Tag Archive for die-in

Die-in at City Hall as LA 333 days from Vision Zero fail, San Diego prioritizes Vision Zero, and support soars for HLA

333 days until Los Angeles fails to meet its Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.
So stop what you’re doing and sign this petition demanding a public meeting with LA Mayor Karen Bass to hear the dangers we face just walking and biking on the mean streets of Los Angeles.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

Now, we’ve got a lot to catch up on, after being down for two days, so strap in for a bumpy ride. 

Die-in photo by Joe Linton for Streetsblog

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Streetsblog’s Joe Linton reports on Saturday’s die-in at City Hall, where at least one speaker clearly didn’t pull his words.

SAFE founder Damian Kevitt criticized the city’s Vision Zero program, intended to eliminate traffic deaths, as “an abysmal failure.”

“We aren’t even remotely doing [Vision Zero], so let’s stop trying to fool everyone by saying that we are.” He emphasized SAFE doesn’t oppose Vision Zero, but urges the city to step up and take its program more seriously.

“We need to yell and yell loud and don’t stop yelling… for safer roads” Kevitt urged, leading the assembled crowd in chanting, “Mayor Bass, where’s your plan?”

Maybe if we all sign the petition up at the top, we could do that yelling where she might actually hear us.

The speakers included state legislators and C-30 Congressional candidates Assemblymember Laura Friedman and State Senator Anthony Portantino, as well as Councilmember Nithya Raman.

A handful of elected officials joined the rally. Assemblymember Laura Friedman recounted her long struggles to pass much-needed legislation to allow cities to cap speed limits and to install automated speed enforcement. “Let’s slow people down,” Friedman urged, “let’s take back our streets!”

State Senator Anthony Portantino urged attendees to “turn tears… and pain… and tragedy… into action” for safer streets. L.A. City Councilmember Nithya Raman spoke about her success in implementing bikeways, funding for bus shelters, and more. Raman urged treating the “staggering rise in deaths” as the “public heath crisis that it is.”

Take a few minutes to read the whole thing. Because far too many people are dying on our streets, and the city isn’t doing anywhere near enough to stop it.

But at least one councilmember gets it.

Meanwhile, Streets Are For Everyone gave Los Angeles an F grade for traffic safety in 2023.

Here’s what founder Damian Kevitt had to say.

I am starting this report with a question that anyone reading this must think about:

How many more Angelenos need to die before we, as a collective city, start treating traffic violence with the urgency it deserves?

 In January 2023, Streets Are For Everyone produced its first report, Dying on the Streets of Los Angeles, looking at traffic violence trends, the numbers behind them, and other statistics related to traffic violence in Los Angeles.

The numbers were disturbing. They showed that what was being done to address traffic violence was clearly not working and needed a significant change in action, level of funding, and dedication if our elected officials truly intended to save lives on the roads of Los Angeles. The report laid out four broad steps that needed to be taken. In short, these were:

  1. Cut the bureaucracy by declaring a state of emergency related to traffic violence. 
  2. Reestablish Vision Zero with accountability, transparency, and PURPOSE.
  3. Prioritize lives over the right to speed.
  4. Get real about the magnitude of the problem by funding road safety improvements at a level that might start to make a difference.

Guess how many of those items city leaders actually checked off? No, really, we’ll wait.

And once again, take a few minutes to read the whole thing.

Because we’re dying here. Too often literally.

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At least San Diego gets it.

https://twitter.com/TallDarknJewish/status/1752387993149858242

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The Los Angeles City Council punted when they had the chance to adopt the Healthy Streets LA ballot measure a year and a half ago.

But at least some of them want you to do it next month.

The ballot measure has also been endorsed by the Los Angeles Times, the LA County Democratic Party, and — surprisingly — the Los Angeles Unified School District, as well as a number of other organizations and Neighborhood Councils.

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A virtual town hall this evening will discuss plans to improve safety on the east end of Hollywood Blvd.

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Gravel Bike California takes on the LA Tourist Race.

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A Bay Area TV station reports on how triathletes who competed at the worlds won the battle to get their high-end racing bikes back, which had been impounded due to a dispute with the shipping company.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link. 

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A reminder that 94-year old actor Gene Hackman is one of us.

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It’s now 42 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 31 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law, and counting.

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

You can smell the bullshit a mile away when bike lanes are rejected in the name of safety, as they were in one upstate New York town, although the real reason seems to be preserving parking spaces. Because we all know that human lives are less important than personal convenience.

Dublin bike riders describe the intimidation, aggression and bullying they receive from the city’s motorists.

Two young Frenchmen face up to five years behind bars for pushing at least a dozen bike riders into ditches over a period of several months.

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

They get it. A Slovakian newspaper argues that bike riders sometimes knowingly break the law, but do it for the safe of safely in the absence of safe infrastructure.

A Singapore bike rider hit a dog’s snout while riding a pedestrian walkway, then criticized the owner for not controlling the dog when it growled at him as a result.

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Local 

LAist declares 2023 the year of the pothole, and tells you how to report them.

A Los Angeles Times letter writer agrees with a proposal to place speed limitation devices on motor vehicles, arguing that cars have gotten too big and fast, but another writer blames the victims, calling for a campaign to teach “defensive walking” to pedestrians so they won’t get killed.

Metro will offer free rides on the county transit agency’s bus, rail and bike systems this Sunday for Transit Equity Day, and the birthday of civil rights activist Rosa Parks.

Speaking of Joe Linton, the Los Angeles Streetsblog editor visits the new bikeways of Beverly Hills, demonstrating that the overprivileged city is not longer the area’s biking black hole, as well as new curb-protected bike lanes in Long Beach.

Another Streetsblog writer examines the first segment of the new Rosemead Blvd Complete Streets project in El Monte. Because evidently, Linton can’t be everywhere. 

 

State

Streetsblog is now accepting applications for their California board of directors.

A pair of San Marcos kids suffered serious injuries when they were run down by a hit-and-run driver while sharing an ebike.

Bakersfield bicyclists will be able to bike a new 1.5-mile section of freeway before it opens to motor vehicles.

There’s a special place in hell for the anti-social asshole — and I choose my words carefully — who burglarized Richmond’s Rich City Rides bike shop and community advocacy group, forcing the shop to close after suffering at least $13,000 in losses.

Bad news from Lincoln, California, where cycling strength trainer, and health and wellness expert Derek Teel, owner of Dialed Health, suffered a severely broken pelvis, a broken femur and a collapsed lung, among other injuries, when he was run down by a hit-and-run driver Tuesday afternoon.

 

National

A new report suggests that capping vehicle hood heights at 3.6 feet — instead of massive trucks and SUVs with high, flat grills literally designed to kill — could save 1,350 American lives a year, as a new calculator determines exactly how likely a vehicle is to kill you.

A new study shows cargo bikes really can replace cars, as people rated cargo bikes higher than motor vehicles in nearly every category.

A group of four Democrats have introduced a bill that would require states to direct a portion of their federal highway funding towards the creation of a Complete Streets Program.

Both sides of the Congressional aisle have finally agreed on a bipartisan ebike bill — but instead of offering a rebate, this one would create federal standards for ebike batteries.

Miss Manners confronts drama on the bike trail, as a man’s riding companions give him the cold shoulder for taking too long to chat with friends in another group, delaying their group ride.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. A 32-year old man with 19 previous traffic citations agreed to plead guilty to killing 32-year old BMX champ Nathan “Nate” Miller, after prosecutors agreed to a sentence of probation or just one year in prison. Congratulations to Nevada officials on keeping him on the road until he actually killed someone, then letting him loose to do it again. 

The Salt Lake City man behind the Pedaled Piano project dreams of riding his bicycle and playing piano across Europe.

The allegedly stoned driver who killed two brothers riding with their kids in the annual Spring Tour of St. George bicycle ride escaped with a pair of third-degree vehicular homicide convictions when the jury returned a split verdict; the woman claimed she was shitting on herself as she drove, and didn’t notice the men riding their bikes on the side of the road.

Like Los Angeles, Colorado is seeing bicycle and pedestrian deaths rise, even as overall traffic deaths decline.

Hats off to a trio of University of Illinois engineering students, who designed a fully custom bike, complete with adaptive handlebars, gear hub and frame, to allow an eight-year old boy with a form of dwarfism to ride a bike for the first time.

An Illinois bike advocacy group launched a statewide campaign to call attention to the state’s rising rate of bicycling deaths.

Bike crashes are surging in Michigan, where bicycling deaths are up 64% over the past three years.

Nashville star Zach Bryan is one of us, riding a tandem with his girlfriend in Amsterdam while high on ‘shrooms and blasting the late Warren Zevon’s Lawyers, Guns and Money on endless repeat. I confess to two out of the three, though how much of that applies to you is entirely a matter of your own personal habits. 

New York Magazine considers MIPS helmets, and whether you need one. Unlike MIPS, regular bike helmets are designed to prevent fractures, not traumatic brain injuries. So the short answer is yes, if you’re going to wear one at all.

 

International

GCN considers the pros and cons of puncture-proof tires.

Momentum lists the most romantic bicycling cities on the planet, all of which are in Europe. And none of which is Los Angeles.

A Cycling Weekly opinion piece makes the case for not taking your local bike shop for granted.

Marketplace talks with London bike writer Laura Laker about the complications of navigating a city by bicycle, and how map apps can make things worse.

A London writer reports feeling bereft after her decades-old bicycle was stolen.

An English church is asking for permission to modify its fence, over fears people riding on the nearby bike path could be impaled on the fence’s spikes.

Residents of a British apartment complex blame construction of a nearby bike path for a recent rat infestation, after construction work blocked garbage trucks for three months.

This is the cost of traffic violence. The 68-year old founder of a UK arts and health charity was killed when his bike was rear-ended by a 19-year old driver; he was described as a gifted pianist, talented mathematician, bridge builder and visionary leader.

Three-time world record-breaking British cyclist Kate Strong will ride a bamboo bike 160 miles to deliver the game ball for Saturday’s Forest Green Rovers FC and Colchester United FC soccer match to call for greener support for the planet.

A five-day British fundraising ride will travel from the UK through Normandy to honor the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landing. Or pedal Italy while you feed your face with a new bicycling tour of Sicily, hosted by two award-winning chefs.

Seriously? A 17-year old Aussie driver says he was frightened of the 62-year old man on a bicycle who flipped him off after the kid repeatedly honked at him for riding too slowly — so scared, in fact, that he got out of his car and challenged the older man to a fight, killing him with a punch.

 

Competitive Cycling

A four-year old Florida boy appears to eke out a victory racing his bike against the local garbage collector.

Cycling Weekly refutes Rigoberto Urán’s statement that he’s too old to race bikes at 37, citing other riders who competed well into relative old age.

On the opposite end of the cycling age spectrum, 22-year old German pro Michel Hessmann won’t face criminal doping charges, but could still be subject to a cycling ban from German authorities.

 

Finally…

How to give new life to your old bike parts. We may have to worry about vipers behind the wheel, but at least we don’t have to worry about getting a deadly brown snake wrapped around your wheel.

And three ways to open a beer with your mountain bike.

