Tag Archive for distracted driving

Hunt is on for road-raging Carlsbad bicyclist, and stoned Michigan driver to face charges in Make-A-Wish crash

Happy Veteran’s Day to all those who have served our country! 

………

Before we get going, it’s time to start digging under your sofa cushions to save up for the 8th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive later this month. 

The fund drive page is now live, which wasn’t hard to do since I never got around to taking down last year’s page, in case anyone feels an urgent need to contribute before we officially get going on the 25th. 

And I’m open to suggestions if you can recommend a good payment app, since there are always people who ask for an alternative to PayPal or Zelle each year.

………

We now have a photo of the road-raging Carlsbad bicyclist who attacked a car driven by a pair of teens.

The man reportedly responded to being yelled at by one of the kids by trying to open their car door and punching a window, before smashing their windshield. He then rode off, but allegedly lay in wait for them down the road.

As we have repeatedly said, there is never any excuse for violence, no matter how justified it may seem at the time.

Now instead of being the victim of an angry driver, a bike rider finds himself a wanted criminal who could face serious charges and be subject to damages once he’s found.

And he will be found.

Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up. 

………

A Michigan woman has been ordered to stand trial later this month in the drugged driving crash that killed two people participating in a Make-A-Wish fundraising ride.

Forty-two-year old Mandy Marie Benn was reportedly visibly impaired on a cocktail of drugs including Vicodin, Suboxone, and Lorazepam. She was also participating in a Facebook group chat while she drove, saying moments before the crash that she wanted to die.

Instead, she took two innocent lives.

She faces up to 15 years each on two felony counts of operating a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance causing death.

………

If you’re feeling more crowded on the roads, it’s because you are.

………

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

A Vancouver woman was seriously injured when she was pushed off her bike by a bystander acting on the orders of a fake cop, for the crime of riding too close to a man who claimed to be an off-duty police officer.

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

Authorities in Florida discovered “concerning manifestos” in the home of a bike-riding man who was seen shooting bullets into the ocean, then seen four hours later riding his bike near where a man was found shot to death under an overpass.

………

Local

Streetsblog offers updates on new bike lanes in DTLA, as well as plans for a quick-build bike lane on Anaheim Street in Wilmington.

Metro is hosting a community meeting on Wednesday, as well as a bike rodeo next month, to gather input on first mile/last mile connections for the Sepulveda G LIne, nee Orange Line, station.

Glendora is working with Active SGV to finalize plans for a new greenway trail along the San Dimas Wash.

Speaking of Streetsblog, the transportation news site is honoring LA County Supervisor Holly Mitchell with their Streetsie Award for 2022 Elected Official of the Year at Mercado La Paloma on December 1st.

 

State 

The Contra Costa County district attorney has decided not to prosecute officers involved in a fatal shooting, who was killed by police after a passing bike rider noticed the victim dumping a woman’s body off the side of the road.

A woman suspected in a Tulare County hit-and-run has turned herself in, four days after the crash that killed a man walking his bicycle.

 

National

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg discusses new infrastructure projects designed to make cities safer for bike riders and pedestrians, saying there are places where cars wouldn’t make any sense if you were starting from scratch.

Bicycling offers advice on how to ride with your dogMy best tip is to get a tandem with an usually low stoker position, and let the dog do its own damn pedaling. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

Seattle-based Rad Power is recalling 30,000 RadWagon 4 Electric Cargo Bikes due to a defective wheel strip that can allow tires and tubes to become damaged while in use.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a ghost bike for a 13-year old Washington boy who was killed by a driver who went through the crosswalk he was riding in; fortunately, the bike was returned when someone at a scrap yard recognized it and returned it to his family.

The news keeps getting worse from Las Vegas, where it turns out the two mountain bikers killed by an alleged drunk driver during a serial hit-and-run were a couple who had been dating for ten years.

Nevada state police officials are reporting a startling increase in bicycling deaths this year, with eleven people killed riding bikes so far this year — double the number this time last year.

A local group is giving away 500 bicycles, helmets, locks and a t-shirt to kids in need before Sunday’s El Tour de Tucson.

Utah has banned offroad ebike use in protected wildlife areas.

Boise, Idaho is redrawing plans for a protected bike lane after complaints that it would interfere with parents picking up their children from a Catholic school, apparently thinking the ability to drive up to the door is more important than allowing their kids to safely bike there.

That’s more like it. A 22-year old Michigan man will spend 20 to 40 years behind bars after he was sentenced for the hit-and-run death of a five year old boy who was riding his bike in a crosswalk with the rest of his family; his two younger siblings remain traumatized after witnessing the crash.

A Cambridge, Massachusetts judge expressed skepticism over new bendy post-protected bike lanes, saying in response to a lawsuit intended to stop them that the streets appear to be too narrow for them. Which isn’t a decision a judge with no traffic planning experience should be making.

The Boston Globe says a tandem is the perfect way to double your pleasure on the road.

A 12-year old Erie, Pennsylvania boy was severely beaten by two unknown attackers as he was riding his bike somewhere in the city; police were having trouble locating the site because the boy doesn’t speak English and was relying on a translator. No word on whether he was attacked for his bike, or for some other reason.

 

International

Amazon is being criticized for selling tuning kits that can override ebike speed restrictions, allowing the riders to exceed European limitations.

Bike commuters in Manchester, England complain that road signs blocking a bike lane and construction work on the roadway have turned the street into a “lethal mess.”

The death of a Berlin bike rider after climate protestors blocked a roadway, delaying the arrival of first responders, is provoking debate over the tactic even though a doctor insists his death wasn’t caused by the delay.

A delegate to the COP27 climate conference from the Côte d’Ivoire, aka Ivory Coast, has gained a reputation as Africa’s cycling ambassador as he attends every session wearing his hi-viz bike helmet.

A South African construction worker was found dead on the road after he was knocked off his bicycle by someone swinging a piece of wood, then stabbed in the neck; he was killed after winning a large sum of money at a local bar.

A New Zealand woman blames a moment’s inattention by a driver for the crash that left her with a badly broken arm. But at least the driver hit her bike just outside the emergency room at a local hospital.

 

Competitive Cycling

Slovenian cyclist and former ski jumper Primož Roglič will be out of commission for another month following shoulder surgery, after dislocating it in a high-speed crash during stage 5 of the Tour de France.

 

Finally…

Why take the blame for losing an MMA title fight when you can blame it on a “vicious” bike crash?

And that feeling when you’re chasing a bear, rather than the other way around.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Invitation-only Taylor Yard Bridge opening excludes public, and killer distracted driver walks for running down bike-riding family

My invitation must have gotten lost in the mail.

After a previous false start, Los Angeles officially opened the new Taylor Yard bike and pedestrian bridge over the LA River, in an invitation-only event.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton reports the bridge has been under discussion for a full 30 years, before work finally started in 2019.

When Metro re-industrialized the downstream end of Taylor Yard, siting a Metrolink yard there, community groups sued Metro for not following environmental law. In a 1992 settlement Metro agreed to pay for several community benefits, including a pedestrian bridge. For decades, the promised bridge project suffered from false starts. Ultimately Metro paid for the $25 million dollar bridge, which was built by L.A. City’s Public Works Department’s Bureau of Engineering.

Never mind that three decades of delays meant it ended up costing over five times the original $5.3 million estimate.

And no, Linton didn’t get an invitation, either, despite reporting on the bridge even longer that we have. But he ended up crashing it on a bicycle, ignoring both the lack of invitation and the admonition to arrive by car.

No, really. The city wanted everyone to drive to the opening of a bike bridge.

The good news is, the bridge is open at last, providing safer and more convenient access between Frogtown and Elysian Valley to the south, and Glassell Park and Cypress Park to the north.

A previous public opening was cancelled at the last minute, with the city doing such a crappy job of getting the word out that would-be attendees who showed up anyway were left wondering where everyone else was. No explanation was ever given for the cancellation.

Maybe they were afraid people from the bike community might actually show up.

Because this is how Linton ended his piece.

Cedillo and O’Farrell have histories of being hostile to bicyclists. O’Farrell’s bike antipathy has been more subtle, other than his notoriously snide anti-bike safety tweet in 2018. Cedillo’s anti-bike stance has been more overt. Both have canceled approved bike safety projects in their districts: Cedillo on North Figueroa Street and on the North Spring Street Bridge, and both colluded on the cancelling of a Temple Street road diet. Both are Democrat incumbents facing elections this year, with challengers to their ideological left. It is a sad state of affairs that it now appears that they fear allowing the public – including the press and those pesky cyclists – to celebrate the opening of a really great thing they have done for bicycling in L.A.

And yes, I was the one on the receiving end of that snide O’Farrell tweet.

Today’s photo is the invitation you didn’t get to the bridge opening, even though you — and the rest of us — paid for it. 

………

Evidently, life is cheap in Massachusetts.

In the conclusion to story we’ve been following for the last two years, a 45-year old Massachusetts woman walked without a single day behind bars for the distracted driving death of a father as he was riding bikes with his family.

