Tag Archive for Eric Garcetti

Morning Links: LACBC calls for action on safe streets, bad day for San Diego bike riders, and anti-bike victim blaming bile

My apologies for Friday’s unexcused absence. 

I was knocked on my ass by another bout with dangerously low blood sugar. Except this time, I couldn’t get back up. 

It took four hours, three fig bars and two cookies to get my blood sugar back up to a minimal safe level. 

Yes, it’s true. 

Your sweets are my life-saving medicine. 

And as anyone with diabetes knows, the toll something like that takes on your body lasts for hours afterwards. 

Which is all a long-winded way to say diabetes sucks. 

So get tested if you’re at risk or have a family history of the disease. Then do everything you can to get your blood sugar back under control, and keep it there. 

Because you don’t want this.

Trust me. 

Now let’s get on with today’s news. Because we have a lot to catch up on. 

Photo by Dan Fador from Pixabay

………

We’ve waited a long time for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, aka LACBC, to step up and take any real action on our streets.

Including during my five-plus years on the board, when I fought a losing rearguard action to encourage them to stop working only behind the scenes, and take good fight to the streets.

It looks like that time is finally here.

They even make it easy for you by including the email addresses for the mayor and city council.

  • mayor.helpdesk@lacity.org
  • councilmember.cedillo@lacity.org
  • councilmember.Krekorian@lacity.org
  • councilmember.blumenfield@lacity.org
  • david.ryu@lacity.org
  • paul.koretz@lacity.org
  • councilmember.martinez@lacity.org
  • councilmember.rodriguez@lacity.org
  • councilmember.harris-dawson@lacity.org
  • councilmember.price@lacity.org
  • councilmember.wesson@lacity.org
  • councilmember.bonin@lacity.org
  • councilmember.Smith@lacity.org
  • councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org
  • councilmember.huizar@lacity.org
  • councilmember.buscaino@lacity.org

Let’s all take a few minutes and email the councilmember for your district. And remember, as the LACBC notes above, to include your address to prove you’re a real, honest to God constituent.

If you don’t live in Los Angeles, contact the councilmembers for any districts where you work or ride, and make it clear you want to be able to bike safely in the City of Angels.

I haven’t had a chance to write my email yet. But I’ll do my best to get it done today.

So I hope you’ll join the LACBC — and yes, me — in demanding safer streets for bike riders, and everyone else, throughout Los Angeles.

And maybe if we all respond, this won’t be the last time the LACBC tries something like this.

If you want to share your email on here, just let me know.

………

Speaking of the LACBC, here’s your chance to tell them to form an associated 501(c)4, so they can engage in direct political action without risking their tax-exempt status.

SoCal’s largest bike advocacy group, the LACBC wants your comments on what direction they should take at a Community Input Forum on Saturday, July 27th, as they regroup to confront the challenges of bicycling in Los Angeles.

You already know what I think.

If not, read these last two sections again.

………

Saturday was a very bad day in San Diego.

In what was initially a very confusing story, a 60-year old man suffered a life-threatening head injury when he allegedly descended too fast on a steep hill in the city’s Park West neighborhood around 3 pm, made an “unsafe” move to the right and somehow clipped a car mirror.

It made more sense when the Union-Tribune clarified that he clipped the mirror of a parked car; he was thrown several feet onto the pavement as a result.

Just three hours later, someone described only as a teenager was riding on Claremont Blvd in Kearney Mesa when he or she was struck by an SUV turning onto the northbound I-805 onramp; the driver claimed he didn’t see the victim until it was too late.

Which should be seen as a confession, but usually serves only as a Get Out of Jail Free card to absolve drivers of any responsibility.

The driver remained at the scene, while his passenger jumped out to perform CPR on the victim.

Naturally, the CHP investigators blamed the victim, saying he or she wasn’t riding in the crosswalk. Even though bike riders aren’t expected or required to use a crosswalk.

And even though bicyclists still get ticketed for riding in a crosswalk, which is legal in California following a recent change in the law.

It’s not the first crash at that intersection, either.

Early reports indicated the victim had died, but other sources revised their stories to say it was unclear whether or not the victim was still alive.

Sadly, it seems like prayers and good thoughts are called for in both cases.

Chances are, we’ll hear more about one or both cases in the next few days.

Thanks to JMK for the reminder about the deadly intersection.

………

No bias here.

An anti-bike op-ed from an anti-bike writer in the generally anti-bike New York Post says it’s your own damn fault if you get killed.

The two things that might have prevented this horror — training and adherence to rules — are tellingly absent from the protesting cyclists’ list of demands.Not to put too fine a point on it, cyclists are frequently their own worst enemy, and their presence has made everyone less safe.

Of course, automobiles are more dangerous than bikes, but adding cyclists to the mix, many of whom refuse to obey traffic laws, has compounded that hazard.

Never mind that in many, if not most, of the New York’s recent bicycling fatalities the victim didn’t do a damn thing wrong.

But clearly, he doesn’t let that give him a moment’s pause.

When Mayor Mike Bloomberg began wedging bike lanes into our already crammed streets, it wasn’t to meet a demand — it was to create one. To promote cycling, he and then-DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, a bike enthusiast, threw caution to the wind and encouraged cyclists to hit the streets without so much as a helmet law, which might have deterred ridership, especially among the affluent, arrogant, scofflaw cyclists who want to use the city as their own personal racetrack.

Of course, only affluent people ride bikes.

Even though bike commuters are more likely to come from low income households, for reasons that should be obvious to anyone saddled with monthly car payments — let alone gas, insurance, maintenance and taxes.

And as well all know, anyone who rides a bike arrogantly insists on not getting killed by some random jerk. Like say, the writer of that piece, for instance.

It was a recipe for disaster, and the disproportionately influential, ceaselessly kvetching bicycle-advocacy groups capitalized on every heart-rending fatality to further their agenda.

Nobody elected the advocacy outfit Transportation Alternatives to speak for New Yorkers. It isn’t a safety organization, a cadre of seasoned city planners or even some impartial arbiter seeking what’s best for everyone; it’s a bunch of mainly upscale cyclists trying to make the city more navigable for themselves.

Actually, they did.

TransAlt is one of the nation’s largest and most effective alternative transportation and traffic advocacy groups, composed of thousands of average, everyday New Yorkers who elected the group to speak for them.

Then there’s this BS.

It’s not at all unusual to see them texting or riding hands-free as they careen through traffic. Close calls have become a daily occurrence, especially for the elderly and disabled, whose reflexes aren’t ideal for evading speeding cyclists.

Case in point, two months ago, 67-year-old Donna Sturm died after being mowed down by a cyclist who ran a red light in Midtown. If bicyclists can ride fast enough to kill, they ride too fast to enjoy exemption from the training, certification, insurance and identifiable licensing required for the use of every other vehicle on our streets.

Just wait until someone tells him about cars, whose drivers have killed far more New Yorkers than the single person killed by a jackass bike rider this year.

Not to mention that simply bumping into someone while walking can cause a fatal fall — as can tripping over your own shoelaces.

Which by his reasoning means that every person who steps out of their home or apartment must be trained, licensed, insured and certified.

Good luck with that.

We’ll leave the discussion on this final outpouring of faux journalistic bile.

Bike lanes haven’t made anyone any safer, but they have inarguably taken traffic congestion from bad to intolerable. The narrowing of our city’s critical arteries to accommodate a tiny minority whose vehicles are rendered impractical all winter and on rainy days seems to have been irrationally prioritized with regard to triage.

Maybe he should do just a little research before guessing like that. And missing by a mile.