You know, in case the first two don’t work.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Times talks traffic deaths, die-in and Healthy Streets LA; rightwing jock trashes HSLA, speed governors and Sen. Weiner

Stop what you’re doing and sign this petition demanding a public meeting with LA Mayor Karen Bass to hear the dangers we face just walking and biking on the mean streets of Los Angeles.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

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Los Angeles Times reporters Rachael Uranga and Libor Jany examined the recent news that traffic deaths outnumbered murders in the City of Angels last year.

In all, 336 people died in crashes in 2023 — more than half of them, 179, were pedestrians. That’s the highest number since the city started keeping statistics more than two decades ago.

Graphics by tomexploresla

Meanwhile, “just” 327 people were murdered in the city last year, a decrease of 17% over 2022.

“This is a deadly city and it’s not being treated with urgency,” said Damian Kevitt, executive director of the advocacy group Streets Are For Everyone. “We need to declare a state of emergency on traffic violence and treat it as the public health crisis that it is…”

Enforcement has fallen and the city’s interest in making streets safer has waned, Kevitt says, adding that then-Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Vision Zero plan that was supposed to eliminate fatalities by 2025 has been largely abandoned.

They go on to mention efforts to pressure city officials to do more to improve traffic safety in Los Angeles.

On Saturday, Kevitt’s group is planning a “die-in” on the steps of City Hall asking officials to take swift action on safety measures such as implementing speed cameras that were approved by the state Legislature last year. A March ballot measure proposed by another advocacy group would force the city to build more protected bike lanes and wider sidewalks.

Here’s the information on tomorrow’s die-in at City Hall. The link in the graphic below isn’t live, but you can learn more and register to attend here.

It’s also a damn good reason to go back up and sign the petition.

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Speaking of the Healthy Streets LA ballot measure, an op-ed from Streets For All founder Michael Schneider stresses why it’s so desperately needed.

When I first started doing this work via Streets for All in 2019, we used to somberly state that a pedestrian is killed once every three days in Los Angeles. Today, that has increased to a pedestrian being killed every two days. Compared with 2015, when 88 pedestrians were killed on L.A. streets, 176 pedestrians were killed last year. Pedestrian deaths have doubled in just eight years, when they’re supposed to be on the decline.

The nation as a whole has seen a rise in recklessness on the road since the pandemic began in 2020, including driving under the influence, distracted driving, excessive speed and road rage. In that time, Los Angeles has become the most dangerous city in the nation in which to walk. Back in 2022, only New York City had deadlier streets for pedestrians. As of the end of 2023, Los Angeles has now eclipsed New York City, and by a lot (176 deaths versus 114). For the first week of 2024, the city experienced nine fatalities from car crashes, including five pedestrians. That means that more than one Angeleno was dying every day because of traffic violence during the first week of January.

He goes on to point out that the city paid out more in liability settlements for people harmed by traffic violence stemming from our deadly streets than it did to prevent it.

Which is something the HSLA measure would change, though far more Vision Zero funding is needed, as well. Let alone Garcetti’s Green New Deal program.

Schneider ends his piece this way.

If a serial killer were on the loose killing more than 300 Angelenos every year, we would launch a citywide hunt to end the spree. With car crashes among the top causes of death for kids in Los Angeles, and with a decades-high number of pedestrians dying, shouldn’t we treat road safety with the same sense of urgency?

It’s definitely worth taking a few minutes to read the whole thing.

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Then there’s this steaming pile of windshield biased, reactionary claptrap.

John Kobylt, yet another angry, indignorant shock jock host for rightwing radio KFI, spouted off for a couple hours about SB 961, the new state bill from San Francisco Senator Scott Weiner.

Or as schoolyard bully Kobylt called Weiner, “that emaciated little worm…trying to destroy the automobile industry and destroy our freedom…”

By limiting cars to allowing drivers to break the law by just ten miles an hour, instead of the usual 20, 50 or even 100 mph, in violation of every speed law in every city and state in the Union?

Seriously?

Yeah, that’s definitely taking our freedom away. Next thing you know, they’ll pass a law against killing people with your car.

Oh wait, they already did.

I only made it a few minutes into the program, when he introduced someone from driver activist group Keep LA Moving to trash LA’s already-approved Mobility Plan 2035, and the Healthy Streets LA ballot initiative that would require merely require the city to keep their damn word.

But if your stomach is stronger than mine, feel free to give it a listen.

Or better yet, just don’t. Your brain will thank you.

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Orange County bike advocate and longtime tandem pilot Mike Wilkerson forwards news of an informal group bike ride in Fullerton on the last Friday of every month.

Which is, like, tonight.

Everyone is invited to a fun ride this Friday evening in Fullerton.

The ride starts at 6:00 pm from the Fullerton Downtown Plaza at 125 E Wilshire Ave. It will be about 16 miles long, all on public streets, some with hills.

This will be a no-drop ride, so come as you are on what ever you ride.

It will be an night time ride. Please bring front and rear lights and wear a helmet.

This ride goes on the last Friday of most months. Put it on your calendar, and enjoy the company of fellow riders along some of Fullerton’s bike-friendly streets!

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It’s now 36 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 30 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law, and counting.

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

Former Tour de France and world champ Cadel Evans called out the “bad attitudes” of Aussie drivers towards bicyclists, after two men riding bikes were seriously injured in deliberate hit-and-runs that were filmed and uploaded to social media.

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Local 

No surprise here, as Streetblog’s Joe Linton calls out Metro for once again ignoring Los Angeles city standards by implementing wider traffic lanes at the forthcoming Wilshire and La Brea Metro station than the city allows, which encourages speeding and otherwise dangerous driving.

Streetsblog also reports a virtual town hall will take place on Thursday to discuss plans to install bike lanes on Hollywood Blvd between Gower Street and Fountain Ave.

A Larchmont paper looks forward to the 50th CicLAvia, scheduled for February 25th on a four-mile stretch of Melrose Ave. However, future open streets events could come less often if Metro cuts funding, as staffers are recommending.

Culver City approved funding to rip out the successful Move Culver City protected bikes lanes and require bike riders to share a lane with public buses, although there is an ongoing CEQA lawsuit to halt the project; the city council also approved plans to install new bike lanes on Culver Blvd and Robertson Blvd.

Burbank police have made an arrest in the hit-and-run that critically injured a 77-year old man riding a bicycle last week; 23-year old Sherman Oaks resident Alexander Saenz reportedly admitted to being behind the wheel. Meanwhile, the victim remains hospitalized in critical condition.

 

State

The Acorn reports on the hundreds of bike riders who turned out in Thousand Oaks to demand the release of the Israeli hostages, on the 100th day the Israel-Hamas war.

An Oildale bike rider was lucky to escape with minor injuries when he was struck by an on-duty Kern County Sheriff’s deputy in a marked patrol car.

Sad news from San Jose, where a man died this week, seven months after he was struck by a driver while riding his bike last June.

Tomorrow night, San Franciscans can enjoy the city’s 3rd Annual Light Up the Night Bike Parade, featuring “hundreds of bicyclists taking a leisurely 2-mile, family-friendly bike ride along JFK Promenade, all aglow with colorful bike lights and fun costumes.”

 

National

A Colorado man says he was lucky to escape with just a few broken vertebrae, along with a broken hip and shoulder, when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver who saw him on the ground in tears, begging for help, and chose to drive off anyway.

 

International

Even the usually auto-centric Daily Mail has a problem with a “daft” motorist blithely driving down a Glasgow bike lane, ignoring all the little bike symbols along the way.

In a bizarre case, a couple men got into a fist fight in an English courtroom after one of the two was convicted of murder for fatally stabbing a man to steal his ebike, while the other man was found guilty of manslaughter and robbery; a third defendant apparently had enough sense to stay out of it.

Czech carmaker Škoda’s We Love Cycling website offers advice on how to keep riding your ebike through the cold and snowy winter months. Or as we call that in LA, somewhere else.

An Indian website lists the best bikes for women in pink. Because all women prefer pink and only like girly bikes, evidently. 

Let’s hope something was lost in translation, as an Indian website reports a young man was killed as he returned home on a bicycle after the birth of his wife.

Here’s one for your bike bucket list, with the 46th edition of the world’s largest timed bike tour taking place in Cape Town, South Africa in March.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling News says pro cycling needs to take a page from Formula 1, and design bikes specifically for speed, with the tech eventually trickling down to the rest of us. You know, like how car alarms and cup holders eventually made their way down from F1 to the rest of us.

The season opening race of Northern California’s 27-year old Grasshopper series will feature a unique mentorship program by professional women’s cyclists for U19 girls.

 

Finally…

The addiction to obese cars. Your next e-cargo bike could be hand-built in Will Shakespeare’s hometown.

And now you, too, can own bikes ridden by Tour de France champ Jonas Vingegaard, Wout van Aert and Marianne Vos.

Though probably not the one Vingegaard rode in the Tour, dammit.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

New bill requires speed governors on new California cars, LAPD Chief blames traffic victims, and LA bike deaths jump 41%

Stop what you’re doing and sign this petition demanding a public meeting with LA Mayor Karen Bass to hear the dangers we face just walking and biking on the mean streets of Los Angeles.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

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San Francisco state Senator Scott Weiner introduced two bills to improve traffic safety, including requiring speed governors on all new cars, and side guards on trucks.

Here’s how Calbike, which sponsored the bills, explains them.

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced the Speeding and Fatality Emergency Reduction on California Streets (SAFER California Streets) Package, Senate Bills 960 & 961, a first-in-the-nation effort to make California roads safe and accessible to all users. Senate Bill 961 requires changes to vehicles directly, including a first-in-the-nation requirement that all new vehicles sold in California install speed governors, smart devices that automatically limit the vehicle’s speed to 10 miles above the legal limit. SB 961 also requires side underride guards on trucks, to reduce the risk of cars and bikes being pulled underneath the truck during a crash.

Senate Bill 960 requires that Caltrans, the state transportation agency, make physical improvements like new crosswalks and curb extensions on state-owned surface streets to better accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, the disability community, and transit users.

These changes are a head-on attempt to tackle vehicle fatalities, which are surging across the U.S.—and especially in California—amid a rise in reckless driving since the onset of the pandemic. A recent report from TRIP, a national transportation research group, found that traffic fatalities in California have increased by 22% from 2019 to 2022, compared to 19% for the U.S. overall. In 2022, 4,400 Californians died in car crashes.

The speed governing requirement is probably unlikely to pass in its present form, as it will undoubted face stiff opposition from organizations defending California drivers’ God-given right to speed.

But it could be one of the biggest steps the state could take to ensure drivers follow speed laws, and save lives.

Sort of, anyway. Since it would still let them speed by the same 10 mph over the limit that most California drivers do now, anyway.

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Outgoing LAPD Chief Michael Moore caused an uproar by blaming the victims for the city’s climbing traffic deaths, placing responsibility on pedestrians for crossing streets outside of crosswalks, and bicyclists for riding on streets without bike lanes and not wearing reflective gear.

Not on, say, drivers for speeding or driving distracted or under the influence, or just generally not managing to avoid hitting other people. Or on his own officers for failing to enforce traffic laws.

Schmuck.

