I honestly don’t know what to think about this one.
The signs can be requested by the families of fallen bicyclists, memorializing the victim while offering a general nod to bike safety.
They’ll stay in place for five to seven years, after which families can pay to have them replaced.
However, a maximum of just 20 signs will be installed each year, which will barely keep up with the number of riders killed on an annual basis in Los Angeles.
In an interview withKPCC’s Take Two, (Councilmember Bob) Blumenfield explained how the idea for the signs was borne out of a tragedy in Woodland Hills last April. On Easter Sunday, 15-year-old Sebastian Montero was struck by a car and killedwhile riding his bike on Burbank Boulevard.
Blumenfield was in contact with the boy’s family, as well as local police officers— together, they discussed ways to prevent future tragedies.
“I’ve been to too many of those ghost bike ceremonies, and they’re heartbreaking,” Blumenfield said.
After one officer, Duke Dao, suggested the idea for the memorial signs, Blumenfield ran with it.
I’m told be someone who worked closely with Blumenfield on the proposal that he’s absolutely sincere in wanting to do something to both remember the victims of traffic violence, and keep it from happening again.
But a simple sign’s not going to do that.
Blumenfield is one of the city’s better councilmembers on traffic issues, and is working to get a bike lane installed where Montero was killed.
But many of his peers have taken active steps to block desperately needed, potentially life-saving bikeways.
Despite the unanimous vote to establish the memorial program, we have to wonder how many of the councilmembers voted for memorials to fallen bicyclists instead of taking active steps to prevent their deaths.
Because it’s a lot easier to put up a small memorial sign than to fix the roads to avoid the need for them.
Among those voting yes,
- Gil Cedillo has blocked road diets on North Figueroa and Temple Street, as well as trying to remove his entire district from the bike plan.
- Paul Koretz is infamous for blocking the long-planned Westwood bike lanes at the request of overly entitled homeowners, even though the latest plans wouldn’t have removed a single lane or parking space.
- Mitch O’Farrell blocked the road diet on Temple Street in his district after favoring it for years.
- David Ryu blocked a planned road diet on deadly 6th Street, even though it had the unqualified support of the local neighborhood council.
- And credit Curren Price with blocking the proposed bike lanes on Central Ave, and having them removed from the Mobility Plan.
All voted to approve the memorials, while helping create — or at least not alleviate — conditions likely to require them.
Meanwhile, there’s a reasonable fear that the memorial signs will just blend into the streetscape, no more noticeable than the street signs indicating where police officers have been killed.
And if you haven’t seen those, that’s exactly my point.
Ghost bikes are intrusive and evocative. Granted, many drivers don’t know what they are. But once they do, they notice them every time they pass, and that drives the meaning home.
I’m not sure that will happen with these.
Especially if the limit of just 20 a year stays in place. It should be expanded to include not just those riders killed in the future, but the many riders who have needlessly lost their lives in the past.
And it should include pedestrians, as well, since they die in much greater numbers on LA’s mean streets than we do.
Maybe if hundreds of these memorial signs started to appear every year, blanketing every part of the city, people might finally get it. And realize that too damn many people are getting killed just because they rode a bike or went for a walk.
Then the council might finally do more than put up a sign.
Thanks to everyone who sent me links to this story.
Note: I’ve been reminded that today is the one year anniversary of Sebastian Montero’s death.
No word on whether the alleged speeding driver who killed him was ever charged.
The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee will hold its bimonthly meeting this Tuesday. As always, the meetings are open to the public, and you are encouraged to attend.
Don’t plan on riding Yerba Buena Road anytime soon.
Fed up with people driving under the influence, Taiwan is considering instituting the death penalty for killing someone while driving drunk or stoned.
I’d like to think that might actually make someone think twice before getting behind the wheel after drinking, smoking or downing pills.
But the threat of the death penalty hasn’t seemed to stop anyone from murdering other people.
So there’s that.
Thanks to Evan Burbridge for the link.
LAist notes the problems with LA’s troubled Vision Zero program, including a lack of social media presence for the past seven months. What the city doesn’t seem to get is that most of us really, really want to support Vision Zero LA — if they ever get their shit together.
Famed bike rider LeBron James has gone Hollywood, building a production company on the Warner Bros. lot that has made him a major player in the industry. Word has it he also plays a little basketball.
This is who we share the roads with. A 17-year old boy will likely face a vehicular homicide charge — or worse — for killing one person and injuring three others in a violent crash while apparently street racing in Woodland Hills.
Good for him. A chef at the Long Beach Gladstones will be joining this year’s edition of the 300-mile No Kid Hungry ride. You can donate to support his goal of raising $7,500 by next month’s ride, and help ensure every child has enough to eat.
What the hell is wrong with some people? An Irvine man will spend the next 50 years behind bars for killing the person he accused of stealing his bicycle, after vowing to do exactly that.
San Diego police are looking for a man who approached a nine-year old girl as she rode her bicycle and offered to take her to a game; fortunately, she knew to ride home and her parents called the police.
The San Francisco Chronicle complains about the mythical war on cars, exemplified by a discussion of congestion pricing. Never mind that congestion pricing is intended to help improve traffic flow, which is hardly anti-driver. Or that nearly 100% of the roads are already dedicated to motorists, and the rest of us are just hoping for a few crumbs.
Sad news from Selma, where a man was shot and killed while riding his bike Saturday night; police believe he was targeted by the killers.
An Oakland man was busted for trying to break into a secured bike storage area.
An Irish writer takes a ride through California’s wine country.
Even in bike-friendly Davis, local residents break out the torches and pitchforks following a road diet to improve traffic safety.
ABC New has caught up with what most of us already know — killer hit-and-run drivers seldom face jail time.
Small towns can have bikeshare too, thanks to a startup dedicated to bringing bikeshare to towns the larger providers pass by.
Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says Trek’s WaveCel claims aside, it’s better to get more asses on bikes than get more heads in helmets. Meanwhile, Bicycling lists the 16 best helmets you can buy right now.
NPR hops on the e-scooter injury and blocked sidewalks bandwagon.
A Tucson writer says a bike resort is a great idea, just not across the street from Saguaro National Park.
A Grand Junction CO shelter is helping to house homeless youths on Colorado’s Western Slope, while a local bike shop is reconditioning unwanted bikes to get them onto two wheels.
Two Kansas men were killed when a driver slammed into their bicycles from behind. No word on why the driver apparently didn’t see a couple grown men on bikes directly in front of him, but I’m sure we could all take a pretty reasonable guess.
An Oklahoma man learned the hard way not to wear a skull mask while carrying meth and weed on his bike. Although his lawyer might want to argue that simply wearing a mask, scary or otherwise, on a public street is not probable cause for a traffic stop. Which makes everything that followed moot.
Slate tells the tale of a bike-riding Ohio teenager who scandalized the nation by wearing bloomers to church.
An Ohio college student discovers you’re never too old to learn how to fall off a bike.
A ti bike from a Schenectady NY builder was the first place winner at the recent National Handmade Bicycle Show in Sacramento.
The upstate New York jerk who wrote a ten-year old boy a letter of non-apology after a judge let him off easy for sideswiping the boy’s bike will now have to perform community service.
A Bronx councilmember loses his perfect ranking from a conservation voters’ group for not supporting ebikes and scooters.
A New York cop resigned after getting caught writing a ticket to a nonexistent bike rider when he was actually still in the precinct. Then billing the city for the overtime he didn’t work.
Taking a cue from LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s playbook, Baltimore’s mayor decides to rip out a protected bike lane, and says no way to a planned road diet. Although to be fair, she’s replacing the protected lane with a painted green lane. And she gave it four years, while Garcetti removed the non-protected bike lanes and road diets in Playa del Rey after just one month of driver complaints.
New Orleans is slowly building a bicycle culture, though in typical Big Easy style.
A Vancouver radio station asks if bicyclists and drivers will ever see eye-to-eye. Short answer, not until people are required to ride a bicycle in city traffic before getting a driver’s license.
Vancouver’s former chief planner writes in praise of slow cycling and upright bikes.
Only after he passed away at the ripe old age of 93 on Saturday was it revealed that a Montreal man was the secret “Mr. Bike Man” who gave away over 1,700 bikes, helmets and locks to children in the Montreal area for the past 34 years.
This one’s hard to watch. A Brit bike rider gets hit head-on by a driver cutting a corner at an intersection, despite stopping at a stop sign and using daytime lights.
Britain’s anti-bike Lord Winston is back at it, renewing his call for all bike riders to be licensed and insured after claiming he was attacked by a woman when he reprimanded her for riding on the sidewalk. Except he never bothered to report it to the police and no one can seem to verify his claim.
French drivers are apparently vandalizing speed cameras, costing the country the equivalent of nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars. And it may have contributed to a jump in traffic deaths.
An automotive writer rides a borrowed Peugeot racing bike up France’s legendary Alpe d’Huez, and finds it a lot easier to do in a borrowed car.
Amsterdam plans to reduce driving by turning 1,500 parking spaces into trees and bike parking each year for the next six years.
Vitaliy Klitschko, former world heavyweight champ and current mayor of Kyiv — or Kiev, to most non-Ukrainians — is one of us, riding his bike to cast his ballot in this year’s presidential election.
American cycling legend and newly married Indian resident Alexi Grewal says bicycling is seen as a poor person’s vehicle, and that needs to change.
Sydney, Australia residents rise up against what they term a “nonsensical” bicycle superhighway, fearing it would somehow jeopardize pedestrians more than all those cars zooming past. Seriously, why is it that people continue to fight bike lanes that have repeatedly proven to be a net benefit to the surrounding community, regardless of any loss of parking?
Bicycling Australia looks at the all-Type 1 diabetic Team Novo Nordisk, and how they overcome diabetes to ride competitively.
Chris Froome proved he’s comfortable in his domestique role, giving Team Sky leader Egan Bernal a ride back to the bus on his handlebars, after a mechanical forced Bernal to walk across the finish line.
The Australian press is suitably scandalized that Lance was paid $1.5 million in taxpayer funds to compete in the 2009 Tour Down Under, an agreement that was under seal for ten years.
Evidently, it’s considered bad form to toss another racer’s bike off the course after you crash with her, as Italian cyclist Elisa Longo Borghini learned the hard way on Thursday.
Next time time you get attacked by a gang of kids, all you really need is a Good Samaritan armed with a bicycle seat. When the bike stencil doesn’t fit in the new bike lanes, it may be just a tad too small.
And taking a cue from Kafka, that angry driver may see you as a cockroach.
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