Tag Archive for failure of leadership

Morning Links: Meager LADOT bike lanes output, Lee Iacocca pushed 1990s ebikes, and the war on bikes goes on

Happy 4th of July!

There’s no better way to get to the fireworks or other holiday events than riding your bike or walking. 

Just remember that drivers will be focused on finding parking spaces or a faster way out of traffic afterwards.

And won’t be looking for you. 

So ride accordingly. 

And just like any three or four-day weekend, remember that many people will start drinking or smoking early and often.

So assume any driver you see on the road is under the influence of something. Which means ride carefully and defensively — because the best protection is being prepared for anything, at any time.

And we want to see you back here again after the holiday. 

………

This is nothing to be proud of.

When the 2010 Los Angeles bike plan was passed, the city committed to building 40 miles of bike lanes every year.

Honest-to-gosh, cross their hearts, pinkie swear.

Then they switched to measuring bike lanes in lane miles, rather than centerline miles, effectively cutting that commitment in half.

Then they decided that sharrows counted towards that commitment.

Hint: They don’t. Or shouldn’t, anyway.

Then our supposedly bike-friendly Mayor Eric Garcetti took office, and the building of new bike lanes quickly ground to a virtual halt in the City of Angels.

Which leads us to this Monday, when LADOT proudly announced it had built or upgraded 13 miles of bike lanes in the last fiscal year.

And since that’s measured in lane miles, that means counting each side of the road as a separate bike lane.

So in reality, we’re talking about a lousy 6.5 miles of bike lanes, which is nothing to be proud of, protected or otherwise.

Pretty shameful, in fact.

Especially in a city with the largest street system in the United States.

So the next time you’re wondering why people keep dying on our streets, you know where to point the finger.

And which one to use.

Photo by lumpi from Pixabay.

………

Megan Lynch reminds us that the late automaker Lee Iacocca was an early proponent of ebikes; he died yesterday at 94.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going, with no end in sight.

A Baltimore bike rider was knocked off his bike when he was intentionally rammed by a van driver, who then turned around and drove straight at him for no apparent reason; to make matters worse, both the police and paramedics failed to show up at the crash site.

A road raging English driver threatened a group of bike-riding kids with his car, then got out and pushed a 12-year old boy off his bike and into the path of an oncoming car.

A 63-year old British grandmother suffered a broken collarbone and rope burns on her neck when she ran into a rope someone had intentionally strung across a beachfront bike path at neck level.

Apparently tired of people riding bicycles on the sidewalk, a magazine editor recommends stringing razor wire across sidewalks at neck height to teach scofflaw sidewalk riders a lesson. Although it’s hard to learn much of anything when your head is in the gutter surrounded by “red slime and gore,” and looking for the rest of you.

………

Local

LAist considers LA’s existential battle over bus-only lanes. Which serves as a reminder that bicyclists are allowed to ride in bus lanes in Los Angeles, even if some cops don’t get it. And as long as you don’t mind a 13-ton bus driving up your ass.

CiclaValley goes gravel bike riding in Sycamore Canyon.

Long Beach business owners are threatening to sue over the Broadway road diet, claiming sales are down as much as 70% due to limited parking and difficulty accessing the area by car; they also claim the road diet has made the street more dangerous, which is the opposite of what road diets usually do.

 

State

California Streetsblog takes a deep dive into why the state needs a Complete Streets law, as the state Assembly Transportation Committee prepares to take up S.B. 127 on Monday.

The state task force set up to study the effects of the deadly 85th Percentile Law that too often forces cities and counties to raise speed limits held its first meeting last week; it has until January to write a report with its recommendations. That’s easy. Just throw out the damn law and lower speed limits almost everywhere.

San Diego introduced strict new regulations in an attempt to tame the wild, wild world of e-scooters — including speed limits as low as 3 mph in select pedestrianized areas.

Chula Vista-based Juiced Bikes has introduced a 33 mph ebike, which is actually a moped under California law — and in many other states — requiring a driver’s license, vehicle license and helmet to be legally ridden on the roads, and is barred from being used on bike paths or protected bike lanes.

