Tag Archive for FHWA

US bicycling deaths up over 9% in 2020, Feds commit to Complete Streets, and remembering a fallen bike rider

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the final traffic fatality stats for 2020.

And the news was as bad as we expected.

A whopping 38,824 people were killed on American roads, the worst since 2007, and a nearly 7% jump over 2019.

That also represents a 21% increase over the previous year in deaths per vehicle miles traveled (VMT). So it’s not just due to more people on the roads; in fact, 2020 was marked by a dramatic decrease in driving due to the pandemic.

The one bit of good news is that traffic injuries dropped 17% in 2020, while crashes declined 22%.

So we’re talking fewer, but far more deadly, crashes, with pedestrians and bicyclists accounting for one in five of those killed.

Like the overall trends, it was a mixed bag for bike riders, with 938 people killed while riding their bikes in 2020, a 9.2% increase over the year before, while injuries dropped 21%, to 10,171.

Meanwhile, we’re off to a horrible start to this year, with 22 people killed riding their bikes in Southern California in just the first two months of 2022 — a rate of one person killed less than every three days.

Which has got to stop.

Now.

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Meanwhile, the Federal Highway Administration submitted their first report to Congress detailing their “commitment to advance widespread implementation” of Complete Streets, as required by last year’s infrastructure bill.

Which they define like this.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law defines Complete Streets standards or policies as those which “ensure the safe and adequate accommodation of all users of the transportation system, including pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation users, children, older individuals, individuals with disabilities, motorists, and freight vehicles.”

The law requires that a relatively paltry 2.5% of planning funding has to go towards Complete Streets, or bicycling, walking or transit projects.

Then again, that’s 2.5% more than was required before.

Although their idea of a Complete Street may leave something to be desired.

The infrastructure bill also contains a provision that will prevent states from setting traffic safety goals that allow an increase in traffic deaths each year.

And they’ll have to take steps to protect the safety of bike riders and pedestrians in order to keep receiving federal funds.

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Nice piece from a longtime reporter with the Daily Bulletin, who remembers former five-term Upland Councilmember Tom Thomas, who died Saturday after he was struck by a motorcyclist while riding his bike in Montclair.

David Allen recalls him as a friend, as well as a local leader, along with his three-decade love of bicycling. He talks about Thomas as being too nice for today’s rough-and-tumble civic politics.

A few paragraphs stand out, though. Like this from when Thomas was first elected to the city council in 1990.

Riding defensively is his approach and expecting the worst his philosophy when biking on city streets. Clueless motorists frequently make turns across the path of bike riders or nearly knock them over when zooming by.

Then there’s this, as Allen spoke with Thomas’ wife after his death.

I ask her about Tom’s bike riding. He’d head out Tuesday, Thursday and either Saturday or Sunday for 20 to 35 miles at a time. The 6-foot-1 senior was, enviably, at his college weight of 210. And he took every precaution on the road.

“This man was the safest cyclist you could have,” Ann says. “He wore the neon yellow windbreaker. If it was even dusk, he would turn on his lights, front and back. He always wore a helmet. He would curse people who didn’t wear one. He broke three helmets over the years” — starting with that 1990 accident.

Sadly, it wasn’t enough to keep him safe.

Another reminder that you can do everything right. Yet your safety still depends on those we share the road with.

We have no choice but to trust them with our lives, in the most literal sense.

Even if they don’t deserve it.

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REI is now offering members a 20% discount on bike repairs, as well as free flat fixing. Which should more than pay for your lifetime membership fee the first time you use it.

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Now this is a bike ad.

https://twitter.com/CoolBikeArt1/status/1499111168232800265

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

A Bowling Green, Kentucky bike rider was threatened by a pair of men in separate pickups, after the first driver bumped his bike, and the second stopped behind him and threw his bike off the roadway.

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

A man riding on a Placer County, CA bike path struck a woman with his bike, apologized, then pulled a knife and robbed her as he helped her up.

Houston, Texas police are looking for an armed robber who rode up to couple as they were getting into their car outside a shopping mall, pointed a gun at them and demanded their wallets and cellphone.

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Local

CD2 Councilmember Paul Krekorian wisely cancelled the ill-advised proposal to widen Burbank Blvd in North Hollywood, opting to widen sidewalks and improve safety for pedestrians instead.

A writer for City Watch questions whether CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz has the integrity to serve as city controller, after violating city ethics rules by attending a fundraiser at the home of a DWP commissioner, while suggesting Koretz should know better after 55 long years in politics.

