Tag Archive for equal rights for women riders

Morning Links: Inclusivity on the streets, the phantom threat of teenage ride-outs, and the war on bikes keeps going on

Today’s common theme is inclusivity on our streets.

Like the Harvard researcher who says cities should build “networks of wide, stenciled, red-painted, surface-lighted, barrier-protected, bicycle-exclusive cycle tracks” on main streets in “lower-income ethnic-minority neighborhoods” to help residents get to work quickly, safely and affordably, rather than focusing on wealthy, white residents.

Meanwhile, a Pittsburgh paper writes about the need to make the city’s streets “anything from an empowering outlet to a necessary refuge” for women, as well as those who “identify as women, queer, transgender, non-binary or anything outside of our typical notions of gender and sexuality.”

And no bias here. The NYPD kicked a group of 11 bike riders enjoying a Memorial Day picnic out of a park for not having a permit — even though the parks department doesn’t issue permits for holidays, and they’re only needed for groups of 20 or more. Never mind that it was the same group that was racially profiled…uh, targeted for not having bells on their bikes last month.

………

Eben Weiss, aka Bike Snob, writes that the phantom threat of teenage-led bike outs doesn’t exist, except in the world of panicked, ratings motivated news reports.

It’s no surprise that rideouts rankle the tight-of-sphincter; Homo sapiens probably started feeling contempt for anybody younger than them as soon as our life expectancy hit 30. And yes, being teenagers, rideout participants also do things a mature adult might consider “stupid.” In fact, I’m willing to bet some of them are even listening to that rap music and smoking the pot.

Even so, there’s not a shred of evidence that what has become an international phenomenon has resulted in an alarming rate of injury to either the public or to the riders themselves, and the likelihood that one of them might knock you down unintentionally—let alone target you for an attack—is so tiny as to be laughable.

Although he might want to decide whether to call them bike-outs, ride-outs or rideouts.

I stumbled on the first of what I assume will be many LA ride-outs on Memorial Day, as well walked past a group of young bike riders gathered in a park near The Grove.

Around 45 minutes later, they came rolling through the upscale mall, whooping  and popping wheelies, 30 or so teenage boys, mostly on fixies, as shoppers jumped out of their way.

As much as I admired their spirit, and the sheer rebellion in their affront to an icon of LA commercialism, putting that many pedestrians at risk was questionable, at the very least.

Although in my imagination, I like to assume it was done out of righteous indignation after one of the riders was kicked out of the Grove with his bike.

But next time, maybe keep the ride-outs to the street outside, where the only people they’ll annoy are safely wrapped in a few tons of steel and glass.

………

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

And on.

A Welsh man was lucky to escape serious injury when he crashed into a wire someone had strung across a bike path at chest level, knocking him off his bike and cracking his helmet.

An Australian grandfather describes how he survived by playing dead after a man standing behind a car shot him twice in the head while he was riding his bike on a dirt trail two years ago, for no apparent reason; his would-be killer still hasn’t been found.

………

Local

LAist checks in with LA’s great e-scooter experiment after the first official six weeks, noting that the Los Angeles Fire Department has responded to just 74 scooter-related incidents so far this year, although sadly, there’s been one death.

Yes, your bicycle is currency on LA’s Skid Row.

Pasadena police celebrated Bike Month with a bicycle and pedestrian enforcement detail last Fridays, ticketing 85 drivers for violations that endanger people on foot or two wheels; just five people on bikes were busted, along with 17 pedestrians. Which refutes all those people who insist that people on bikes always break the law.

The Venice Electric Light Parade is still going strong after three years, with hundreds of lighted bikes rolling on the bike path every Sunday at sunset to promote bike safety.

Santa Monica police impounded 32 Wheels e-scooters being used on the beachfront bike path; the scooters are allowed in neighboring Venice, but not in Santa Monica. And warned users of over 150 other e-scooters that they’re not allowed on the bike path.

A Santa Monica letter writer says the leading pedestrian intervals and bike traffic lights at Colorado and Ocean Avenues are going to get someone killed. Never mind that they were installed to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians.

 

State

California’s League of Cities expresses concern over a proposed law to establish state standards for e-scooters, saying it could mark the end of affordable bikeshare and scooter programs.

The Orange County Transportation Authority, aka OCTA, marked Bike Month with a three-mile bike rally in Orange on Thursday, making up for a rainout the previous week.

A nine-year old San Diego boy will have to walk to school now, after a thief was caught on video stealing his BMX bike.

A Berkeley bike rider says the city’s bike boulevards are nothing more than fiction, while complaining that drivers hit us, yell at us, even kill some of us. And then want to talk about their feelings.

San Francisco Uber drivers are told it’s up to them whether to endanger bike riders by illegally picking up and dropping off passengers in bike lanes.

 

National

It’s the 35th anniversary of the Remember the Removal bike ride, which follows the route of the shameful Trail of Tears.

Bicycling offers up an entirely subjective list of the greatest bikes ever made — if you can get past the nausea-inducing rapid fire photo montage at the top of the page. And if you can get past the fact that it doesn’t include a single bike from the last century, which I can’t.

Bike Portland asks where your kids should ride in relation to you for the greatest comfort and safety.

This is who we share the roads with. A Spokane WA man was driving with a suspended license, and didn’t have the interlock system installed on his car required for a previous DUI, when he fled the scene after running a stop sign and seriously injured a bike-riding boy.

Talk about getting it wrong. A deputy director with Utah’s Department of Transportation, who has apparently never heard of induced demand, says they need wider roads to avoid gridlock like California — which enjoys wide roads along with hellish traffic congestion.