His misguided criticisms hardly explain LA’s rapid jump in bicycling deaths, since bike riders seem no less likely to use bike lanes or wear hi-viz and reflective gear than they were just three years ago.

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Meanwhile, Streets Are For Everyone, aka SAFE, is looking for volunteers to promote Saturday’s die-in at LA City Hall at tomorrow’s Critical Mass Ride.

SAFE is holding a Protest for safe streets on Saturday, January 27th, on the steps of City Hall in order to demand LA City leaders do something effective about safety in our roads. Our goal is to have at least 330 people in attendance to represent each life lost to traffic violence in 2023.

We will be at the LA Critical Mass ride on Friday, January 26th, to let the cycling community know about the protest and enlist their help. We need volunteers to join us and make our protest as big and loud as possible!

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Metro wants your input on how to reduce traffic.

Traffic Reduction Study (TRS) Survey closes Jan 31, 2024 
TRS is looking at how we can manage demand to reduce traffic through congestion pricing, and make it easier for everyone to travel, regardless of how they choose to travel. Following the conclusion of the survey, Metro staff will take the time necessary to assess and evaluate the feedback received countywide to include in the study’s technical analysis. We appreciate your assistance in helping us understand what your priorities and concerns are about traffic. Please take the survey here.

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I hope you weren’t planning to ride Orange County’s Mariposa Bridge anytime soon.

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That’s more like it.

An Arizona tow truck driver got 17 years behind bars for plowing into a group bike ride, killing one woman and injuring five other people, despite playing the universal Get Out Of Jail Free card by claiming the sun was in his eyes. Although part of that sentence is for the kiddie porn cops found on his phone.

A 19-year old New Mexico man got a little more than seven years for the drunken hit-and-run that killed a 63-year old man riding a bicycle, after prosecutors dropped an additional seven years from his sentence in a plea deal.

And the Florida drawbridge operator who walked with seven years probation for failing to check if anyone was on the bridge before opening it, killing a woman walking her bike across it at the time, could be headed for nine years behind bars after failing a urine test required as a condition of her probation.

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More proof that brilliant writers ride bikes.

I mean, besides me.

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It took me about two seconds to find the bike with no rider, for whatever that’s worth.

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It’s now 35 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 30 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law, and counting.

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

A British bicycling organization says the country’s addiction to ever bigger cars is driving bike riders off the roads, as car widths increase an average of one centimeter a year — a little less than half an inch.

A London bike rider filmed a motorist driving blissfully the wrong way down a bike lane, as bicyclists dodged out of his way.

 

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

New York’s self-appointed sidewalk vigilante has made over 5,000 documented reports to the city’s 311 systems, thanks to a personally-programmed camera aimed to capture people illegally riding bikes on the sidewalk.

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Local 

The Los Angeles Times suggests 13 out-of-the-mainstream bike shops to help discover the city’s thriving bicycle culture. Thanks to Keith Johnson for the link, who says his go-to shop Safety Cycle should have made the list, too.

Hollywood Progressive profiles Leon Comerre’s breathtaking 1903 painting Cycling at Vesinet.

 

State

A writer for Streetsblog says the California Transportation Commission needs to hit pause on highway projects to address the state’s massive budget shortfall, arguing that putting a potentially problematic $200 million highway expansion on hold was a step in the right direction.

Sad news from Livermore, where a 58-year old man died when he went over his handlebars after apparently suffering a mechanical problem with his bike.

San Francisco celebrity chef, restaurateur and philanthropist Chris Cosentino is one of us, riding his bike to help manage his mental health.

The City by the Bay is proposing a $9 million settlement after an infamous roadway bump resulting from a botched water pipe repair left a bike rider with life altering injuries; four other people have sued for under a million each for injuries suffered hitting the bump with their bikes. Which raises the obvious question of why not just fix the damn thing after the first person got hurt?

 

National

Oregon truckers are complaining that road diets and buffered bike lanes are making traffic lanes too narrow for their bigass trucks. Which is a better argument for making the trucks smaller than reducing bike lane buffers.

Separated bike lanes in Austin, Texas are paved with terra-cotta, making them more resistant to wear, and red instead of the usual green.

Streetsblog criticizes New York Mayor Eric Adams for once again failing to even mention bus or bike lanes in his annual State of the City address, in contrast to his vocal support as a candidate. But he does feel the need to regulate ebikes, proposing a new Department of Sustainable Delivery to regulate micro-mobility.

A DC website offers a step-by-step playbook for starting your own family biking group.

A Richmond, Virginia bike shop reopened after an unexplained closure left customers without the bikes they had ordered or had repaired, resulting in at least one customer lawsuit, as well as a suit filed by Giant Bicycles over an unpaid $144,000 tab.

 

International

A tech site says Europe’s bike industry is hitting bumps as the bicycling craze cools. Although other recent reports have suggested the opposite.

In a bizarre case, a British woman took her own life after learning her estranged husband had been riding a bicycle with another woman. Which hardly counts as infidelity, unless maybe they were sharing the same bike seat.

Travel site Lonely Planet explains how to plan a family bike trip around France’s Lake Annecy.

A 41-year old Sydney, Australia man says people make fun of him because he never learned to drive, but he’s better off riding a bike and taking transit when necessary. And so’s the planet.

 

Competitive Cycling

Mathieu van der Poel’s remarkable ten race unbeaten streak to start the ‘cross season finally came to an end, with a fifth-place finish in the Benidorm World Cup.

Canadian Cycling Magazine takes a deep dive into the relatively recent history of motor doping, including an unconfirmed accusation against American Sepp Kuss.

 

Finally…

Don’t look so surprised if you get popped for biking under the influence. The Bike Share Batman fights evildoers by stealing back stolen bikeshare bikes.

And why would you need more than one wheel to check out of a hotel, anyway?

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Die-in on the steps of LA City Hall Saturday to mark 337 traffic deaths in Los Angeles last year — including 24 bicyclists

Stop what you’re doing and sign this petition demanding a public meeting with LA Mayor Karen Bass to hear the dangers we face just walking and biking on the mean streets of Los Angeles.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

Note: I’ve lost track of who created the image up there on the left, along with the Spanish-language version below. So if anyone knows, hit me up.

………

Let’s start with Saturday’s die-in at Los Angeles City Hall to protest our ever-rising rates of traffic violence.

As I mentioned last week, I have another commitment that morning I can’t get out of, so I won’t be able to make it this year. But if you have the morning free, I urge you to attend, and add your voice and body to demand safer streets in the City of Angeles.

I’ll let Streets Are For Everyone, aka SAFE, take it from here. And give it a close read, because there’s a lot of vital information there about just how bad things are on our streets.

Dying-In LA 2024:
Advocates Needed For A Die-In At City Hall, January 27th, 9 am.

Sign up here https://mobilize.us/s/0JnZmq to join Streets Are For Everyone, Streets For All, Street Racing Kills, Santa Monica Spoke, and many more to demand that our elected officials prioritize safer streets in 2024. Why? 2023 was a grim year for traffic fatalities, and we need to let City Hall know we have the political will to continue fighting for safe streets. That means starting the year strong by building our movement through community organizing

2023 was a rough year for Los Angeles. 330 victims died from traffic violence in the city, marking a 9% increase over 2022 and a 14% increase since 2021. This is the highest number of traffic fatalities in over 20 years. In addition to that disheartening number, there were increases in injuries and fatalities across multiple categories, including:

  • 176 pedestrians killed in 2023 – a 15% increase since 2022 and a 35% increase since 2021.
  • 24 cyclists killed in 2023 – a 20% increase since 2022 and a 41% increase since 2021.
  • 29 people killed in DUI-related car crashes in 2023 – a 32% increase since 2022 and a 38% increase since 2021. 
  • 105 people killed in hit-and-run crashes in 2023 – a 30% increase since 2022 and a 38% increase since 2021.

The surge in these statistics can be attributed to various factors, including:

  • Faster, quieter, and larger vehicles are killing more pedestrians. 
  • There is a sharp increase in the use of alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs (both legal and illegal) while driving. 
  • Distracted driving in various forms – cell phones being one of the largest sources but also an increase in the prevalence of smart “infotainment” systems in cars. (Instead of using tactile touch for basic functions like adjusting the radio station or temperature, drivers often fiddle with screens, diverting their attention from the road.)
  • A decrease in the enforcement of driving laws for various reasons (worth its own article) results in more people driving recklessly, knowing they are less likely to get caught.

While there is no single solution to all these issues, the fact remains that too many of our elected officials continue to ignore this worsening public health crisis.  

Join us for a crucial call to action as we unite in this collective effort. Real change only occurs when we amplify our voices and make them resoundingly heard.

  • Date: Saturday, 27 Jan 2024
  • Location: Steps of Los Angeles City Hall, 232 N. Spring Street
  • Set-up Time: 9:30 AM (Coffee will be provided)
  • Press Conference: 10 AM to 10:45 AM

Volunteers needed: 330 people are required for part of the die-in visual – one for each person who lost their life in 2023. Please feel free to bring bicycles and skateboards. Volunteers are also needed to stand behind the speakers, holding handmade protest signs demanding safer streets.

Parking: You should ride, walk, or take Metro Line B (exit Civic Center/Grand Park Station) to City Hall as parking is limited.  

………

Unfortunately, as bad as those numbers are, they don’t tell the whole story.

According to Crosstown, the actual number of deaths due to traffic violence in Los Angeles last year was 337, as fatalities rose for the third year in a row, climbing 7.3% over 2022.

And the 24 bicyclists killed in the city last year is one more than I was aware of.

It’s also a reminder that Los Angeles is the hit-and-run capital of California, which is the hit-and-run capital of the US.

So maybe reconsider signing that petition, if you haven’t already.

………

The latest episode of Bike Talk is now available online.

………

I’ve always believed in leaving this world better than you find it. But cleaning the bike lane behind you takes that to a whole new level.

………

Nothing like watching someone jerk off a bicycle, in a clear case of taking things just a tad too far in the name of creativity.

………

32 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 30 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law, and counting.

Anyone want to bet on whether they’ll make it to the three year mark?

………

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

Residents of Coventry, England express concerns that a new bike lane will make bicyclists sitting ducks when drivers back into their driveways in front of bikes doing 30 mph — vastly overestimating the speed of most bike riders, while underestimating drivers ability to check their damn mirrors. Unless maybe their real objection is just having a bike lane on “their” street. 

Don’t bother riding your bike to the ‘cross World Cup in Costa Blanca, Spain, but feel free to drive there.

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

A group of male bicyclists were roundly criticized for hogging space with their bikes on a Malaysian women-only train car.

………

Local 

A British woman believes riding a bicycle can change the direction of young people’s lives, after her husband, BAFTA-winning film director and Cat 1 racer Jonathan Gales, was killed by an alleged wrong-way drunk driver while crossing the street on a work trip in Los Angeles in 2022.

 

State

If you only found a front wheel when you went to unlock your lime green Diamondback recently, Irvine cops could have your bike.

Thanks to Robert Leone for forwarding the latest construction update on San Diego’s Pershing Bikeway project, which appears to be nearing completion.