But then, what would you expect from someone who pops up periodically with his anti-bike, but seems to be a ghost otherwise?

Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.

………

A Bay Area bike rider was pleasantly surprised when another bicyclist returned his lost money clip, completely intact, just an hour after tweeting that it was missing.

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Driverless cars may not be coming anytime soon.

But a new company plans to introduce fully automated delivery pods in the near future.

And plans to take your hard-won space on the street to do it, knocking us from second class citizens to ranking somewhere behind a bunch of robots.

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This is who we share the roads with.

An Arizona man faces charges for swerving into a bike lane and killing a bike rider, while under the influence of a veritable pharmacopeia of legal and illegal drugs.

Taylor acknowledged taking methadone — a drug used to treat addiction — earlier that day, but he initially denied any other drug use. After failing several impairment tests, he was arrested at about 9 p.m., according to the report.

Taylor later tested positive for opiates, methamphetamine, amphetamine and methadone, the police report said. He told officers he had used meth and heroin earlier in the week before taking methadone the same day as the collision.

Police also found heroin and paraphernalia in his possession, according to the police report.

 

Let’s hope he can manage to get clean in whatever deep, dark hole they throw him in.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the worldwide war on bikes just keeps going on, as someone has been sabotaging popular British bike paths by placing medieval-style booby traps across the trails.

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Local

Mariah Banks pled not guilty in the hit-and-run death of Frederick “Woon” Frazier in South LA last year, despite reportedly confessing when she turned herself into the police weeks after the crash.

Metro wants you to help rank their priorities for Our Next LA.

An ebike magazine goes e-mountain biking with recently retired former LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who helped get the department back on bicycles.

Burbank is studying how to improve safety for people riding bicycles as part the city’s Complete Streets plan, while the mayor calls for “quick and dirty” solutions.

 

State

Speaking of San Diego, the city has made the first installment in the promise by city leaders to remake the downtown area to be safer and more inviting for people on bikes, with parking protected bike lanes, bollards and green intersections appearing on three streets.

A group of bicyclists are riding across the US to raise money for families in need, starting at the site of the Poway synagogue shooting.

A Santa Maria paper says people in cars may be safer, but bike riders and pedestrians, not so much.

Oakland promises its new equitable bike plan will be accessible to everyone, regardless of identity.

 

National

The new Complete Streets Act introduced in both houses of Congress would require states to set aside 5% of federal highway funds for streets that serve all road users.

It’s getting rough in the Great Plains, as a Kansas cop rear-ended a fleeing bike rider while driving on the sidewalk. And an Oklahoma cop tasered an apparently intoxicated bike rider who refused to stop, even though the victim didn’t pose a direct treat to to the officer or anyone else.

Someone please tell this Illinois TV station that sharrows are not bike lanes.

Pittsburgh bike riders are leaving their bikes on buses. Or someone’s, anyway.

A Pennsylvania doctor thanks the four strangers who saved his life when he was struck with a sudden heart attack while riding his bike.

Speaking for NIMBY’s everywhere, a Boston writer says don’t mess with our street, promising to fight plans for a road diet and bike lanes, in an apparent effort to keep it dangerous.

No shit. New York’s police commissioner agrees that the NYPD’s longstanding policy of ticketing bicyclists following a fatal bike crash is just a tad insensitive. You think?

The New York Times wants to know what the hell happened to a city that was supposed to be getting better for bike riders, while Bicycling says it’s shocking just how badly New York is failing people who ride bicycles.

NYC councilmembers want to ensure the city’s expanding bikeshare program serves low-income residents, too.

Does it really surprise anyone that cars — or more precisely, the people operating them — are more dangerous than guns on the streets of the Big Apple?

A homeless man in Louisiana learned the hard way not to stick around the parking lot begging for money after you walk out of Walmart with a stolen bike.

An op-ed in the local paper says people should warned explicitly that riding a bicycle just about anywhere in the Charleston SC area is inherently unsafe, while the paper hopes the third time is the charm to get approval for a bike and pedestrian bridge.

 

International

The good, the bad, and the ugliest bikeways around the world.

A Canadian driver swerved to avoid a crash as a group of Gran Fondo cyclists cut into his lane at the last second to avoid a fall in the peloton.

A Toronto newspaper politely explains the point of ebikes, calling them the great equalizer, while a writer in the city tries bikeshare for the first time, and decides it should be expanded.

A climate change protester shut down a British airfield for 20 minutes to protest a military air show as he road his bike on the runway, pursued by firefighters and service members.

A UK YouTube star became the first person in the country to be killed in an e-scooter crash.

Adding insult to injury, an English thief not only stole a teenage boy’s bike, he flipped the victim off while riding away with it.

Maltese bicyclists complain about dangerously substandard bike lanes. Especially the section that dead-ends into a brick wall. Oh, and the green paint is slippery, too.

An Indian ex-con hated life on the outside, and the abuse he suffered from his wife and kids, so much that he stole a bicycle to get back to his friends behind bars.

 

Competitive Cycling

Defending champion Annemiek van Vleuten won her second Giro Rosa in a row, only finishing out of the top seven twice in the ten-stage race.

In your spoiler-free Tour de France update, the difficult terrain on Saturday’s 8th stage shook up the standings.

Le Tour went gravel grinding last week, forcing French pro Romain Bardet well off the pace.

Amazing photo catches defending TdF champ Geraint Thomas in midair as he crashes, landing on teammate Gianni Moscon while snapping Moscon’s bike in two and sending him to the hospital.

Then there were three. Tejay van Garderen dropped out of the Tour de France after breaking his hand in a fall, leaving just three American cyclists in the raceVeloNews considers why such crashes are inevitable.

The newly reformatted Colorado Classic announced the course for the August race, as it transforms into a strictly women’s stage race.

Horrible news from the world of track cycling, where a 17-year old Italian cyclist was in intensive care after he was impaled when a piece of the track splintered and punctured his lung at the European U-23 and Junior Track Championships.

 

Finally…

Bike riders hardly ever crash into outdoor cafes, and when they do, the result is usually a little spilled coffee and avocado toast. Before you sell a bike on Letgo, make sure it’s really yours.

And this is who we share the roads with, too.

Note the bike tally on his door.

 

Morning Links: DC takes Vision Zero seriously, WeHo talks Sunset bulb-outs, and LA zero-emission mobility fund

This is what happens when you take Vision Zero seriously.

A DC councilmember has introduced a 25-point bill to achieve to curb rising traffic deaths.

The Vision Zero bill ranges from mandating protects bike lanes in any new developments, to banning right turns on red lights throughout the city, as well as cutting speed limits to 25 mph on minor arterial streets.

The proposal would also require the addition of protected bike lanes when streets are repaired, impound vehicles blocking bike lanes or sidewalks, and allow bike rider to report bike lane parking violations by taking photos of the offending vehicles, with police ticketing the owners of the vehicles as a result.

A pair of companion bills would require curb extensions in all new road improvement projects, and make bike-related rules part of the district’s driving test.

Maybe someday Los Angeles will follow DC’s lead, and finally get serious about Vision Zero.

Because it sure as hell hasn’t happened yet.

Photo shows LA Mayor Eric Garcetti proudly signing the city’s Vision Zero proclamation at his prop desk; too bad that Vision Zero was just a prop, too.

………

West Hollywood will discuss success, or otherwise, of the bulb-out pilot program on the Sunset Strip in three upcoming meetings.

………

Somehow we missed this one last week.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti followed-up on his proposed LA Green New Deal by announcing a $300,000 zero-emissions mobility pilot fund directed towards disadvantaged communities.

