Tag Archive for deadly designs

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.

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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.

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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.

Morning Links: LA City Council does the wrong thing, Metro picks a bike share vendor, and Sir Bradley didn’t cheat

As expected, the LA City Council voted unanimously to do the wrong thing.

The council voted on Tuesday to approve a deadly one-sidewalk design for the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge, which is scheduled to be remade in a seismic upgrade.

Needless to say, bike, pedestrian and safety advocates haven’t exactly welcomed the decision.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton asks who we should blame for the next death on the bridge — and proceeds to name names — while CiclaValley looks at Tuesday’s wrong-headed decision to throw children crossing the bridge under the bus.

Perhaps literally.

Richard Risemberg calls the council the city’s own death panel for acting to preserve deadly streets and our auto-centric past. The LACBC says the city failed to live up to its ideals of a safe and sustainable future with the council’s unanimous vote.

Then again, after councilmembers quashed bikeways on Westwood Blvd, North Figueroa, Lankershim and 6th and 4th Streets, just to name a few, what else is new?

And MyNewsLA says bike activists booed the decision. Because no one would ever advocate for walking, right?

My take is that the city council has knowingly voted in a dangerous, and possibly illegal, design that will needlessly put Angelenos at risk for decades to come.

Illegal because it may violate the Americans With Disabilities Act by preventing people with handicaps from being able to cross the bridge without using the bike lanes. And because the unanimous vote — after the Public Works Committee sent the design to the full council without a recommendation — suggests that the decision was made in a backroom deal before the public session, in violation of state law.

The vote was rushed through, largely on false pretenses, before outgoing Councilmember Tom LaBonge leaves the council at the end of the month. And before David Ryu, who publicly supported sidewalks on both sides of the bridge, could come in.

It’s a shameful decision.

One that will undoubtedly cause future generations to curse those who left them with a dangerous design they may not be able to fix. And one that flies in the face of the city’s Vision Zero goals contained in the soon-to-be-adopted Mobility Plan.

The question is, where was our supposedly progressive mayor and our new rock star LADOT general manager, who both seemed to vanish just as strong leadership was called for?

Our civic leaders seem to be good at talking when it comes to improving safety and livability.

Just not so good at actually doing it.

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The LACBC’s Central LA Neighborhood Bike Ambassadors are meeting at 6:30 tonight at the Hollywood Branch Library, 1623 N. Ivar Ave.

Among the topics up for discussion,

  • Hollywood Great Streets Challenge Grants– Up to $20,000 Grant to pilot creative projects on Hollywood Blvd between La Brea and Gower
  • Citywide Action Alerts for Mobility Plan 2035 #MobilityMonday – The City’s Mobilty Plan 2035 is going to be on vote at the full Council very soon. LACBC is launching a citywide campaign to support the plan. We need your help to spread the word out! Learn more about the campaign at the meeting and get involved!!

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Looks like there’s white smoke in Metro’s search for a vendor for the planned LA bike share system. And no, it’s no one you’ve ever heard of.

And no, it won’t be compatible with systems being installed in Santa Monica and Long Beach.

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In today’s cheating racing news, charges that Sir Bradley cheated in setting the new hour record last Sunday have been soundly rejected, while Italy’s Southeast cycling team faces a death sentence after a fourth failed doping test linked to the Giro.

Dell says the US Olympic women’s cycling team competes with data, not doping, while an on-bike mid-race shoe change saved the day in the women’s Amgen ToC.

Lance questions critics who question his welcome as he returns to France next month to raise funds to fight leukemia; he risks financial ruin when Floyd Landis’ whistleblower case goes to trial.

And sadly, a Kansas racer was killed in a collision while warming up for the state time trial championships; she was a bronze age group winner in the national cyclocross championships.

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Local

The Boulevard Sentinel’s bike lane hating Tom Topping just can’t resist. After listing all the improvements that have made Eagle Rock more livable, he blames bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard for creating largely imaginary traffic snarls, even though the road diet that created those bike lanes is one of the primary reasons behind that better livability.

Santa Monica Forward says our streets are for everyone. I wish they’d tell that to the LA City Council.

Hats off to Pasadena for the city’s first green bike lane across an intersection, one of the first in the LA area. Meanwhile, Pasadena-based bike lawyer Thomas Forsyth has a spiffy new website.

The new Redondo Beach bikeways on Harbor and Herondo will have their official grand opening on Saturday, although not everyone is happy that bikes are still allowed on the street next to them. Thanks to Margaret for the heads-up.

 

State

BikeSD says human lives should not be the cost of doing business.

Carlsbad police post a trove of recovered bikes online. With a little luck, yours might be one of them.

A 72-year old La Jolla resident is riding in the Race Across America, more commonly known as RAAM, as part of a four-rider relay team.

This is what happens when city officials actually give a damn. San Francisco will limit turns onto busy Market Street to protect cyclists and pedestrians, as well as those in motor vehicles.

Folsom residents call for improvements in a dangerous intersection, too late for an 11-year old boy who was killed trying to cross it on his bike. Why does someone usually have to die before anything gets done?

 

National

The Bike League announces their latest list of Bike Friendly Communities; Rancho Cordova is the only California city added to the list.

Bike Magazine says designer Roxy Lo changed the mountain bike industry. For the better.

In another study from the University of Duh, it turns out lighted streets help reduce severe bike vs car collisions. Who knew being more visible could make a difference?

Good idea. The Spinlister bike rental service allows bike riders to try out bikes on an extended basis before making a buying decision.

The sons of a Las Vegas man killed in a hit-and-run by a suspected drunk driver talk about their loss; it was just the second of the 22-year old driver’s three hit-and-run wrecks that night.

Evidently, Leonardo DiCaprio is one of us; a celeb website recounts his love of blondes and bikes, including New York’s Citi Bikes.

It looks like bike lanes are disappearing in bike friendly NYC.

Caught on video: A Delaware trooper just a tad out of his jurisdiction threatens a bike rider with his badge and gun when the governor’s car blocks a DC bike lane.

Twenty-three firefighters and police officers are riding 650 miles through Florida to honor first-responders who have fallen in the line of duty.

Seriously, slowing traffic in Cape Canaveral isn’t rocket science.

 

International

Toronto also waited until it was too late for a bike riding architect. Meanwhile, the city’s airport says a $2,500 cargo bike should never have been tossed in the trash. Seriously, would they have thrown away a car, even if they thought might have been abandoned?

A woman is offering a reward for the hit-and-run bike rider who knocked her down on a London sidewalk.

Eco-friendly cargo bike delivery firms are popping up all over Great Britain.

Dublin suggests a “most radical” plan to evict cars from the city center, while the mayor of Paris ups the ante by proposing a car-free city center and 100-million Euros for new bike lanes.

Hit-and-run is a worldwide plague, as a cowardly SUV driver sped away after killing a 15-year old Mumbai bike rider.

Afghanistan is experiencing a gender revolution, two wheels at a time.

 

Finally…

A writer says only minivan-driving moms should decide whether bike lanes get built, evidently because families would never, ever ride bikes. Somehow, Bellingham police decided one naked bike rider was apparently more naked than the other 279 naked bike riders.

And if your dog trips up a bike rider in New York, it’s not your fault. But if you’re the bike rider, you’re screwed.

 

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