A 46-year-old Simi Valley woman was arrested for the hit-and-run that seriously injured a second Simi Valley woman as she walked her bike across a street on January 4th of this year.

A 20-year old Bakersfield man walked with just eight hours of community service after pleading no contest to resisting arrest during a during a bike takeover involving hundreds of bicyclists.

Sad news from Visalia, where a 17-year old girl was killed by a driver while riding salmon on a local street.

A Fresno columnist warns bike riders and pedestrians that your life is only worth a slap on the wrist if a driver runs you down. Which is sadly the same wherever you are in California. 

 

National

Even CNN is asking whether it’s time to get rid of right-on-red.

A writer for Medium celebrates the history and diversity of bicycles. But apparently has no idea what they look like, since all the photos illustrating the story are of motorcycles. 

New York tells bike riders to “Slow your roll, respect the stroll,” in a public service campaign to respect the safety of pedestrians. And here I thought that referred to rolling your eyes at the campaign. Seriously, they couldn’t have given any of the city’s 1,200 ad agencies a crack at it first?

Gothamist looks back on the tenth anniversary of New York’s Vision Zero, and says “the program was indisputably a success — at least in areas where it won the support of elected officials.”

A Wyoming man climbs atop a bicycle mounted on top of an endangered grain elevator, sending a message to “ride the day like a bull.”

 

International

Black Grape singer Shaun Ryder is one of us, telling The Guardian that he’d “be out on my bike right now” if he wasn’t busy talking to them. And no, I’ve never heard of him, either.

Clip-on ebike drive-maker Skarper claims they’ve “condensed an entire ebike into the palm of your hand.” Assuming you have a really, really big hand, anyway.

Road.cc offers “all the tips you need” to keep riding in your 60s and beyond.

New government stats show that seven out of ten people in England never ride a bicycle, as safer roads are seen as key to growing participation, not more bike lanes.

A British coroner says a 41-year old driver was “selfish beyond comprehension” when he killed a 15-year old boy riding a bike, while rushing to meet a woman from a dating app after downing three beers and two glasses of wine.

An Irish cop is finally back on the job, after he was suspended for three years for giving an unclaimed bicycle to an isolated elderly man early in the pandemic. For which he should have gotten a commendation, instead.

A half-dozen bikeable bakeries for your next visit to Shanghai.

A “keen” Kiwi/Aussie bicyclist offers advice on winter bike riding in frigid South Korea. Which probably translates to wherever you ride outside of Southern California this winter. And I’ll take “keen” over “avid” any day. 

A New Zealand landowner donated a section of his property to build a rest area for bike riders traveling the country’s Tasman’s Great Taste Cycle Trail, complete with wifi, ice cream, drinks, coffee, fresh water, sunscreen and bug spray.

 

Competitive Cycling

Welshman Stevie Williams won the general classification title at the Tour Down Under, clinching the final stage in decided fashion by winning a five-rider sprint.

Sad news from the UK, where “cycling legend” Mick Ives has died after a series of heart attacks; the former Moulton draftsman won 81 British Championship Titles and 8 World Masters Cycling Titles, including the World Cup Time Trial Champion at age 65; he was 84.

The Sun looks at the salaries of the highest paid cyclists in the pro peloton. Never mind that the average riders don’t make nearly that much.

 

Finally…

If the bike won’t fit in the cab, just leave it sticking out the open door. Nothing like a little python hunting on your ebike.

And while I’m not a fan of this kind of humor, there is some major schadenfreude to be had from watching someone pull the string on bike thieves.

Literally.

Thanks to Mike Burk for the heads-up. 

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

CicLAvia releases calendar of 8 events across LA, more from Saturday’s City Hall Die-In, and LA hip hop history bike tour

Mark your calendar.

Nonprofit group CicLAvia released their full schedule of open streets events for the coming year, with eight CicLAvias spread throughout the city.

The list includes two new one to two mile CicLAmini events targeted to walkers, instead of bike riders.

In addition to the previously announced five-mile Valley CicLAvia on Sherman Way February 26th, you’ll have a chance to take part in the following events.

  • April 15: Mid-City Meets Pico Union presented by Metro
  • May 21: CicLAmini – Watts presented by Metro
  • June 18: South LA – Vermont Ave presented by Metro
  • August 20: Koreatown Meets Hollywood presented by Metro
  • September 17: CicLAmini – North Hollywood
  • October 15: Heart of LA presented by Metro
  • December 3: South LA – Leimert Park Meets Historic South Central presented by Metro

The group also announced an additional event on February 10th, when Los Angeles Ale Works will release their new seek-la-VEE-ah West Coast India Pale Ale at a CicLAvia season launch party and fundraiser at Ivy Station Complex, Culver City, during the 5-10 pm Night Market.

So now you can drink CicLAvia while you ride, walk, scoot, skate or roll it.

………

As we mentioned yesterday, Saturday’s die-in at Los Angeles City Hall, hosted by a long list of advocacy groups, protested the worst year on LA streets in recent memory, with 312 people needlessly killed in the City of Angels.

Although you’d think this city would have made more than enough angels by now, since even one death from traffic violence is one too many.

Here are just a few faces and images from the day.

Organizers distributed 312 white flowers to symbolize the 312 lives needlessly lost to traffic violence.

Streets Are For Everyone (SAFE) Founder Damian Kevitt, holding the three flowers on the left, led the day’s events.

 

From center to right, California Assembly Member Laura Friedman, LA Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, state Senator Anthony Portantino, and Streets For All's Michael Schneider

From center to right, California Assembly Member Laura Friedman, LA Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, state Senator Anthony Portantino, and Streets For All’s Michael Schneider; my new friend Max reclines at lower right

Participants lay still for 312 seconds of silence in honor of the 312 lives needlessly lost

California Assembly Member Laura Friedman, LA Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, state Senator Anthony Portantino stand above Damian Kevitt at the mic

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton reports just over 200 people attended the protest; he offers his own photos from the day.

………

Volume Four of the Temple Tactics hip hop blog talks with Conkrete Mike P. about his bike tours exploring West Coast Hip Hop Historical Sites.

Although apparently, you can also do the tours by car, if you insist.

………

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

No bias here. A New York columnist says the city could make a fortune just fining bicyclists for moving and equipment violations, including riding backwards — which is physically impossible — and insists that ebikes somehow aren’t bicycles. Just wait until someone tells him about cars and the things their operators do, including driving backwards. And I suppose electric cars aren’t real cars, either.

No bias here, too. A British Columbia man who claims to be a bike rider blasts what he calls the city’s most disruptive protected bike lanes, blames “woke” politicians for them, and claims no one ever uses them. So a columnist went out in the middle of the day and counted 13 bicyclists in just ten minutes.

The British media is going crazy over the shortest bike lane ever, which isn’t actually a bike lane — just a seven-foot half circle designed to give bicyclists a safe place to pull over.

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

There’s not a pit in hell deep enough for an Iowa man who faces charges for throwing a children’s bike at a woman before punching her in the face, and knocking her to the ground.

………

Local 

Streets For All calls for ending LA’s bizarre policy of automatic street widening, which results in brief mid-block curb carve-outs in front of new construction, and have been mistakenly called bike lanes; a motion to end the policy will be heard at tomorrow’s Public Works Committee meeting.

 

State

Students in Los Alamitos will now have to complete an ebike safety course and have a permit to ride an ebike to school.

A 63-year old San Diego man suffered a number of broken bones when his beach cruiser was rear-ended by a driver on Pacific Highway in the Morena neighborhood Saturday night; the victim was reportedly riding without lights or reflectors.

A new report shows bike and pedestrian injuries have nearly been eliminated on Santa Barbara’s Promenade since cars were banned, without a single fatality or severe injury in the past four years.

A couple dozen protestors blocked traffic at a San Francisco intersection where a 64-year old woman was killed by a driver two weeks ago, demanding improved pedestrian safety in the neighborhood.

 

National

It’s a very sad commentary when a review site recommends stationary bikes to use if riding a bike in your city seems too dangerous. Instead of, you know, just making it safer to actually ride a bike. 

Axios examines the ever-expanding American pickup truck, which has continued to increase in size, power and capacity over the past four decades, even as buyers use it more for shopping and dropping the kids off at soccer practice, and less for hauling anything but ass. And which presents ever increasing danger to anyone outside of them.

Makes Use Of offers advice on how to avoid ebike fires.

Life is cheap in Utah, where a hit-and-run driver was sentenced to up to 15 years behind bars for the alleged drunken death of a 13-year old boy riding his bike last year — or he could be out in less than a year with good behavior.

If it’s any consolation, over twice as many people were killed on Colorado roadways last year than the 312 killed on Los Angeles streets — even though the state’s population is just 40% higher — making it Colorado’s deadliest year in four decades. And I hope no one actually takes any real solace in that. 

Streetsblog reports that more children under 18 were killed on New York streets last year than any other time since Vision Zero was adopted 2015; the site also reports the NYPD is a lot better at solving hit-and-runs in white neighborhoods than in communities of color.

Police in Charlottesville, Virginia say charges against a driver in a fatal crash will depend on whether the victim was riding his bike across the street or walking it; one means the victim was operating a vehicle and had to obey the rules of the road, while the other makes him a pedestrian who the driver had to yield to. Yet either way, the victim is still dead and the driver still killed him. 

Seriously? Key West, Florida has put a proposed ebike ban on hold in hopes the state will take action. Because the risks posed by ebikes are so much greater than the ones from cars, evidently.

 

International

Road.cc awards their choices for accessories of the year, which may not all be available here in the US.

A Penn State student spent his winter break riding a bike over the world’s highest volcano, climbing over 20,000 feet over 11 days to top Chile’s Ojos del Salado.

A Toronto lawyer is challenging the constitutionality of a speeding ticket she received for violating the 12 mph speed limit while riding downhill in a park; she claims imposing a flat speed limit on non-flat terrain increases the risk for bike riders.

The latest road danger in England’s West Midland’s region are foot-long laughing gas canisters abandoned in the roadway by people abusing nitrous oxide intended for the catering industry — apparently including people imbibing behind the wheel.

Sad news from the UK, where the two bike riders killed by a hit-and-run driver we mentioned yesterday turned out to be a father riding with his 16-year old son; the 37-year old alleged driver was arrested after abandoning his car.

A British bike storage company claims Brexit has crippled its business, which is down 25% since the country left the European Union.

A Kiwi website makes the case for why the country needs an ebike rebate. Then again, every city, state and country should offer rebates for ebikes. Including this one.

 

Competitive Cycling

Outside takes a deep dive into the murder of rising gravel cyclist Moriah “Mo” Wilson, which begins with pro cyclist Colin Strickland’s belief that every woman should own a gun for their own protection — including ex-girlfriend Kaitlin Armstrong, Wilson’s accused killer.

It was a split verdict in the trial of two men charged with robbing Mark Cavendish and his family at knifepoint in a brutal 2021 home invasion; one of the defendants was found not guilty, while 31-year-old Romario Henry was convicted on two robbery counts. A third man had previously pleaded guilty, while two others remain at large. As usual, read the story on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you. 

 

Finally…

That feeling when someone steals your new bike prototype before you can even build the damn thing. Presenting the perfect Ti touring bike for people with more dollars than sense.