USC’s Annenberg Media discusses the Healthy Streets LA ballot proposal, which would require Los Angeles to build out the mobility plan when streets get repaved.

A new e-scooter company has taken root in Santa Monica, with Chicago-based micromobility company Veo expecting to hire 300 people to staff its West Coast HQ.

 

State 

Costa Mesa will rename a segment of the 55 Freeway for fire captain and fallen bike rider Mike Kreza, who was killed by a stoned driver while riding in Mission Viejo in 2018; Stephen Taylor Scarpa was sentenced to 15 to life after his conviction for killing Kreza last year.

Bikemaker Yuba Bicycles used their own cargo bikes to move their headquarters from San Juan Capistrano to new offices in Lake Forest.

The San Diego Bike Coalition highlights the city’s new @SDCrashBot to track collisions involving bike riders and pedestrians, based on Streets For All’s Vision Zero Alerts, which has provided a similar service for the LA area for a little over a year. Thanks to Phillip Young for the link.

Oakland’s 14th Street is due to get a Complete Streets makeover, with a 4-to-2 lane reduction, shortened crosswalks and curb-protected bike lanes on both sides.

No bias here. After an SUV slammed into an Anderson, California preschool, sending 14 little kids to the hospital, the LA Times doesn’t even mention that it had a driver until story’s penultimate paragraph. But at least they didn’t call it an accident.

 

National

If you’ve always dreamed of working in the glamorous field of bicycle journalism, Bikerumor is looking for freelance writers for remote work.

Houston will install a popup bike lane this Sunday to allow fans to ride safely to the rodeo.

An autistic Michigan man spreads joy through his community by riding his bike while wearing extravagant holiday-themed suits, showing how special people with autism can be.

A new documentary from a Boston bike advocate highlights several women who enjoy riding their bikes after dark.

 

International

The Guardian profiles Twitter user @cybergibbons, who polices the social media site to confront anti-bike trolls. I’ve been known to do the same thing, but with about 30,000 fewer followers. Thanks to Jon for the heads-up.

Road.cc offers tips on how to keep your bike from being a pain in the butt. Or anywhere else.

A Toronto bicyclist films himself unexpectedly, and painfully, wiping out on the city’s streetcar tracks.

Welsh math teacher during the week, record-setting cyclist on weekends.

The truck driver who killed an English woman as she rode her bike through a deadly intersection faces charges of driving while stoned and without a license; she was the eighth bike rider killed there in recent years.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a former Oxfordshire mayor walked with a suspended sentence for killing a 75-year old man riding a bicycle.

A new study from London’s Hackney neighborhood shows the British equivalent of Slow Streets encouraged 30% of residents to drive less, and ride their bikes more.

Two additional men have been charged in the violent home-invasion robbery of pro cyclist Mark Cavendish; a third man is already awaiting trial.

Irish academics say a focus on driver safety has made roads less safe for bike riders and pedestrians, and driven human interactions off the streets.

 

Competitive Cycling

Sad news from Australia, where three-time world champ Alex Woods died from cancer at just 55-years old; he also won championships as a junior, as well as winning gold, silver and bronze Olympic medals.

More sad news, as Ukrainian national cycling coach Alexander Kulyk was killed in a Russian attack while trying to help people evacuate from Kyiv; his son, former pro cyclist Andriy Kulyk demands that UCI ban Russian and Belarusian cyclists.

Russian cyclist Aleksandr Vlasov says he feels sorry for everyone who is suffering because of his country’s invasion of Ukraine, and says he just wants peace like most Russians.

Russian ex-cycling team boss Oleg Tinkov, the former owner of the Tinkoff-Saxo team, also came out against the war, calling it “unthinkable and unacceptable.”

VeloNews looks forward to Saturday’s Paris-Nice race, saying the eight-stage race has the strongest field so far this season. Meanwhile, the magazine asks if anyone can beat Tadej Pogačar in the one-day Strade Bianche, which also runs tomorrow.

A 21-year old British trans woman says she just wants to be competitive again, after previously setting national records as a junior male; Emily Bridges will compete as a woman for the first time this year, after lowering her testosterone levels since publicly transitioning in 2020.

How to cut corners by cutting corners to cheat in bike racing.

 

Finally…

That feeling when winning a time trial scores you a box of sex toys. Your next bike could be all wheels and chain, with no frame.

And that feeling when your toddler needs a $1,200 titanium balance bike.