A California artist is riding her bike across Nebraska as part of a “performative work” to follow defunct railroad tracks across the US and explore the gaps in existing rail trails.

Inc. examines how Wisconsin-based Trek grew to $1 billion in sales with a renewed focus on quality and service.

Speaking of Bicycling, they say New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare has gotten more butts on saddles than any other bike. Including a ride-by shooter.

A successful pilot project means bike riders could be allowed to use leading pedestrian intervals at nearly 3,500 additional New York City intersections.

 

International

A Calgary columnist says the Idaho Stop Law doesn’t have to be a hot potato, and the more he thinks about it, the more it makes sense.

The Irish hitman who allegedly killed a reputed mob leader in a bike-by shooting died on his front lawn in a hail of gunfire. Although his killers arrived in a car.

Bike riding continues to surge in Copenhagen, climbing to a 49% mode share, as the city considers further restrictions on car use.

No surprise here. That video we linked to yesterday showing an Australian driver brake check a group of bicyclists has sparked outrage among bike riders, while online commentators continue to blame the people on two wheels.

 

Competitive Cycling

Former race leader Primoz Roglic cracks on a rainy stage of the Giro, raising questions of whether the Slovenian cyclist can make the podium, let alone win.

An artistically inclined former Grand Tour stage winner thinks the modern domestique is undervalued.

 

Finally…

Maybe you can’t walk on water, but you can ride an ebike on it. Of course you want to see video of Phil Gaimon’s Cookie Corner on the Mt. Baldy stage of the AToC.

And even a tornado knows better than to mess with the Wright Brothers bike shop.

Monday morning meditations from a muddled mind — hit-and-runs, Bob Filner and podium girls

Sometimes there’s just too much swirling around my head to focus on any one thing. And not enough coffee in all the Starbucks in all of LA to clarify things.

Which is exactly where I am this morning.

A day when I can breath a sign of relief that my morning search for bike news didn’t turn up any major bad news for SoCal cyclists. Although the word from other places near and far isn’t nearly as good.

And you’d think that an old man using a walker would be able to cross a damn LA street without getting run down by some jackass who doesn’t have the basic human decency to stop his or her goddamn car after killing another human being.

Drivers continue to flee the scene of collisions because current law means even if they do get caught, they’re better off getting charged for hit-and-run than DUI, or may not have a valid license and insurance for whatever reason.

Then again, some drivers just bet that they can get away with it.

And usually do.

Not to mention we seem to live in a society that has lost sight of the value of human life.

And all of those things have to change before anything else will.

Then again, it would help if the press took the matter more seriously. Or at least cared enough to dig a little deeper and get the story right.

As for insurance, there was a proposal several years back to include basic state-run liability coverage for every motorist in the cost of gas. Whenever you paid at the pump, a fee would be added to ensure that every victim of every collision would be protected from every driver.

Which means you’d never again have to worry how you’re going to pay your mounting medical bills after some driver ran you into the ground.

Needless to say, it didn’t go anywhere, for any number of reasons, valid and otherwise. Not the least of which was that bad drivers would pay the same rate as good ones, even though they could receive supplemental billing to make up for a lack of driving ability. Never mind that the state should be focused on getting bad drivers off the streets.

Plus some provision would have to be made for electric and hybrid vehicles. And state run auto insurance sounded a lot like communism to some people.

Then there’s the news from our neighbor to the south that scumbag Mayor Bob Filner is stepping down at the end of this week.

Political leaders have long felt entitled to do anything they damn well pleased when it came to sexual behavior. Mostly because no one held them accountable for much of American history.

Though you’d think the long line of embarrassed elected leaders stretching from Gary Hart through Bill Clinton and onto New York’s Anthony Weiner would convince them to keep their damn zippers closed in inappropriate situations.

All of which would appear to have little to do with bicycling.

Except Weiner had tried, with varying success, to reposition himself as a bike-friendly candidate after earlier threatening to tear out New York’s bike lanes. And appeared to be winning some support before the latest round of sexting revelations.

And San Diego has been making great strides under Filner’s leadership to reverse decades of benign — and sometimes, not so benign — neglect of bicyclists.

Which may, or may not, continue under the next administration that replaces him.

Thanks, Bob.

No, really.

At least there’s better news from my home state, where a new generation of bike racers took center stage. Colorado’s Tejay van Garderen took first place and Peter Sagan won four of the seven stages, while Christian Vande Velde called it a career at yet another successful USA Pro Challenge.

Even though the race continues to allow women just token participation, while demonstrating that the best way for a woman to get on a racing podium is to put on a tight dress and kiss the winner when the race is over.

And if any local bike shops are thinking about using podium girls at any races you might sponsor, don’t.

Just don’t.

And yes, I’m talking to you.

Think of the message you send women riders — and your potential customers — when you treat them like trophies instead of handing them one.

And the mixed message you send more than counteracts any good will you might earn by sponsoring women’s races.

Keep sponsoring competitions for both sexes. But drop the podium girls, already.

After all, it’s hard enough for women riders to get the respect they deserve — let alone compete on equal terms with male riders — when you treat them with as much respect as Bob Filner might.

Don’t get me wrong.

I enjoy looking at an attractive woman as much as any man.

But what really makes a woman attractive, to me at least, is knowing she could drop me on a steep uphill ride anytime she damn well feels like it.

Now that’s hot.

Almost as hot as watching a woman receive a hard-earned prize for outracing the world’s best riders, instead of just being one.

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