Tag Archive for Federal transportation funding bill

Infrastructure bill could cut drunk driving, but keeps US on unsustainable path; and road raging driver hits man on 3rd try

Debate continues over the pros and cons of the new infrastructure bill, which passed the US Senate on Monday with rare bipartisan support.

One big plus was highlighted by the anti-drunk driving advocacy group MADD, which points to provisions that could finally put an end to the deadly scourge.

Or at least put a big dent in it.

The bill directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to initiate a rulemaking process and set the final standard within three years for impaired driving safety equipment on all new vehicles. NHTSA will evaluate technologies that may include:

  • Driving performance monitoring systems that monitor the vehicle movement with systems like lane departure warning and attention assist;
  • Driver monitoring systems that monitor the driver’s head and eyes, typically using a camera or other sensors;
  • Alcohol detection systems that use sensors to determine whether a driver is drunk and then prevent the vehicle from moving.

Automakers are then given two to three years to implement the safety standard. New cars equipped with the NHTSA-directed technology could start rolling off the assembly line in 2026-2027.

So now that Congress has proven they can actually work together, maybe they can do something about distracted driving, too.

On the other hand, the National Association of City Transportation Officials, better known as NACTO, is no fan of the measure.

Even as the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that our planet is heading toward an increasingly uninhabitable future, the infrastructure bill passed today by the Senate keeps our nation on an unsafe and unsustainable path. It continues to prioritize building the infrastructure that most contributes to the U.S.’s worst-in-class safety record and extraordinarily high climate emissions: new highways. With transportation as the largest source of U.S. climate emissions, and 80% of those coming from driving, the Senate’s bill goes in the wrong direction, giving a whopping $200 billion in virtually unrestricted funding to this unsustainable mode.

With the bill moving to the House for consideration, there is still a narrow opportunity to rectify the worst aspects of this enormous legislation, reshaping it to address the looming threat of climate change and stem the unconscionable level of death and injuries on American roads, which are the least-safe of all industrialized countries. We urge House leaders to meet this moment and use their leverage to fix what’s painfully wrong with the bill to meet the scale of the climate emergency the world is facing today.

They recommend a series of simple fixes first proposed in the bill that passed the House earlier this year, including a requirement to fix existing roadways before building new ones, and investing more in transit.

Maybe they could also include more funding for non-motorized transportation while they’re at it.

Photo by energepic.com from Pexels.

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This is who we share the road with.

Apparently, it’s not just people on bicycles at risk from hot tempered drivers, as a road-raging Oakland driver tried three times to run down another man who had the audacity to ask him to slow down.

For anyone unclear on the concept, that’s attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, at a bare minimum.

Let’s just hope the local DA takes it seriously.

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A new ad from Dutch ebike maker VanMoof suggests a way out of the ever worsening traffic congestion in our cities.

And you can probably guess what that is.

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

Evidently, we’re not safe anywhere. Portland bike riders are being warned to watch their backs on an offroad bike path, which is being used as an access road for drivers from a nearby homeless camp.

Then again, people evidently drive in protected cycle tracks in Hong Kong, too.

A Singapore bike rider slammed into a taxi that pulled out directly in front of him, in a crash caught on bike cam video. So naturally, people blamed the guy on two wheels.

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Local

Once again, the East Side Riders prove they’re much more than a bike club, providing 30 underprivileged kids in the Compton area with $100 for back-to-school shopping, along with a grocery shopping spree, laptop and a haircut. If anyone wants to know my choice to succeed Joe Buscaino in LA CD15, the list starts and ends with East Side Riders founder John Jones III. Thanks to Keith Johnson for the link. 

Metro has finished renovation work on the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station, which includes a full service Mobility Hub with safe bike parking.

 

State

San Diego-based Juiced Bikes has launched a new version of their Cross Current X Step-Through ebike, with an improved price tag reflecting a $500 drop from earlier versions.

A Bakersfield man suffered major injuries when he allegedly rode his bike through a red light, and was struck by a driver. As always, a lot depends on whether there were any independent witnesses other than the driver who saw him go through the light.

San Francisco Streetsblog argues that it’s lobbyists and elected officials marring the public process rather than bike and pedestrian activists, accusing representatives of the de Young museum of engaging in gaslighting in an attempt to “turn J.F.K. back into a de facto freeway through Golden Gate Park.”