And the perfect accessory for bike riders who really wish they were cars.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

Die-in driven from news by mass shooting, LA Vision Zero a “totally unfunny self-parody,” and voters say no to De León

Three-hundred-twelve lives needlessly lost to traffic violence.

Most of them bike riders and pedestrians, many lower income, as Los Angeles set a record for the most traffic deaths in at least the last two decades.

Yet almost as heartbreaking as the lives lost to traffic violence in the City of Angels last year was the way Saturday’s die-in at City Hall to protest the deaths was shoved out of the headlines by yet another mass shooting.

The protest, which drew around one hundred participants, appeared to be covered by a number of news outlets.

Yet the only news story that’s been posted online so far came from Fox11.

And even they couldn’t be bothered to identify California Senator Anthony Portantino as the prone bicyclist shown gripping his handlebars in the story’s top photo.

Oops.

When your lead photo shows a state senator participating in a large protest, maybe it would be nice to identify him. Just saying.

 

The brief story attempts to put LA’s unacceptable rate of traffic deaths in perspective.

Yet somehow fails to mention that even one death is one too many.

How does that compare to other cities across the state, or even nationally? LA’s 312 traffic fatalities equate to just over eight deaths per 100,000, nearly twice that of San Francisco (4.5 deaths per 100,000 in 2022), but fewer than San Diego, which saw just less than nine traffic deaths per 100,000 people in 2022. In Cook County, Illinois, home to Chicago, there were roughly 7.8 traffic deaths per 100,000 people in 2022.

It ends with an all-too-brief mention of just what the assembled protestors were demanding.

Protesters organizing Saturday, want the city to do more to help curb traffic deaths in LA. They’re asking Mayor Karen Bass to declare a state of emergency on traffic violence; for more funding for the LA Department of Transportation and initiatives like VisionZero; and the passage of legislation that would allow for automated speed enforcement on dangerous roads.

“Throwing only $50.6 million at road safety issues in a city this big, especially considering how many lives are being lost, is a joke,” SAFE’s report concludes.

All of which was great.

But in addition to failing to identify Portantino, the station also failed to mention that Assembly Transportation Chair Laura Friedman took part, as did CD3 Councilmember Bob Blumenfield.

Not to mention leaders from Streets Are For Everyone, Families For Safe Streets, Streets For All, LA Walks and BikeLA — formerly the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition — among others.

Even then, the story was gone by morning, as LA’s news outlets went with wall-to-wall coverage of the Monterey Park shootings.

Leaving the reaction to the city’s horrendous death toll forgotten on the newsroom floor, just a blip in the weekend news.

I’ll have more tomorrow, after I have a chance to sift through all the many photos I took of the event.

At center is this photo, with the red bandana, is very good boy Max, who joined his owner in playing dead along with everyone else.

The top photo shows Assembly Member Laura Friedman addressing the crowd, flanked by state Sen. Anthony Portantino; behind her are LA Councilmember Bob Blumenfield and Streets For All founder Michael Schneider. 

Correction: Apparently suffering a major brain cramp, I somehow originally misidentified Streets For All’s Michael Schneider in the above caption as Michael MacDonald, evidently mistaking him for a member of the Doobie Brothers. He is, to the best of my knowledge, not a Doobie nor a rock star, but a street safety star instead. My apologies. 

………

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times Letters Editor Paul Thornton introduced responses to LA’s rising toll of traffic violence with a headline calling the city’s Vision Zero failure a “totally unfunny self-parody.”

All along, the city’s primary tool to achieving its Vision Zero goals has been redesigning roads to reduce vehicle speeds and allocate more and safer spaces to cyclists and pedestrians. What we’ve gotten since 2015 are bike lanes removed from street widening projects, quashed “complete street” proposals, a thriving Lincoln Heights street market shut down by the city, and a reopened 6th Street Viaduct used as a drag strip. Something tells me we’ll be much worse off on Vision Zero in 2025 than we were in 2015.

Although naturally, one letter writer felt the need to remind us that streets are for cars, and everyone and everything else doesn’t belong there.

Nope. No bias there.

And while we’re on the subject of letters to the editor of the Los Angeles Times, the expected complaints about ebikes in the paper’s recent article about their supposed invasion of Orange County Beach cities, a Huntington Beach man says what the outrage over ebikes really points out is the lack of safe bike infrastructure.

Well said.

………

No surprise here.

The LA Times is reporting that CD14 voters have turned sharply against incumbent Councilmember Kevin de León in the wake of his comments on a racist and otherwise offensive recording that has already led to the resignation of the former council president and one of LA’s most powerful labor leaders.

The turnaround comes just two years after those same voters overwhelmingly installed De León to replace disgraced Jose Huizar, who pled guilty to racketeering last week.

…By a wide margin, voters said De León puts his own political self-interest ahead of the people he represents. Even reliable supporters who voted for him in the past have lost faith, the poll found.

Only 23% of the voters surveyed approved of the job De León is doing, compared with 48% who disapproved, the poll found. Just over half think he should resign, compared with fewer than a quarter who want him to stay in office and 18% who were undecided; 9% did not answer the question.

If a recall were to qualify for the ballot — an effort to qualify one is currently circulating petitions — 58% would support recalling him from office, compared with 25% who would be opposed and 17% undecided, the survey found.

That comes after De León was heard on the leaked recording comparing the Black adopted son of former Councilmember Mike Bonin to a Luis Vuitton purse, and discussed how Latino councilmembers could mute the influence of their Black peers on the council, as well as their constituents.

Yet De León continues to ignore calls to resign, apparently thinking there is some pathway that will allow him to rehabilitate his image before facing the voters again in 2024.

Or sooner, if the recall petitions currently circling in his district qualify for the ballot.

De León had shown promise when it came to supporting bike and safety improvements in his district, including selecting the resident-designed Beautiful Boulevard option for the NoHo to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit route through Eagle Rock.

But whatever good he promised came to a quick end the moment he was heard on that infamous recording.

It’s time for De León to read the writing on the wall — and in the pages of the Times — and resign.

CD14 deserves a leader who can more effectively represent all the people, including those of us who travel on two wheels.

………

This area has long been one of the most unforgiving areas for bicycling in all of the Los Angeles areas.

Although the long-delayed Mark Bixby Memorial Bicycle Pedestrian Path over the new Long Beach International Gateway Bridge, better known as the replacement for the Gerald Desmond Bridge, should help.

Once they finally get around to opening it.

Meanwhile, this video of trying to find a safe route around the Port of Los Angeles plays like a one-man Marx Brothers routine.

………

Dr. Grace Peng forward news that an anti-bike lane Redondo Beach councilmember is facing possible loss of his license to practice law after allegedly misappropriating over a half million dollars of client funds.

Proving that corruption allegations extend far beyond LA City Hall.

………

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

The Chicago Sun-Times probably didn’t mean it when they placed an ad about the warning signs of dementia in a story about a man riding 60 miles across the frozen wintery city to meet with other similar-minded viking bikers. But still.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. A road raging British driver was found not guilty of punching and choking a man riding a bike after claiming self-defense because the bike rider punched his car after the driver “clipped” him.

This is what “clipped” looks like, as an Australian truck driver sideswipes a bike rider, then keeps going, possibly unaware he’d even hit someone.

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

Seriously, if you’re carrying guns and a large amount or narcotics on your bike, make sure the damn thing is up to the vehicle code.

………

Local 

Streets For All is calling for more support for the heavy rail option to extend the Metro train system through the Sepulveda Pass, including a Metro station on the UCLA campus, at an in-person meeting on Tuesday and a virtual meeting on Thursday. Bel Air residents are demanding an impractical monorail through the center of the 405 because it wouldn’t, you know, inconvenience the rich people.

VeloNews has more on the nonprofit Bahati Foundation, formed by Compton’s own former national crit champ Rahsaan Bahati to change the lives of underprivileged kids through bikes.

Santa Monica-based Bird is selling their consumer ebike for 60% off right now, marking it down from $2,299 to just $899, including free shipping.

 

State

Twenty people got tickets during Goleta’s latest crackdown on traffic violations that endanger bike riders and pedestrians; unfortunately, there’s no breakdown on whether the tickets went to motorists, bike riders or pedestrian.

 

National

Washington’s governor pitched in on the first day of a new program to teach Seattle kindergartners how to ride a bike.

They get it. The Chicago Sun-Times says that it’s worth trying surveillance cameras and automated ticketing to keep drivers out of bus and bike lanes.

Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale is one of us, as he explains what happened when he fell off his bike and broke his wrist, which combined with Tommy John surgery and a broken finger to cost him most of three seasons.

 

International

Rouler explores the relationship between Italian bikemaker Cinelli and artist and former pro cycling wunderkind Taylor Phinney.

A travel site offers tips on exploring Europe’s over 27,000 miles of bikeways. Which would take the better part of two years if you averaged 50 miles a day. Works for me.

An insurance company issued an urgent warning to British bicyclists about the crumbling state of the country’s roads, as 21% of bike riders suffered pothole-related injuries. Although I imagine what they really mean is 21% of bicycling injuries are related to potholes. But what do I know?

Once again, a driver has claimed multiple victims, as a British driver faces charges for the hit-and-run death of two men who were riding their bikes, before abandoning his car and fleeing on foot. Although even more frightening is how the local weekly paper seems to accept the horrific crash, mentioning it almost in passing.

A history website tells the story of Peter Masters, an Austrian Jew who escaped the Nazis, then returned as a bike-riding British commando during the D-Day invasion.

Horrible story from India, where a 70-year old man was killed when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike, then desperately clung to the drivers hood before he was thrown off and run over when the driver finally hit the brakes.

A New Zealand man’s planned three-day bike ride to babysit his granddaughter took a detour when his ride was interrupted by Cyclone Hale.

 

Competitive Cycling

British pro Simon Yates won an uphill battle to claim the final stage of the Tour Down Under, as Aussie Jay Vine took the GC title to win his first WorldTour race.

Bryan Coquard claimed his first WorldTour stage win in Saturday’s stage four of the Tour Down Under, 11 years after he joined the top pro circuit.

Rising Dutch ‘cross star Shirin van Anrooij had to sit one out after thieves stole her race bike from the parking lot while she was doing recon on the course in Costa Blanca, Spain.

Zimbabwean mountain biker Pressmore Musundi is aiming to compete in this year’s African Games, despite being born with no toes on either foot, following first and third place finishes in a pair of South Africa’s top mountain bike races.

 

Finally…

If a cop stops you for driving under the influence, try not to bite his finger off trying to get away. And we may have to deal with aggressive LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about leopard attacks.

Usually, anyway.

………

Happy Lunar New Year, whatever language you celebrate in! And my sympathy and prayers to all the victims of the Monterey Park shooting and their loved ones. May the new year finally bring an end to both traffic and gun violence. 

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

People For Bikes says sharrows suck, former CM Jose Huizar pleads to racketeering, and City Hall die-in tomorrow

If you’ve been reading this site for awhile, you probably know I’m not a fan of sharrows.

I’ve described them in the past as an attempt by city officials to thin the bicyclist herd, with the arrows there simply to help drivers improve their aim.