Ryane Linehan pled guilty to negligent homicide, admitting she was texting when she killed the man and seriously injured his wife and adult son.

Yet she still got just an 18-month suspended jail sentence, along with six months of home confinement, three years of probation and 100 hours of community service.

Maybe it’s just me, but a lousy six months sitting at home watching TV and eating bonbons seems more like a staycation than punishment.

The only good news is she won’t be allowed to drive for the next 15 years. Which isn’t nearly long enough.

………

Good question.

………

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

No bias here. An Iowa appeals court affirmed the right of a town to block a short street connecting two multi-use trails, forcing bike riders and runners moving between them to use a dangerous highway — because local residents didn’t want a trail through their community in the first place.

An English pub owner complained that a new bike lane was an accident waiting to happen, warning it would result in collisions between bike riders and pedestrians. Then blocked half of it with advertising barriers to help ensure he was right.

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

English police are looking for a bike-riding man who yelled racist abuse at a driver before kicking her car, after she challenged him for using a cellphone while riding.

………

Local

Los Angeles received a $5 million grant to beautify Boyle Heights’ Hollenbeck Park. Except the only thing that would really beautify it is to move the damn 5 Freeway, which cuts directly through it. Except that would probably cost a hell of a lot more.

A woman in her 30s was found dead next to the beach bike path in Long Beach Sunday morning, with no apparent cause of death.

 

State 

A San Diego bike rider suffered a fractured skull when he was run down by a hit-and-run driver in Balboa Park Sunday night; fortunately, his injuries were not considered life-threatening.

San Luis Obispo is opening a new bike and pedestrian bridge connecting a new section of trail through the town.

East Bay bike advocates are pushing for the first protected bike lane through the San Francisco suburb of San Leandro.

Sad news from Modesto, where a 38-year old woman riding a bicycle was killed by a suspected drunk driver on Sunday.

 

National

Oklahoma has approved a 400 mile section of the US Bike Route 66 though the state.

That’s more like it. A 19-year old Florida man got 15 years behind bars for the hit-and-run death of a seven-year old boy riding his bicycle. Although anyone so heartless they could leave a little kid to die alone in the street deserves a lot more than that.

 

International

He gets it. Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter says governments should subsidize ebikes instead of gas prices — including Gavin Newsom’s proposal to rebate gas taxes paid by California drivers.

No irony here. Toronto NIMBYs are demanding the removal of a protected bike lane by claiming it makes it too hard for ambulances to respond to injured bike riders, because all the cars get in the way.

Canada’s Prince Edward Island announced a $100 rebate on bicycle purchases, with a $500 rebate on ebikes.

A Welsh bike advocate explains how taking political candidates for a bike ride can help them seem the local community from a new perspective. Not to mention give them a better understanding of the dangers we face.

Life is cheap in Wales, where a 71-year old man walked with probation and a 15-month driving ban for yelling racist comments at a group of bike riders and telling them to go back to England, before backing his car up and crashing into them; fortunately, no one was seriously injured.

A new British poll shows broad support of using ebikes to reduce carbon emissions, even among people who aren’t currently thinking about buying one.

UK advocates are petitioning the government to stop using the word “accident” in official documents, and to use “collision” instead; if they get 100,000 signatures, Parliament will be required to take it up.

It took the 1973 OPEC oil embargo to put Copenhagen on the path to a bike-friendly future.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Weekly offers five takeaways from last week’s Paris-Nice.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could look like folded paper, and be made by Yamaha. Rocking Rod Stewart, pothole repairman.

And meet a four-year old bike riding superhero.

https://twitter.com/biker_tiny/status/1503075842896932874?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1503075842896932874%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2Fcycling-live-blog-14-march-2022-291043

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

No justice for fallen San Diego bicyclist, we’re all the same bike tribe, and greater inclusivity for all kinds of riders

I have to work fast to get a new post online every night.

But sometimes, the need for speed forces me to link to stories I haven’t had a chance to fully read.

That’s how I missed the heart of this piece by San Diego’s KPBS when I included a link to it earlier this week.

The story dealt with victims’ families too often feeling like they’ve been let down by the justice system when killer drivers get off with a slap on the wrist, if that.

But what I missed was the focus on the wife of fallen bicyclist Matt Keenan, who was killed by a wrong way driver while riding in Mission Valley last year.

The county district attorney’s office decided not to charge the driver with a felony, after she claimed she hit Keenan head-on because she’d thought she was on a one-way street.

Call it barely plausible deniability.

The driver told police she thought the street, Camino Del Rio South, was one-way, and that she never saw the cyclist coming.

Keenan does not buy those excuses. She asked the San Diego Police Department to search the driver’s phone records for evidence that she was distracted, but never heard back on that request.

“Something had to make (the driver) extremely distracted, and really, what that is shouldn’t be the issue,” Keenan said. “She was so distracted that she did not see my husband and his extremely bright lights. She never hit the brakes.”

One problem is that police have to get a search warrant to examine a driver’s phone, which requires probable cause to believe a crime took place.

In other words, before they can get a judge to agree to let them see a driver’s phone, they need evidence that the driver was using it.

A legal Catch 22.

The law should be changed to require implied consent, just as anyone with a driver’s license is assumed to have consented to a blood alcohol test if police suspect they’re under the influence.

Merely possessing a driver’s license should give police the right to examine a phone following a collision to see if it had been in use at the time of a crash.

Failure to turn over the phone should result in an automatic loss of license, combined with a presumption of use.

Only then will we see justice for victims of distracted drivers.

And maybe even stop them from doing it in the first place.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

………

Peter Flax gets it.

But we already knew that, right?

………

Together we ride, separately.

Join a virtual ride to mark International Women’s Day in two weeks.

………

Hats off to Isla Bikes for going the extra mile to solve a problem of inclusivity no one else has addressed.

https://twitter.com/joelindsey/status/1496576082551599106

As long as we’re on the subject of inclusivity, meet Sister Shred, a legally blind Colorado woman who has never met a slope she wouldn’t carve on her mountain bike or snow bike.

And Bicycling profiles a man suffering from a rare degenerative disease, who vows to keep riding his recumbent tricycle until he no longer can. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

But only young, able-bodied people can ride bicycles, right?

………

A before and after view of a formerly dangerous Toronto street shows the difference good infrastructure makes.

https://twitter.com/_dmoser/status/1496448502171324420?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1496448502171324420%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.blogto.com%2Fcity%2F2022%2F02%2Fterrifying-comparison-toronto-bike-lanes-solving-dangerous-roads%2F

………

That feeling when a YouTube TV series about recovering stolen bicycles is really just a cleverly disguised ad for Van Moof.

………

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

Sadly, bike lane opponents seem to be the same the world over, as an Irish mayor reports that supporters of a bikeway were “denigrated as crazy cyclists” who don’t work or pay taxes, while the real crazies were the opponents who called her with death threats.

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

Once again, someone riding a bicycle has shot out a Queens traffic cam, firing 16 shots at a red light camera to knock it out of commission.

………

Local

Sixty-eight-year old Congresswoman and LA mayoral candidate Karen Bass is one of us, riding her bike along the Venice bike path to get a firsthand look at the area’s homeless problem.

No bias here. Hermosa Beach police report they busted a trio of teenaged ebike-riding taggers, even though their mode of transportation had nothing to do with the crime; they could have just as easily walked or ridden regular bicycles to the places they spray painted.

Metro Bike is teaming with the LACBC to offer a virtual bike safety class this Saturday.

 

State 

A handful of San Francisco bike riders formed a people-protected bike lane to protest the city’s continued inaction on Valencia Street, where bike lane-blocking drivers continue to put people on bicycles at risk.

 

National

Democrats in the Washington state legislature are proposing a 16-year Complete Streets plan to reimagine the state’s roadways, as traffic deaths climbed to a 16-year high last year.

Missouri is expanding bike and ebike access on service roads and multi-use trails managed by the state Department of Conservation. Although maybe someone should tell them that ebikes are bikes.

It has to be the epitome of NIMBYism to oppose a combination walkway and bikeway in front of Connecticut homes that don’t even have a damn sidewalk. Or want one.

Congratulations to a Charlotte NC website, which somehow managed to write a five point plan for bike safety, in which four of the points don’t mention wearing a bike helmet. Once again, don’t get me wrong. I always wear a helmet when I ride. But helmets should always be seen as the last resort when all else fails, not the first, last and too often only steps for bike safety.

A pair of South Carolina state legislators make the case for why the people of Charleston County deserve a roadway that’s safe for everyone, after a businessman and community leader was killed in a collision while walking along it.

 

International

Cycling News offers advice on how to upgrade your bike without breaking the bank.

Life is cheap in British Columbia, where a driver got just two and a half years for the drunken, high speed crash that killed a man riding a bike; he was driving at twice the legal alcohol limit even though it was the middle of the day. His victim was a father who founded a nonprofit to build a school and medical clinic in his native Zambia.

An 80-year old British man is on trial for fatally running down a bike-riding man in a dump truck; he also faces charges for failing to stop after the crash, and failing to give his name or the owner of the badly maintained vehicle. Once again raising the question of how old is too old to drive. And why the hell an 80-year old man was behind the wheel of a heavy duty truck in the first place, let alone one that wasn’t safe to drive.

Horses will now get the same protection as bicyclists and pedestrians under Britain’s newly revised Highway Code.

Italian cycling legend and three-time Grand Tour winner Gino Bartali is the star of a new animated movie for the kid set, focusing on his heroism saving Jews in WWII.

Bike riders in Kolkata, India turned out to welcome and ride along with a British cancer survivor riding a tandem over 12,000 miles through 28 countries, from the UK to Beijing

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Tips argues that, Chris Froome’s comments to the contrary, time trials run on road bikes aren’t really any safer than those using specialized time trial bikes.

A new report says the handlebar that snapped on Australian cyclist Alex Porter’s track bike at last year’s Tokyo Olympics wasn’t adequately inspected or tested, leading the country’s cycling authority to apologize.

Seven-time gold medal winning British cyclist Jason Kenny is calling it a career as the country’s most decorated Olympian.

 

Finally…

If you’re a convicted felon carrying a sawed-off shotgun and a flare gun engraved with a swastika on your bike, stop for the damn stop sign, already. Riding in the metaverse means you only have to worry about virtual drivers.

And it’s only ten days late for Valentines Day. Then again, there’s no expiration date on love.

………

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

Calling out carmakers deadly lies, Biking While Black in Los Angeles, and reimagining what Ventura Blvd could be

Let’s start with a couple powerful pieces more than worth a few minutes of your time this morning.

First up is a Gainesville, Florida op-ed comparing the auto industry to big tobacco — and the lies tobacco companies told that kept killing their own customers for decades.

Sort of like carmakers keep building deadly machines designed to protect the people inside, while becoming increasingly lethal for people outside.

Not to mention building flashy distractions into the dash, which can take a driver’s attention off the road for as long as 40 seconds — enough time to drive a half mile at 50 mph, virtually blind.

Here’s just a small taste of what op-ed writer Emily Hind had to say.

To achieve change, it’s going to take more than my energy spent yelling at drivers from the safety of the sidewalk. Just like the smoking cessation advocates who took on big tobacco, I’m up against billions of dollars in advertising for the automotive industry.

In 2019, the automotive industry in the U.S. spent $13.8 billion on digital advertising and $70 million on lobbying in this country. Who is funding that big money? You are, sucker. And you’re dooming our children to climate-changed ruin, not to mention robbing them of a childhood of outdoors mobility.

I don’t dare transport my child to most of the places we go on the bike because I’m afraid one of you will murder him by car. Vehicles are more lethal now: The higher off the road they sit (thanks for nothing, SUVs and trucks), the higher the odds that an impact on the human body will be fatal.

She concludes, in part, with this.

If the fight against big tobacco is any indicator, we’re in for a long slog against the obvious untruths spun by the automotive industry. Like smokers before them, drivers are likely going to defend self-defeating habits by standing up at public meetings and railing about the “right to drive” and “right to park” no matter whom it hurts — or kills.

Seriously, it’s more than worth the click to read the whole piece.

And maybe get a little mad about it.

Artwork by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.com.

………

Next up is a short film about the difficulty of Biking While Black in the City of Angels, which comes off as far less than angelic.

A number of Black bike riders talk about things like giving up biking to work after getting stopped repeatedly by the same cops. Or deciding that it just wasn’t worth the hassle to ride through Beverly Hills, day or night.

Yet they somehow continue riding a bike.

It’s a reminder that for far too many of us, distracted drivers aren’t the only dangers we face on the streets. And that everyone deserves to be treated like a human being, regardless of the color of their skin, or how they travel.

Go ahead, watch it. I’ll wait.

The nine minute documentary was sponsored with a grant from SCAG’s Go Human campaign.

………

This is what Los Angeles streets could look like.

If — and only if — our elected leaders ever took their own words seriously about reducing traffic, fighting climate change and improving livability.

As the saying went, they’re great at talking the talk, not so much at walking the walk.

Or making it safe and enjoyable for anyone to walk. Or bike.

………

A Low Traffic Neighborhood in the UK — the equivalent of a Slow Street in the US — demonstrated benefits throughout the neighborhood.

Results that would probably be replicated here, if anyone bothered to do the studies.

………

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

A road raging Irish driver faces charges for pushing a man off his bicycle and repeatedly kicking him in his head and body, resulting in at least one fracture and significant bruising.

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

Ventura police busted a 28-year old man accused of attacking a woman for no apparent reason as he rode his bike past her on a bike path.

………

Local

The LAPD has released video of the vehicle driven by a hit-and-run driver who killed a woman riding circles around a Venice intersection last month; police are looking for a black, large-sized SUV, possibly a Chevrolet Suburban.

This is who we share the road with. It’s bad enough that so many people have to live on our streets. Worse that their lives are at risk from overly aggressive, distracted, drunk, stoned or merely careless drivers who can’t manage to keep their cars from banging together.

Streetsblog looks at Monday’s celebration of Streets4All and the LACBC meeting their $25,000 goal for the city’s first public/private partnership; the money will fund initial engineering and outreach to reimagine dangerous Sunset Blvd as a complete, livable street.

Walk Bike Glendale is hosting their first post-pandemic bike ride this Sunday. Although Delta and Mu might beg to differ with that description.

 

State

San Diego’s KPBS wants to know why the city is still widening roads when they’ve promised to shift away from cars.

The San Francisco Chronicle considers whether lower speed limits would save lives on the city’s most dangerous streets — if you can get past their paywall, that is. Short answer, yes. Longer answer, hell yes.

An 18-year old Chico woman suffered “significant” leg injuries when she was apparently right hooked by a garbage truck driver while riding her bike; her injuries aren’t considered life threatening, so let’s hope she recovers quickly and completely.

 

National

A provision in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that recently passed the US Senate provides $1 billion to restore urban neighborhoods by removing highways or lessening their impact on the community; too many Black and Brown neighborhoods were destroyed building them.

Morgan Stanley says the death of the American city has been highly exaggerated, although Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose are lagging in growth due to the high cost of living.

Interesting idea. A new Kickstarter campaign is selling flat pedals with LED lights to make you more visible from the front, side and rear. Now if they’d just make them for cleats, we’d have a deal.

More on the driver who somehow couldn’t resist zooming along Chicago’s DuSable Lake Shore Drive, dangerously weaving in and out of the bike riders enjoying the ostensibly carfree Bike the Drive on Sunday.

Chicago Streetsblog wants to know why no one has been arrested for the hit-and-run death of a 70-year old entertainment lawyer, despite three witnesses, police camera footage, a license plate number, and the name of the vehicle owner. Good question.

A couple Indiana boys reportedly hopped off their bicycles and stood at attention as a funeral procession for an 89-year old military vet passed by, and remained at attention until the final gun solute before getting back on their bikes and riding off.

Nice. New York will remove parking on one side of the city’s Navy Street and replace it with a two-way protected bike lane, while keeping an unprotected bike lane on the other side of the street.

There’s a special place in hell for the heartless coward who refused to stop after knocking an 83-year old Florida man off his bicycle in the country’s largest retirement community. Never mind that hitting a bike rider with the passenger side mirror is a pretty clear violation of the state’s three-foot passing law.

 

International

A new bikeshare company hopes to undercut London’s famed Boris Bikes and Lime by offering app-based dockless ebikes with no fee to unlock, and the first ten minutes free.

Scotland’s newly-appointed active transport minister — the first anywhere in the UK — is coming under criticism for not wearing a helmet when he rides a bike, saying wearing one makes him feel like he’s competing in an extreme sport. We could use someone like that in an official government capacity here, with or without a skid lid.

Heartbreaking followup to the story of India’s Bicycle Girl, who gained worldwide fame for carrying her injured father 700 miles to their home on the back of her bicycle at the beginning of the country’s pandemic lockdown; her father died of a heart attack a year later, and the funds she received for her feat are exhausted after helping her family weather the pandemic.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling Australia is already looking forward to the world road championships coming to Wollongong, New South Wales next year, even though this year’s worlds in Flanders is still over ten days away.

 

Finally…

How wasted do you have to be to hear a gunshot while sitting on a bike path, and realize you’ve been shot — without realizing you did it yourself?

And nothing like a crustacean bike traffic director.

………

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

LACBC and Streets for All virtual holiday events, big jump in distracted driving, and bust made in Venice bike theft death

Welcome to Week Two of the 6th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Thanks to John C for his generous donation to help keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming to your favorite screen every morning! 

If you haven’t already, take a few minutes right now to join him in supporting this site!

Seriously, don’t make me beg.

………

The LACBC will host their free virtual holiday party and potluck this Thursday.

You can register for the event and purchase raffle tickets here.