Once again, bike riders are heroes, after mountain bikers were credited with reporting and attempting to extinguish last month’s Cascade Fire, helping to restrict the blaze to a few hundred acres; a former lecturer at Santa Clara University and Sonoma State University is suspected of setting a number of fires in the area, including the massive Dixie Fire. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

 

National

USA Today says American cities are failing to meet their climate goals, but there’s still time to turn things around. Does anyone really believe Los Angeles will meet its goal of a 45% reduction in greenhouse gasses in just four more years — especially without a major investment in reducing motor vehicle traffic?

A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows separation works, saying bike paths and protected bike lanes saved lives from speeding drivers during the pandemic, while suggesting last year’s jump in bike deaths would have been even worse without them.

Tern’s commitment to plow 1% of their sales back into social and environmental causes resulted in splitting $45,000 between World Bicycle Relief, PeopleForBikes, and Trips for Kids. Now if every bike and accessory maker would do that, we might make some real progress for a change.

That one-of-a-kind Harley-Davidson chopper ebike styled after the classic Schwinn Apple Krate could have been yours for a mere $14,200.

Bicycling declares the once ubiquitous aluminum frame road bikes with mechanical shifting and rim brakes officially dead. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

Evidently, a “miscellaneous accident” is a thing in Hawaii.

A Portland writer celebrates biking with dogs in tow, including her own Dalmatian.

Rapidly rising Covid counts in my Colorado hometown, driven by the virulent Delta variant, has led to cancellation of the original Tour de Fat celebration, which was apparently the only one scheduled in the US this year.

A Denver magazine offers tips on how to power up hills like Colorado’s Sepp Kuss, the first American to win a stage in the Tour de France in over a decade.

A Colorado man confesses that he used bikepacking to escape from depression and anxiety, but let it turn into a tool for his own self-destruction. Once again, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

A Kansas woman faces a second-degree murder count for the hit-and-run death of a bike-riding 16-year old girl over the weekend; she’s also charged with DUI, hit-and-run and tampering with evidence.

An unused bikeshare dock on a New Orleans street was turned into a guerrilla artwork to protest the death of a Black man at the hands of Louisiana State police, in what some see as a prequel the murder of George Floyd.

 

International

An Edmonton, Alberta cop is on trial for assaulting a member of the Cree First Nation by needlessly driving his knee into the man’s back while he was already restrained by another officer, in what began as a simple traffic stop for not having a bike bell. One more argument for eliminating bike bell laws and other similar requirements, which are too often used as an excuse to target people of color.

A Toronto bike rider thanks the strangers who rushed to help him when he was struck by a driver pulling out of an alley.

London’s Independent looks at the city’s edition of Black Girls Do Bike, part of a loosely affiliated international organization dedicated to breaking down barriers that keep Black women from bicycling.

A British TV host credits her helmet with saving her skull when she was struck by a driver in the UK equivalent of a right hook. But instead of blaming the driver, her husband got rid of her bicycle.

You’ve got to be kidding. After BBC broadcaster Jeremy Vine posted a video of bicyclists riding side-by-side to argue that it’s safer and less inconvenient to drivers if bicyclists ride abreast, the founder of a motorist rights group called him a “cycling zealot” and accused Vine of breaking the Beeb’s rules by “politicizing” the roadways. Then again, “motorist rights group” pretty much tells you everything you need to know about him.

 

Competitive Cycling

Twenty-three-year old Portuguese cyclist João Almeida made a late attack to take a slim lead on day two of the Tour of Poland.

New Zealand Olympic cyclist Eddie Dawkins called for accountability from the country’s cycling and sports authorities after the suspected suicide of fellow Olympic cyclist Olivia Podmore, who died suddenly at just 24 years old.

Tragic news from New Hampshire, where a 33-year-old Rhode Island scientist was killed when he suddenly veered off the course of the Concord Criterium; Evan Barr-Beare had a 45-second lead on the rest of the peloton in the final lap when he apparently suffered some sort of medical emergency and lost control of his bike.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could be a life-size Hot Wheels. If you’re going to risk up to 20 years behind bars for knocking a man off his bicycle, at least make sure he’s got more than five bucks on him.

And seriously, don’t tempt fate by parking in a bike lane.

Thanks to Ted Faber for forwarding the video.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Killer meth-fueled Vegas driver gets 16-40 years, misguided recall for CD4’s Raman, and $20 million for LAC transport projects

That was fast.

Almost seven months to the day after five Las Vegas bicyclists were killed by a truck driver, their killer copped a plea to two counts of DUI causing death.

DUI is right.

Arizona resident Jordan Barson had nine times the amount of meth in his system required to be considered legally impaired.

He now faces anywhere from 16 to 40 years behind bars, along with a paltry $58,000 in restitution.

Once he gets out, whenever that may be, Barson will be required to have an interlock device on his car for anywhere from one to three years.