Three hundred grand could buy a lot of ebikes.

And lanes to ride them in.

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

Police in Melbourne, Australia are offering a $50,000 reward for whoever has been throwing tacks on bike paths and roads, resulting in serious injuries to a number of bike riders. Nice to see them taking the crime seriously.

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Local

A writer for UCLA’s Daily Bruin complains that the Westwood Village Improvement Association applied for a Great Streets grant to improve Westwood Blvd, while ignoring the crumbling, dangerous streets students must use to get there.

A Glendale office building is home to the first commercial property ebike-based bikeshare, available to tenants at no charge.

Pasadena introduces Metro’s Laura Cornejo as the city’s new Transportation Director.

An affordable — whatever that means — Santa Monica apartment development walking distance from the Expo Line will offer 89 underground bicycle parking spaces. And not one space for cars.

Long Beach celebrates jumping over 100 spots into the top 50 bike cities in the US, which seems right since no one could understand why it ranked so low last year.

The 10th Annual Tour of Long Beach will roll this weekend, raising funds to fight pediatric cancer.

Cap off next week’s Bike Week with the return of the 626 Golden Streets, an open streets event running five miles from Mission Street in South Pasadena to the San Gabriel Mission. Evidently, CiclaValley is already in the mood.

 

State

An Orange County real estate agent says California’s future demands higher and denser housing and fewer cars.

A bike-riding man fled from police and barricaded himself in a Costa Mesa hotel room for five hours, eventually emerging with self-inflicted injuries.

Business owners in San Diego’s North Park say a little used parking garage could make up for the loss of 420 parking spaces to make room for protected bike lanes. Meanwhile, a San Diego weekly says the city’s removal of parking spaces isn’t fair to homeless people who live in their cars.

Mountain biking the historic Anza Trail through Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Happy Bike to Work Day to all you NorCal bike riders; Los Angeles will celebrate next Thursday on National Bike to Work Day. Pro tip: You don’t have to be riding to work to join in on the fun; riding to school or errands, or just for the hell of it works too.

A San Francisco woman relates the lessons she learned from biking to work for three weeks, calling the experience “life changing.” As long as you can avoid the spaghetti vomit in the bike lane.

Nice move. United Airlines is offering free airfare to anyone flying to California for next month’s AIDS/LifeCycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

 

National

Popular Mechanics considers the best road bikes for every kind of rider. For twelve grand, the Roubaix SRAM Red eTap AXS damn well better be.

They get it. A Yakima WA paper says the city needs to get it in gear and be more bike friendly.

A man calling himself The Bicycle Friar paused in New Mexico after spending 20 months and 15,000 mile bicycling across the US; the former Catholic monk is collecting prayers written on pieces of cloth to carry with him to San Luis Obispo.

This is the cost of traffic violence. An 83-year old Iowa minister was killed in a collision while riding his bicycle in Iowa City; he had served the community since his appointment as an associate Methodist minister in 1965, officiating at over 700 weddings over the years.

Texas bike riders go gravel grinding with the pros.

San Antonio TX bicyclists respond to a pair of recent deaths by forming a new bike safety advocacy group to educate both bike riders and drivers, while demanding more bikeways in the city.

I want to be like her when I grow up. A 77-year old Chicago woman recently finished a 3,000-mile cross-country bike ride from St. Augustine FL to San Diego — while riding into the prevailing winds most of the way.

This is who we share the roads with. A Cleveland woman attempted to use her car as a weapon, jumping the curb and slamming into a house in an attempt to ram a pair of women standing on the porch, but hit a kid riding his bike instead.

They get it, too. A Louisville KY TV station looks into suggestions that the city cut funding for bike lanes to make up for a $35 million budget deficit, concluding that after zeroing out bike funding, the city would still need to find another $34.6 million to cut.

MIT mourns a recumbent-riding thermodynamics professor who was an expert in gas turbines, jet engines and human-powered transportation.

In yet another example of keeping a dangerous driver on the streets until it’s too late, the road raging motorcyclist who severely injured a Florida bike rider by allegedly swerving into a group of riders was still riding, despite having his driver’s license permanently revoked following four DUI convictions; he was also accused by his stepson of murdering his wife, though he was never charged with the killing.

A Tampa FL bike rider was shot in the ass after refusing to stop when two men tried to get him to.

 

International

Red Bull offers tips for your international mountain biking expedition.

How to take much better photos of your bike.

A London woman says the city could be a bicycling town, if the reckless macho bicyclists would just tone it down. She’s got a point. The highest law of bicycling should be to always ride in a way that doesn’t pose needless risk to yourself or others. 

When a Welsh bike rider couldn’t find a mountain bike he wanted, he built it himself.

Not only will Welsh doctors be able to prescribe bikeshare use to their patients, as we noted yesterday, but it will be fully covered by Britain’s National Health Service for up to six months.

This is who we share the roads with, too. An English driver pretended she was piloting a race car, right up to the point she crashed through a house and killed the 90-year old woman inside.

Two UK men were sentenced to life in prison, while a third got 13 years, for the stabbing death of a teenaged boy in what police termed a minor dispute over a bicycle. Although it’s hard to call any argument that results in murder “minor.”

British cycling great Chris Boardman says ending the hostility towards bicyclists is more important than wearing helmets or hi-viz. Meanwhile, the Guardian’s Laura Laker says UK bicyclists need enforcement, not calls for respect.

Australian advocates call for better bike infrastructure, saying bicycling in the country should be safer; bicycling crashes make up nearly 20% of all transportation-related injuries Down Under.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cyclist looks forward to the three-week Giro d’Italia, which starts on Saturday. And no, you can’t see it in the US, unless you want to spring to stream it online.

Rigoberto Uran will make his comeback from a broken collarbone at the Amgen Tour of California, which starts on Sunday.

American pro Kiel Reijnen found solace riding the cobbles on the Tour of Flanders, weeks after his brother was killed in a workplace accident.

 

Finally…

The only bias here is against Americans — and Californians in particular. They may be the latest fashion craze, but if you’re high on meth and only wearing bike shorts and a single shoe, try to have a bicycle with you.

And a better use for those indoor cycling bikes.

 

Morning Links: LA club rider suffers life-threatening injuries, distracted driving addicts, and LACBC Bike Month calendar

Once again, we seem to be the bearer of bad news.

Very bad, in this case.

I’m told a Los Angeles-area man is on life support after a solo crash while on a club ride last weekend.

I was forwarded this Facebook post from his ex-wife. However, I’m withholding his name for now out of respect for his family.

As many of you know, my ex-husband was in a horrible bike accident on Saturday morning. He had ridden from the Rose Bowl to Duarte with his bike group, and while the group was riding in a parking lot at the Santa Fe Dam, he hit a parking curb at low speed and went over the bike’s handlebars. He hit the ground face first, so his helmet offered no protection. He fractured his skull, broke his neck and spine, and suffered many other injuries. Yesterday the neurologist said that he couldn’t detect any brain activity, and that there is about a 1% chance of the best case scenario at this point, persistent vegetation. The Don we knew is gone.

My heart aches for our children…Don loves them dearly and is very proud of them, as we all are. I am also sad for his loving family and friends who will miss him dearly. And I am so, so sad for Don, his suffering, and the lost opportunities and experiences he will never have…

I’m heading back to County USC with the kids this morning. Don is on a ventilator in an induced coma, and the hospital is still running diagnostic tests on him. Please send up a prayer or good thoughts for him and his loved ones. Show your family and friends how much you love them, savor the blessings you have and pay them forward. You never know what life will deal you.

 

As she says, prayers or good thoughts are in order, whatever you’re comfortable with.

And tell your loved ones how much you care now, before your next ride.

Because bicycling is usually a safe activity. But as this case reminds us, bad things can happen unexpectedly.

I’ll follow up if I learn more.

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This is who we share the roads with.

According to the LA Times, insurance companies are tracking distracted driving and smartphone usage by drivers. And the news isn’t good.

Although that shouldn’t surprise anyone who spends much time on the streets.

The report says one out of every 12 drivers is considered to be addicted to their phones, which they define as looking at a smartphone at least a third of the time while driving. A number that’s predicted to rise to 20% of all drivers within the next three years.

Yet remarkably, one-third of the worst distracted driving offenders consider themselves extremely safe drivers.

Right up to the point they run someone else down. And then probably blame the other person.

The story says apps that remind drivers to put their phones down or track how much they use their phones while driving can cut usage by 35% to 40%.

But the only real solution will be requiring smartphone makers and carriers to block everything but navigation apps and 911 calls on the driver’s phone while the car is in motion.

And yes, that includes the text readers and in-dash internet systems car makers inexplicably insist on building into their vehicles to satisfy their phone-addicted customers — and make them more dangerous for everyone else.

………

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposal for an LA Green New Deal was criticized for it’s auto-centric focus and waiting until it’s already too late to address climate change.

Not to mention halving the commitment to build 40 miles of bike lanes a year that we were promised in the 2010 bike plan.

And since LADOT shifted to measuring distances in lane miles after the plan was adopted — in effect counting each side of the roadway as separate bike lanes — that actually works out to just 10 miles of new bike lanes per deal.

Not exactly a solid commitment to a greener, bike-friendlier future.

………

It’s May.

Which means Bike Month in Los Angeles, and most of the US.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has kindly provided a calendar of Bike Month events in the City of Angels.

Metro has a more complete Bike Month calendar here.

Sadly, the annual Bike Month wrap-up at Union Station isn’t on it, which mens it’s probably not happening this year.

………

Congressional leaders met with Donald Trump yesterday morning, and left with an agreement for a two trillion dollar infrastructure bill.

Sort of.

After the meeting, the White House waffled on the price tag, and both sides agreed to meet in three weeks to discuss how to pay for it.

And only then will discussions begin on what, exactly, the government will buy with that money — if, and only if, they actually agree on funding, which seems pretty unlikely at this point.

The good news is, along with highway and bridge repairs, airports, mass transit and high speed internet, there could be a few dollars left over for bikeways.

We hope.

………

Local

CiclaValley catches three bad drivers in the space of just two minutes.

Los Angeles has agreed to share data with Waze and other similar apps in exchange for excluding some streets from their rat run, cut through driving route recommendations.

LAist considers LA’s first two-way bike lane in context of the bikelash we’ve seen in other areas.

The mayor of Inglewood appeared to be responsible for a collision near USC that left an injured LAPD motorcycle cop as collateral damage.

Pasadena is in the final design process for its first two-way protected bike lane on Union Street. The city will hold a public meeting tomorrow evening to discuss the project.

Santa Monica will conduct a bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operation on Monday. As usual, ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits, so you’re not the one who gets ticketed.

Despite widespread handwringing over e-scooter injuries, statistics from Santa Monica’s pilot program shows just 89 scooter related injuries last year; 49 of those involved a collision with a motor vehicle.

 

State

San Diego’s iCan Bike camp has been helping kids with disabilities learn to ride a bike for a full decade.

About damn time. A street in San Diego’s North Park and South Park neighborhoods will lose up to 420 parking spaces to make room for bike lanes. That was my neighborhood when I lived in San Diego. So once again, somewhere I used to live finally becomes bike friendly long after I’m gone. Which means I may have to leave Los Angeles before it finally becomes the bicycling paradise it’s meant to be.

Finishing our San Diego trifecta, a World Cup mountain biker shows of the trails of his hometown.

A teenaged Vacaville robber was busted by a cop on a borrowed bike, when someone loaned the officer a bicycle to pursue the suspect through a rugged park.

Someone has been tossing nails on an Orangevale street for the past six months. And for a change, they’ve been nailing more than bike tires.

Railroad fans have filed suit against Sacramento to halt plans to remove unused rails to make room for a bike path, in hopes that they could be used for a vaporware excursion train someday.

 

National

Outside recommends the best cycling gear from their recent bike tests. I’ll take the Bontrager lights and Fizik road shoes, thank you.

Treehugger explains how to build a solar powered shed to recharge your ebike.

More proof that sidewalks aren’t the safest place to ride. A 16-year old Washington bike rider was injured when a driver decided to use a parking lot as his own personal cut-through lane to avoid stopping for a red light. But sure, tell me again how bicyclists never stop for traffic signals.

Montana police busted a pair of apparent bike thieves when they stopped a suspicious vehicle, and found a “high-value” bicycle in the back that had been reported stolen a few days earlier.

There may be a dispute over just how effective bike helmets are on the streets. But a North Dakota climate expert says put one on for tornado protection.

Tragic news from Tulsa OK, where a woman fled to Mexico before she could face charges for the death of her five-year old son, who was hit by a car after he fell off an e-scooter she was allegedly riding in a reckless manner; she didn’t even stick around for her own son’s funeral.

A Chicago boy received a new bike built for him by members of a girls soccer team, part of a program for high school students to give 100 bicycles to children of military service members.

A Minneapolis health company’s new office is designed around a bicycling theme, including bike seats and handlebars, to go along with the cycling team they sponsor.

That’s more like it. An Indiana city considers fining drivers $1,000 for dooring a bike rider.

Tragic news from Cincinnati, where a man pled guilty to accidentally shooting his own 13-year old cousin, who was caught in the crossfire of a gang dispute as he rode his bike home after helping clean a community center after school.

Pennsylvania considers allowing parking protected bike lanes on state roads; they’re already legal on city-owned streets.

We so need this in Los Angeles. A beta app allows DC road users to report dangerous drivers and look up their license plates for citations and outstanding tickets.

The Washington Post offers nine things to consider before you decide to go carfree. Including whether you live in sprawling Los Angeles.

Baltimore’s drunken, hit-and-run Episcopal bishop will be released from prison this month after serving just half of her seven-year sentence for killing a bike rider; Heather Cook was defrocked after her conviction, but her victim’s children will spend a lifetime without their father.

As long as you’re going to break into a Florida bike shop and walk out with a $3,500 mountain bike, you might as well take the change from the cash register with you.

 

International

A new self-charging, belt drive, single speed ebike promises you may never have to charge it.

Yes, it may have pedals. But that doesn’t make it a bicycle.

Victoria, British Columbia, has appointed Canada’s first bicycle mayor.

Instead of expanding the Saskatoon bike network, city leaders vote to roll it back by removing a bike lane and slowing down further implementation.

A Toronto website lists the city’s best neighborhoods for people who ride bikes.

A European website says a new bike registration system in Brussels can guarantee you’ll never have your bike stolen again. Actually, it only means your bike could be recovered if it’s stolen and someone finds it.

Clearly, beauty is no protection from dangerous drivers. The runner-up to 2017’s Miss France was killed in a collision while riding her bike with a friend, when she swerved to avoid a driver and was struck by a tractor driver pulling a load of logs.

Exploring Bern, Switzerland’s hidden gems by bike.

An elite Australian cyclist is dead, and a 21-year old woman will face charges for killing him, because she couldn’t resist texting her boyfriend seconds before running him down.

 

Competitive Cycling

Yet another bike racer has been killed in a traffic collision. Thirty-year old Australian amateur Damion Drapac was killed in a head-on collision while riding to a bike race. If the name sounds familiar, his father is the owner of the Drapac-Cannondale development team.

 

Finally…

That feeling when a dog holds more world records for riding a bike than you do. Coworking in a parking space for a pocketful of quarters.

And who needs a tent when you can tow your home behind your bike?

 

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: Garcetti skips White House run, bike riding bank robber, and Colville-Andersen thinks you’re lazy

It looks like we’ll have Eric Garcetti to kick around for the next few years.

The LA Times is reporting that Garcetti has decided not to run for president, after spending the last couple years seemingly distracted by modern day Wormtongues whispering visions of occupying the Resolute Desk in his ear.

Now maybe he’ll finally get back to fighting for his own policies like Vision Zero and the Great Streets program, which have suffered from a significant backlash while Garcetti has been crisscrossing the county testing tepid waters.

Or maybe just start fighting.

According to the article, Garcetti says he’s skipping a run for the White House because he wants to finish the work he stated.

Let’s hope he means it. And shows a lot more backbone than we’ve seen so far.

Photo shows LA Mayor Eric Garcetti signing the Vision Zero proclamation; photo from lamayor.org.

………

From track cyclist, to French Foreign Legionnaire, to bank robber.

In today’s must read, Chicago Magazine tells the convoluted tale of Olympic track cycling hopeful Tom Justice, who would rob banks dressed in business attire, then change into Lycra and make his getaway by bicycle.

And a high-end handmade bike at that.

He’d throw the money in the trash, or leave it where homeless people would find it. At least until he developed a crack habit, and needed money to buy that bike.

His undoing came as he was making his latest getaway, when a cop wondered why a Lycra-clad roadie on an orange bike would be carrying a messenger bag.

It’s long read, but definitely worth your time.

But if you’re in a hurry, you can catch the Cliff Notes version here.

Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.

………

Apparently, Mikael Colville-Andersen, the host of Copenhagenize and self-appointed ambassador of Danish bicycling, isn’t a fan of ebikes, or the people who ride them.

Maybe he missed the studies that show ebikes can improve your health, while getting people who might not otherwise ride out on bicycles.

As for unfollowing him, some of us never did.

………

Some people have to make an effort to take part in International Winter Bike to Work Day on February 8th.

Chances are, you’ll just have to roll out into the SoCal sunshine and ride.

………

Local

Christian Bale is one of us, going for a casual anniversary bike ride with his wife along the beach in the Palisades.

Ford-owned Spin is hosting a free panel discussion on enhancing mobility, with a focus on equity, safety, and partnerships next Wednesday, as they prepare to join the LA scooter wars.

West Hollywood has stepped up enforcement of the state’s universally ignored anti-gridlock law, which forbids drivers from entering an intersection if they can’t make it all the way across, in a bid to improve safety for pedestrians and bike riders.

Turns out Lime scooters have been programmed to automatically slow down on the beach bike path through Santa Monica. Which is odd, since they’re officially banned from there and subject to confiscation.

The Long Beach Post says the city is losing a ton of money by failing to regulate dockless e-scooters.

State

Sad news from Stallion Springs, where a Bakersfield woman was killed in a crash. The Bakersfield Californian felt the need to say she wasn’t wearing a helmet, but failed to note whether she died of a head injury or if her injuries could have been survivable with one.

National

Fast Company looks at that brilliant takedown of Peloton ads we linked to yesterday, and says you’ll never look at them the same way again.

People for Bikes offers a baker’s dozen rides to add to your bike bucket list this year.

A Portland writer says no, you don’t need an ebike for family biking.

An Iowa college professor has developed a virtual reality version of bicycle Frogger to teach pedestrians how to cross the street without getting hit by a bike rider. Sad that something like that is even necessary.

Denton TX joins the universal battle over parking versus bike lanes, as business owners once again ignore studies showing they’re better off with the latter.

Bighearted Texas police surprise a boy with a new bicycle after seeing him walking his beat-up bike home.

An Ohio letter writer says she’s tired of nearly getting run down by bicyclists on a shared path. And for a change, offers reasonable advice on how to avoid it.

Rhode Island high school students competed to develop a better bike path crossing in response to a six-year old boy who was killed crossing the road on one.

Philly welcomes the UPS three-wheeled e-cargo delivery bikes with welcome arms.

In the never-ending saga of Baltimore’s drunken, texting hit-and-run bishop, the deservedly de-frocked Heather Cook has asked the court to let her spend the rest of her sentence for killing a bike rider at home.

Oops. Baltimore officials are rushing to rewrite legislation that would impose a $1,000 fine and 30 days in jail for riding a dockless scooter too fast; the penalty was supposed to apply to the scooter providers, with riders subject to just a $20 fine.

New US House Transportation Chair Peter DeFazio says the country needs to move beyond fossil fuels and improve streets for bicycling and walking.

Durham NC is getting its first buffered bike lane.

Um, maybe not. The Boston Globe suggests exploring the nation’s most dangerous state for bike riders by… wait for it… bicycle.

A Florida driver spotted a bicyclist riding on the shoulder of a highway, towing his dog in a trailer, and moved over the the left lane to give him room. Except he cut off another driver, who swerved into the right lane, clipping the first car and spinning into the bike rider. At least the dog survived; his owner wasn’t so lucky.

International

A British business insurance company built a fake Brompton bike shop for an ad campaign warning about online phishing attempts.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a driver got just four months behind bars for killing a bike rider, claiming he didn’t see the victim even though he was “lit up like a Christmas tree.”

A road raging Brit bus driver ran over a man’s bicycle, forcing him to jump out of the way as he tried to block its path.

An Indian sports site profiles record-breaking para-cyclist Aditya Mehta, calling him an inspiration for many athletes.

An Israeli MD has developed a startup to collect data on the severity of car crashes, so emergency room physicians have a better idea of what to expect when a patient is brought in. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t it be better to just avoid crashes in the first place?

That Aussie driver who filmed himself driving on a bike path while screaming abuse at a pair of bicyclists riding in the roadway turned himself into police and will answer to a number of charges, including using a cellphone while driving, offensive language and driving on a bike path. And no, there is no 1st Amendment right to swear your ass off in most other countries.

In a case of life imitating art, a Japanese man has had to make his fiancé fall in love with him every day for the last nine months, after she suffered severe amnesia following a bicycling collision.

Competitive Cycling

Accusations of sexual harassment come to pro cycling, as Quick Step rider Iljo Keisse was accused of rubbing his dick against a teenage Argentine waitress while posing for a photo with his teammates. Or more precisely, it’s always been a boy’s club where crap like has been accepted, and remains all too commonplace.

Chris Froome gets down in the gravel on his time trial Pinarello.

Forget power meters. The well-dressed cyclist will soon be wearing a patch to analyze his or her sweat.

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to get drunk and steal a bike from the local police. Or get drunk and ride one, for that matter.

And sometimes it might be better not to stop for red lights, especially if you’re carrying six bags of heroin in your sweaty hands.

Morning Links: LA’s first people protected bike lane protests Mayor Eric Garcetti’s ineffective Vision Zero

About damn time.

Bike activism finally returned to the mean streets of Los Angeles, with the city’s first people protected bike lane, courtesy of a new group calling itself People Protected LA.

Their message, “LA needs safe streets, not lip service.”

Which is exactly what they got in remarks from LA’s mayor, who took a break from his unannounced campaign for president to defend the city’s Vision Zero program at the annual convention of the National Association of City Transportation Officials, better known as NACTO.