The only benefits I can ascribe to the damn things are a) they show bike riders where to position themselves to control the lane — if they’re positioned correctly — and b) as a wayfinding device to help guide people on bicycles to a given location.

But in terms of safety and protecting bicyclists’ right to the road, they’re less than worthless.

But don’t take my word for it. A 2016 study showed that sharrows are more dangerous than no bike infrastructure at all.

Now it looks like national advocacy group People For Bikes agrees.

Dave Snyder, PeopleForBikes’ senior director for infrastructure — and the former executive director of both Calbike and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition — writes that, like many of us, he fought for sharrows when they first came out.

But he became disillusioned when he saw how they worked — or rather, didn’t work — in practice.

I was wrong.

It turns out that motorists really don’t like to wait behind someone on a bike, regardless of the paint on the street. Even Oakland’s experiment with the so-called “super sharrow,” where the bicycle path of travel is painted solid green, isn’t enough to get people on bikes to comfortably “take the lane.” Sharrow or no sharrow, most people on bikes dangerously hug the edge of the roadway, squeezing themselves into the door zone to avoid blocking car traffic.

Simply put, sharrows don’t do what we hoped they would. Studies back up that claim.

It’s worth taking a few minutes to read the while thing.

Because maybe now we can finally drive a stake through the bike infrastructure from hell.

………

After more than four years of loudly protesting his innocence, former CD14 Councilmember Jose Huizar has agreed to plead guilty to racketeering and tax evasion.

The LA Times reports Huizar is admitting to extorting at least $1.5 million in bribes from developers. He has agreed to a sentence of between nine and 13 years behind bars.

Huizar was a driving force behind many of the bike and safety improvements in Downtown Los Angeles, and was a favorite of the bicycling community before his downfall after his offices were raided by FBI agents in 2018.

The raid also caused his wife Richelle to drop out of the race to replace him once he was termed out of office in 2020.

In a sad irony, Huizar was replaced by Kevin de León, who is facing his own calls to resign after being caught participating in a racist and otherwise offensive recording.

But at least de León hasn’t been indicted.

Not yet, anyway.

………

Don’t forget tomorrow’s die-in at City Hall! We need as many people as possible to make an impact and fight for an end to traffic violence.

And maybe protest the city’s penchant for corrupt and racist leaders while we’re at it.

No promises, but I’m going to do my best to be there.

………

Nice to see the new CD13 councilmember taking traffic violence in the City of Angels seriously.

………

A lousy parking permit is a small price to pay for the freedom of bike commuting.

………

Norwalk Unides and the Happy City Coalition are hosting their first community bike ride tomorrow.

And the 11 am start means you can still get there after the die-in at LA City Hall.

………

Italian filmmaking great Federico Fellini was one of us.

………

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

A Michigan website reports that a man riding a bicycle was killed in a collision with a motor home, which apparently didn’t have a driver since they don’t bother to mention one.

Life is cheap in New Zealand, where an off-duty cop who killed a man riding a bike in a drunken crash was sentenced to a nine-month vacation at home home detention. Although the website seems to think her real punishment will be a lifetime of shame and humiliation. Uh, sure. Let’s go with that.

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

Hermosa Beach plans barricades to force bike riders to walk near the pier, as speed data shows that people ignore the ridiculously low 8 mph speed limit on The Strand, riding at an average speed of 11 mph. I can attest that it’s difficult to ride that slowly through there on a road bike. And how do they expect people to obey the law if they don’t have speedometers on their bikes?

………

Local 

More on West Hollywood’s proposal to extend the bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd and make at least a portion of them protected. Which would be a huge improvement over the painted car-double parking lanes we have now.

 

State

Streetsblog offers more details from Calbike on the status of California’s long-delayed ebike rebate program. Eligibility will be limited to 300% of the federal poverty level, which is based on taxable income; however, the ebike rebates appear to be based on gross income, instead.

Your new Ti touring bike from California’s District Vision could set you back a cool 30 grand. Yes, that’s $30,000.

Road Bike Action Magazine looks at the tragedy behind the 15-year old Mike Nosco Memorial Ride through the Santa Monica Mountains.

 

National

Ebike maker Velotric used WalkScore data to identify bikeable neighborhoods in not-so-bikeable US cities, including San Diego’s Gaslight District.

Bicycling asks if certified pre-owned bikes are worth the extra cost. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t appear to be available on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you. Which it probably will unless you’re a subscriber.

Cycling News offers tips to make traveling with your bike cheaper and easier. Although the cheapest and easiest way to travel with a bike is still just to ride it.

Great idea. Chicago’s RideReel encourages bicyclists to submit video of close calls and hostile infrastructure, in hopes that weekly reports to city officials will bring about real change.

Inspired by motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel, a then 13-year Indianapolis boy managed to set a new record by jumping ten trash cans on his balloon-tired bicycle in 1976; he’d be a 60-year old man now.

New York is also hosting a die-in this morning at the site where a young woman was killed by a truck driver while riding her bike last week, on a street that should have been fixed by now.

 

International

Road.cc takes a look at the iconic yet bizarre Flying Gate bike frame, with its upright stay post and severed seat post; the British-made steel frame has been in continuous production for nearly 90 years.

A new study from the UK shows the rising popularity of e-mountain bikes; nine out of ten people said cost was the primary barrier to participation.

Who needs pedals? A British bikemaker is introducing a road bike that you row, instead of pedal, even though the country’s Shark Tank equivalent passed on it.

An Irish website tests how long it takes for a locked-up midrange ebike to be stolen on the streets of Dublin. Short answer, about an hour.

Parisians are taking advantage of the city’s new bicycling network to bypass crippling transit strikes. Hopefully a sizable percentage will discover they like bike commuting and stick with it.

 

Competitive Cycling

Australian Michael Matthews and American Magnus Sheffield cleared the air following a “finish-line flareup” at the end of Thursday’s second stage, after jostling in the peloton caused the Aussie to drop his chain.

Australian Rohan Dennis’ brief stay as overall leader came to a quick end when his derailleur stopped working 21 miles from the end of Friday’s third stage, which ended before you got up this morning.

Australian ultracycling pro Jack Thompson set a record for riding the elevation of Mt. Everest once a week for 52 straight weeks, topping the old record of 42 successful efforts in a calendar year.

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can turn an old bicycle into a 75 mph e-motorbike. When you’re riding with a semiautomatic handgun, large quantities of meth and fentanyl, and ten grand in cash on your bike in broad daylight, maybe try obeying the damn vehicle code, already.

And oddly, this is still just as true 83 years later.

………

Happy Lunar New Year, whatever language you celebrate in!

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

LA Times fans OC ebike mayhem panic, City Hall die-in this Saturday, and Slate questions efficacy of bike helmets

No bias here.

The Los Angeles Times reports on complaints about ebikes in Orange County, where they face bans and draconian speed limits on and near beach trails.

No, just the complaints.

At least until you reach the bottom of the story, by which time most Times readers have already moved on to Marmaduke.

Instead of reporting objectively, the paper settles for reprinting the long list of complaints from Orange County’s anti-ebike crowd, who seem to consider them the worst tech advance since Elon Musk bought Twitter.

Here’s how the paper frames the story, starting with a longtime Newport Beach resident who compares the local boardwalk to the 405 Freeway.

Three decades ago, Levine moved to what some refer to as the city’s “war zone,” a nickname given not because of crime but for the reputation of summertime rowdiness along the boardwalk, which now includes an abundance of electric bicycles. The strip’s 8 mph speed limit means nothing to some of these people, he said.

He’s watched people get mowed down, dogs hit and too many near misses to count, he said. City leaders for years have studied how to manage the proliferation of e-bikes along the route but have stopped short of banning them.

“What we’re witnessing on the boardwalk is mayhem,” Maureen Cotton, president of the Central Newport Beach Community Assn., told the City Council during a meeting urging officials to address e-bikes last year.

So, let me get this straight.

It’s been a war zone for decades. But ebikes have somehow ruined everything.

Sure, that makes sense.

Then the paper moves on to repeating the same tired and previously discredited stats we’ve been hearing for months from PR staffers at the local hospital trying to fan the flames of an anti-ebike pyre.

During the first 10 months of last year, staffers at Providence Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo documented 198 e-bike injuries. Doctors saw 113 injuries in 2021 and just 34 in 2020, according to data provided by the hospital.

Between January and October of last year, 78 of the 198 people who suffered an injury on an e-bike were not wearing helmets and 99 suffered some type of head injury, data show.

“My feeling about the whole situation with e-bikes is that we got a device a little bit too fast, and the culture is not completely set for it,” said Tetsuya Takeuchi, the trauma medical director at Providence Mission Hospital…

Where to begin.

Evidently, some people who got injured riding ebikes weren’t wearing bike helmets. But most were.

And half of the people who were injured riding an ebike suffered a head injury. Which may or may not have been the 40% who weren’t wearing helmets.

It may come as a shock to the kind and caring people at Providence that some people who ride regular bikes don’t wear helmets, either. And some of them get hurt, too, though not always with head injuries.

Which is just one of the great, inexplicable mysteries of bicycling, that some people who don’t wear bike helmets don’t suffer head injuries, and some who do, do.

Then there’s the exponential increase in ebike injuries. Which just happens to coincide with the exponential increase in ebikes.

That doesn’t mean ebikes are dangerous. Just that a lot of people are using them now.

In fact, I’d consider 198 injuries a relatively small amount, given the untold thousands of Orange County residents who’ve adopted them.

Lastly, let’s consider the question of speed, which has apparently gotten “a little bit too fast.”

Under California law, which has been copied in most states, Class 1 and 2 ebikes, whether ped-assist or throttle-driven, are limited to 20 mph.

Which virtually anyone could top with a decent effort on a decent road bike. Never mind today’s lightweight, technological marvels engineered for every higher speeds.

The bikes, I mean, not the riders. Though some of them have been engineered for speed, too.

Yet somehow, those bikes aren’t considered too fast. And no one has banned 27 speed carbon-fiber bikes or their spandex-clad riders from the boardwalk.

And just wait until the good doctors at Providence learn how fast cars can go, and the damage they cause.

In fact, my stats show 12 people were killed by drivers while riding bikes in Orange County last year, a drop from the obscene 17 killed in 2021.

Ebike riders killed somewhere around zero in Orange County over that same time period, to the best of my knowledge.

So which of these is actually dangerous?

Then there’s the way the paper takes about halfway through the story, after fanning the flames of ebike haters, to even mention that there are different categories of ebikes, and dozens of different types.

And even then, fails to mention that the faster Class 3 ebikes are banned from bike trails that aren’t attached to roadways, beachfront or otherwise.

Or that even people on regular bikes struggle to meet those ridiculously low 8 mph speed limits without falling over.

But once again, no one is seriously suggesting that regular should be banned.

The key, as they finally get around to mentioning just before the end of the story, is behavior.

Someone who is a jerk in a car — or on a skateboard, or with a shopping cart — is just as likely to be a jerk on an ebike.

And a kid who has never been taught to ride a bike safely — electric or otherwise — is going to ride a bike or bike like a, well, kid.

Just what they’re riding doesn’t have a damn thing to do with it.

So let’s put away the torches and pitchforks, and learn to live with all those scary ebike monsters. Because really, they’re not bad, just new and different.

And seriously, LA Times, do better.

Ebike photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels.

………

We’ll let Streets For All put things in perspective with their call to participate in the Saturday’s City Hall die-in to protest traffic violence.

If you’re a pedestrian or cyclist in Los Angeles, you’re probably used to hearing about traffic fatalities in our community. But 2022 was a record-breaking year — in the worst way. Last year, there were 309 traffic fatalities in LA, breaking the 300 mark for the first time in more than twenty years. This is a staggering increase of almost 30% from 2020.

These statistics are tragedies in and of themselves, but they’re made even worse by the fact that pedestrians and cyclists are impacted the most by every measure. Cyclist fatalities alone went up 40% between 2020 and 2022.

We can’t keep living like this. Join us on the steps of City Hall on Saturday, January 21st at 9:30am for a die-in protest. It’s time for our electeds to start paying attention.

RSVP for more details

………

A writer for Slate examine the limited efficacy of bike helmets, noting that “When it comes to the dangers threatening cyclists, wearing a helmet is like bringing a knife to a gunfight.”

They make the same argument I’ve been making for years — bike helmets are designed to protect against relatively low speed falls, not high impact crashes with motor vehicles.

Which is not to say you shouldn’t wear one.

The overwhelming majority of bicycling injuries result from falls, not crashes. Which is exactly what they’re made for.

I still credit my helmet with saving my grey matter, and possibly my life, during the Infamous Beachfront Bee Incident, and never ride without one.

But they should always be considered the last line of defense when everything else fails.

You’re a lot better off not getting hit by a car and its driver in the first place, rather than count on your helmet to save your life if you do.

………

In a related story, the Manhattan Beach Police Department tells teenage bike riders not to be melon heads, as they gleefully smash watermelons as a metaphor for helmet-less bike riders.

Even though watermelons smash much easier that teenage skulls, and most heads aren’t filled with seeds.

And yes, I said most.

………

Ted Faber finds a pothole that could be the gaping maw of the gates of Hell.

………

This is who we share the road with.

An alleged drunk driver in LA’s Silver Lake neighborhood backs through a crowd of people trying to stop him from getting behind the wheel, then takes off, leaving injured bystanders strewn in his wake.

Thanks to How the West Was Woke for the heads-up. 

………

This is who we share the road with, part two.

An South LA man apparently angry about his pending divorce decided to take it out on his wife’s house, and all the cars in the neighborhood.

But sure, tell us again about those OC ebikes.

………

San Francisco Bay Area cyclist Nehemiah Brown is asking other people of color to join him in accepting the gift of gravel.

………

More proof of our auto centric world, as Irish Tic Tok’ers are shocked to see a man transporting a new flatscreen TV on his bike.

Even if he’s just using it as a cart.

@all_about_rosalilla

Who thinks this TV is making it home in one piece? #fyp #onlyinireland #tiktokireland #irelandtiktok #fypage #nanocelltv #whatsontelly #foryoupage

♬ Crash – The Primitives

………

And this video pretty well sums things up, I think.

………

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

No bias here. Plans for a Manhattan bike lane are being held up by judges who don’t want to give up their cushy curbside parking next to the courthouse, with one court official comparing their efforts to the French attempting to hold back Nazi Germany prior to WWII.

A road raging British driver is on trial for allegedly punching and choking a man riding a bike, after clipping the arm of the victim during a close pass; he blocked the victim’s path and got out of his car when the bike ride slapped it and called him an idiot.

Another road raging British driver gets a lesson in setting the handbrake before going off on a bike rider, who didn’t appear to be doing anything wrong.

 

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

A British runner justifiably blasts schmucks who park on the sidewalk to go mountain biking.

………

Local 

Longtime KPCC and LAist reporter Frank Stolze introduces the seven candidates who have qualified so far to run in the race to replace ex-councilmember Nury Martinez in LA’s CD6.

Speaking of Streets For All, Streetsblog reports on their call to transform current-day Mid City car sewer San Vicente Blvd into a linear park.

 

State

Orange County will install a new traffic signal at Oso Parkway and Coto de Caza Drive, just outside Coto de Caza, where eight-year old Bradley Rofer was killed by a pickup driver in September. As usual, the long-needed traffic fix only comes several months after Rofer was killed.

Former NBA great Bill Walton reacts to being harassed by homeless people while riding his bike through Balboa Park by suggesting all the city’s unhoused residents should get rounded up and sent to a camp on a military base — voluntarily, of course. Because that worked so well last time, apparently.

The CHP is looking for the hit-and-run driver who ran down a 22-year old Santa Barbara man riding his bike on PCH (scroll down) north of Ventura early Friday morning; there’s no description on the driver or vehicle, and no word on the condition of the victim.

 

National

Calvin, of “and Hobbes” fame, faces up to his greatest tormenters, including his bicycle.

Scott is recalling their 2022 Speedster road and gravel bikes due to a defective fork that could break during use.

Nonprofit group Black Girls Do Bike celebrates ten years of changing what the cycling world looks like by “providing welcoming, safe and fun opportunities for women of color to ride bikes.”

The Washington Post examines where cars outnumber drivers, let alone people. Surprisingly, California ain’t one of them.

In a report that should surprise absolutely no one, the Rhodium Group concludes that transportation is the leading source for climate damaging emissions for the sixth year in a row. To which bicycles contributed just this side of zero.

Apparently, not even Congresspeople are safe from traffic violence, as Oregon Representative Suzanne Bonamici and her husband were struck by a driver as they were crossing a Portland street Friday evening. Although CNN somehow manages to get through the entire story without mentioning that there was someone behind the wheel. 

A kindhearted Boise, Idaho group donated over 50 bikes to Ukrainian refugee children in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

This is who we share the country with. Wyoming, the state where even Liz Cheney wasn’t considered conservative enough, continued its race to the bottom when state legislators proposed banning electric vehicles in a childish tantrum to protect the gas and oil industries.

The fight continues over a $12 million Houston road diet and bike lane project, as a county commissioner pushes it forward while a city councilmember works to halt it.

A pair of kindhearted Texas cops surprised a young boy with a new bike, after they fixed the chain on his old beat up bike so he could make it home from school.

Boston readers freak out over a single still photo of a woman on what looks like a bikeshare bike trying to merge onto a local highway, with her shopping bag dangling from her handlebars.

The New Yorker talks with the daredevil behind the city’s infamous bikeshare-riding stunt crew, the Citi Bike Boyz.

A DC proposal would give ebike buyers a $400 tax rebate, with an extra $500 for e-cargo bikes; low-income buyers could get up to $1,200 plus the e-cargo bike bonus.

At least 80 bike riders turned out to honor a pair of Baton Rouge, Louisiana high school cheerleaders who were killed in a collision with a cop at the end of a high speed chase; the cop was arrested and could face charges.

Young Miami bike riders conducted their annual MLK Day Wheels Up Guns Down ride. But somehow, all the local press could focus on was the usual heavy-handed police response, and the 58 felony and 11 misdemeanor arrests — not the hundreds, if not thousands, of peaceful riders and their message of hope. 

 

International

Havana, Cuba is installing their first public bikeshare dock, part of what promises to be a 300 bike fleet.

The former boyfriend of a Welsh woman killed while watching a mountain bike race in 2014 calls for more protection for bike race fans; she had come to see him compete.

Young “demon” ebike riders are accused of turning Amsterdam’s once angelic streets into a living hell, as they ride their souped-up ebikes at the unholdy speed of…24 mph. Which would make them relatively tame by Orange County standards.

India’s bike industry threatens a series of hunger strikes over a new requirement to install reflectors on bicycles; industry officials say the problem isn’t the mandate, but the penalties that would be imposed for failing to comply.

An Indian man was tied to a pole and viciously beaten and stomped after he was accused of stealing a bicycle. Look, I dislike bike thieves as much as anyone, but that’s going too damn far.

The bike boom continues, as Taiwan’s exports of bicycles and bike parts rose 23.11 percent annually to $6.15 billion. Or it could just means that more production is shifting to Taiwan from mainland China.

Gizmodo Australia misses the mark, insisting safety bikes came into widespread use about the same time cars did, and that bikes only enjoyed a few months as king of the roads before they were shoved aside by motor vehicles. Meanwhile, Adventure Journal marvels that bicycles were invented after the much more complex locomotives wereBut as Carlton Reid makes clear in Roads Weren’t Built For Cars, bicycles were widely adopted around the world long before cars ruled the earth. And if you haven’t read it yet, what the hell are you waiting for?

 

Competitive Cycling

Australia’s Grace Brown kicked off the women’s cycling season by out-sprinting Amanda Spratt to win the Santos Tour Down Under, after Alex Manly led following the first two stages.

Sad news from the Netherlands, where 40-year old retired Dutch pro Lieuwe Westra was found dead, after suffering from depression for several years; nicknamed The Beast, Westra won stages at Paris-Nice, the Tour of California and Critérium du Dauphiné, as well as winning the Tour of Denmark and Driedaagse De Panne.

UCI is telling team cars to back off, instead of giving their riders an extra boost during time trials by changing the airflow behind the rider.

Former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman has formally lost his medical license as a result of his involvement in a doping scandal, when he was caught ordering testosterone gel for an unnamed male cyclist.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you try a 30-foot jump on an ebike — and nail it. Maybe it’s time to put this “slightly used” VanMoof out of its misery.

And if you’re going to ride a kid’s Barbie bike across an entire country, always choose a small one.

Country, that is.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

Morning Links: Successful die-in at City Hall, Lee moves to rip out Reseda bike lanes, and more Peloton ad fallout

Let’s start with yesterday’s die-in at City Hall, where around 30 Los Angeles bike riders turned out in hopes of not doing it for real on the streets.

According to LAist,

Fed up by the lack of progress on reducing traffic deaths in Los Angeles, dozens of protesters staged a die-in outside City Hall Tuesday, calling on city leaders to take swift, bold action to make streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

“We have all the tools and solutions to solve this crisis,” said cyclist and organizer Andres Quinche. “What we are lacking is the courage and the conviction from our city council members, our mayor, (and) the Department of Transportation to stand up and say that safety matters more than speed, and that someone’s life is more valuable than a driver losing 10 seconds on their way to work…”

“I call the mayor’s office once a week to ask about this,” he said. “And I always get a response that someone’s going to get back to me about it. And it’s been maybe like two months since the last protest we staged and I haven’t heard anything.

But then, that’s about what you’d expect from a city that considers installing speed feedback signs a Vision Zero improvement.

Streetsblog’s seemingly ubiquitous Joe Linton described the die-in this way.

Though L.A. drivers are on track to kill more than 200 people in 2019, speakers emphasized the especially horrific deaths of Marlene and Amy Lorenzo, and of Alessa Fajardo – all kids on their way to school. In a crosswalk near Exposition Park in April, a driver killed sisters Marlene (14) and Amy (12) while they were walking to school. In a Koreatown crosswalk in October, a driver killed Alessa (4) as her mother walked her to nursery school.