Which, it should be noted, detects alcohol, not meth.

Meanwhile, a killer truck driver in Flagstaff AZ didn’t have to play the universal Get Out Of Jail Free card after local police played it for him, claiming the sun was in his eyes when he ran a red light and slammed into a group of bicyclists.

Fifty-eight-year old California resident Normand Cloutier is accused of killing a 29-year old woman and injuring five other riders in the crash.

Of course, as several people pointed out on Twitter, the correct course of action when you can’t see what the hell is directly in front of you is to pull over to the side of the road until you can.

Photo by Cameron Casey from Pexels.

Let’s hope Barson’s cell is slightly better than this one.

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Another day, another recall by people who can’t get over the fact that their candidate lost.

This time the intended target is CD4 Councilmember Nithya Raman, who hasn’t been in office long enough to actually do anything that would call for one.

Not that that matters in today’s political environment.

Let’s hope this one doesn’t get any further than the idiotic attempt to recall Mike Bonin a few years, driven by conservative KFI anger meisters Jon and Ken.

Who will probably be happy to get behind this one, too.

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The new transportation bill under consideration in the US Congress includes $20 million for LA-area projects, according to Burbank Rep. Adam Schiff’s office.

In addition to traffic and pedestrian projects, the list also includes sharrows in Glendale, and pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements on Melrose in West Hollywood.

That last one could have connected with a Complete Streets makeover of Melrose in Los Angeles, if it hadn’t been summarily and singlehandedly killed by CD5 Councilmember and pseudo-environmentalist Paul Koretz.

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The Bike League announced their latest list of Bicycle Friendly Businesses, with 33 new or renewing firms honored.

None of which are in Southern California, although the LA office of the Morrison & Foerster LLP law firm got an honorable mention.

Maybe someone should tell them that MoFo may not be the positive nickname they seem to think it is.

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Maybe it’s just me, but it seems there are few things more sexist than women’s fashion magazines.

Especially when it comes to bicycles.

Because apparently, women just want to look cute on a bike, and would never want to put on spandex and get all sweaty or anything.

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Don’t miss this one if you’re in the Bay Area this weekend.

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

Clearly, he doesn’t get it, either After a community board in New York’s Upper West Side calls for banning ebikes from protected bike lanes, the city’s outgoing mayor quickly refused — because he doesn’t think they belong in traffic lanes.

Drivers in Auckland, New Zealand, are plotting to invade the city’s bike lanes on a busy Saturday morning — this Saturday, in fact — and drive on the bike lanes when they’re likely to be full of people on bicycles. Which seems to be the point. One hundred drivers have confirmed so far, so if it’s like very other Facebook event, maybe three might actually show up.

But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly. 

A Boston bike rider got off with a warning for riding through a busy highway tunnel, after state police officers told him it was both illegal and dangerous, as evidenced by the sudden braking as drivers spotted him in the right lane.

What the hell is wrong with some people? An 18-year old Delaware man faces charges for shooting an 11-year old girl with a BB gun in a dispute over the girl riding his bicycle.

A bike-riding Singapore man got off with a $5,600 fine for punching a truck driver who had tried to run him down during a mutual road rage incident; the driver had already been sentenced to a week behind bars.

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Local

KTLA-5’s Rich DeMuro visits Venice Beach’s Bike Attack to learn about electric bicycles, then test rides the VanMoof S3, calling it the Tesla of ebikes. Then again, that’s not necessarily a compliment.

Departing Metro CEO Phil Washington pens a letter to the community in support of the 18-mile NoHo to Pasadena bus rapid transit line, which includes the proposed Beautiful Boulevard plan through Eagle Rock.

Caltrans recommends a $3.532 million plan to fix the twin intersections of Rambla Pacifico and Las Flores Canyon at PCH in Malibu, which saw three traffic deaths and 81 injuries in just a three year period. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to include any bicycle safety measures on the deadly highway.

 

State

It takes a major league schmuck to steal a three-wheeled adaptive bike used by a special needs girl to help with her balance issues.

Bay Area bike advocacy group Bike East Bay wants your help to save the protected bike lanes on Oakland’s iconic Telegraph Avenue.

 

National

Seriously? Consumer Reports discovers the “hidden danger” of big pickup trucks, which are increasing in size with virtually every model year. Never mind that the risk to others should be pretty damn obvious to anyone who has ever walked, ridden or just stood next to one.

USA Cycling announced their new Let’s Ride program to teach bicycle safety and basic bike skills to elementary school children throughout the US.

A new ebike from Civilized Cycles is designed to carry up to two passengers and four loaded grocery bags in comfort, with an automated air ride system that adjusts to the weight the bike is carrying for a smoother ride.

In Style shows women what to wear to look cute on four types of bike rides. Because as we all know, looking cute is what really matters, and no woman would ever want to put on spandex and get all sweaty or anything. Right?

Marketplace examines why Phoenix-based fixie maker State Bicycles is struggling to meet the increased demand brought on by the pandemic-induced bike boom; co-founder Mehdi Farsi blames supply chain issues for an inability to ramp up to meet a two to three-times jump in sales.

Speaking of Phoenix, the downtown area just got its first two-way protected bike lane.

After a Davenport, Iowa man was killed by a red light-running hit-and-run driver while riding his bike back home, the victim’s wife says it never should have happened.

St. Louis is installing zebra lane delineators to separate bicycles and motor vehicles along a protected bike lane; the small bumps — often called armadillos in other cities — promise to be more effective at keeping drivers out than the usual thin plastic car ticklers. Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up.

A study conducted by Maine’s Bowdoin College shows that cities that adopt a Complete Streets policy also see improvements in how crashes between drivers and pedestrians are covered by the media.

Long Island’s Suffolk County is cracking down on scofflaw riders from the Bike Life movement, by creating a new crime of reckless bike riding complete with a $250 fine and possible confiscation of their bicycles.

Curbed’s Alissa Walker, who always gets it, says helmet laws are not what New York bike riders need right now.

 

International

USA Today offers a modestly covered-up view of naked bike rides — and riders — around the world.

The Barbados transportation minister says bike riders have an equal right to the road, and calls on drivers to help create a more equitable environment for everyone.

Cycling Tips features the hilarious Danish helmet PSA we linked to yesterday, while calling for more “bike-adjacent” ads to feature Vikings.

A new project from the mayor of Hyderabad, India aims to address bad air quality by giving “pre-loved” bicycles to people who will use them as an every day form of transportation.

 

Competitive Cycling

Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Tadej Pogačar is gearing up to defend his pandemic-year Tour de France win by competing in his hometown Tour of Slovenia.

 

Finally…

Go back to the wide stripe jerseys and hairnet helmets of the 1970s. Your next bike helmet might kinda see around corners.

And who hasn’t taken on a national hillclimb champ on a series of increasingly inappropriate bicycles?

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

And get vaccinated, already.

Fed bike funding — and your right to the road — in danger; an argument against mandatory helmet laws

Bend over.

The new Federal highway spending bill proposed by our own Sen. Barbara Boxer and Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe is out. And if it passes, we’re all going to get screwed.

The new bill not only cuts the amount of funding available for bike and pedestrian projects, it forces bike projects to compete with Recreational Trails, Safe Routes to Schools, and other non-bike and pedestrian projects for funding. Which means the smaller pool will be cut even further before anything bike-related ever gets funded.

The Alliance for Biking and Walking offers a good comparison between the current and the proposed bill.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, it also includes a clause that will forbid you from using any Federally funded roadway if there is a bike path within 100 yards. It doesn’t matter if that bike path is a slow, winding recreational path in crumbling condition that meanders far from where you want to go, you’ll have to ride it.

And you’ll lose the right to the road you’re currently guaranteed under the law.  Evidently, because you could, conceivably, get in the way of what our elected leaders clearly seem to think are more important road users.

And this comes from our supposedly liberal junior senator, who has inexplicably decided to do the work of the radical right for them.

No one thought is would be easy to protect bike funding in the current environment.

But I don’t think we expected to be the victims of friendly fire.

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The owner of Santa Monica’s Bike Effect writes movingly, and heartbreakingly, about the death of Robert Hyndman on the Rapha ride they sponsored last Saturday.

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Dave Moulton, former maker of some of the best bikes built in my lifetime, offers a thoughtful argument against mandatory helmet laws, “saying mandatory helmet laws do not make cyclists wear helmets, they make some people stop riding bikes.”

I wear a helmet when I ride my bike, not because I believe it will save me from serious head injury, but because I believe the little protection it does give can’t hurt.

Another big incentive for me is, in the event I am hit by a car and injured; when I make a claim with the car driver’s auto insurance, they cannot say I was negligent and contributed to the seriousness of my injures by not wearing a helmet.

Insurance companies are notorious for finding ways to pay less or not pay at all on a claim; why give them the opportunity to deny a claim by not wearing a helmet? Apart from that I believe this little piece of lightweight Styrofoam I wear on my head offers only a token amount of protection.

These are my personal views; I would not tell anyone they should or should not wear a helmet when riding a bike. I strongly believe that helmet use should be an individual choice.

It’s a good read, and makes the argument for helmet use — and against mandating them — in a clear, concise and rational manner.

And it should be noted that both of the SoCal cyclists who died this past weekend were wearing helmets.

I can’t stress enough that bike helmets are designed to offer full protection at impact speeds only up to 14 mph; they offer little or no protection in high speed falls, and none whatsoever to any other part of the body.

They’re designed to protect against slow speed falls, such as tumbling off your bike under normal riding conditions, or impacts at relatively slow speeds.

Mandating their use is more about making non-cyclists feel better about sharing the road with us than it is about protecting riders.

Evidently, Britain’s Parliament gets it.

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L.A. launches a virtual town hall to discuss mobility in the city. The York Street bike corral is back in action. Once again, Los Angeles considers ways to change the law that allows biking on sidewalks. Mayor Villaraigosa, Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Mitch Englander decide that car dealers shouldn’t be taxed; no word on when bike shops will get a similar tax break. Meanwhile, Councilmember Rosendahl proposes a motion to keep Mandeville Canyon speed bump free; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up. The Times’ George Skelton concludes bike trails are budget pork. Last weekend’s Free the Streets brings a dose of bike culture to South L.A. Streetsblog plans an end-of-the-year party on Thursday, December 8th. Santa Monica’s proposed Bike Action Plan gets a hearing before the city’s Planning Commission Wednesday night, while the new Bike Centers open on November 18th. Get a gift card when you make a purchase over $250 at Cynergy. A new Long Beach-based website celebrates the beauty and benefits of bicycling for women. Long Beach’s biking expat Russ Roca says losing his car saved his life.

A ghost bike has been installed for Mark Leones, killed last month is a solo bike wreck, while Claremont Cyclist catches up with the long, sad list of ghost bikes throughout Southern California, and looks at Sunday’s Long Beach Cyclocross. The Newport Beach Bicycle Safety Committee needs more time than their one year term to complete their work; the only question is why they thought they could solve all the city’s bike problems in a single year. Monterey riders will have a chance to bike the famed Laguna Seca racetrack. Palo Alto gets a new bike plan; the city calls it ambitious, but what do local cyclists think? Martha Stewart parks in a San Francisco bike lane. SF Gate asks if it’s safe to ride while pregnant. If you’re looking for a serious challenge, consider next April’s Mount Laguna Bicycle Classic, an epic timed challenge offering up to 101 miles with over 10,000 feet of elevation gain.

Bikes Belong and SRAM partner on a new campaign to fast-track separated bike lanes. How to bunny hop — and how not to. The Reno Rambler looks at bike lane pushback, and concludes the vehicular cycling model won’t broaden the spectrum of riders. A look at 12 bike calendars for 2012. Tribal justice means no justice for a cross-country cyclist killed on a New Mexico reservation. A Colorado cyclist steals her bike back from the person who stole it from her. Now that’s bike parking. A Boston cyclist “accidently” rides a local freeway. Boston businesses decry a loss of 71 parking spaces to make room for a bike lane; maybe someone should point out that cyclists spend money, too — and are more likely to stop and shop. What to do with abandoned bikes in Gotham bike rooms. The New York Times architecture critic gets back on his bike to review the city’s bike lanes. A New York woman confesses she was high when she ran down and killed a cyclist, and gets rewarded with a reduced sentence. Someone somehow manages to massively crush a street full of cars. New technology could soon help keep drunk drivers off the road. Louisiana cyclists ride to raise awareness after three cyclists are killed in one week. After a cyclist is killed, Mississippi decides it’s finally time to enforce their three-foot passing law. For the first time, a Florida judge permits punitive damages in the case of a cyclist killed by a texting driver.

Toronto proposes to ban bike parking over 24 hours anywhere except bike racks; I assume that means the city is saturated with safe and secure bike parking, right? Bike-friendly Bogota mayor Enrique Penalosa loses his bid for re-election. The London Mail tours Pashley. David Hembrow argues that training riders rather than fixing the roads has failed UK cyclists. Campy unveils its new 11-speed electronic shifting system; it seems like this is an expensive solution in search of a problem, since the beauty of a bicycle has always been it’s simplicity. There will be no 2nd annual Tour of South Africa, after all.

Finally, from the Department of WFT, a driver corrects a cyclist for not riding in the non-existent bike lane, then tells him to break the law by riding on the sidewalk. And a bike riding child is injured in an apparent hit-and-run before being transported by ambulance.

On a Playmobil toy box. Seriously, what were they thinking?

Thanks to Dave Schneider for the Playmobil link.

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