According to LAist,

Speaking at the conference Tuesday, Garcetti said the city has implemented “over 1,200 Vision Zero improvements” but said he recognizes that not all of them will work out as planned…

“They’re like, ‘Oh, it’s not done yet, people are still dying’,” Garcetti said. “Well, we had a 7 percent reduction last year (and a) double-digit reduction in pedestrians this year — those are real people that are still living. You can’t quantify who they are, but that is worth it … because those are people who are going to be alive for decades from now because of those improvements. So our reach must always exceed our grasp.”

 

Which sounds great, if you ignore the 80% increase in pedestrian deaths over the last two years, or the six bicyclists who were killed in traffic collisions in just the first four months of this year.

Not to mention the continued failure to build the network of safe bikeways we were promised with the 2010 bike plan.

Or the cancellation of nearly every planned road diet project by frightened councilmembers, after LA Mayor Eric Garcetti pulled the rug out from under Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin by ordering the removal of the bike lanes and road diets he was fighting to protect in Playa del Rey.

Let alone Garcetti’s repeated failure to defend his own Vision Zero and Great Streets programs at any of the city’s countless contentious public meetings, leaving it to bike and pedestrian advocates to do his job for him.

Which makes a protest like yesterday’s people protected bike lane almost inevitable.

And necessary.

This is how a press release from the organizers of the people protected bike lane addressed the protest.

Mayor Eric Garcetti launched Vision Zero in 2015 and set a goal for 2017 of a 20% reduction in traffic deaths. Instead, Los Angeles has seen a 34% increase in traffic deaths. Last year, 245 Angelenos were tragically killed in traffic collisions. LADOT has determined that speed is the primary factor causing unnecessary loss of life, and that improvements to roadway infrastructure are critical in reducing deadly speeding, yet proposed projects like North Figueroa Street, 7th Street, Fletcher Drive, Manchester Boulevard, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Temple Street, and Venice Boulevard have languished or been cancelled outright.

Up to this point, LA’s Vision Zero program has been a major disappointment.

And to be perfectly honest, so has the mayor for the past few years.

Let’s hope he gets the message, and refocuses his attention on the people and the city that elected him.

And finally turns Vision Zero into the transformative, life saving program we were promised.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton offers more on Garcetti’s remarks and the protest, saying LA’s mayor doesn’t “appear to have used his considerable influence to help councilmembers to better embrace Vision Zero.”

No, he hasn’t.

All photos by Michael MacDonald.

………

Tragic news from Rialto, where the father of a three-year old girl remains in a medically induced coma after a heartless coward crashed into his bike, and left him bleeding and barely conscious in the street.

Andy Welch was riding his bike to the market when he was run down by a hit-and-run driver, laying crumpled in the street for nearly half an hour as more drivers sped by.

He was finally able to crawl to his cellphone and call for help.

This is yet another tragic reminder of California’s pervasive hit-and-run epidemic.

And the near total lack of action on the part of our elected officials, who have the power to stop it.

Yet don’t seem to recognize the problem.

………

Local

See above.

 

State

Caltrain develops a new bike plan to accommodate bicyclists, but bike riders say it doesn’t go far enough.

A San Diego writer traces the engineering mistakes and bad political decisions that turned busy Clairemont Blvd into a dangerous “stroad.” And questions whether it will be the next San Diego street to get a road diet and bike lanes, which some local residents consider a “conspiracy to make driving so difficult that we all will be forced to pedal bicycles.” They’re onto us, comrades.

A Santa Barbara bicyclist offers advice for motorists, like don’t door bike riders and signal your damn turns. Although he may not have actually said the d-word.

 

National

A writer on an automotive website says scooters are a menace, but it’s okay to feel conflicted about bikes as long as you don’t take it out on the riders.

Singletracks questions why e-mountain bikes are still fighting for acceptance in the US, despite their popularity in Europe.

A local newspaper talks with America’s other ex-Tour de France winner about his new Portland-area cannabis shop, and how he moved from illegal doping to legal dope.

They get it. The Denver Post says e-scooters may be a headache, but the solution is building more bike lanes to accommodate their users, while the city works on a pre-paid rental plan to get users to ditch their cars.

A bike-riding Colorado Springs CO city councilmember says the city must accommodate alternative forms of transportation.

According to a Nebraska planning professor, safe and efficient self-driving cars could block efforts to build walkable, bikeable and livable communities.

A pair of musicians stop in Ohio on their 4,300 mile tour of the US by bicycle.

The Brown University paper calls the arrival of Uber’s JUMP electric bikeshare program a giant leap for Providence RI.

A Connecticut public radio station spends an hour discussing the origins of bicycles, and how bikes helped inspire the women’s movement over century ago.

A cannabis website examines New York’s illegal bicycle weed delivery services.

 

International

A local writer describes how Bogotá’s ciclovía has become a part of life for an entire generation.

Lime scooters invade Canada.

New British government figures show the number of pedestrians injured in collisions with bicyclists reached an all-time high of 531 last year. However, despite the obvious implication, there’s no word on who was at fault in the crashes, or whether it was simply due to the increased number of people riding in the UK. That said, it’s a reminder to always use care around people on foot, who can be unpredictable and are the only ones more vulnerable than we are.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 75-year old man from the UK just finished a 4,000 mile bike ride across the US.

Maybe its a sign of progress that bicycles are seen as a sign of progress in Armenia, as the new Prime Minister makes waves by riding the “first official state bicycle of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.”

An Indian website says now is the best time to own a bicycle, and the country’s first homegrown ebike will help you burn more calories than cash.

Israeli government ministries appear to be arguing over the best way to kill the ebike boom.

Here’s another one for your bike bucket list. Mountain biking ancient Moroccan Berber trails.

Australian drivers — and some bicyclists — have a meltdown after someone posted a photo of a group of riders using the traffic lane, rather than the bike lane next to them.

A wanted Japanese criminal hid in plain sight during seven weeks on the run, touring the country by bike and posing for Facebook photos.

An Air Force major rode 375 miles across Korea to honor fallen service members.

Mountain biking champ Rebecca Rusch won an Emmy for her documentary Blood Road, retracing the infamous Ho Chi Minh trail through Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to find the site of her pilot father’s death during the Vietnam war.

Two Chinese farmers are expanding their horizons by riding across the country one stage at a time; in the last five years their traveled over 12,400 miles.

 

Competitive Cycling

Former Olympian and cycling promoter David Chauner says the solution to cycling’s broken business model in the US is to develop a season long track cycling competition. Sort of like the World Cycling League he’s been trying to get off the ground, for instance.

 

Finally…

We may have to deal with angry drivers, but at least we don’t have to contend with road raging ‘roos.

And when dangerous streets mean saying goodbye like a fighter pilot going into war.

Which isn’t the least bit funny.

 

Morning Links: LA’s absent mayor leads to failing Vision Zero, and anti-Vision Zero widening of Magnolia Blvd

The Guardian’s Laura Laker questions whether Vision Zero has lost its way, describing the program as a success in New York.

And a failure in Los Angeles.

In January last year the city’s mayor, Eric Garcetti, announced its first Vision Zero strategy, with a goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2025. Work would focus on 40 High Injury Network streets, particularly those near schools. Interventions included pedestrian scrambles, painted kerb extensions protected by bollards, and left turn safety improvements.

However, things started to unravel. On Temple Street, where 34 people were killed or severely injured within 2.3 miles in eight years, a “road diet” expected to reduce crashes by up to 47%met backlash from residents and drivers. Local city leaders downgradedlane removals to things that wouldn’t interfere with motor traffic: sidewalk repairs, new traffic signals and crosswalks.

She quotes Jon Orcutt, the former NYDOT director of policy who developed New York’s Vision Zero plan, as he points the finger exactly where it belongs by saying LA councilmembers who supported Vision Zero were left isolated and “hung out to dry” in the face of opposition.

The former policy director also explained who was responsible  for problems with New York’s plan after its initial success.

Orcutt also expresses his frustration at a lack of ongoing improvement in New York after those initial improvements.

“We need leaders to say, ‘This is what we are doing in the city, and you don’t get to say no, and you don’t get to come back on what our technical experts say,’” he says. “That is the power of the mayor – that’s the point of the megaphone you have.”

That’s exactly the problem in Los Angeles, with a mayor who’s too busy exploring a run for president to do the job he was elected to do. And who has repeatedly failed to support his own Vision Zero and Great Streets programs, let alone fight for them.

It was also Mayor Garcetti who pulled the rug out from under Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin, caving in the face of a backlash from angry drivers after Bonin took bold action to improve safety in Playa del Rey.

And yes, hanging him out to dry.

If Garcetti really wants to be president, maybe its time he stepped down as mayor to focus full-time on his run for the White House.

Then maybe someone will step in to take his place, and actually fight to stop the deaths on out streets, instead of just talking about it.

If not, it’s long past time to come back home and roll up his sleeves, put up his dukes, and start fighting for the safety plans he put in motion.

Because right now, his traffic safety legacy is just so many words.

Ghost bike photo by Matt Tinoco

………

More evidence that Vision Zero is failing in the mayor’s virtual absence.

CiclaValley reports on plans to widen Magnolia Blvd between Cahuenga Boulevard and Vineland Avenue, as the city claims to be improving safety by adding a traffic lane.

Never mind that reducing congestion and improving traffic flow will allow more drivers to speed through what once was a quiet two-lane street.

Which is the exact opposite of Vision Zero.

He urges you to send a version of the following email before the comment period ends at 5 pm next Monday.

And so do I.

To: Billy.Ho@lacity.org

CC: karo.torossian@lacity.org, jackie.keene@lacity.org, ciclavalley@gmail.com

Subject: Magnolia Boulevard Widening (N) Comments

I am writing because I am opposed to the widening of the north side of Magnolia Boulevard between Vineland and Cahuenga. This project does not improve safety conditions for those that use the roadway and puts vulnerable populations at increased risk of injury.

This is a growing and vibrant area that needs to serve everyone’s needs safely. Please prioritize projects that saves lives over seconds.

………

Local

Jonathan Weiss, whose son’s bike was recently stolen from the Westwood Rancho Park Expo Line station, calls for e-lockers to improve the security problems that can keep people from biking to the train. Or riding back home if they do.

Pasadena police will be conducting a bicycle and pedestrian enforcement program on Friday. Which means ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports on Sunday’s Pride of the Valley open streets event in Irwindale and Baldwin Park.

Santa Monica’s 16-month dockless bikeshare and e-scooter pilot program officially kicked off on Monday, including the introduction of Uber’s Jump dockless ebikes.

 

State

Former Elektra Records president Jeff Castelaz is preparing to embark on his tenth Pablove Across America Ride, traveling from San Raphael to Los Angeles. The annual ride, which is named after his late son Pablo, has raised over $3 million dollars for pediatric cancer research.

As we noted yesterday, San Diego resident Denise Mueller-Korenek is now the fastest person on Earth, setting a new land speed record for human-powered vehicles. The Wall Street Journal offers on-bike video of the record-setting ride, if you can get past their paywall.

El Cajon is struggling to regulate dockless bikeshare, as both Ofo and Limebike set up shop in the city.

The San Francisco department of transportation’s Rapid Response Team is working with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition to fix a deadly crosswalk where a bike rider was killed last week. That’s how Vision Zero is supposed to work, unlike Los Angeles, where traffic deaths just result in crickets.

 

National

Reader’s Digest — yes, it’s still around — explains how to use Google Maps to find safer bike routes.

An Iraq war vet is focusing on helping others after riding 4,300 miles across the US, saying she bought her bike to save her own life instead of ending it.

VeloNews considers the difference between long-term bike trends and passing fads.

A New York bus driver faces just 30 days in jail as he goes on trial on misdemeanor charges in the death of the first person killed riding one of New York’s Citi Bike docked bikeshare bikes.

Orlando FL moves towards allowing dockless bikeshare, despite complaints from the city’s docked bikeshare provider.

 

International

Venture capitalists say the future is bright. And comes on two wheels.

Treehugger says if you have trouble riding a bike, maybe you’re just using the wrong kind.

After writing a needlessly offensive column that made a good point — that some bike riders should cool it with aggressive cycling around pedestrians — a Vancouver writer ignores the complaints and pats himself on the back because older people agreed with him.

A Toronto columnist explains why bicycle licensing is a bad idea, saying that city abolished its licensing requirement in the 1950s.

Speaking of Toronto, advocates say political will is needed to solve the city’s bike infrastructure inequity.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a young woman gets off with community service and losing her license for 18 months for killing a bike rider after losing control of her car while speeding.

Dublin bicyclists are attaching cardboard wheel clamps — aka boots — to cars parked in bike lanes to protest the lack of police enforcement.

The Guardian offers a photographic look at Sunday’s carfree day in Paris and Brussels.

A writer sets off on a bike tour of Austria’s Tyrol region in search of the best food, in advance of next week’s road cycling world championships.

After arriving from Lithuania, a woman has created her own position as Malmö, Sweden’s Violinist on a Bike, between rehearsals with the Royal Danish Orchestra in Copenhagen. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

A Bulgarian driver faces a murder charge for killing a bike-riding ballet dancer while high on coke and cannabis; he also faces a charge for his third offense for driving without a license.

Once again, an Australian study has found that drivers are responsible for the overwhelming majority of traffic collisions involving bike riders.

Fourteen percent of Australians have traded their car commutes for walking or bicycling, and 56% are open to leaving their cars at home.

Good question. An Op-Ed in the Guardian asks why bicycling deaths are rising in Australia when cars are significantly safer than they were 25 years ago, concluding that the problem rests with aggressive and entitled drivers.

Heartbreaking story from Japan, where a mother faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter after her umbrella got caught in her bike wheel, and her 18-month old son hit his head on the pavement when he fell to the street.

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can ride a slightly used pro racing bike, or buy weed from a slightly used ex-yellow jersey winner.

And what’s the penalty for Scooting Under the Influence, anyway?

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Thanks to Hamid V for his generous donation to help support this site. 

If everyone who visits BikinginLA today donated just $10, it would be more than enough to keep to keep this site going for a full year. 

And G’mar Tov to all our Jewish friends; may your fast be easy.

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Join the Militant Angeleno and BikinginLA for the first-ever Militant Angeleno’s Epic CicLAvia Tour at the Celebrate LA! LA Phil 100 CicLAvia on September 30th!

Just RSVP to MilitantAngeleno@gmail.com. We want to guarantee a relatively small group to make sure we can keep the group together, and everyone can hear.

Another open letter to Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council of Los Angeles #CrashCityHall

There wasn’t time to get all the #CrashCityHall letters online last week.

So we’re going to post the remaining letters over the next few days — starting with this powerful post from registered dietician and endurance cyclist Matt Ruscigno, founder of LA’s iconic Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hillclimb. 

………

Dear Mayor Garcetti and City Council of Los Angeles,

I’m writing to you today as a long-time resident of our wonderful city, a public health expert, and a recent victim of an inattentive automobile driver. That collision left me with 16 broken bones requiring 6 nights in the hospital, a chest tube, and a surgery to install metal plates in my shoulder and collarbone. If I weren’t a skilled cyclist, I would probably be dead.

It’s easy to dismiss this as an ‘accident,’ but the statistics on the number of people injured and killed by automobile drivers in Los Angeles paint a different picture. This is a public health crisis. Yet we know how to fix it:

  • Reduce automobile speed limits
  • Invest in infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians
  • Reimagine public space to focus on people, not automobiles

Los Angeles and California are leading the way in reducing automobile emissions but are falling behind (see London, Bogota, New York, Copenhagen for examples) when it comes to the public health issue of people dying in the streets because automobile speed and convenience is prioritized over human safety.

Los Angeles is a beautiful city with near perfect weather for cycling and walking year round. And we are simply running out of space to store and transport personal automobiles. The benefits of building infrastructure that makes human-powered transportation more accessible are well established:

  • Improved air quality and lower rates of asthma, especially among children
  • Increased physical activity that lowers risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other chronic diseases
  • Fewer automobile collisions that result in injury or death of our most vulnerable road users

The potential to transform our city is awesome, in the true sense of the word, but it won’t be easy. Copenhagen didn’t become a place where 24% of city trips are taken by bike overnight. It took strong leadership and knowledge to re-imagine how city space is used. This isn’t about cyclists versus drivers; it’s about making it easier for more people to walk and bike more often.

The statistics are there: something needs to be done, and soon. We can build on what other cities have done and apply it uniquely in our wonderful city. There are thousands of us here to help, but we need leadership from our elected leaders. There simply isn’t enough space in the city to keep prioritizing automobiles, so the question is, how many more people have to be injured or killed before we start taking concrete steps? I hope we can do this soon as I’d hate to see a single person go through the pain I’ve experienced over the last 5 weeks.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Matt Ruscigno, MPH, RD

 

An open letter to Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council of Los Angeles #CrashCityHall

No Morning Links today, as we get ready to #CrashCityHall Friday morning. Hopefully we’ll see you there; if not, I’ll see you back here on Monday.

What follows is my letter the mayor and city council. And we’ll feature some of the late arriving letters next week.

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May 18, 2018

Dear Mayor Garcetti and the City Councilmembers of the City of Los Angeles,

Howard Beale may have been a fictional character, but he might as well be a citizen of Los Angeles trying to survive on our deadly streets.

Because like many other residents of this great city, I’m tired of living in fear for my own life and the safety of others on the streets and sidewalks of L.A.

And like Beale, we’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore.

We live in a city where for too long, the movement of motor vehicles has been prioritized over the safety and movement of human beings. To the point that too many people who drive feel they own the streets, and everyone else has an obligation to get out of their way.

Unfortunately, too many members of our city council seem to agree. If not in their words, then by their actions.

The elected leaders of this city have voted to adopt Vision Zero, but failed to adequately fund it. You’ve adopted the 2010 Bike Plan and Mobility Plan 2035, but failed to build it. You’ve adopted Complete Streets policies, but failed to support them when it came time to put paint on the street.

And you hired one of the leading traffic planners in the United States, but you listen instead to the complaining voices of untrained motorists who don’t want to be delayed for a few moments on their commute. Even if it means saving the life of another human being. Or their own, for that matter.

As Stevie Wonder put it, “If you really want to hear our views, you haven’t done nothing.”

So let’s be perfectly clear.

Many, if not most, of the people you were elected to represent may drive cars. But we are all human beings, some of whom bike, some of whom take transit, and all of whom walk.

And none of whom want to bury a loved one or feel threatened on the streets. Yet too many of us do, every day.

As a human being, I don’t want to see one more needless death or injury on the streets of Los Angeles. As a taxpayer, I don’t want my city to waste one more penny on the needless lawsuits that result.

And as an Angeleno, I want safer and more livable streets for all of us.

When you side with the traffic safety deniers, who like climate change deniers, reject the proven science of traffic safety and urban planning, and insist on their right to drive with the pedal to the metal, you are choosing their convenience over the safety of literally everyone else.

And failing the people who voted you into office, and who you were elected to serve.

The people who have written the letters in this packet, and those who will speak before the council today, are not activists. We are the citizens of Los Angeles, who are sick to death of being treated like second class ones at the expense of motor vehicles.

We know that failure to take action now to build Complete Streets and provide safe, viable alternatives to driving that allow Angelenos to choose to leave their cars at home will inevitably lead to a dystopian, smog-choked and gridlocked future.

Because right now, traffic in Los Angeles is as good as it will ever be, as more and more cars are added to an already built-out traffic grid.

Only you can prevent the inevitable failure of a once-great city by taking action right now to ensure the safe, livable and prosperous Los Angeles we all want.

We understand that takes courage to do the right thing in the face of public opposition. But you weren’t elected to blindly follow the voices of those who scream loudest.

Anyone could do that.

You were elected to lead this city. To carefully examine the issues and make the tough decisions that will benefit your district, and all of L.A.. And make this the city that it can and should be, for all of us.

We are your constituents. We don’t want to be the victims of your inaction.

And we’re not willing to wait one more day for safer streets for our children, parents, families and friends.

So we ask you, today and every day, to have the courage to do the right thing.

We’ll have your back when you do.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers

BikinginLA.com

Council District 4

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One more brief note.

This may be the best letter we received for #CrashCityHall, even if it is the shortest.

Dear Los Angeles,

Please be so kind as to stop killing cyclists and pedestrians.

NOW.

Sincerely,
Marvin D
San Diego, CA

Guest Post: The fourth open letter to the Los Angeles City Council #CrashCityHall

Dear Mayor Garcetti and City Council of LA,

In an effort to “be the change you want to see in the world,” I sold my car ten years ago and have since used my own feet, a bicycle, or the transit system to get around.  While the results of this have brought the most rewarding experiences of my life, it has also been a struggle to live without a car in a car’s world.

Drivers are becoming increasingly more distracted, careless, unsympathetic and enraged.  These behaviors cause not only car accidents but the deaths of cyclists and pedestrians, who travel without the protection of metal armor.  Why do drivers feel so entitled to the roads?  Why is this set of traits common in the majority of car owners?  It’s easy to see the answer on the streets – they’re designed specifically for cars.  With lanes designated for driving, turning and parking, there’s often no space left for a bicycle to squeeze through.  And pedestrians must be defensive even when walking through a crosswalk with a walk signal.  Drivers are impatient to share the road when they believe it belongs to them.

Every time you see a cyclist in the streets of LA, please understand the fear we’ve overcome to be there.  Please know that we have been spit at, screamed at, sworn at, had objects thrown at us, been told to “get off the road,”  have had way too many “close calls,” or have lost a fellow cyclist to careless driving or road rage.  And yet we’re still out there.  As pedestrians and cyclists we’ll continue to defend our space on the streets, but we would truly appreciate some help from our representatives.  Please take some steps to create streets that belong to everyone.   A city’s priorities are evident in it’s infrastructure and use of public space.  If you, dear City Council Members, were to add more bike lanes, create some road diets, invest in green spaces instead of parking lots – think of the message you’d send.

Sincerely,

Amanda Gohl

Pico-Union, Los Angeles, CA 90015

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Join us tomorrow as we #CrashCityHall to demand safer streets, and urge city leaders to have the courage to do the right thing. 

  • Los Angeles City Council
  • Los Angeles City Hall
  • 200 N. Spring Street
  • 10 am
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