A Fresno bicyclist in his late 60s was injured by a pickup driver who couldn’t manage to stay out of the bike lane while passing another car on the right. And almost needless to say, couldn’t be bothered to stay at the scene.

Sad news from Rohnert Park, where a 66-year old man was killed in a collision with a commuter train last week, just one day after a woman was killed running across the tracks at the same crossing. Despite a great job of victim blaming by investigators — including accusing the victim of riding the wrong way on the sidewalk, which isn’t a thing — officials consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, there might be a problem with the crossing. Gee, you think?

 

National

Now you, too, can own a replica of the bikes from Stranger Things. Or you could, if two of the three bikes weren’t already sold out, and the other wasn’t “temporarily unavailable.”

A missing Oregon triathlete was found dead in the Columbia River, five days after he went on a training ride; his bike was found two days later in a park along the river.

Arizona officials approved a controversial bike resort planned to be built across the street from Saguaro National Park near Tucson.

The Idaho Stop Law is gaining momentum, as Oregon passes a bill allowing bike riders to treat stop signs as yields, though not allowing riders to roll red lights, joining Idaho, Arkansas and Delaware with variations of the law; Colorado allows individual cities and counties to decide whether to adopt the Idaho Stop.

Life is cheap in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where investigators conclude the fatal dooring that took the life of a young woman was just a big “oopsie.”

A New York state senator blames built-in racism and classism for the death of a bike rider last week.

Tragic news from Brooklyn, where a 14-year old boy succumbed to injuries he received when he was hit by a car while riding his bike three years ago.

A Manhattan community board chose safety over car storage, approving a proposal to remove 400 parking spaces to install a protected bike lane on a street where a bike-riding woman was fatally doored last year.

Presidential candidate and New York Mayor Bill De Blasio promises a crackdown on drivers who block bike lanes, in response to the city’s skyrocketing bicycling fatality rate. Problem is, it’s usually the police who are doing it.

 

International

Canada’s first bike mayor says mandatory bike helmet laws are a sign of a failed government.

Great piece from The Guardian’s Peter Walker, who effectively demolishes ten common myths about bike lanes, including many of the NIMBY greatest hits you’ll inevitably hear at any public meeting, or read in the comments on any story about bicycling.

They’re onto us, comrades. A British letter writer says dooring is no big deal, and it’s those ignorant bike riders who put themselves at risk, then try to take advantage of the poor, innocent drivers and their insurance companies.

Security camera video catches the crash that left a UK bike rider with a serious brain injury, as the driver gets off with a 20-month sentence — only half of which actually has to be served behind bars. As always, be sure you actually want to see someone get hit by a driver before clicking the play button on the video.

An Aussie bicyclist makes the case for why you should have cameras mounted on your bike. I ride with a helmet cam, and want to add a rear-facing bike cam when I can, if only to be able to prove I wasn’t the one who broke the law if I’m involved in a crash or get a ticket. And so it can speak for me if I can’t.

 

Competitive Cycling

This is so effing wrong. After Ukrainian cyclist Anna Solovey won gold in the European Games, she complained when the head of the Kyiv Cycling Federation got credit for her win. And was told her victory was an accident, and she could be kicked off the national team for opening her mouth.

Forget Alpe d’Huez. This year’s Tour de France competitors will have to survive the legendary Tourmalet.

Cycling News offers eight conclusions from this year’s US pro cycling nationals.

 

Finally…

Actually, it’s called skitching. And this is what I call a bike crash.

………

I continue to be blown away by the kindness and generosity of the people who visit this site. 

Thanks to Howard V for his generous donation to help support BikinginLA. Along with his moving note, which helped lift my spirits on yet another difficult day dealing with the Corgi’s ongoing health problems.

As always, donations of any size, for any reason, are truly welcome and appreciated

He also forwarded a cute video showing him riding through the streets and bike paths of Venice and Santa Monica with his two dogs on his new e-cargo bike from LA’s own Cero

Which is something to remember the next time someone tries to tell you about all the things you can’t carry on a bicycle. 