Meanwhile, Streets for All will host a virtual happy hour this Wednesday to chat with Hayes Davenport, host of the LA Podcast and an advisor to new LA Councilmember Nithya Raman.

He also has the perfect old Hollywood name right out of Central Casting.

………

No surprise here, as Streetsblog announces distracted driving has skyrocketed during the pandemic.

Something anyone who’s spent much time riding or walking the streets can attest to.

………

Culver City 311 announces that police have apparently re-arrested the bike thief who killed a 73-year old man while trying to wrestle his bicycle from his grasp; the victim died when he fell and hit his head hit the pavement.

Let’s hope his killer faces the murder charge he so richly deserves.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the heads-up.

………

The Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council is looking for a few good men or women; we need to get more bike and pedestrian advocates on the council so we can finally see some positive changes around here.

………

In a special shoutout to former pro Phil Gaimon, here’s the LA Times’ tips for making the best holiday cookies.

………

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

A Montana man pled guilty to booby trapping a popular forrest trail with a nail-spiked board hidden under debris to discourage mountain bikers from using the trail; instead it seriously injured a father walking with his kids.

An Aussie man admits outside court that his idiotic stunt of pushing a shopping cart into a pack of bicyclists riding at speed after a 12-hour bender could have gotten someone killed.

Gee, ya think?

………

………

Local

Angelenos are once again being told to stay home to avoid spreading the coronavirus; the order specifically prohibits travel by “foot, bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, car or public transit,” though there are countless exceptions, and debate over whether they really mean it.

 

State

Bad news from the Central Coast, where a bike rider was killed in a collision with a driver on the 101 Freeway in Arroyo Grande. Naturally, initial reports blamed the victim.

San Luis Obispo’s new active transportation plan commits to completing 100% of the city’s 52 highest priority bike and pedestrian projects within the next ten years — even though 93.5% of the projects are still outstanding. As Los Angeles bike riders can attest, though, a promise like that is only as good as the city’s willingness to live up to it.

More bad news from Tracy, where a 73-year old man was killed in a collision while riding his bike; police immediately blamed the victim for wearing dark clothes and riding without lights after dark, as well as not using a crosswalk to cross the roadway — even though bicyclists aren’t required or even expected to.

Still more bad news, this time from Lake County, where another 73-year old man was killed by a hit-and-run driver as he was riding his bike; the CHP caught the driver several hours later after she abandoned her car at a nearby hotel.

 

National

Gear Junkie looks at the best fat bikes for the coming year.

America’s last remaining Tour de France winner is back in the bike business with a new line of ebikes.

Police in Lincoln NE busted three men, including a 16-year old boy, accused of getting out of their car to mug a 69-year old bike rider and steal his belongings.

Wisconsin’s only Black-owned book store is currently doing business on the back of a big blue tricycle. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling’s site blocks you out.

Sad news from Philadelphia, where a local community is mourning the death of a long-time neighborhood bike cop from Covid-19.

Life is cheap in Louisiana, where a man got two years home detention for fleeing the scene after slamming his SUV into two kids sharing a bike; fortunately, both recovered after suffering serious injuries.

Florida has completed a study for a bike trail along the state’s coast highway south of Jacksonville where retired ABC News correspondent Tim O’Brien was killed while riding his bike, but it hasn’t been funded.

 

International

Road.cc offers a holiday gift guide for awkward cycling fans, most of which is surprisingly affordable.

Cycling News turns the tables on yesterday’s men’s gift guide for bicyclists with a guide for bike-riding women. Because evidently, men don’t use bike tires or CO2 inflators.

An Ontario, Canada woman reached out to other female mountain bike riders three years ago to form a new group; she now has a network of over 100 active riders.

A Toronto letter writer complains that the city spend $240,000 to build, then remove, a protected bike lane, and concludes that building bike lanes that will be used just “four or five months out of the year” is insanity. Who knew Canadians are that afraid of a little cold weather?

Over 300 Montreal residents complained about bike paths and pedestrian streets that popped up in the city during the pandemic. Which means the other roughly 4,220,700 people in the metro area didn’t.

A British writer takes a 1,307-mile bikepacking trip across the entire length of the UK. Which may be the only place Brits can go once Brexit kicks in at the end of the year.

A Hungarian man is all smiles after riding over 8,000 miles from Hungary to India, despite four weeks in a Pakistani jail when he tried to cross the border.

 

Competitive Cycling

Mountain bike downhill legend Rachel Atherton welcomes the pandemic bike boom, saying everyone has finally discovered what she already knew about bikes.

Eleven of the biggest names in women’s cycling are calling it a career, including American Katie Hall.

Cycling scion Axel Merckx, who ought to know, warns today’s top young cyclists not to burn out too early.

 

Finally…

Don’t ride your ebike like a motorcycle. Who needs the power company when you’ve got a bicycle?

And introducing a thousand dollar full carbon balance bike for the weight weenie toddler in your life.

No, seriously.

Photo from Specialized’s website.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

Bike riders clotheslined on Seal Beach bike path, and Baldwin Park teen struck by driver while fleeing bikejackers

Our anonymous correspondent reports two more victims in the ongoing war on bikes.

As if we all didn’t have enough to worry about.

Sunday afternoon in Seal Beach, two cyclists got nailed by fishing line pulled across the river path.

One of them was my landlord, who suffered an abrasion across his cheek and a busted knee when he slammed down onto the embankment. A cyclist who stopped to help him said the same thing had just happened to him about 15 minutes prior. This happened in view of a homeless encampment.

I’ll get more info when I get home in the morning (I’m “essential,” lol). My landlord is okay, no concussion or anything, but his wife and I are nagging him to report it. Again, I’ll have more details in the morning, and hopefully confirmation that it’s been reported.

Yes, attacks like this can and should be reported to the police.

It’s not just a prank. It’s an assault a deadly weapon, which can result in serious injury — or worse — to an unsuspecting victim.

And should be treated like the serious crime it is.

Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery from Pexels.

………

Horrible news from Baldwin Park, where a boy was struck by a driver while attempting to flee from robbers who wanted his bike.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

………

No surprise here, as a new study shows in-dash infotainment systems are just another form of dangerously distracted driving.

Thanks to Frank Lehnerz for the link.

………

Take a virtual ride with former national crit champ Rahsaan Bahati and his younger brother this evening, and every Tuesday. As much as I’d love to ride with Bahati, I’d hate to get virtually dropped. And I would.

Meanwhile, those of us who are jonesing for baseball can take a 30-minute virtual bike ride with Angels manager Joe Maddon through his Arizona neighborhood as he talks 1979, baseball and music.

………

Congratulations to CiclaValley’s Zachary Rynew on bringing another bike rider into being.

………

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

Police in El Cerrito CA are looking for a man and woman who shot a bike rider after arguing with him on a popular bike path; the victim was hospitalized with a non-life threatening bullet wound to his leg.

This is what it looks like to be knocked on your ass by a sideswiping hit-and-run driver.

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

Police in Port Hueneme busted a homeless man who was following an Amazon delivery driver around a senior complex, then tried to flee by riding salmon on a major street; he was found with meth and drug paraphernalia, and was wanted on an outstanding warrant.

A Eureka man was busted on a charge of attempted robbery after fleeing from police carrying an unconcealed knife.

Michigan police are looking for a man who rode off on a black bicycle after robbing a gas station. But at least he maintained social distancing, right?

………

Local

The Los Angeles Times asks which SoCal public spaces are safe to visit during the coronavirus crisis? Trick question — none of them, if you can’t maintain a minimum six-foot distance with everyone else.

Meanwhile, a Times editorial says just stay home, already.

LA County trails were closed over the weekend; it was unclear whether LA city parks and trails would follow suit.

CiclaValley looks at how the closure of LA’s parks will affect bicycling.

Men’s Journal visits Silver Lake’s Golden Saddle, calling it LA’s most famous bike shop.

Vampire Diaries actress Nina Dobrev is one of us. So is triple Olympic gold medalist Shaun White, as the couple went for a bike ride through the ‘Bu with her dog tucked under his arm.

 

State

Bike Mag examines how climate change is affecting mountain biking, with a look at California’s newly expanded fire risk.

One small plus in all this, as Newport Beach has closed the popular Back Bay Drive to vehicular traffic, while presumably remaining open to people on foot or two wheels.

Young people in San Diego practiced the opposite of social distancing on the city’s Pacific Beach boardwalk. The city closed beach parking lots to discourage such antisocial socializing, followed by closing the beaches themselves.

Joshua Tree National Park is now closed to everyone except for people traveling by foot or bicycles, which isn’t good news for people who live nearby.

Ventura County officials are reviving efforts to build a five-mile rail-to-trail bike path through the farmlands leading to Santa Paula; farmers have successfully halted it in the past by claiming bike riders and their pets will pee on crops and could be harmed by pesticides.

All Marin County Parks have been closed to cars, but people are still encouraged to walk or bike.

 

National

PeopleForBikes is still advocating for bicycles in today’s strange, new virus-infected world, while Cycling News explains why you’re better off riding solo. Thanks to Robert Leone for the latter link.

