Tag Archive for equity

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.

Morning Links: Tamika Butler moves to LA’s Toole Design, suspect busted in Hyperion hit-and-run, and LA SciFi Bike

She’s back.

After stepping away from local bike advocacy for a few years, Tamika Butler is stepping back onto the field.

The former head of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is taking a position as Director of Planning, California, and Director of Equity and Inclusion for Toole Design Group, working out of their Los Angeles office.

This is how the company announced the hire.

A civil rights attorney with a diverse background in law, nonprofit leadership, and community engagement, Tamika brings a unique perspective to the intersection of transportation, inequality, community, and shared values. Formerly the executive director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Tamika helped the LACBC shift its advocacy platform to include and incorporate the voices of communities of color, LGBTQ communities, and young people into its work improving active transportation in Los Angeles County. Her three-year tenure leading the LACBC brought numerous advocacy wins and earned the organization national attention for its work on ensuring that bicycle planning and programs across Los Angeles County includes and acknowledges its community members’ values and lived experiences.

In addition to her responsibilities on planning projects, Tamika will also lead Toole Design’s internal efforts to become a more diverse, inclusive workplace that employs people of all backgrounds. This includes collaborating with Human Resources on recruiting and hiring practices, leading trainings for staff, and serving as a resource for colleagues across the country.

Let’s hope they know what they’re getting into.

During her too-brief stay with the LACBC, Butler quickly rose to national prominence as a public speaker and community leader, challenging the predominately white world of bike advocacy to broaden its horizons and refocus its efforts on creating genuine equity on our streets. A role she continued after she left the coalition.

As the above link shows, she’s not one to pull her punches, which has led to inevitable pushback, and sometimes anger, from those she challenges.

But she’s opened far more eyes, and caused countless people in and out of the advocacy world to rethink their approaches to communities of color.

Myself included.

I’d say I hope Toole allows her to keep up her fight for inclusiveness. But knowing Tamika, from my own time with the LACBC, I doubt she would have taken the job if they had restricted her voice in any way.

So let’s welcome her back.

And look forward to many more years of speaking truth to power, and challenging us all.

………

A suspect has been arrested in the hit-and-run death of a mother who was gathering recyclables on Hyperion Ave to pay for her daughter’s college tuition.

Meanwhile, a crowdfunding page in her honor has already raised nearly $4,000 over the $15,000 goal.

I’m told that community members reached out to LADOT and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell’s office over two years ago to request safety improvements to the intersection where she died, but never got a response.

Let alone any action.

Which sadly shouldn’t surprise anyone.

………

Your next bike could have levers instead of pedals.

A new Kickstarter campaign from an LA-based inventor promises to let you ride more efficiently with less effort. And on a very cool, if very strange, SciFi-looking frame.

All for the low, low price of $3,600 for just the frame and drive system; all the other components — wheels, seat, handlebars, etc — are on you.

Although so far, it’s raised just $211 of the $347,000 goal, with 28 days to go.

………

Local

The LACBC’s next Sunday Funday Ride will take a tour of historic San Fernando and Pacoima on February 3rd, for anyone who’d rather ride than watch the Super Bowl pregame. Which should be just about everyone, unless the Rams win on Sunday.

London’s Evening Standard offers what they call the ultimate feel good guide to Los Angeles — as long as Los Angeles doesn’t extend much beyond the Westside. But at least they recommend renting a bike and riding the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path.

Culver City will hold a ribbon cutting next Friday for segment 7 of the Park to Playa Trail, a 13-mile regional trail connecting Baldwin Hills to the Pacific Ocean.

State

A proposal in the state legislature would eliminate the need for duplicate federal and state environmental reviews for roadways, bikeways and pedestrian projects, reducing costs and speeding the approval process.

Encinitas may cut the speed limit on the Coast Highway from 35 mph to 30, in advance of construction on new bike lanes and sidewalks.

Perhaps making up for the demise of Interbike, the opening day of the inaugural CABDA West bike expo in Del Mar drew 1,200 retailers, mostly from Southern California.

Robert Leone forwards this story about the UC San Diego fencing team deciding to wear helmets any time they bike or skateboard, noting that fencing was one of the first sports to require helmets. Then again, they also have swords, which should help immensely in slicing through traffic or cutting across campus.

A San Diego man is asking for the public’s help in identifying the thief who stole the bicycle he was using to recover from injuries suffered in a motorcycle crash. On the other hand, that’s about what you can expect when you leave an unlocked bike on your front porch.

A Canadian writer goes mountain biking at SkyPark at Santa’s Village near Lake Arrowhead.

A year in, not everyone in Santa Cruz is happy with Jump’s dockless ebike program.

A new San Francisco bike brand can be ordered online and built up for whatever kind of riding you want, from gravel to touring. And then a local bike shop or mechanic will put it together for you.

National

Nothing like a DARPA designed foldie for the next time you need to jump out of a plane and hit the ground rolling.

This is why you shouldn’t fight with a bike thief. An Albuquerque man was fatally shot after struggling with a man who tried to take his bike as he waited for a bus. Seriously, just let it go. No bike is worth your life.

The company behind the late, lamented Interbike trade show floats a trial balloon, saying they could combine a bike trade show with Denver’s Outdoor Retailer shows.

Bicycling injuries and fatalities spiked in Dallas last year; a local magazine blames the introduction of bikeshare on streets without bike lanes. Although as others have told me, correlation does not equal causation; blaming bikeshare is meaningless until we know how many of those deaths and injuries happened to bikeshare riders.

A Boston area bicyclist and former selectman says bike lanes would be great, but they’re a luxury until the crappy pavement is fixed.

Bicycling says Whoopie couldn’t be more wrong about bike lanes, and the one she complained about on The View doesn’t even exist. She didn’t seem any calmer the next day, either. Meanwhile, a writer for Denver Streetsblog says he still loves Whoopie, even though she hates bikes.

A Philadelphia councilmember wants to know if e-scooters are good for black neighborhoods not served by the city’s bikeshare system. Although a better option would be a bikeshare system that serves everyone.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is in a wheelchair as she recovers from a broken hip socket and pelvis suffered in a recent bike crash.

Orlando FL follows Santa Monica’s lead, and installs parking boxes where dockless bikeshare ebikes can be left and picked up without blocking sidewalks. Los Angeles, not so much.

Good Samaritans use a floor jack to rescue a Florida bike rider after he was run over by a pickup driver and trapped under the truck.

International

Road.cc considers 15 things they say every cyclist loves. Which, of course, not everyone does.

Bicycling as a moving meditation to keep you grounded. I’ve long considered riding a bicycle a form of meditation, and the only place I’ve ever experienced the Zen state of satori.

A UK columnist says bicyclists should have properly policed, protected bike lanes, and drivers should have to retake their driver’s test every seven years.

A British man faces serious charges after he was busted for the hit-and-run bike crash that left a 70-year old woman with life-changing injuries.

A bike-riding Brit hit man has been convicted of two murders, tied to the crimes by his fitness tracker. Note to the wise: If you plan to kill anyone, leave the Apple Watch and Fitbit behind.

Only in Ireland would a story on bike safety begin by quoting George Orwell and the poet Philip Larkin.

No bias here. A former Irish mayor describes bicyclists as “vicious.”

You can now legally use your e-scooters and hoverboards in Denmark’s bike lanes.

A New Zealand driver slammed into a group of bicyclists riding home from a race, hitting two directly, while several others fell like dominos; fortunately, none of the victims were seriously injured. And do we really need to say the driver kept going without stopping?

An Aussie news site offers tips on what kind of bike you should get.

Complaints about bikeshare were up 450% in Shanghai last year, making up nearly 20% of all complaints the city received.

Also in Shanghai, a man got a month in detention for running down a bike rider while still drunk from the night before.

Competitive Cycling

The Amgen Tour of California releases this year’s designs for the leader’s jerseys.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says drug testing a 90-year old cyclist is just going too damn far.

Finally…

Yes, it may wrap around your waist and sit on your hip, but don’t call it a fanny pack. The key to preventing bike theft is finding a safe place to park it.

And Lance Armstrong, venture capitalist.

Morning Links: Tamika Butler leaves LACBC, anti-bike NIMBYs sue LA, and Peter Flax nearly needs his own obit

When I was asked to join the board of the Los Angeles County Bicycling Coalition in 2010, I set out a list of goals I wanted to accomplish as a board member.

Chief among those was extending the reach of the LACBC beyond its mostly white, mostly Westside base to serve the too often ignored communities south of the 10 Freeway, and east of the LA River.

Tamika Butler made that happen.

In her nearly three years heading the coalition, she brought a degree of professionalism that the mostly volunteer organization had never known, building a solid organizational structure and hiring an experienced professional staff to serve the bicyclists of LA County.

But more than that, she built upon efforts that had already been underway — some successful, some not — to make the LACBC a national leader in addressing equity in bicycling, and in using bikes as tools for social justice. And in the process, started a conversation on race and bias that has reverberated throughout the US.

Since stepping down from the board last year, I’ve watched as the stature of the bike coalition has continued to grow, not in her shadow, but on her shoulders.

And it had become obvious that she had outgrown her position with the LACBC, and would inevitably soon move on to a more prominent role.

That day has come.

The LACBC announced yesterday that Tamika Butler will be leaving her position as Executive Director as of July 14th. Streetsblog reports she’ll be moving on to head the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust.

They’ll be lucky to have her.

Normally, that would be their gain and the LACBC’s loss. But in this case, that doesn’t fit.

In her short time with the coalition, she has lifted it to heights no one could have predicted when the board voted unanimously to hire her. And left it positioned for even greater growth and success in the years to come.

I hate to see her go.

But it’s time to take her fight beyond the world of bicycling, where she can make a bigger impact on the greater society.

And help make this a better, fairer and more equitable city for all us.

You can read the messages of Tamika Butler and LACBC Board Chair Doug John announcing her departure here.

………

The City of Los Angeles is being sued by the guardians of LA past, who think it’s their self-appointed duty to stop any forward momentum in the City of Angeles.

Like the nearly completed Target store that’s been sitting vacant and unfinished at Sunset and Western for several years, keeping the neighborhood blighted, depressing local businesses and denying residents the jobs it would create.

Not because it violates city zoning rules, as they claim. But because they simply don’t want it in their neighborhood.

In other words, the worst kind of NIMBYs, willing to screw over an entire neighborhood — or city — in an attempt to maintain the status quo for the privileged few.

Now these same people are suing the city for — get this — exposing children to dangerous levels of smog by placing bike lanes on major streets.

Not that kids are likely to use those arterial commuter lanes. Or that they give a rat’s ass about kids with asthma.

And never mind that the studies they insist the mayor is refusing to conduct have been done repeatedly around the world, and show that the benefits of bicycling far outweigh any risk from auto exhaust or otherwise polluted air.

They just don’t want bikes besmirching their fair boulevards. Or to sacrifice one inch of pavement that could be devoted to their cars.

And they’re willing to rest their case on bogus fears about the dangers to kids to do it.

If they win, LA’s hard-fought bike plan will be out the window. Which has been their real intent all along.

Meaning that you’ll be forced onto side streets, if you choose to use what few bike lanes they deem appropriate, requiring longer, circuitous routes to get where you’re going. Or continue to mix it up with motor vehicles on streets that will remain dangerous in deference to LA’s automotive hegemony.

Let’s hope the courts see through this one and show them the door.

Preferably with a foot firmly attached to their collective ass.

You have to hand it to any attorney who would be willing to publicly display such a complete and total lack of understanding of bike lanes and road diets.

………

Hollywood Reporter features editor Peter Flax writes his own obituary following a chilling close call with the driver of a Porsche on Olympic Blvd.

………

Manhattan Beach residents are going to war over the road diet on Vista del Mar in Playa del Rey, preparing to sue the city for their God-given right to drive from the South Bay to their offices in Santa Monica and Century City without setting wheels on a roadway actually designed for that purpose.

Because evidently, it’s worth killing a few strangers every year so they can keep commuting in their single-occupant SUVs from their multimillion dollar beachfront homes. And LA is supposed to just bend over and let them.

Regardless of the harm they do to the people and communities along their way.

You can see what those road diet opponents have to say on the subject by checking out their Facebook and Twitter pages.

………

A British woman has started a petition to protect the roads — or rather, those poor, put-upon drivers — from dangerous cyclists who play chicken with cars and hurl abuse at the people in them.

After all, it couldn’t possibly be drivers who pass too close to bikes or do anything that might inspire that anger.

………

Britain’s governing body for sports either missed or willfully ignored problems with the cycling program.

Greg LeMond once again calls for banning race radios in the Tour de France to make the race more unpredictable and exciting. An idea I wholeheartedly endorse. Just put the riders on their bikes and let them race.

………

Local

Streetsblog reports on Tuesday’s public meeting to discuss changes to deadly Fletcher Drive though Atwater Village, which writer Joe Linton describes as a necessary route for bicyclists through the area, despite the dangers of high speed traffic. Needless to say, most drivers at the meeting seemed to prefer the option that didn’t include a road diet or bike lanes, and wouldn’t do much to improve safety for anyone.

Six streets in the San Fernando Valley are scheduled for Vision Zero safety improvements, including Sepulveda Blvd and Lankershim Blvd — where Councilmember Paul Krekorian has already decided to keep the street dangerous instead of installing a road diet with bike lanes. The misleading headline implies bike lanes are planned for all of the streets, which is contradicted by the story.

Bike SGV reports Pasadena is planning to make the Sierra Madre Villa Gold Line station more walkable and bikeable.

The new superintendent of the La Habra city school district rode a bicycle across the US when she was in her 20s. I like her already.

 

State

That bike-riding rhino replica will complete its tour of the left coast in San Diego this weekend.

A UC Riverside man will ride from LA to DC this summer to spread a message of diversity and tolerance.

It’s safe to get back on your bike again. The Sacramento man who was convicted of deliberately running down three bike riders is back behind bars after being released on a clerical error.

 

National

Wired looks at the movement of women’s bike makers to finally go beyond shrink it and pink it.

An Austin TX teenager says he was “just blowing off steam” when he shot a bike rider in the face with a shotgun, nearly killing him. Hopefully, he’ll be in prison long enough to permanently lose that smug look on his face; thanks to Steve Katz for the heads-up.

Must be something in the water. In another Austin case, a 26-year old man was arrested after trying to ride salmon on an Interstate highway in an effort to elude police.

An Op-Ed in the New York Daily News calls on the NYPD to stop automatically blaming bike riders for crashes where they weren’t at fault, and stop cracking down on people on bikes as a result. Like in the case of the Israeli man killed riding a New York bikeshare bike, who didn’t swerve into a bus after all.

Philadelphia steps up plans for Vision Zero after a longtime transportation advocate was killed when a driver jumped the curb onto the sidewalk where he and another person were walking.

A Baltimore lawyer and the head of the city’s bike advocacy group explain why they successfully sued to prevent the mayor from ripping out a protected bike lane.

What the fuck is wrong with people? A Baltimore mother was murdered in a dispute over her son’s bike seat.

Jamie McMurray is one of us, part of the brigade of NASCAR drivers who’ve taken up bicycling, including a recent 102 mile ride up a South Carolina mountain.

 

International

Treehugger reviews Carlton Reid’s new book Bike Boom: The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling. Which I hope to have in my own hot little hands in the near future.

The Guardian asks if you can pick out cities from just their naked bikeway networks. Even without looking at the multiple choice answers, Los Angeles is obvious from its disconnected non-network and over-reliance on river and beachfront bike paths.

Evidently, it’s perfectly okay to kill a bike-riding woman with your truck in the UK, then decide there’s no point hanging around once the paramedics arrive, and continue with your deliveries.

A Welsh website explains why participants in the World Naked Bike Ride aren’t likely to be arrested; apparently, public nudity is legal as long as you aren’t offensive. Which pretty much rules me out.

I want to be like him when I grow up. Record-setting, 105-year old Robert Marchand helps kick off a French cycling event he competed in several times in years past.

A Berlin bicyclist was fatally doored by a diplomat, apparently from the Saudi Arabian embassy. Thanks to again to Steve Katz.

Denmark focuses on building streets where children can bike to school alone, resulting in happier, healthier kids. And adults.

ZDNet looks at the smart internet-connected Estonian bike lock being installed in the Bay Area BART stations.

A 26-year old Indian man will spend the next three years bicycling around the country to share the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi with school children. I want to be like him, too.

A bike group paints murals around Beirut, Lebanon to promote riding over driving.

Melbourne, Australia is the latest city to be invaded by Chinese dockless bikeshare.

 

Finally…

Your next bike light could help fill potholes. Bike racing comes to Beverly Hills; no, not that Beverly Hills.

And no, hurling it off a seven-story building is not the proper use of a bikeshare bike.

 

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