Tag Archive for equal rights for women riders

Guest commentary from the South Bay, LA and OC closed this weekend, and give a lot more distance when you walk or ride

Our anonymous South Bay correspondent has a lot on her mind today.

And all of it worth reading, which is why I’m reposting her email. There’s a lot to unpack here, so I hope you’ll give it a good read.

Including a couple reminders of the problems women face on their bikes that men don’t, especially at night.

Yesterday afternoon I rode to Carla Becerra’s ghost bike, with the intention of posting a little sign to remind the world that she was a registered nurse who we should have on the front lines right now, and also with a little P.S. (piece of smacktalk) addressed to the skunk who stole her jewelry.

There was a necklace hanging on the ghost bike. Just a piece of costume jewelry that the rain hasn’t been kind to. It was the bike’s only ornamentation.

It appears to have an olive green beveled stone pendant in a bronze setting, and several smaller, opaque chartreuse stones, clear glass beads, and pale blue gems on a tarnished silver or bronze alloy chain. I took it.

Can you contact the family and ask if it might be hers? If it is, they should have it. If not, I have to return it to the ghost bike.

………

I am cranky not knowing how court cases are proceeding, especially the Banks and Lindsley cases.

………

The speeding drivers lately are less worrisome than the speeding drivers in the rightmost lane. I swear, close calls lately have been a lot closer.

Why the f are drivers with two completely free lanes to their left still trying to share my lane, a substandard width lane that’s already occupied, at 45mph???

………

On Saturday night, on a stretch of my commute through an area between the freeway and a commercial/business park, a car slowed wayyy down as it came up from behind. It had barely passed as I hit the brakes and did a track stand at its 5 o’clock. Its driver yelled, “WANT SOME CASH?”

Are.you.fucking.kidding.me.jpeg.

I bellowed my standard response, which is a loud, stern, unambiguous, “Get away from me and stay away from me.” And then swerved behind him to flood his rearview with 1100 lumens. He took off.

For the record, since it’s pertinent information, I was wearing knee-high Dr Martens with cargo pants tucked in, a long-sleeved t-shirt, a reflective jacket, and a provocatively sexy giant lump of a 45L-capacity Chrome bag. And no make-up.

The bars are closed. The strip clubs are closed. The corners & bus stops are empty of trafficked girls.

The lonely and the predatory are still out there, though.

………

Much closer to home, I’ve taken to cutting through the empty parking lots of another commercial park in the past few weeks, mainly because there are cameras that can be accessed if I turn up missing.

Two nights ago, a couple of guys were vaping in front of a business, door open, lights on inside. One of them yelled at me, “Stay safe!” Last night, they were out there, so I stopped to say hi and ask them not to yell at me. The one guy is the business owner. He and his friend are sleeping inside the office with guns, just in case. They’re worried about their fledgling business and looters (and possibly saving on residential rent.) Anyway, I told them I’d alert them if I saw anything suspicious while passing through, and I expect they’ll continue to have their smoke break right about my commute time. This area is usually a ghost town but now I feel a little safer with my own personal armed bodyguards.

………

Some nights I would catch a northbound bus to cut a few miles off my commute (especially if, for example, it rained), but that particular transit agency has cut its service hours to 6am-9pm. Us schlubby little wage slaves who man the warehouses & run the mini-marts & stock the shelves & bake the factory bread aren’t the ones who benefit from such operating hours. And the 9-to-5ers who could commute exclusively during these hours are now working remotely. So fuck you if you’re off swing shift at 11pm, or if you work graveyards. Just stop bein’ essential, lol.

………

Last Friday shortly before 11pm, a rider was hit and left for dead on El Segundo Blvd, just a half mile west of a corner where a house was hit by a drunk driver on March 29th. And Monday about 7:45pm, a driver with a previous DUI hit a cyclist in East LA. Nothing in the news. And I wonder if these drivers are simply released, despite the violent nature of their crimes.

Photo by Burst from Pexels.

………

I was going to offer a list of all the park closures in LA and Orange Counties this weekend. But it’s easier to just say wherever you’re thinking of going, assume it’s closed for the holiday weekend.

However, most bike paths appear to be open, other than those along the beach.

………

No surprise here.

A study from Belgium and the Netherlands suggests that you need to give a much greater distance to stay safe from Covid-19 while biking or walking — up to 16 feet walking single file, 33 feet for a casual bike ride, and twice that for a hard ride.

So much for those pacelines and other group rides right now.

………

Speaking of group rides, hopefully the coronavirus will let up in time for fall’s Phil’s Fondo.

And a tip of the cycling cap to Phil Gaimon for aiming for another $100,000 for No Kid Hungry.

………

Not sure why this popped up again today, but it’s worth revisiting, as South LA’s own Justin Williams, the US crit champ, discusses the lack diversity in cycling.

And how he’s addressing it with his multicultural Legion of Los Angeles cycling team.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on. And on.

No bias here. London bike riders are facing even more abuse from drivers than usual, because several newspapers used a telephoto lens to make bicyclists riding in parks look like they’re much closer together than they really are and breaking social distancing rules.

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Local

New rules in Los Angeles don’t appear to require a mask or other face covering while you ride a bike, but they are required if you stop to shop or talk with anyone; Los Angeles Magazine lists apparel makers who’ve turned their attention to non-medical masks for the time being.

 

State

California advocacy groups are moving bicycle training courses online — including LA County’s ActiveSGV.

The executive director of the San Diego Mountain Biking Association offers tips on how to hit the trails while social distancing.

 

National

Inc. confirms what we’ve been seeing lately. The coronavirus has resulted in boom times for bike shops, as people turn to bicycles for social distancing-compliant exercise and self-care, as well as virus-free transportation. Although not everyone’s business is booming, evidently.

Build a simpler, if somewhat stranger, bike, and the world will beat a path to your website.

VeloNews wants you to gear up wisely on gravel gear.

Vice offers advice on how to get back into bicycling during the pandemic. Because apparently, riding a bike isn’t just like riding a bike.

A Kansas college student is working with her classmates to design and build a custom adaptive bike to help her father ride again, a decade after he suffered a near-fatal stroke. And crowdfunded five grand to pay for it.

This is what happens when people use bike trails illegally. A hearing impaired Nebraska man was injured when he was startled by a pair of miscreant dirt bike riders zooming down the non-motorized trail he was riding on.

A popular Syracuse NY musician was the victim of a double hit-and-run as he was riding his bike; he was struck by the second driver while he was sitting in the street waiting for an ambulance after the first driver fled.

Streetsblog says no one wants to take credit — or maybe blame — for banning ebikes on New York’s popular Hudson River Greenway, even though they’re now legal in the rest of the state.

The New York Times celebrates the rarified magic of empty streets, suggesting social distancing is giving us a rare opportunity to fix our cities.

Tennis star Serena Williams is one of us; the Florida gator she encountered while out on a ride, not so much.

No bias here. A Florida letter writer carefully explains when and why bike riders are allowed to take the lane. And then says stay to the right, anyway.

 

International

This is why people keep dying on the streets. An Alberta judge acquitted the driver who killed an off-duty Mountie as he rode his bike on the shoulder of a highway, blaming the sun and shadows for making the victim hard to see. Even though the driver shouldn’t have been driving on the shoulder in the first place. Never mind that he refused to take an alcohol test after an officer smelled it on his breath.

When their school was shut down due to Covid-19, a group of bighearted Montreal students devoted their time and their bikes to help seniors isolating in their homes.

Piers Morgan, host of Good Morning Britain, apologized to a Member of Parliament for the “complete moron” on a bike who kept riding through the background of their TV interview. He also blamed the bike rider for violating the county’s three-foot social distancing requirement, even though he doesn’t appear to come that close.

A London woman with cystic fibrosis will ride the equivalent of 62 miles in her garden this weekend to celebrate the third anniversary of the lung transplant that saved her life, after the country’s lockdown forced her off the streets. And despite the fact her new lungs are failing.

After a British boy spent six months saving up for a new bike, it was stolen the first time he rode it to school. So his kindhearted teachers crowdfunded the money to buy him a new one in just three hours.

A Welsh man is suing Bianchi for the equivalent of nearly $1.3 million after going over his handlebars when both sides of his front fork snapped at 20 mph.

A pair of competing bicycle organizations have set aside their differences and are working together to compile a list of UK bike shops still open under the country’s lockdown.

Parisian boulangeries are responding to the coronavirus lockdown by delivering baguettes by bicycle.

Uganda’s Covid-19 lockdown forces a couple to simplify their wedding, limiting them to just ten guests as they arrived on foot, while the pastor came by bicycle; all public and private transportation other than bikes are banned.

 

Competitive Cycling

Pez Cycling News looks back to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and the dawn of the modern super bike.

British Cycling, the UK’s national governing body for bicycling, has cut a third of its staff, after the coronavirus leads to losing the equivalent of nearly $5 million in donations.

The Tour de France is considering a proposal to move the start of the race back nearly a full month in hopes Covid-19 will go away by then, though Spartacus is standing by with a bucket of cold water.

 

Finally…

Now that’s a fixie. Unless maybe you’re looking for an exquisite vintage men’s bike — or maybe an ex-Giro winning bike. Of course, you’ll also need some stylish shoes to go with it.

And it wouldn’t hurt to design your own helmet, too.

Personally, I’ll take the Bottecchia hands-down, in case anyone wants to get me an early birthday present. 

………

Chag Pesach samech to everyone celebrating Passover this week.

Be safe, and stay healthy.

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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