Speakers criticized L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and the L.A. City Council for lacking courage and conviction to put their leadership behind the Vision Zero policies they approved. In attendance were three pro-Vision Zero candidates hoping to be elected to the City Council in 2020.

Needless to say, none of LA’s elected officials bothered to stop by. But as Linton notes, three candidates running for city council next year did.

Remember that when you go to mark your ballot next year.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog offers five Vision Zero tips for suburban cities.

Maybe LA officials could take a hint.

………

In a move that’s pretty much the opposite of Vision Zero, recently elected CD12 Councilmember John Lee continues to make his anti-bike and traffic safety bones with a resolution aiming to “improve” or remove the hard-won bike lanes on Reseda Blvd.

But before you put all the blame on Lee, notice who seconded the motion.

That’s right.

The same formerly bike-friendly councilmember who single-handedly blocked the Lankershim Blvd Great Streets project that would have brought a much needed, shovel-ready protected bike lane to the boulevard.

………

A teenaged boy in Oxford, England made the medical journals after hitting the handlebars in a slow speed bike crash — and suffering what may be one of the most gruesome injuries in bicycling history.

Just be forewarned, however, because you can’t unread the graphic description. Especially if you have a scrotum, or know someone who does.

And no, a bike helmet wouldn’t have helped.

………

How about some very cool freeriding through the streets of London and Paris?

You’ll want to watch this one full screen. But maybe take your motion sickness pills first.

………

If it’s any consolation for LA bike riders, you may have to deal with flooded streets, but at least you don’t have to worry about treacherous snowpacked and icy bike lanes.

Then again, it would be nice to have more bike lanes, period.

………

Active SGV invites you to join them on their annual holiday lights ride this Friday.

………

More fallout from that much-loathed Peloton ad.

So far, it’s gotten local coverage from Los AngelesSan Jose and Boston,

CNN picked up the story, while CBS News wasn’t impressed, and Cosmo considered what to give your husband in retaliation return. Although it didn’t keep NPR’s reporters from wanting one.

Apparently, Wall Street didn’t like the ad, either.

Seriously, though, it takes real skilled to make an ad so universally loathed that it garners millions of dollars worth of free press.

But wait, here’s another one. At least it’s a little more middle class.

………

‘Tis the Season.

Thanks to a sporting goods chain and a player with the Atlanta Falcons, more than 1,500 kids will get a new bike this year.

………

Sometimes its’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

A hockey player for the Ottawa Senators clotheslined a bike-riding thief to keep him from riding off after stealing a backpack from a car.

………

Thanks to Lisa G and View-Speed Inc. for their generous donations to the 5th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Your support for this site helps keep all the best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day.

Which could come in handy when your ride gets rained out. Like today.

………

Local

Voyage LA talks with East Side Riders founder John Jones III. He already has my vote whenever CD15 Councilmember Joe Buscaino decides to step down.

Streetsblog explains exactly what last night’s Complete Streets meeting in Beverly Hills was all about, including biking, walking and transit improvements.

 

State

If you’re in the mood for a ride up the coast, SRAM will hold an open house and fundraiser for World Bicycle Relief at their San Luis Obispo HQ on December 13th.

A bicycle columnist for a Gold Country newspaper says helmets might help, but the real problem is a lack of good infrastructure.

Somehow we missed this one last month, as a UC Davis researcher says more bicycling could bring huge health benefits to the state. Thanks to Robert Leone for the heads-up.

 

National

Cycling Tips tests the top bike chains. Meanwhile, another Cycling Tips writer says self-driving cars may improve safety in urban environments, but not as much as improvements in bike infrastructure.

Interesting take from Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss, who says ticketing bicyclists is pointless and cruel because on the streets, survival is more important than strict adherence to the law. I’m firm believer that we’re all safest when we follow the rules, except when we’re not. Your safety is what matters most when you ride. And only you can decide what that means at any given moment.

A writer for Streetsblog says Europe is laughing at us for installing parking protected bike lanes because it only incentivizes driving.

Even in bike-friendly Portland, neighborhood groups want bike lanes somewhere else.

An Iowa letter writer describes how — and why — she gave up riding her bike after moving from bike-friendly Minneapolis, blaming the hatred drivers have for people on two wheels.

You’ll have to wait until spring to ride a bikeshare ebike in the Windy City.

Evidently, Minneapolis police aren’t fans of Viking biking.

Former Massachusetts governor and second-place presidential finisher Mike Dukakis is no fan of driving. Which makes you wonder where we’d be today if an oilman hadn’t won that race.

New York will try out ebike delivery service for Amazon, DHL and other package-trucking companies.

A New York cab driver was busted 20 minutes after running down a bike rider. But only after his passenger begged him to go back.

 

International

When is a Victoria, BC bike lane not a bike lane? When it’s a parking lane literally half the day.

Seriously, how much of a heartless coward do you really have to be to leave a very pregnant English woman bleeding in the street after running her bike down with your car?

Royal-in-law James Middleton — Kate and Pippa’s brother — is getting good use out of his cargo bike, first taking Pippa’s brother-in-law for a ride with his dogs, followed by going Christmas tree shopping with his fiancé. Even if she had to walk along next to it.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 85-year old Irishman races 50 miles every weekend and holds a national age group record. Even if he is a stickler for the rules.

An Australian bike rider has died a week after he became collateral damage in a police chase, when he was struck by a driver fleeing from the cops.

Singapore will require ebike and e-scooter users to pass a license test, and may require all users to carry liability insurance.

 

Competitive Cycling

American triathlete Brandon McDonald describes competing just ten weeks after undergoing open heart surgery.

So much for taking over. Four transgender women discuss what it’s like to compete in cycling and other women’s sports with little or no chance of winning.

 

Finally…

Maybe a little Christmas spandex will get you in the holiday spirit. (Insert celebrity name here) is one of us, too.

And who needs winter bike gloves when you’ve got heated handlebars?

Morning Links: Still more bike giving to celebrate the season, and PVE cyclists die in protest so others won’t

Support the leading site for bike news from around the corner, and around the world. Give to the 2nd Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive today!

‘Tis the season.

CicLAvia is giving back to the community, donating 15 scooters, 50 sneakers and 53 bikes so far.

San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System surprises 160 elementary school kids with new bicycles.

The Tulare County sheriff’s department gives 20 new bikes to kids who have excelled in school.

One hundred twenty Madera CA third grade students are surprised with free bicycles after thinking they were just getting a lesson in bike safety from the CHP.

A Colorado Whole Foods teams with a craft brewery’s charitable foundation to give 113 new bikes to disadvantaged elementary school kids at the opening of the new store.

A Chicago-area housing authority gave away 50 bicycles to children whose families might be having financial difficulties.

………

World road champ Peter Sagan says clean cyclists could bring back sponsors to pro cycling, comparing the current testing regimen to being in jail with no chance to cheat without getting caught.

A Belorussian pro turns to the power of Twitter to save his cycling career after he was dropped by the Lampre-Merida team. After all, it worked for a certain president elect we could name.

American cyclist Joe Dombrowski wants to create an uphill hour record.

The Big Bear paper offers results of last Saturday’s California State Fat Bike Championships.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton reports on the Palos Verdes Estates die-in on Tuesday to call for better bike safety in the exclusive community. Note the half-dozen cops standing watch in the background of the accompanying photos.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson observes that the die-in seemed to get a lot of support from passing motorists and pedestrians, but not so much with the city council. But as he points out, they’ll get the message the next time someone is killed, injured or harassed and decides to hold the city accountable.

CiclaValley is trying to scrape together parts to build and donate a Frankenbike to help get a young rider into road racing.

 

State

Three hundred chefs will ride 300 miles in three days next May, starting in Santa Rosa, to raise $2 million for the No Kid Hungry campaign.

Castroville gets a new bike and pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks. And no, the town isn’t named after the Cuban revolutionary.

Uber’s driverless cars briefly take to the road in San Francisco before state regulators run them off. Although video of one of the cars running a red light proves they really do drive as well as humans.

Talk about burying the lead (or lede, if you prefer). A San Francisco website reports on Sunday’s distracted-driving hit-and-run death of a bike rider in Watsonville. But fails to mention the driver was booked for being the influence until the very last sentence, never mind that her license was already suspended for DUI.

 

National

Elly Blue writes there may be more common ground between sport and transportation bicyclists than it would seem. In my case, they’re one and the same, depending on where I’m going and why.

Trek could be recalling your Bontrager lights.

A Portland website takes a look at the new UPS ebike delivery trikes.

Dirt Rag strives to understand Floyd Landis, who briefly held the Tour de France title before it was stripped away for doping, and who now markets marijuana-infused products under the Colorado-based Floyds of Leadville banner.

An Idaho bike mechanic warns you get what you pay for when you buy a bicycle online. And not in a good way.

A Louisville KY bike rider describes what it’s like to be a victim of a hit-and-run after being left for dead by a heartless driver; he has no memory of the wreck or anything that happened before being found three hours later.

Chicagoist says tip your bicycle delivery person more when the weather sucks. Which should be tonight in LA if the forecast holds.

Pittsburgh business owners warn that a planned bike lane would ruin street parking and crush their businesses. Never mind that businesses usually thrive after bikeways are installed, despite any loss of parking spaces.

A Pennsylvania hit-and-run driver gets probation after his big-hearted, bike-riding victim forgives him.

A Vermont man faces charges after using a stun gun on a 14-year old boy to recover a bicycle he thought had been stolen from his friend a few weeks earlier; however, the boy had a good alibi, since he’d purchased the bike three months ago.

Cambridge, Mass gets two new separated bike lanes, the first of what will hopefully become a citywide network.

Someone has posted fliers urging drivers to call the city to complain about the loss of five parking spaces for a New York City bike lane. Even though it was only four. And even though people are parking in it anyway.

A Florida paper asks if the shade of some new green bike lanes is too jarring. Only if Hollywood producers get a look at it.

 

International

Toronto is lowering speed limits on 14 streets in an effort to save lives.

An English woman was left with multiple wounds after an apparently random attack by someone who rode his bike up behind her and hit her over the head with an unknown object.

An Edinburg website asks if a new line of high-end bikewear designed by cyclists could be the next Rapha.

A Northern Ireland website offers 16 gift ideas for the cyclist in your life. Or yourself.

A UK man saves himself from depression by taking up bicycling following a bankruptcy and divorce.

Madrid gives itself a pre-holiday gift by banning cars from the city center for nine days. The restrictions will end this Sunday, so hurry up and grab your passport.

Australian police are looking for a road raging cyclist who smacked a car, striking the hand of a 74-year old woman passenger, after the driver honked at him for being in the way. Once again, there’s never any excuse for violence, no matter how justified your anger may seem at the time.

A New Zealand cop won’t face charges for knocking a teenage boy off his bike when the boy swore at him, but will have to offer an apology to the boy and his family.

A blind Australian woman falls in love with bicycling after taking to the back of a tandem bike, finding it easier than she expected.

 

Finally…

Road rage is one thing; a driver armed with a machete is another. Even back then, Barack Obama was one of us.

And there are worse ways to spend three and a half minutes than watching some of the most bizarre bike ads ever.