A writer for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News says heroic is the only word for bike shop workers who are staying open to help their customers through these trying times. And he’s right.

Bicycling manufacturers throughout the US are switching gears to make face masks and other medical gear to fight coronavirus. Which means it might be harder to find your next bike shorts or gloves, but you’ll be more likely to still be here to use them.

A writer for Gear Patrol says daytime running lights could save your life. Anecdotally, I noticed a drop in dangerous passing and angry drivers after I started using extra bright daytime lights a few years ago.

Bike shops are allowed to stay open under Oregon’s coronavirus closures.

The eight lane highway leading to Denver’s airport is an officially designated bike route, even if no one wants to use it.

The Minnesota man who killed a teenaged bike rider was drunk and stoned on a combination of booze, weed and pills at the time of the crash.

New York bike and pedestrian advocates recommend streets that should be closed to cars during the coronavirus crisis to create more space for pedestrians and people on bicycles.

A bike-riding Virginia bike mechanic stands to benefit from social distancing by being able to ride to his customers.

Once again, a bike rider has been blamed for inexplicably riding into the path of a law enforcement officer, this time in Florida. But this time, the victim will be able to tell his side of the story.

DC is shutting down the National Mall to bike riders and pedestrians to reduce the spread of Covid-19, and closing roads around the Tidal Basin’s cherry blossoms to everyone.

A DC site asks if the nation’s capital should follow the lead of New York, Philadelphia and Bogota in blocking off some streets to make more space for bicycling and walking.

A Florida newspaper questions whether police shot and killed the wrong man after attempting to stop a man riding a bike in connection with a nearby sexual assault; he was shot at six times after he tried to flee on foot.

 

International

The Verge says there’s no better time to take road space away from cars to promote social distancing during the pandemic.

A writer for Cyclist says it’s time to stop riding in groups, and regrets doing exactly that over the weekend.

Hats off to Pink Bike for testing eight relatively reasonably priced mountain bikes for a change, starting as low as $1,300.

While America’s president reportedly considers relaxing coronavirus restrictions put in place just last week, Britain’s prime minister ordered people to stay in their home after earlier measures failed to stop the spread of the virus; bike riding is still allowed, though, and bike shops can remain open.

Bike riding is banned in Girona, Italy, but apparently still allowed in Berlin, as long as you carry ID and ride with family members or no more than one other person.

Calls for social distancing aren’t going over all that well in Pakistan’s Punjab province, either.

India’s Hero Cycles is anticipating a big boom in demand due to the coronavirus, even though the factory is currently closed to protect workers.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews mourns the passing of Italian writer Gianni Mura, who they describe as a giant of cycling journalism; no cause of death is given.

You can probably cancel those plans for this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Vincenzo Nibali, winner of the 2018 Milan-San Remo race, led more than 4,200 people on a virtual ride over the course on the day the cancelled race was scheduled to be run.

 

Finally…

In case you need an emergency mid-ride espresso. Probably not the best idea to leave your bike in a cemetery after stripping for no apparent reason.

And no, that 60 mph ebike probably isn’t legal.

And you can probably forget that probably part.

LA blames Vision Zero fail on texting drivers, anti-bike bias on Bay Area bridge, and Arroyo Seco repairs underway

The Los Angeles Times pretty well sums up LA’s Vision Zero failure in two short paragraphs.

Last year, 244 people were killed in traffic collisions on city streets, a decrease of 0.8% compared to 2018, according to preliminary figures from the city. The victims included 134 people who were walking and 19 people biking.

The data may change slightly with additional analysis, officials said. But the early figures suggest another year of lackluster progress for Vision Zero, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s initiative to eliminate traffic deaths on city streets by 2025.

That’s two more bicycling deaths than I showed in my records. Which isn’t too surprising, since too many fatal crashes never make the news.

But instead of placing blame on the city’s insistence at nibbling on the edges of traffic safety, rather than making the wholesale changes to LA streets that define a true Vision Zero program, the city insists on pointing the finger at texting drivers.

Which is a major problem, of course.

But Vision Zero is supposed to be about accepting that people will always make mistakes behind the wheel — like texting, for instance. And designing roadways in such a way that those mistakes don’t become fatalities.

According to the story,

The Transportation Department made more changes to streets in L.A. in 2019 than in the prior two years combined, said spokeswoman Connie Llanos. Those 1,529 modifications to crosswalks, traffic signals, intersections and other elements of the street are designed to improve the safety of the street.

Yet none of those modifications included a single road diet or protected intersection.

Or, to the best of my recollection, a single new protected bike lane.

Rather than making simple changes to intersections, the city needs to take aim at changing the city’s car culture, said John Yi, the executive director of Los Angeles Walks, a pedestrian advocacy group.

If zero deaths is really the city’s goal, “we need to have a visionary plan that matches the scope of that goal,” Yi said. “We have failed to do that.”

There is every argument for making those kinds of wholesale changes to the streets, from saving lives to reducing traffic congestion and fighting climate change.

And only one reason not to — city leadership that fears angry voters, and lacks the political will to do what they know must be done if this city, and the people in it, are to survive and prosper.

As exemplified in the mayor’s action in unceremoniously ripping out the Playa del Rey road diets and bikes lanes less than a month after they went in, before they had a chance to prove themselves and drivers could adjust to the changes.

Yet they were elected, not to follow the will of those who scream the loudest, but to actually lead their constituents by making the hard choices to do the right thing, and build a city that works for all of us.

Not just impatient drivers. Or wealthy homeowners.

And not one that continues to kill too many of it’s most vulnerable road users.

Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush from Pexels.

………

Just in case anyone wants to argue that Vision Zero doesn’t work, Helsinki, Finland didn’t have single pedestrian death last year, following a slow decline from a high of 60 in 1970.

………

He gets it.

Then again, Peter Flax always does.

This time, the former editor-in-chief of Bicycling and near-daily bike commuter goes on a polite rant over a recent highly biased article blaming bike lanes on the Bay Area’s Richmond–San Raphael Bridge for making poor, suffering teachers late for work.

Not, say, all those other drivers on the bridge.

This is how efforts to build safe and convenient places for cyclists are demonized—as something that screws up the lives of motorists struggling to get somewhere important. This is how American car culture operates in 2020, when record numbers of cyclists are killed by drivers and efforts to do something about it are viewed as impractical and an attack on the driving public’s way of life.

Swan’s story is better reported than its clickbait headline might suggest, but upon close examination it reads like inadvertent propaganda. Though she name-checks the real problems plaguing miserable commuters, the central premise of her piece lends credibility to the absurd idea that the basic needs of embattled, working-class commuters are being trampled upon by people riding bikes…

He goes on to point the finger where it really belongs.

Let’s be frank. The congestion on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (and roadways in every U.S. city) can really suck. But it doesn’t suck because of cyclists or bike lanes. The traffic sucks because of sprawl and cheap gas and Americans’ love of cars. The traffic sucks because cities and states don’t put enough effort into housing, carpooling, telecommuting, micromobility, and financial tools like congestion pricing (in which motorists pay a modest surcharge to use roads at busy times, a tactic that has decreased traffic in European cities). These systemic problems—less suited to cranky populist headlines—are the real cause of traffic.

As with anything Flax writes, it’s a good read.

But more to the point, it’s an important one. Because we face this same sort of seemingly innocuous bias on a daily basis, with drivers failing to the real traffic problem is facing them back in the mirror.

And it’s not caused by bikes, bike lanes, or the people who use them.

………

Repairs are finally underway on a storm damaged section of the Arroyo Seco Bike Path.

………

The LA Daily News is hosting another candidate forum in CD12 on the 17th.

………

The 2020 Regional Bike Summit kicks off today, hosted by the San Diego Bike Coalition. The mayor of Encinitas, in North San Diego County, will be taking part.

Then again, so should every other mayor in the area.

………

A beautiful handmade lowrider bike takes first place in a bent wood competition.

………

Sometimes, though, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

Edinburgh, Scotland police are looking for a sidewalk-riding “bike thug” who got off his bike and beat a total stranger for no apparent reason, sending him to the hospital with facial injuries.

………

Local

Congratulations to Sunset For All, after the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council voted to support protected bike lanes on dangerous Sunset Blvd.

Voice your opposition to plans to widen deadly Magnolia Blvd — one of the city’s Vision Zero High Injury Network streets — next Monday at the North Hollywood Neighborhood Council meeting

 

State

Uber’s self-driving cars are on their way back to California, three years after the company got its hand slapped by the DMV for unleashing them in San Francisco without permits.

As we noted earlier, San Diego’s popular Ocean Beach bike path will be closed for construction work for the remainder of this month.

Nice gesture by a Santa Maria man, who returned a Kobe Bryant jersey that belonged to a fallen teenage bike rider to the boy’s mother nearly 13 years after he was killed in a collision; the boy had left it at the man’s apartment shortly before his death.

The Vallejo police union blames the victim after a cop is cleared in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager who fled a traffic stop.

A new San Francisco report contradicts the usual narrative from motorists, finding that drivers were responsible for two-thirds of collisions with pedestrians in the city last year.

Lime Bike wants to make a comeback in the Bay Area, despite pulling out of other cities in favor of e-scooter rentals.

Plans are underway to link 15 towns in Sierra, Plumas, Lassen and Butte County with more than 300 miles of new motorized and non-motorized trail bike trails in the Lost Sierra region.

 

National

The New York Times says new digital data streams are driving new approaches to transportation, using LA’s data-sharing requirement for e-scooters and dockless bikeshare as a prime example.

On the topic of bikes going nowhere, Flywheel cops to ripping off Peloton’s patented streaming technology.

Specialized has a new e-mountain bike for you, if you’re willing to fork out $6,500 — or $16,500 for the carbon model.

Life is cheap in Washington, where a man walked with time served after copping a plea to vehicular homicide for fatally right-hooking a 75-year old bike rider while driving stoned, despite a commitment to never drive after using medical cannabis for a bad neck. Evidently, DUI and homicide is just no big deal up there.

This is why I love the bicycling community. When the owner of a Cincinnati mom-and-pop bike shop had to go to the hospital, ten bike mechanics from other shops offered to fill in for him. And a crowdfunding page raised over $9,000 since Sunday night — nearly double the modest $5,000 goal.

Chicago Streetsblog says the city needs a Rapid Response Team, arguing that inaction in the wake of tragic crashes is unacceptable. Which is exactly what I argued for before and after Los Angeles announced its Vision Zero program; every death should be immediately investigated by a multi-disciplinary team to determine contributory causes and prevent another one.

Speaking of the Windy City, the Department of DIY struck once again, spray painting bike lane markings at a Chicago intersection where a woman was killed, after the city failed to maintain them.

New York City could soon require side guards on large trucks to prevent bike riders and pedestrians from being pulled underneath. These should be mandatory everywhere, for reasons that should be obvious.

Pennsylvania votes to allow protected bike and pedestrian lanes on state roadways.

A DC website questions whether “war on cars” is a useful term, after a WaPo reporter insists the district is waging one. Probably not, considering only one side is dying, and it ain’t the people in motor vehicles.

A local website discovers that some people actually like an Alexandrian VA road diet that’s being maligned by very vocal opponents.

 

International

Treehugger confronts the recurring myth that fuel for a bike rider causes as much CO2 emissions as someone in car. Short answer, no. Longer answer, hell no.

They get it. A column in Cycling Industry News says if the bike industry wants to draw new customers, people need to feel safe riding their bikes. Which is the best argument for why bikemakers and bike shops should get involved in local advocacy. But few do.

Even the Cayman Islands need better bike lanes.

Bicycling offers five tips from the world’s coldest bike ride, Canada’s Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra, to help keep you warm here in frigid Southern California.

Saskatoon, Canada, could soon remove a requirement for bicyclists to ride in bike lanes, arguing that faster riders should be allowed to ride in traffic lanes if they feel more comfortable.

Great Britain is debating whether to allow e-scooters in the country, where they are currently banned; a Swedish professor argues that cities should embrace them.

One place you can cross off your bike bucket list — the mean streets of Gaborone, Botswana, where bicycles are unwanted and unwelcome, along with the people who ride them.

A teenage Aussie driver faces multiple charges for killing two men out for their usual early morning bike ride while driving on the wrong side of the road.

 

Competitive Cycling

The San Diego Union-Tribune says USA Cycling CEO Rob DeMartini is taking the organization in bold new directions after years as an afterthought, as the sport went its own way without its help or oversight.

VeloNews says they already miss the Amgen Tour of California, which was cancelled this year after a 14-year run.

 

Finally…

If one shade of bikeshare doesn’t work, just keep going through the colors until one catches on. If you’re going to steal a bikeshare bike, at least be casual about it.

And world famous bike rider LeBron James wants to get you on a bicycle; rumor has it he also plays basketball or something.

 

Morning Links: Garcetti unveils LA Green New Deal, sharing the road with texting drivers, and Woon fund nears $10,000

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled his proposal for an LA Green New Deal, calling for a net zero carbon footprint for the city in just 31 years.

Sort of like that 20% drop in traffic fatalities we were promised by 2017.

So how’s that working out for you, anyway?

In addition to other proposals to fight climate change, Garcetti is calling for a zero-emission transportation network by 2050, driven — if you’ll excuse the phrase — by a major shift to buses and trains, resulting in a 45% drop in miles driven.

And yes, he does include bikes and scooters in that LA Green New Deal. Though just how much emphasis they’ll receive remains to be seen.

Which means safe riding routes will be necessary if the city is going to come anywhere near that 45% goal. Let along allow more Angelenos to go carless altogether.

As always, however, the question is whether Garcetti and LA’s other elected leaders have the political courage to make the hard choices necessary to get nearly half the city’s cars off the streets. Or to maintain those goals when new leaders come in to take their place.

Because so far, at least, saving lives hasn’t been enough to do it.

But maybe the city’s climate-conscious councilmembers, such as self-proclaimed environmentalist Paul Koretz, will finally support bike lanes if it means saving the planet.

We can dream, can’t we?

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels.

………

This is who we share the roads with.

Pasadena police wrote 366 tickets in just four days for texting while driving during April’s Distracted Driver Awareness Month, along with another 273 tickets for other violations.

Which means that if you think you’re surrounded by distracted drivers every time you get on your bike, you’re probably right.

………

It’s been a few days since I checked in on the crowdfunding campaign to give the impoverished infant son of fallen bicyclist Frederick “Woon” Frazier a better start in life.

So I was surprised to learn it’s now just $614 short of the $10,000 goal.

Credit Peter Flax for the jump in donations, whose story for Bicycling called attention to the tragedy of Woon’s death, and the heartbreaking impact his loss has had on those who loved him.

And led to over $8,000 in donations in less than a month.

………

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

A Tulsa, Oklahoma bike rider was shot in the leg three times by someone in a passing car.

A Peoria, Illinois truck driver threw a water bottle at a bike rider, followed by threatening him with a gun, after yelling at the bicyclist to get out of the road. Must be a rough town; a jaywalking pedestrian was threatened with a gun by another driver two days earlier.

Horrifying news from Michigan, where a hit-and-run driver dragged a bike rider under his car for more than a mile before he shook loose; the victim was hospitalized in critical condition. Seriously, what kind of walking human scum could be so cruel, uncaring and violent towards a complete stranger?

A British man drove 65 miles to deliberately slam his car into a bike rider he blamed for ruining his life — then got out of his car to hit, kick and strangle the victim as he lay in the street with gaping wounds and multiple fractures to both legs.

………

Local

More on the opening of LA’s first two-way protected bike lane on Spring Street in Downtown Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the LACBC says they’re already talking with LADOT on how to improve the new lanes.

A Los Feliz newspaper recognizes a number of local streets on LA’s Vision Zero High Injury Network; the city says it’s working to make safety improvements to some. Without, you know, actually inconveniencing drivers or anything.

 

State

A new Riverside bike commuter wonders why everyone yells at him when he rides on the sidewalk. Maybe it’s because sidewalk riding is illegal in Riverside. Or maybe just because bike riders are actually safer riding in the street under most circumstances.

Outside follows a San Francisco bike commuter on his two-hour, 35-mile mountain bike ride to and from work along some seriously technical singletrack trails.

There’s a special place in hell for the coward who drove off and left a Sacramento bike rider unconscious and bleeding in the street.

You never know when the owner of your favorite Berkeley coffee shop could turn out to be a former BMX star.

A 15-year old Carmichael boy was critically injured when a red-light running driver crashed into him as he as riding in a crosswalk with the green light. Yet somehow, the police still manage to blame him for failing to wear a helmet or reflective clothing.

A knife wielding Chico man was severely beaten by another man using an unspecified bike part. Which makes me wonder just what part he was using, and whether the rest of us could use it for self-defense against road raging drivers.

 

National

Speaking of Outside, the magazine is conducting its mountain bike testing in my brother’s new hometown.

A writer for Singletracks says all bikes are gravel bikes if that’s where you ride them.

More proof bike thieves are among the lowest forms of human life. After a Portland man was busted while burglarizing a bike shop, police discovered  he was responsible for the hit-and-run death of an 85-year old woman who was run down on her daily morning walk.

A bighearted Washington cop dipped into his own wallet to buy a boy a new bike after his was stolen and the police couldn’t recover it.

Nice story, as a Utah community gathers to celebrate the 70th birthday of a man known to everyone as Bicycle Brent, who makes a point of honking his bike’s horn and waving to the people he passes.

A San Antonio TX newspaper asks if the city can convince — or force — scooter riders to wear helmets. Short answer, no. Longer answer, no one is going to carry a helmet with them all day on the off chance that they might ride a scooter; they’ll either skip the helmet, or skip the scooter and drive instead.

An Ohio bike advocate is urging the police to take a report on all collisions involving a bicycle whether or not anyone says they’re hurt, because bike riders often don’t know they’ve been injured until the adrenaline wears off. That’s a common complaint, which is why I always advise telling police you were injured, whether or not you feel any pain.

I like it. When a Pennsylvania bike rider got tired of being harassed and run off the road, she responded by strapping a BMUFL sign on her back.

After a Texas paper’s DC bureau chief sent a tone deaf tweet calling bike and scooter riders who run red lights “adult assholes” — on the same day bike riders rallied for safer streets following the death of leading advocate Dave Salovesh — a writer responds by comparing the actual stats on how many people are injured or killed by bike riders to those injured or killed by motor vehicles. And no, there’s no comparison.

The NYPD is being sued for fining delivery riders using banned ebikes, instead of following department policy and fining the restaurant owners.

Former NY Rangers hockey star Sean Avery is one of us, calling it therapeutic to confront drivers who illegally park in bike lanes.

Baltimore bicyclists rally to keep a parking protected bike lane from getting ripped out because drivers can’t figure out how to park in it.

Horrifying news from Georgia, where a teenager fatally shot a 60-year old man just to steal his bicycle.

Four Florida bike riders were seriously injured when the wheelchair lift gate on a medical lab truck fell open, and the driver kept going without realizing he was mowing people down.

 

International

An op-ed in a Saskatoon, Saskatchewan newspaper says the bikelash to the city’s efforts to improve safety for bike riders is unwarranted and short-sighted. Pretty much like the opposition to safer and Complete Streets anywhere else.

The Beeb — as opposed to the Bieb — recounts the history of the bicycle, and explains why the future of bikes is so bright it has to wear shades.

An English soccer legend was seconds away from getting hit head-on by a red light-running driver, as he set out on a long-haul triathlon across the country.

A pregnant, cocaine-binging British mom was busted for driving on a suspended license, after she was released from a year behind bars for slamming into a bike rider while high as a dragon in Westeros.

A man in the UK has put together a Twitter thread to demonstrate just how differently bike riders and drivers are treated after killing someone. Which is an exceptionally rare thing for bicyclists; for drivers, not so much.

Brussels, Belgium is planning a protected bike lane on the auto-centric street in front of the European Union Parliament building.

Now that’s more like it. An estimated 10,000 bike riders turned out in the rain to demand safer streets in Budapest.

 

Competitive Cycling

USA Cycling has named the riders who will compete for the national team at next month’s Amgen Tour of California, which rolls in less than two weeks.

 

Finally…

When you have meth at home and your carrying drug paraphernalia on your bike, maybe riding salmon in the left lane isn’t the best idea. Nothing like installing the bollards in the wrong place on a two-way, now unprotected, bike lane.

And there could be an Android smartphone hidden inside your bike computer.

 

Morning Links: Rapley death leads to effort to catch texting drivers, and more holiday bike giveaways

It’s the last week of the 4th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Give today, and join the 37 generous people who’ve already given their hard-earned money to support SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy. And help keep this site coming your way every day.

Donate in just minutes via PayPal, or through Zelle with the banking app that’s already on your phone, using the email address on this link.

Any amount will help, and is truly and deeply appreciated, no matter how large or small. 

Or if you own a business, consider buying an ad on BikinginLA to show your support for this site, while you spread your message to thousands of bike riders in Southern California and around the world.

Not to mention you can write off the full cost as an advertising expense on next year’s taxes.

………

The death of an Australian tourist on an LA roadway has led to safety improvements Down Under. 

James Rapley was riding on Temescal Canyon while on an extended layover at LAX on his way back home for the holidays five years ago when he was run down by a stoned and distracted driver who drifted into the bike lane.

Now one of his best friends has developed a camera system designed to catch distracted drivers, and keep anyone else from dying needlessly. 

The system, from a company called Acusensus, works like a red light camera, capturing photos of distracted drivers and mailing them tickets. 

While no tickets have been issued yet, a four week test of the technology this past October captured an average of 11,000 drivers a day using their phones illegally

Something like that would probably require a law change here. But it might finally get California drivers to put down their damn phones and pay attention to the road ahead of them. 

And possibly avoid thousands of needless deaths and injuries every year. 

Then maybe Rapley’s death won’t have been in vain.

On a related note, I worked with Councilmember Mike Bonin’s office and LADOT to push for a parking-protected bike lane on the uphill side of Temescal Canyon where Rapley was killed. 

However, the plan LADOT developed for a road diet on Temescal with a protected bike lane on the uphill side and a separated bike lane on the downhill side met local opposition from Palisades homeowners in its only public presentation.

And was quietly shelved following the tumult over the Playa del Rey road diets in Bonin’s district. 

Let’s hope sanity returns someday, and the plan can be revived before anyone else gets killed. 

………

‘Tis the season. 

couple dozen Idaho kids got new bikes, along with free helmets, air pumps and water bottles in a holiday giveaway. 

Hundreds of Detroit kids got free refurbished bikes and helmets from Free Bikes 4 Kids

A Roman Catholic priest, one of 700 selected by Pope Francis to travel the world doing good deeds, gave every 2nd grader in a Kentucky school a new bike and helmet from Trek.   

A London neighborhood sees over 500 cycling Santas turn out on BMX bikes

………

Horrifying security video captures the moment an Australian bicyclist was run down from behind by a driver high on meth, who then continues on to hit a pedestrian and another car. 

No word on whether the victim was injured, or how badly. 

But fair warning, before you push play, be sure this is something you really want to see. The video is graphic and disturbing, and you can’t unsee it. 

………

Local

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. After a man was critically injured in a hit-and-run while riding on La Tuna Canyon with his adult son last year, Los Angeles officials unveiled a new separated bike lane and other safety improvements along the dangerous roadway

This is the cost of traffic violence. Two nine-year old girls are battling for their lives after suffering “massive” head trauma in a street racing crash; one driver was arrested, while the other fled the scene. 

Bird briefly flocked to Redondo Beach on Thursday, only to have its wings clipped and unceremoniously ordered to get the flock out of town by Sunday. 

State

Seriously, don’t kill the newtsThanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up

San Diego’s Holiday Joy Ride shines a light on safety improvements in the city, with many new projects set to be unveiled in the coming year.

North San Diego County bicyclists rode to honor bike and pedestrian safety advocate Roberta Walker, who was critically injured in a crash while riding her bike recently. 

After a bike rider was killed by a speeding driver on Ramon Road in Rancho Mirage, local bicyclists express their concerns about the dangerous roadway. And the local TV station offers tips on how bicyclists can stay safe, without a single word on how drivers should slow down and avoid killing people. 

An Oakland news site operated by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism offers a video report on the latest plan to complete the bike path on the Bay Bridge.

National

In yet another blow to alternative transportation, the Trump administration is converting the popular TIGER grantsthat helped build bike and walkways across the US into a highway building program. 

That energy drink could mess with your blood flow

A Seattle judge sends the city back to the drawing board, ruling in favor of a coalition of maritime and industrial businesses who sued to halt the proposed completion of an 18-mile bike path that’s been in the works for over thirty years. 

A local paper says a planned redo of I-70 through Colorado’s Vail Pass will have to balance the needs of motorists, bicyclists and wildlife; a bike advocate says some sections of the existing bike path through the Rockies are terrifying in places where it runs too close to the freeway. 

Wichita Falls TX bicyclist calls attention to the dangers bike riders face in the city after he was hit from behind with no warning by a drunken motorcyclist. 

I want to be like him when I grow up. A Wisconsin state senator praises the country’s longest serving state legislator, who she calls the dean of the senate — and who rode nearly 3,000 spandex-clad miles this year at 91-years old.  

Connecticut Public Radio discusses the origin of bicycles, and how bikes paved the way for the women’s movement over a century ago

After a New York ebike rider was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding in a bike lane, the NYPD trips over itself to blame the victim and exonerate the missing driver.  

He gets it. An op-ed in the New York Times says urban areas around the world are getting the message that cities are for people, not carsMaybe Los Angeles will finally figure that out someday

An op-ed in the Washington Post says traffic laws are universally ignored, and safety will never improve until drivers have to pay for breaking the law

An Orlando FL plastic surgeon says bike riders have to be taught traffic laws, and the laws have to be enforced to improve safety. In other words, he’s blaming the people on bikes for getting hit by cars, and not the people who hit them.  

International

Ottawa, Canada bicyclists are calling for a permanent memorial where a bike rider was killed by a cab driver earlier this month, saying the death can’t be swept under the rug. 

Life is cheap in London, where a dump truck driver walked with a suspended sentence in the death of a pregnant woman as she rode her bike. 

Royal-in-law Pippa Middleton gets back on her bike for the first time since giving birth in October. 

Troubling piece from a gay couple who biked along the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland as Brexit throws the border into question, and find gay people hidden deeply in the closet and a revival of the conflict between Catholics and Protestants waiting just under the surface.

A new competition-winning Dutch app enables employers to track bike commuters to pay them for riding to work

Thousands of people in Kathmandu continue to ride their bikes, despite the dangers and chaotic traffic — including missing manhole covers exposing open sewers. 

No bias here. A Kiwi columnist says it’s okay if he hates on bikeways as a ridiculous waste of money, because he rides a bike himself. Sure, let’s go with that

Competitive Cycling

Normally, Stephen Hyde’s third consecutive US national cyclocross championship would be damned impressive. Except the incomparable Katie Compton just won her 15th in a rowYes, fifteen

The former long-time coach of the late, lamented Jelly Belly team has found a new sponsor, allowing him to continue fielding a Continental-level cycling team

Sad news from the UK, where a court heard a cyclist died of a heroin overdose, driven in part by a crippling fear of urinating in public, which prevented him from turning pro over his fears of being forced to take drug tests in front of a witness. 

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas was named the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year.  

Finally…

Even the trees are out to get us.  Strava Santa is coming to town

And not everyone wants cycling gear for ChristmasThat’s okay; I’ll gladly take whatever he doesn’t want


………

Thanks to James van G and Mitchell D for their generous donations to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive to keep this site coming to your favorite screen every morning! 

Morning Links: Distracted driving crashes, CA fails on climate goals, and Reseda Blvd Vision Zero makeover

Welcome to Day Five of the 4th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive. Your support helps keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every morning!

………

No surprise here.

A new study from Ohio State University shows that distracted driving crashes tend to be more severe than other crashes.

Which makes sense, since drivers seldom brake for what they don’t see.

According to the study, “distracted driving raises the odds that a crash will cause severe injury or death.” But roundabouts or other traffic calming measures can reduce that risk by forcing drivers to actually pay attention to the road in front of them.

Then again, better enforcement can also reduce the risk by encouraging people to actually hang up and drive.

Meanwhile, a study from Carnegie Mellon University released earlier this year shows that just listening to a cellphone, let alone talking or texting, is enough to reduce brain activity associated with driving by 37%.

Which explains why distracted drivers do so many stupid things.

………

A new report shows that no district in California is doing enough to meet climate change goals.

In fact, the amount of miles driven is going the wrong way, increasing instead of decreasing.

Surprisingly, LA’s climate change model of promising improvements to alternative transportation and safety, then repeatedly failing to deliver, somehow hasn’t managed to entice drivers out of their cars yet.

………

Speaking of which, maybe LA’s Vision Zero isn’t dead yet.

New plans for a $17 million makeover of deadly Reseda Blvd include protected bike lanes, improved crosswalks and pedestrian islands, and bus boarding islands.

As long as you can wait another five years for the work to be finished.

According to LADOT, 50 people have been killed or seriously injured on the street since 2009. Which is about 50 too many.

Now if they can just build another 100 or so streets like that, then manage to connect them into a real network, they might actually make some progress in reducing traffic deaths.

Let alone meeting the state’s climate goals.

………

There’s a lot more news about the Florida driver we mentioned yesterday who slammed into a group of 14 bicyclists, killing one woman and injuring six other riders.

The 33-year old driver admitted she was distracted by something in the car, but couldn’t remember what. And offers a tearful apology, saying she’d trade places with the victim if she could.

Police hope to examine the driver’s cellphone, which was severely damaged in the crash; she’s given them permission to download her usage data.

Two of the injured riders have been released from the hospital; another remains critical following emergency surgery.

And a Florida writer says distracted drivers are making the state’s dangerous streets even worse.

………

Maybe they’re planning a two-wheeled sequel to The Italian Job.

Between six to eight masked thieves drilled through a three-foot wall to break into a warehouse owned by Italian bicycle company 3T.

And walked out with 20 high-end bicycles — including one hand-painted by the late, great framebuilder Dario Pegoretti.

Let’s all keep an eye on Rome Craigslist, just in case.

………

The LACBC’s Santa Clarita neighborhood chapter is teaming with Bicycle John’s to host a toy ride this Saturday.

Which sounds like a great way to celebrate the season, and warm up for Sunday’s CicLAvia in DTLA.

………

Local

This is who we share the roads with. A driver is under arrest for repeatedly attempting to run down a pair of Jewish pedestrians on La Brea Ave in the Fairfax District, after making anti-semitic remarks near a synagogue.

Writing for Los Angeles Magazine, a woman examines the pleasures and pains of walking in LA, including the unwanted joys of sexual harassment.

Fifteen years after the Gold Line arrived, Pasadena may build an overpass to improve traffic on California Blvd. But the city may screw bike riders and pedestrians in the process.

 

State

If you’re itching to tackle your first century, a uniquely named Redlands bike club will help you out with an 11-week course to get you ready.

A Cal Poly SLO student combines Continental-level pro cycling, mountain bike racing and cyclocross with slam poetry.

A San Luis Obispo man spent his Thanksgiving Everesting, climbing 1,300 feet outside Hearst Castle over 22 times.

 

National

A tech website says dockless ebikes and scooters are here to save the world — as long as cities actually design streets to accommodate them and the way people use them.

An opinion piece on NBC News says we should embrace scooters and dockless bikes, even if Elon Musk thinks they’re not cool.

A writer in Moab, Utah gives thanks for bicycles, calling them the original sports tech.

This is who we share the roads with, too. A Kansas woman faces charges — and stitches to her lip — after attempting to run down her ex-boyfriend on his bicycle, then swerving at her own brother before they retaliated in self defense. Needless to say, she blamed them for the whole thing.

The New York Times says more business travelers are riding their bikes to the airport instead of driving. The planned transportation makeover of LAX is supposed to include better bike and pedestrian access, as well as a new Metro station. Let’s hope they keep their word this time.

The Philadelphia Inquirer calls for revitalizing a declining street by banning parking, and using the space to make it more inviting for bike riders and pedestrians.

A DC woman complains about the failure of bike etiquette displayed by shoaling cyclists.

With winter unofficially here, DC commits to clearing snow from city bike lanes, as well as ADA sidewalk ramps.

West Palm Beach FL is planning to build 18 miles of separated bike lanes to go with the city’s 38 miles of bike boulevards, to provide riders with low stress way to get around the city.

A homeless Florida man who killed a bike rider four years ago will probably spend the rest of his life in a mental institution after pleading not guilty by reason of insanity; the victim was nearing the final leg of a ride down the East Coast to propose to his girlfriend.

 

International

A writer for Treehugger writes that bicycling is an important tool for the struggling lower and middle classes, and says “hating on” the people who ride them is classist.

Tragic news from Brazil, where a man was swept away in a flash flood after refusing to let go of his bicycle so he could be rescued. We’ve said it before — no bicycle is worth your life. You can always get another bike; another life, no so much.

Toronto can thank a bike-riding 1970’s mom who was kicked off a park boardwalk by a park warden for kickstarting what turned out to be a nearly 12-mile riverfront bikeway.

One more thing to watch for when you lock your bike. An English rider complains that his — or maybe her — bike was stolen from a new “secure” bike parking garage in Cambridge because the bike racks were improperly secured to the floor. Needless to say, the railway company operating the garage denied any responsibility.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a budding Brit pop star gets eight months behind bars for failing to look when she entered a roundabout, fatally running down a mother of five as she rode her bike.

A road raging British driver gets two and a half years for making a U-turn in an attempt to ram a bike rider who accidentally touched his mirror while complaining about a too-close pass.

The rich get richer. The Netherlands will invest the equivalent of $624 million to get even more people on their bikes.

Now that’s a close call. A bicyclist in the Netherlands barely avoids getting run down by a train after waiting for one to pass in the opposite direction. Seriously, always look for a train coming the other way before crossing any railroad tracks.

A writer for Forbes explains how an engineer for German auto electronics maker Bosch developed the system that led to the explosive growth of ped-assist ebikes.

A New Zealand columnist complains that the “cycling craze” is out of control and criticizes a plan to put bicycling instructors in every school, asking what’s wrong with a few skinned knees? Short answer, not much, if that was the only risk kids faced on the streets. Unfortunately, it’s not.

Life in cheap in Australia, too, where a distracted driver gets just nine months for killing a father of two as he rode his bike. She was attempting to change the music on her phone, which sure as hell isn’t worth leaving two kids without a father.

A British man working in Japan discovers it’s easier to get around by bicycle, as long as you comply with a long list of rules.

Seventy percent of Singapore drivers feel less safe on the roads because of bike riders. So imagine how the people on bicycles feel around all those cars.

 

Competitive Cycling

Here’s your chance to buy a slightly used two-wheeled Aston Martin.

 

Finally…

You may be young, but you’ll never look better in Lycra. This is what a paper writes when they don’t know the difference between a recumbent and an adult tricycle.

And seriously. Call me a Silver Cycler, and you’d better be smiling.

Or running.

………

Thanks to Paul F, Fred D, Thomas K and Joseph R for opening their hearts and wallets to give to 4th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive. Your generosity helps ensure this site keeps coming your way every day!

%d bloggers like this: