

Modesto will conduct a year-long, nearly $300,000 traffic safety campaign, including a focus on bike and pedestrian safety.

 

National

Census data shows bike commuting continues to rise across the US as city’s build more bikeways; Los Angeles is up to 1.3%. However, census data dramatically undercounts the number of transportation cyclists, since it doesn’t include multi-modal commuters who bike part way or people who bike to shop or other destinations.

Talk about a miraculous recovery. A Wisconsin woman turned up at a police station to ask for her bike back after she had been declared brain dead and sent to another hospital as an organ donor.

A Minnesota writer rides with a bike messenger and learns being late is the cardinal sin of the business, even if that means getting back on your bike with a broken hand after flying over the car that cut you off.

Battle Creek MI police conclude no one was at fault for the wreck that killed a cyclist. Except for whoever was responsible for maintaining the crumbling asphalt that caused him to fall in front of a 15-year old driver.

A Harlem bicyclist sues UPS for repeatedly parking in the bike lanes. The same suit could be filed over delivery trucks blocking the bike lanes on Ocean and San Vicente in Santa Monica.

A 25-year old New York teacher who worked with disadvantaged children is honored as a Hometown Hero in Education; sadly, the award came two months after he was killed while riding cross country to raise money for the charity Bike and Build.

A New York writer says NYC cyclists might not have Boulder CO’s 300 miles of off-road pathways, but they enjoy the excitement of riding in the city. And instead of signs warning about puma attacks, they might have to dodge a rat or two.

City Lab looks at the benefits of slower traffic as measured in terms of both money and lives; a New Jersey road diet penciled out at a net benefit of between $2.6 million and $37 million over the 20-year lifespan of the project.

Maybe someone’s trying to tell them something. After a 7,000 rider strong charity ride was pushed back by the papal visit, it’s cancelled after heavy rains and fears of Hurricane Joaquin result in a state of emergency.

Nice. A Pennsylvania sheriff is placing signs reminding drivers of the state’s four-foot passing law on popular bicycling routes.

 

International

Not every cyclist wants a carb-burning workout; a new Brit route planner currently under development promises to get you to your destination with the least amount of effort.

Now you, too, can ride the same bikes that carried the Royal Mail, albeit in a more elephant friendly hue.

Belfast will hold its first ciclovía on Sunday.

The husband of a fallen Dubai cyclist and elephant polo champ leads her former teammates in climbing 100 French passes in 10 days in her honor.

In the latest example of wealthy Arabs behaving badly, a Mercedes driver is wanted in his native United Arab Emirates for a massive, choke-inducing burnout after arguing with a London cyclist.

 

Finally…

It’s never too soon to learn the ABCs of bicycling. Who needs an e-bike when your dogs can do all the work for you?

And the next time you rob a gas station, try using a mask instead of a trash bag over your head before making your escape by bike.

 

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