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

Rule change could ban bikes from streets, Garcetti distracted by shiny flying object, and $25k reward in Specialized bike thefts

Just six days left in the 6th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Thanks to everyone who’s given so far for their generous donations to help keep all the best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day. 

For everyone else, what are you waiting for?

Time’s running out! Give to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive today!

And come back after 10:30 this morning for a guest post by Phillip Young that could improve your chances of being seen on the road.

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Unbelievable.

If a proposed Federal Highway Administration rule change goes into effect, you could be banned from riding on any street without bike lanes or signage.

Jonathan Maus of Bike Portland writes that a phrase explicitly stating that the absence of bike infrastructure doesn’t mean bikes aren’t allowed is in danger of being changed to say just the opposite.

Image from FHWA website via bikeportland.org

He writes that the change is buried in a major update to the massive Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices published by the Federal Highway Administration on Friday and posted to the Federal Register on Monday.

This change, which has proposed under the Trump administration but will be finalized in the Biden administration — has set off shockwaves in the bicycle advocacy world. It was first pointed out on Twitter this afternoon by League of American Bicyclists Policy Director Ken McLeod.

Reached on the phone from his office in Washington D.C. a few minutes ago, McLeod said the change is so surprising it “seems like a mistake”. “But at same time,” he added, “Why we you trust that it’s a typo? I think we need to treat this seriously and as real.”

Even if it were a mistake, if it wasn’t caught by McLeod it would have likely ended up as binding federal law. The MUTCD is supposed to be updated every 3-4 years, but it’s taken 10 years for this update to happen. That led McLeod to say, if this was done in error, “It could take a long time to fix.”

Let’s hope it really is a mistake.

And not one more last-minute rule change slipped in by the outgoing Trump administration.

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It’s going to be a long two years.

That’s how much time is left in LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s final term, after the mayor was apparently snubbed by the Biden administration, despite rumors he was a prime candidate for a cabinet-level position.

Because instead refocusing on the city’s long forgotten Mobility Plan, the failed Vision Zero program or the mayor’s own Green New Deal that promised to change how Angelenos get around, he’s shifted his attention to this shiny object — a proposed flying taxi service, which will benefit only those rich enough to use it.

And allow the wealthy to zoom over LA’s clogged and deadly streets, while the rest of us are forced to slog it out down here on the ground.

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Mike Wilkinson forward news that Lakewood is taking comments on a new master plan that would impact Rynerson Park, an important access point for the San Gabriel River Trail.

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Specialized is offering a $25,000 reward to recover the bicycles, many of them one of a kind, that were stolen from their Morgan Hill CA headquarters over the weekend.

The thieves made off with $160,000 dollars worth of prototypes, race-winning bikes and personal bicycles belonging to employees that were on display in the building.

Anyone with information can call Morgan Hill Police Department Cpl. Mindy Zen at 669/253-4917 or the department’s anonymous tip line at 408/947-7867.

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A virtual memorial ride will be held on Zwift tomorrow to honor the five Las Vegas bicyclists killed by an alleged meth-addled truck driver.

The ride is being hosted by a former Vegas police officer who was on the ride at the time of the crash.

You can read the story on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you out.

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This is why you should register your bike with Bike Index.

It’s free. It lasts a lifetime. It’s transferable. It’s used by the LAPD.

And it works.

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Everyone needs a bike day every now and then.

Even him.

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Local

No news is good news, right? 

 

State

Streetsblog explains what to do if you’ve been victimized by the driver of an illegally modified pickup rolling coal.

A San Jacinto bike rider suffered major trauma to both legs when he was struck by an alleged drunk driver early Thursday morning; he was hospitalized in serious but stable condition.

San Francisco considers dropping the speed limit to 20 mph in the city’s deadly Tenderloin District. Or better yet, why not the entire city?

Bay Area advocates complain that a new $6 million bike and pedestrian access tube in Alameda would be just as useless as the one it’s supposed to replace.

A planned Ripon bike path is being threatened by habitat for a rare threatened species of beetle.

 

National

Yes, there is haircare hope for Black bike riders. Again, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you out.

The Verge tries out Harley Davidson’s new ebikes, and likes just about everything but the price. Meanwhile, New Atlas looks at ebike makers who did things differently this year.

Moving piece from Singletracks, as an Idaho man takes to his mountain bike to ride through grief over the death of his sister. I did the same thing on my roadie after my dad’s death, and again with my mother and both my in-laws; there’s something about riding that allows you to process loss in ways you can’t otherwise. Or I couldn’t, anyway.

They get it. Missoula, Montana is considering a plan to reduce speed limits on residential streets to 20 mph to prevent crashes and reduce their severity. Meanwhile, Los Angeles and other California cities continue to let drivers push speed limits ever higher thanks to the deadly 85th Percentile Law.

Texas Monthly talks with Austin bespoke bikemaker Nao Tomli.

‘Tis the season. A Texas investigative reporter helps out a family in need with nearly $2,000 in gifts, including bikes for all the kids.

‘Tis the season too. An Ohio group donates 24 bicycles to boys victimized by domestic violence, despite being shut down most of this year.

New York bike advocates complain that many of the city’s bike lanes are too wide, inviting people to drive or park in them; the city’s sanitation department wants the wide widths to accommodate their garbage trucks and snow plows.

Streetsblog New York says the NYPD’s bike safety tweets would make a pretty good comedy routine. Except they’re not funny.

New York continues to experience Vision Zero in reverse, as the city’s streets keep getting deadlier, despite earlier progress.

The family of a Florida bike rider call for lights to be installed on a Jacksonville bridge after an 18-year old boy hit a wall when the sidewalk ended, flipping him over; sadly, his body wasn’t found until a week later.

 

International

This year’s bicycle shortage could just be foreshadowing even worse supply problems next year.

A writer for Treehugger says her only regret in trading the family car for a cargo bike was not doing it sooner.

The founder of British bikeshare firm Beryl writes that bikeshare can help drive gender parity in bicycling.

A UK bike nonprofit urges local councils to be brave in the face of angry opposition to active transportation projects.

A fact-checking site says not so fast about that survey showing Brits ready to dump the Conservatives in anger over bike lanes.

The British manufacturer of the illegally overpowered electric trail motorcycle Simon Cowell was riding when he broke his back says it’s not their fault he cranked the throttle too far.

 

Competitive Cycling

Belgium’s Woot van Aert won the Crystal Bicycle award as the country’s best cyclist.

 

Finally…

You gotta love a new high-end aero bike inspired by The Clash. Where to catch a draft in a bike race.

And that feeling when your latest object of lust was built in the ’90s.

No, the 1890s.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a damn mask, already. 

Morning Links: The Feds look at road diets, including three LA area case studies, though LADOT’s stats falls flat

The Federal Highway Administration offers a fascinating series of road diet case studies from across the country — including three from the LA area.

  • Santa Monica’s Ocean Park Blvd road diet resulted in a remarkable 65% reduction in collisions, and a 60% reduction in injury crashes — without increasing congestion as measured by average speeds, or any measurable spillover in the surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Adding bike lanes to Pasadena’s Cordova Street increased bicycle traffic and reduced speeding by drivers, without reducing level of service for drivers or pedestrians; there was also a slight decrease in collisions and injuries.
  • On the other hand, the road diet on LA’s 7th Street highlights LADOT’s failure to keep statistics before or after making changes to the streets. They had to rely on the LACBC’s volunteer bike count to show bicycle traffic tripled along the corridor; they also received “positive feedback from users” and found “satisfactory” results from an analysis of traffic at key intersections.

It’s LADOT’s failure to keep any kind of traffic safety stats that allows councilmembers like Gil Cedillo and Paul Koretz, as well as recently departed Tom LaBonge, to weasel out of much-needed safety and livability improvements in their districts, since no one can prove they’re really needed.

And the city can’t demonstrate the success of road changes that have already been made in other areas in any meaningful way.

Hopefully, that’s changing under new traffic maven Seleta Reynolds and Mayor Garcetti’s commitment to stat-based accountability.

But it can’t change soon enough.

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After getting the year off to a great start by winning the Giro, followed by a tough Tour, Alberto Contador calls it quits for the season. And he didn’t even do it on a 1970s chopper bike.

World cycling chief Brian Cookson is worried about hooliganism at the Tour de France after winner Chris Froome was insulted, spit on and splashed with urine. Seriously, it’s just a matter of time before a rider is seriously injured — or worse — by a crazed “fan,” to use that word loosely.

Cycling’s elite riders are coming to North America this summer, starting with the Tour of Utah next week and culminating in September’s world championships in Richmond VA.

But will any of them will be sampling the new EPO substitute that anyone can get online?

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Local

Streetsblog wants to know if LA is giving the wrong sign for blocked bike lanes.

KPCC looks at the winners of the mayor’s Great Streets grants; there appear to be more street parties in our future.

Speaking of Great Streets, Flying Pigeon thanks Councilmember José Huizar for the pedestrian oriented makeover of Broadway in DTLA. Nice to see someone on the city council who actually gets it, and is willing to make changes that benefit the public instead of blocking them.

Boyonabike says Pasadena’s newly resurfaced Sierra Madre Villa Blvd coulda, woulda, shoulda have bike lanes.

CORBA offers an updated page on off-road trail etiquette. Really, it doesn’t take much to avoid confrontations on the trails. And everyone wins when you make the effort.

Santa Monica bans private bike parking at their still-unbuilt bikeshare kiosks.

SaMo is holding a workshop next week on re-envisioning Lincoln Blvd south of I-10, which could use a lot of improvement. Back in the bad old days, the street was listed as a Class 3 bike route in an apparent attempt to thin the herd.

Walk Bike Burbank hosts the Midnight Ramble Ride on Saturday.

 

State

The OC Foothills Bikeways Collaborative wants your vote to prioritize bikeway improvements in the county.

Evidently bike theft is a family affair in Seal Beach, as a snatched bike leads to a brawl with the thief’s relatives.

No bias here. After a teenage fixie rider suffers severe head injuries in a collision, San Diego police say they don’t know who had the right-of-way. But blame the victim anyway.

The San Diego Association of Governments will build a bike and pedestrian bridge to connect the Escondido Transit Center with a shopping center anchored by Barnes & Noble. Apparently people who use transit, walk and bike still read books made from dead trees down there.

If you were planning to ride through Camp Pendleton on Saturday, forget it; a shuttle will be available for riders who have to cross the base.

San Francisco cyclists call for adoption of the Idaho Stop law in California, which would allow bike riders to treat stop signs like yields; a supervisor for the city backs the law change. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the Idaho stop law has been shown to improve safety for bicyclists. And it would legalize what most bike riders — and most drivers, for that matter — already do.

Meanwhile, San Francisco bike riders show how following the letter of the law by coming to a full stop slows traffic for everyone; Streetsblog deems it an effective spectacle.

The 10,000 member San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which has proven itself to be a potent force in influencing city elections, faces a dispute over the balance between member privacy and democratic board elections.

San Raphael is putting the final touches on a $1.6 million shared path through the downtown area.

 

National

Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez is one of us. So are the Green Bay Packers.

A cyclist files a $13.5 million suit against an Arizona county over a dangerous bike lane design that led to him being seriously injured in a collision.

Seems like other states take hit-and-run a lot more seriously than California does. A Montana man is being held on $350,000 bond for fleeing the scene after critically injuring a pedestrian and tampering with evidence.

A Kansas man faces a charge of second degree reckless murder in the death of a college professor participating in a time trial last month.

Tragic news from Oklahoma, as a Florida man riding cross country to raise funds for affordable housing was killed by a distracted driver; a second rider was airlifted with a leg injury.

The Minneapolis StarTribune looks at the intersection of camping and biking.

A Connecticut cop responds to a report of kids fighting, and ends up fixing a broken bike chain.

Gothamist asks if New York is leaving bike lanes and the people who ride them behind in their Vision Zero plans.

Florida bicyclists want a little space on Palm Beach bridges.

 

International

An Alberta paper says a recent dooring death shows the need to improve safety and infrastructure for bicyclists.

A Quebec writer says mandating bike helmets may not be a good idea; shockingly, a bike helmet maker backed the idea before backing off the next day.

Cycling Weekly asks if carbon soled bike shoes are really necessary. Considering the footwear of choice for bike riders in my neighborhood appears to canvas sneakers, I’m going to say no.

The Guardian looks at how Groningen in the Netherlands set the standard for bicycling cities back in the 1970s.

A London rider asks “what’s life without a little risk?” after recovering from a fall when he was cut off by an apparently self-driving Prius.

Portugal tells government employees to get out of their cars and on their bikes.

 

Finally…

Evidently, posh cyclists ride salmon in bike lanes while sipping espresso. A self-described bike guy learns to love cycling; presumably, he hated it before but rode anyway. Maybe you want to take a bike tour of North Korea before you get captured and killed. Or you might become a dictator’s best friend like Dennis Rodman.

And since when do bike riders take UV-busting fashion cues from Donald Sterling’s self-professed non-girlfriend?

No. Just… no.

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Let’s offer a round of thanks to BikinginLA sponsors Jim Pocrass and Josh Cohen; their support makes this site possible. 

And thank you to everyone who has contributed to support this site. You help keep it, and me, going.

 

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