 

Morning Links: The death of LA’s Vision Zero, safety improvements in Mar Vista, and more kindhearted people

Vision Zero, in any meaningful sense, is dead in Los Angeles.

We may see incremental improvements; a new crosswalk here, a bike lane there. But only if they don’t adversely affect anyone on four wheels.

Which is not what Vision Zero is about.

But any meaningful attempt to reduce traffic deaths to anywhere near zero in finished.

That’s because CD11 Councilmember Mike Bonin and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti jointly announced yesterday that they are caving in to the angry NIMBY and driver-led backlash, and ripping out the bike lanes and road diets in Playa del Rey.

Although that’s not the way they put it.

And in the process, throwing bicyclists and anyone else who fought for the changes under the bus. Perhaps literally.

They present it as a compromise, with a long list of pedestrian-focused improvements that won’t do crap to protect people on bikes, slow traffic or prevent crashes between motorists.

But let’s be honest.

This is a compromise like Jim Bowie and Davey Crockett compromised at the Alamo.

Those pedestrian improvements were already planned as the next phases of the community-driven process to improve safety in Playa del Rey — after the road diets, not in place of them.

So instead of improving safety and livability in the area, it will go back to being a virtual freeway for pass-through motorists.

Except now the city will be on the hook financially for every death and injury that occurs in the area, after removing the safety improvements designed to prevent them.

It’s a liability lawyer’s dream.

Worse, though, is the potentially fatal damage it’s done to Vision Zero in Los Angeles, as few, if any, councilmembers will be willing to subject themselves to the hate and vitriol Bonin and his staff have faced.

It’s a surprise they held out as long as they did.

Chances are, road diets are now off the table in this city. Perhaps permanently.

The same with installing the bike plan, which is no longer worth the silicon it’s printed on. Or any other substantive street changes that inconvenience motorists in any way, or makes NIMBY home and business owners sharpen their pitchforks and light the Tiki torches.

Even if they’re the ones who’ll benefit from it.

And even though Vision Zero was never about crosswalks or enforcement — or cutsie football videos — but about redesigning the roadways so that when people act like people do, their mistakes won’t be fatal. To them or anyone else.

Which is what these road diets were supposed to do.

But we’ll never know if they would have succeeded or not, because they were never given the chance.

I’ve long questioned whether LA’s leaders had the courage and conviction to make the tough choices Vision Zero would require, and withstand the inevitable criticism that would be directed their way.

They’ve answered with a resounding no.

The odd thing, though, is that Garcetti somehow got his name attached to the plan to restore traffic lanes — and got top billing, no less.

Even though he didn’t do a damn thing to implement or support the road diets. Or any of the other traffic safety improvements that have gone down to defeat under his tenure, from bike lanes on Westwood Blvd to sidewalks on the Hyperion-Glendale bridge.

He hasn’t shown up for a single public safety meeting since announcing Vision Zero to great fanfare two years ago. Or made a single public statement in support of Mike Bonin and the desperately needed safety changes in Playa or Mar Vista.

And yet, he gets full credit — if that’s the word you want to use — for restoring the Playa del Rey streets to their original dangerous condition, and thrusting a dagger through the heart of his own signature safety policy.

It’s been seven years since the late Bill Rosendahl stood before the city council and proclaimed that car culture ends today in the City of Angels.

He was wrong.

It’s clearly just getting started. And we will all pay the price.

………

In better news, The Argonaut reports on the figures released last week showing safety improvements and a reduction in speeding on Venice Blvd following the recent lane reductions.

However, traffic truthers refuse to accept the results; the leader of the Bonin recall effort tried to claim the street was actually more dangerous, because injuries went up on a per capita basis since there was a drop in traffic.

………

Today’s common theme, kindhearted people — mostly in blue.

An Ohio sheriff held back bicycles from a property auction, insisting that they be given to kids and adults who need them instead.

Tennessee cops pitch in to buy a man a new bicycle, after the one he relied on to get to work was stolen.

A Florida man bought a new bicycle for a boy who was run over by a distracted driver as he was riding to school; unfortunately, he’s too scared to ride it.

But Michigan cops got it backwards, buying a car for a woman who rode her bike or took a bus 13 miles to work for years.

………

Women’s racing takes a big step back, as the Tour de France cut’s the women’s La Course back to a single day.

Austrian cyclist Christoph Strasser set a new indoor 24-hour record at 585.25 miles, and vows to never ride on a track again; he’s a four-time winner of the Race Across America.

And SoCalCross offers a video recap of the year’s first cyclocross race at Irvine Lake.

………

Local

The city council’s Public Works and Gang Prevention Committee approved a motion to paint LA’s bike lanes a dull, non-reflective green, prioritizing the convenience of the film industry over the safety of bike riders. After all, it’s just so damn hard for film crews to cover-up a bike lane with some sort of mat, let alone fix it in post.

LADOT has installed what appears to be a very problematic bus loading platform in the bike lane on First Street in DTLA, which forces riders up a sharp ramp while creating a crowded conflict point when people board or get off; as passengers adjust to it, they will likely start to wait on the platform, blocking the bike lane.

UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup has been honored with the 2017 Distinguished Educator Award, the highest honor offered by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning; Shoup’s work has changed the understanding of the hidden costs of parking around the world.

Musician Andrew Bird used the LA River as his muse, inspired by his bike rides along it.

CiclaValley M.A.S.H.s gears up the Bulldog.

 

State

A 60-year old San Diego man was seriously injured when a woman crashed into his bike in Pacific Beach.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 81-year old San Diego County man just finished a 4,300-mile ride across Canada.

Construction of a new bike path has Santa Barbara residents on edge, as road surface grinding is keeping them up at night.

If people in San Luis Obispo look depressed, it’s because they’re no longer the happiest city in the US. It’s probably no coincidence that every city in the top five is ranked silver or higher on the Bike League’s list of Bicycle Friendly Communities.

A San Francisco bike cop is in grave condition after he was run down by a suspect, who was arrested several hours after fleeing the scene.

 

National

Bicycle Times offers advice on how to clean your dirty, dirty bike.

Rails-to-Trails recommends some haunted pathways for your pre-Halloween riding pleasure, including one with a ghost bike. No, literally.

No surprise here, as the Washington jerk bicyclist who injured a pedestrian after yelling “hot pizza,” expecting her to jump out of the way, is now facing a lawsuit; he uses the same excuse drivers do, saying 3 mph pedestrians shouldn’t mix with cyclists doing 15 mph.

What’s one way to jeopardize a football scholarship at Texas A&M? Stealing a bait bike is a good start.

Bike PGH meets up with carfree former Trojan and current Pittsburgh Steeler JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Now that’s more like it. A New York man was sentenced to five to 15 years behind bars for the hit-and-run death of a bike rider; more importantly, he received a lifetime revocation of his driver’s license. Which should be automatic for any driver in any hit-and-run.

DC has become a testing ground for dockless e-bikeshare.

 

International

A new documentary takes a look at MAMILs, following four men from the US, the UK and Australia. Which should be required viewing for anyone who makes fun of middle-aged people on bikes, spandexed or otherwise.

Road.cc explains how to stop the dreaded speed wobbles.

Bicycles are making a comeback in Cuba.

A Canadian newspaper talks with Danish bicyclist Ole Kassow, who created the Cycling Without Age program.

Ed Sheeran won’t be one of us for a while, after realizing the next day that he had fractured not one, but both arms when he was hit by driver while riding in London; he had to cancel his upcoming Asian tour.

Motorist and bicycling groups both condemn calls for British bicyclists to be required to carry numbered license plates.

A Turkish librarian operates his own personal book bike, towing books for children from village to village in a bike trailer.

An Aussie newspaper says kneejerk decisions to confine dockless bikeshare bikes to specified parking areas defeats the whole purpose.

 

Finally…

Maybe Bonin should have just used a coloring book. Evidently, we’re just sidewalk speeding cyclos.

And the left lane of the southbound 5 Freeway in Newhall Pass may not be the best place to walk your bike.

Especially before 6 am.

Thanks to kdbhiker for the photo.

%d bloggers like this: