Tag Archive for gun violence

Hard-hitting look at race in cycling, South LA teen killed in drive-by while riding bike, and a deep dive into SoCal bike deaths

Let’s start with a very hard-hitting essay from self-described Afro-Latino pro cyclist Ama Nsek, newly signed to the Los Angeles-based L39ION of LA cycling team.

It starts out rough, and doesn’t get any easier.

Note: I’m not censoring his language, even though it includes a word I would never use. 

I’ve had several people – even a “teammate” – call me nigger. I’ve had racists shout it from their cars as they pass me on my bike. I sat there as a white man criticized my Mom, who looks white, but is Hispanic, for being with a monkey, my father – a Black man. I had a woman tell me at the Redlands Classic she would never even think about dating a black man because “they’re too much trouble.” A girl I was dating told me she had racist grandparents. This came up only as they were potentially going to be joining us on a trip, a problem I’m sure many Black folks have run into.

After quoting LA’s former national crit champ Rahsaan Bahati saying he feels like a raisin in a bowl of milk in the overwhelmingly white world of pro cycling, he finishes this way.

If you’ve gotten to the end of the article and you haven’t clicked any of the links, shared this message, or taken it upon yourself to educate yourself more, then the problem is lack of self-education in society and dismissal of stories like this. It’s the continued silence and lack of discussion from common people that supports racism and still propagates the idea that silence is safe.

Well, safe for whom? Clearly, not for people like me. If this struck a chord, please share this and begin the talks. It starts at the table with friends and family.

Seriously, take a few minutes and read it.

And if it makes you uncomfortable, that’s the point.

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Tragedy strikes again in South LA, where a 15-year old boy was killed in a drive-by shooting, for no apparent reason.

Carl Jackson, Jr. was an honor student, with no gang affiliations, who was just riding his bike back home.

The shooting helped push Los Angeles over 300 murders this year, a tragic figure the city hasn’t seen since 2009.

Meanwhile, a crowdfunding account to pay for Carl Jackson Jr’s funeral expenses has raised over $3,500 of the $8,000 goal.

More proof that cars aren’t the only reason the streets aren’t safe for everyone.

And equity remains a pipe dream for many people of color.

Excuse my language, but there’s no fucking justification for this crap. Ever.

Period.

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The Southern California News Group’s Steve Scauzillo takes a deep dive into SoCal bicycling deaths during the pandemic, and why lighter traffic has made the roads even more dangerous.

And yes, he has the excellent taste to quote c’est moi, as well as several leading SoCal advocates.

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Good question.

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This pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

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A pair of researchers at San Jose State University are want your help with a survey to gauge attitudes towards mandatory bike helmet laws, and how they affect rider behavior.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

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Santa Monica has replaced the painted bike lanes on Ocean Ave with new parking protected bike lanes.

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This classic comic pretty much nails it.

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Yes, there was a time not the long ago when kids in Los Angeles actually rode bikes.

Even if it feels like ancient history now.

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This is what governments do when they’re actually concerned about safety.

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Yes, please. We should have this on every residential street.

Or maybe just every street.

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The latest video from GCN explains the difference between ‘cross and gravel bikes.

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

Oxford, England bike riders recount their complaints about motorists, including one rider who was knocked off their bike by a driver who then demanded money for the damage to his car.

This is why people keep dying on the streets. A Spanish woman faces a maximum of just four years behind bars — and could walk free — despite killing three bike riders and maiming two others while driving high on coke and at four times the legal alcohol limit in a 2017 crash.

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

Police in New York are looking for a bike-riding gunman who robbed and groped a woman outside her Bronx apartment.

It takes a real schmuck to mug a woman while she’s holding a baby, like this English bike rider and his walking partner.

Mountain bikers are blamed for causing irreparable damage to an ancient woodland in the UK. Seriously, don’t do that.

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Local

LA’s Slow Streets program is criticized for serving mostly wealthy communities on the Westside, where residents have the luxury of working from home.

Long Beach is moving forward with a Complete Streets remake of dangerous, car-choked Artesia Blvd, including bike paths, better sidewalks and improved traffic signals.

Usually when a bike rider is involved in a collision with a motor vehicle, it’s the person on the bicycle who bears the brunt of the crash; this time, it was a Danville motorcyclist who was tragically killed when a bike rider somehow fell into the traffic lane and the victim crashed into the bicycle lying in the roadway.

 

State

This is who we share the road with. Police in Anaheim are looking for the driver who used his car as a weapon by intentionally backing into a pair of people outside the Anaheim Lodge hotel, seriously injuring them as well as a clerk working on the other side of the wall.

The Orange County Bicycle Coalition warns that road work has reduced lanes on already dangerous Santiago Canyon Road, greatly increasing the risk on the popular riding route — as fallen bicyclist Hanna Tran apparently learned the hard way last week. Thanks to Bill Sellin and Victor Bale for the heads-up.

An Encinitas man has published a new book recounting his 5,000-mile cross-country bike ride back in the ’70s, when it was a much rarer achievement.

Santa Barbara officials aren’t happy to learn their newly approved e-bikeshare system will come with three nine-foot tall solar-powered enrollment kiosks that nobody bothered to mention before.

A judge rules a Goleta driver will stand trial for the alleged drunken hit-and-run that took the lives of a married couple as they were walking on an offroad bike path.

A San Francisco writer tries taking an ebike up the city’s steepest hill, and fails. Twice.

 

National

No, wearing a mask does not impair oxygen intake during workouts such as riding a bike.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss concludes that 20 miles is the ideal length for a bike ride. That used to be when I felt like I was just warming up; these days, I’d be happy just to get that far.

A new study concludes gravel riding makes you feel more tired and hungry because it takes more effort to ride rough surfaces. Which explains why LA bike riders feel worn out and starving after riding the city’s broken streets; as usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you out.

A Maui motorcyclist discovers what it’s like when the hit-and-run driver who wrecked his Harley turns out to be the chief of police.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a trailer from a Minneapolis nonprofit containing 30 bicycles they used to teach children how to ride a bike.

Bighearted coworkers bought a new bike for an Indianapolis man after the bicycle he rode to work to support his three kids was stolen; kindhearted security guards at the courthouse where he works replaced it the first time.

Boston offers a network of new protected bike lanes in the downtown area.

Streetsblog calls on New York to begin building bike boulevards. We were promised those in Los Angeles in the 2010 bike plan. Promises made, promises broken.

‘Tis the season. Florida volunteers pitch in to build bikes to ensure every kid in need can have one.

 

International

For people on a budget, Road.cc lists the best bikes for less than the equivalent of $665 — and starting for just half that.

A Road.cc reader recounts his journey from a self-professed petrolhead to a committed bicyclist.

A writer for Toronto’s Globe and Mail considers how the pandemic is propelling an urban biking and walking revolution, including the shift to a 15-minute city.

Speaking of Toronto, a family of five ditches their SUV and goes carfree, taking to their bikes even in the cold Canadian winter. And wishes they’d known about cargo bikes years ago.

We’re not quite ready to leave Canada’s largest city, where bike riders are demanding that flimsy new Toronto bike racks be removed because they’re too easy to unscrew from the sidewalk, rendering them useless.

Bike thieves will take anything. Even a broken-down bike that was part of Banksy’s latest artwork.

A London woman makes the unusual transition from stage manager to bicycle mechanic to survive the pandemic.

They get it. A leading Scottish newspaper calls bicycling “a life-saving form of transport we must invest in.”

A British study shows that most people support bike lanes, but the public usually overestimates opposition to them. Just LA’s mayor and councilmembers.

The UK’s Sun newspaper recommends gear you need if you want to use your bike to avoid public transit. None of which you actually need.

Former Game of Thrones star Kit Harrington is one of us, as he rides the streets of Dublin on his way to work on the second season of Amazon Prime’s Modern Love.

Who needs an ebike? An Irish company has developed a ped-assist wheel that’s powered mechanically by your own weight. Evidently, the Design Boom website doesn’t think sentences need capital letters, either.

Bikeshare is booming in Zagreb, Croatia, as the system more than triples in size.

A Philippine broadcaster celebrated her 50th birthday by donating 50 bicycles to a program to help people who need a bike to get to work to keep their jobs during the pandemic.

 

Competitive Cycling

USA Cycling introduces the new Olympic Development Academy to help young cyclists develop Gold Medal skills. Thanks to David Huntsman for the tip, who calls it a sea change in their approach to Junior/U23 racer development.

Now you can own the bike Italian great Marco Pantani rode to victory on Mont Ventoux in 2000, beating the previously referenced ex-winner of that year’s Tour de France in the process.

The local newspaper remembers famed cycling coach and longtime Ramona resident Edward “Eddie B” Borysewicz, the man behind the top American cyclists in recent decades. Including one who won the most Tour de France titles ever, until he didn’t.

 

Finally…

This year, Santa rides a bike. You may never be a pro cyclist, but you can pretend with…Monopoly.

And that feeling when a wild boar eats your lunch.

No, literally.

 

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

Speeding ebike riders put others at risk, Times equates chokeholds with scuffed shoes, and driver flashes gun at bicyclists

Let’s start with this note from frequent link contributor Victor Bale.

I needed a break from the heat of the Coachella Valley so I spent Thursday thru today at the Balboa Peninsula of Newport Beach. I rode the length of the boardwalk all the way to Sunset Beach and other bike trails every day and I was struck by how many ebikes I saw. They were everywhere and here’s a couple of thoughts.

I love that ebikes are bringing new blood to the sport but I was bothered by the recklessness of “some” of the cyclists.

Many were traveling at speeds totally inappropriate (the speed limit on the boardwalk is 8 MPH) to a narrow boardwalk full of families walking, cyclists on beach cruisers, very young kids cycling or on scooters and seniors out for a lesurely stroll.

I watched as a young man knocked over a woman riding a beach cruiser. No harm to her other than road rash but she was lucky. When he passed me he was using throttle only and exceeding 20 MPH. I watched as people were cut off. I watched as ebikes rode on the boardwalk paperboy style at high speeds just to show off. It was crazy. I’m surprised high profile accidents haven’t happened yet.

Nobody likes onerous regulations and enforcement but I worry about what the future will bring if something isn’t done now about regulating ebikes and ebike usage. It’s only a matter of time before an ebike rider kills a pedestrian (if it hasn’t happened already).

Take that as a warning.

Coastal cities have cracked down on bike riders exceeding the admittedly exceedingly low speed limits on the beachfront boardwalks. And will undoubtedly do it again if they think things are getting out of control.

Never mind that it takes a major jerk to zip blithely along while putting everyone else at risk.

And while I’m not aware of anyone being killed or seriously injured by an ebike rider in Southern California, it has happened in other cities.

So slow the eff down, already.

Photo by Maxfoot from Pixabay.

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There’s something seriously wrong when a movie critic for the LA Times equates an “[expletive], entitled bicyclist who scuffs Buggin’ Out’s pristine Jordans,” with cops killing Black men with chokeholds.

Maybe someone should tell him there’s a difference between being an obnoxious jerk and, you know, actually killing someone.

Or maybe the Times should just do the right thing and remove this one.

Thanks to Sean Meredith for the heads-up.

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If you can’t afford to fix your bike, Pasadena wants to help.

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The Black Lives Matter movement isn’t stopping, with at least two bike rides to honor Breonna Taylor this weekend, in Richmond VA and Grand Rapids MI.

There was a similar ride in Los Angeles over the weekend, but it doesn’t seem to be online yet.

Meanwhile, police in Ottawa, Canada apologized to a Black bike rider who stopped to rest on a bridge, only to have a white woman call 911 to demand he get off so she could pass uninhibited.

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GCN says wheel weight doesn’t matter after all.

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

An ugly incident caught on video, as a couple of bicyclists confronted a Florida driver who passed too close, and told them to stay the fuck off the road — and brandished a gun as he got out of his SUV. Or maybe not; it’s possible he was just putting it in his pocket as he got out, as he claimed.

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

San Francisco authorities are looking for a bike-riding gunman who shot a 44-year old man as he was walking along the street.

Bicycles seem to have become the getaway vehicle of choice, as the FBI looks for a weaponless bike rider who robbed a Chicago area bank.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee police are looking for a knife-wielding man who rode off on a bike after stealing merchandise from a pair of stores.

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Local

The LA Galaxy is teaming with the East Side Riders for a bike ride from Watts to Dignity Health Sports Park for the Galaxy’s match with LAFC this Saturday.

El Monte officially unveiled the new San Gabriel Valley ebike bikeshare, which will eventually grow to 840 bicycles.

Caltrans and Malibu will host a Zoom meeting Wednesday evening to discuss replacing the narrow bridge over Trancas Creek on PCH, including bike lanes and shoulders in both directions, as well as a westbound right turn lane onto Trancas Canyon Road.

Gerard Butler is one of us, as is his former model and house-flipping girlfriend Morgan Brown.

 

State

The San Diego Bicycle Coalition is offering a number of bike education classes over the next ten days, starting with one tonight.

Speaking of San Diego, the city has ordered cafes to remove outdoor tables that were blocking a bike lane.

Hundreds of young Santa Barbara bike riders turned out for an officially unsanctioned Familia Rideout on Saturday, though masks and social distancing appeared to be largely forgotten.

A bike-riding woman in Contra Costa County suffered major head injuries in a collision with a driver, although the Mercury News appeared to blame her for colliding with the car.

A San Francisco man is putting his lockdown time to good use by putting discarded and unloved bicycles back on the road.

 

National

Cycling Savvy offer tips on how to stay safe riding on a bike path.

Forbes suggests the best bikewear and accessories for women, apparently based on the mistaken assumption that everyone wants to sport spandex and ride roadies. And despite what the caption says, a bicycle is all you really need to start riding. So don’t let that other crap get in your way; you can always get it later if you want.

Popular Science continues their unexpected bike theme, explaining how to carry just about anything on your bike with a rack and some bungee cords. And offers tips on how to avoid common beginner’s mistakes.

Bicycling considers how to find the best bike routes when you’re far from home.

Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown is one of us, though she’s definitely not in the spandex camp, with her bigass all-turquoise fat tire ebike.

Tragic news from Glendale AZ, where a man and woman were both killed when a driver slammed into their bikes as they rode together.

A Denver weekly examines the worst habits of pandemic drivers. Which would be all of them. Habits, that is. And drivers.

Tragic news from Laredo, Texas, where a 77-year old man died five weeks after he was beaten by two men who stole his bike after accusing him of breaking a window.

Great story about a Milwaukee bus driver who bought a ten-year old boy a new bicycle after he kept her company when her bus broke down.

Minnesota Public Radio talks with British bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid about the coronavirus bike boom, as officials belatedly discover that people actually prefer clean air to heavy traffic.

For the first time, an 89-year old Ohio man opted not to ride his 1936 Shelby bicycle in the local parade, riding in a trailer instead while his grandkids rode his antique bikes.

Dockless Jump ebikes are returning to the streets of DC, just weeks after the company murdered tens of thousands of the bikes.

J.Lo is still one of us, even if she switched to an ElliptiGo for a ride through Miami this weekend.

Motocross rider Mike Alessi was lucky to escape with cuts, road rash and a cranial hematoma when he was run down from behind by a hit-and-run driver while training on his road bicycle in Florida; while he’s relatively okay, his bike was trashed.

 

International

You could soon be riding on dandelions.

Once again, bike riders are heroes, nine times over, as bicyclists around the world stepped up to make a difference during the coronavirus lockdown.

In a move that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, London is removing parking in the history City district to install bike corrals to accommodate the rising numbers of bike riders using the city’s expanding bike network. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, it seems to still be unthinkable.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a driver stoned on the opiate painkiller dihydrocodeine, as well as coke, weed and morphine, got just over two lousy years behind bars for killing a man riding his bike.

He gets it. Former Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas tells British GQ how to get started riding a bicycle, starting by suggesting a secondhand bike, without a single mention of spandex or high end gear.

An Irish writer says bring back the bicycle, suggesting we’d all be better off if we rode our bikes instead of driving whenever possible.

Bologna, Italy introduced a new campaign to get more people out on their bikes following the Covid-19 lockdown. Although the best way to do that is to provide more popup bike lanes, exactly like Los Angeles isn’t doing.

Covid-19 has brought Karachi, Pakistan back to the bicycling city it used to be before cars and security concerns chased people off the streets.

No more handheld cellphones while you ride your bike in Singapore after this month.

A New Zealand woman tells drivers an extra minute won’t kill them, but it could kill someone else — like it did her late husband, who died five days after he was run down by a truck driver. They’d been riding together ever since they met while bicycling across Canada 23 years ago; now she doesn’t know how she can ride again without him.

 

Competitive Cycling

A British semi-pro cycling champ credits an air ambulance with saving his life after he was hit by a dump truck while rounding a blind bend on a group ride.

PBS catches up with the pretend virtual Tour de France.

Cycling Weekly tracks down the virtual cyclists who virtually beat the virtually riding pros, and begs for their secrets.

 

Finally…

Political dirty tricks have seeped down to the animal kingdom, with a chipmunk attack on a bike-riding Democratic candidate. Apparently iguanas are out to get us, too.

And you don’t have to understand Italian to get the official song of the Giro.

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

Morning Links: Indignorant anti-road diet columnist, bike riders on the wrong end of guns, and more traffic mayhem

So wrong, in so many ways.

A columnist for the LA Daily News goes out of her way to demonstrate her near total ignorance of traffic safety, Vision Zero and “dangerous” road diets in a column saying the latter belongs in a Museum of Stupid Ideas.

Never mind that road diets have been shown to increase safety up to 47%. But why let a little detail like that get in the way of a good rant?

Then there’s her screed about Vision Zero coming from — gasp! — Sweden.

Common sense would tell you that traffic solutions should be developed locally without guidance from irrelevant foreign capitals, and that’s why common sense is not in the museum.

During 2016, the first full year of Vision Zero’s implementation in Los Angeles, fatalities in traffic collisions were up a horrifying 43 percent over the previous year.

Although she might have mentioned that all LA did in 2016 was develop a plan for Vision Zero. And to the best of my knowledge, talking about reducing traffic deaths has never caused a single collision.

Or that the purpose of Vision Zero is not to prevent traffic collisions, but to keep people from dying in them, by recognizing that people will always make mistakes, but better roadway designs can keep those mistakes from killing someone.

And never mind that virtually every traffic solution currently in use in LA came from somewhere else. From traffic lights and stop signs, to the billion dollar HOV lanes on the 405.

About the only innovation we can claim is the right turn on red light. Which isn’t exactly a template for safety.

But the topper is this one, where she goes out of her way to have it both ways.

Although city officials consulted extensively with community groups before turning eight-tenths of a mile of Venice Boulevard into one of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Great Streets,” the part of the plan that involved taking away a traffic lane in each direction wasn’t exactly displayed on street banners.

So she acknowledges that the city conducted extensive outreach. Then turns around and says it didn’t do enough outreach.

Maybe next time she should do a little basic research so she knows what the hell she’s talking about before flying off the handle.

Or wasting newsprint with uninformed drivel like this.

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Today’s common theme is bikes and guns.

There are still no suspects in the fatal shooting of a popular Colorado mountain biker as he was riding last week; his body was discovered days later next to a trail.

A Florida bike rider was shot by a driver in an apparent road rage incident; no word on the condition of the victim.

And compared to the previous two cases, a Pennsylvania bicyclist got off easy when an angry driver merely pointed his gun at him following an argument.

Of course, if the drivers had just used their cars instead, it would have been written off as just an accident.

And the bike riders would have been blamed for it.

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Today’s other common theme is the more traditional form of traffic violence.

A pair of Oklahoma men tried to cover-up a fatal hit-and-run collision by intentionally driving into a highway guard rail to hide the damage from hitting a bike rider.

A Missouri man was doing 93 in a 35 mph zone — and driving on a suspended license — when he slammed into a bicyclist last year; he now faces a charge of first-degree involuntary manslaughter.

A Wisconsin man was turned in by his own wife following a drunken hit-and-run that took the life of man riding a bicycle.

An 83-year old Michigan man faces a misdemeanor charge after killing one bicyclist and injuring another in a rear-end collision last year. Older people may depend on their cars for mobility, but we’ve got to find a way to get them off the roads before it’s too late.

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Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten bounced back from her horrific crash in the Rio Olympics road cycling race to win world championship in the time trial yesterday.

If you’ve ever questioned how tough women cyclists really are, consider this video of British cyclist Lauren Dolan celebrating her 18th birthday by finishing the time trial despite a horrific leg injury suffered when she hit a manhole cover. Thanks to Jon for the heads-up.

https://twitter.com/JamieHaughey/status/909870748549943296/video/1

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Local

Letter writers in the Times say dark tinted windows on cars make it more dangerous for bike riders and pedestrians.

Los Angeles is planning for temporary walkways and bike paths in the recently purchased Taylor Yards railroad site, while plans are developed for a permanent park.

Curbed examines the future of bikeshare in the City of Angels.

Doris Day used to be one of us, riding her bicycle through Beverly Hills to rescue stray animals.

The Beach Reporter looks at Manhattan Beach resident Evens Stievenart’s new world record in the Le Mans Pearl Izumi 24 Hours Cycling race

 

State

Nice story from San Diego, where a nearly blind 94-year old woman took her first bike ride in 15 years on the back of a tandem as part of a Dreams Do Come True program at an Escondido retirement community.

The new dockless bikeshare bikes in San Diego’s Imperial Beach are already getting trashed by users and vandals, less than two weeks after their introduction.

A three mile Wildomar bike lane project has been put on hold after all the bids came in over budget.

A Riverside columnist explain what those green patches in the bike lanes are all about.

Speaking in Oakland, a traffic engineer says protected bike lanes must be the new normal, and urban planners are still trying to undo the damage caused by vehicular cyclists in the 1970s and 80s.

Jens Voigt returns to Marin County to headline the third annual Jensie Gran Fondo of Marin,

 

National

A new study shows teens are increasingly putting off drinking, driving and sex. Which makes sense, since the last one seldom happened without the first two, anyway.

No overreaction here, as TV’s Inside Edition says groups of crazed cyclists are causing “absolute mayhem in the streets.” Meanwhile, a group of young bike riders tried to prove them right by ignoring a ban on bikes to take over New York’s Cross Bronx Expressway.

Houston residents are donating bicycles to help people who lost their cars in Hurricane Harvey.

Kellen Winslow II is one of us, as he tries to sell the home he bought in the Texas hills in hopes of becoming the first pro football player to turn pro cyclist.

A New York woman confirms that riding across the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the city’s most difficult commutes, even if it was better than she expected.

Curbed talks with Philadelphia’s biggest bike advocate.

 

International

Edinburg, Scotland is waiting to give hometown hero Mark Beaumont the welcome he’s earned after a record-breaking 79-day bike ride around the world.

A British personal injury lawyer says the laws must be changed to clarify the rights and obligations of bicyclists, and protect riders who hit someone while riding in a bike lane.

A New Zealand cyclist calls for ripping out a new separated bike lane, after first assuring us he’s one of the good ones — not, he insists, a spandex clad rider on a $5,000 carbon fiber bike, or someone who insists on slowly taking the lane at rush hour.

 

Finally…

Apparently, you’re more dangerous than a truck. And everything you always wanted to know about bicycling in Bogotá but were afraid to ask.

Thanks to Dennis Eckhart for his generous donation to help support this site. Or maybe just help pay for that new hard drive.

 

Tonight’s post, which is not about bicycling at first, though I try to make up for it later

Some days, life just doesn’t make sense.

And this was one, in spades, as the unfolding joy of the holiday season was shattered once again by yet another madman with a gun.

I won’t make the comparison, as some have done, to the carnage on our streets. Yes, both needlessly waste precious human life, snatching innocent victims from their loved ones breasts.

But this is different.

This was an intentional choice to kill and kill again. It was not the result of distraction or drunkenness; it did not stem from carelessness or flaunting the laws that govern the roads we all share.

This was an act of gut-wrenching insanity. A heinous crime against God and man.

No rational person could point a gun at a child and pull the trigger. Let alone do it 20 times, then take the life of another eight adults.

Yes, there is madness on our streets.

But it doesn’t begin to compare to the madness that allows this to happen over and over, all over the country.

There will be other nights to address the long list of problems on our streets. But not this night.

This is a night for prayers for people we don’t know. And now never will.

And for those who loved and nurtured them, and now face an eternally aching hole in their lives and hearts that can never be filled.

We are all devastated.

And yes, I’ve said it before.

But let’s not let another day pass without telling those we love that we do. Hug those you can; call those you can’t.

Share the simple joy of having one another in our lives in this season of miracles.

Do it now, before it’s too late. Because one day it will be.

Tomorrow we can all commit to doing all we can to ensure that this will never happen again.

Because it’s happened too many times already.

And it will again.

If we don’t.

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image004

Burbank Bike Angels hard at work

Nothing warms my heart more than people who go out of their way to share a little joy with kids who might not otherwise find anything under the tree on Christmas morning.

That’s why I’m a big fan of things like the 7th Annual All City Toy Ride that — hopefully — took place on Friday if the rain held off long enough.

And even more when bikes are involved as more than just a form of transportation.

Like the work of volunteers with the Burbank Bike Angels, who spent the last three months refurbishing bikes and restoring them to like new condition. And resulting in the delivery of 150 bikes to the Salvation Army to distribute to kids in need, along with another 50 bikes for other organizations.

Their work is just about done for this year.

But there’s always next year. They’re asking you for any used bikes — especially children’s bikes — and monetary donations so they can give away even more bikes next year. As well as volunteers to turn those unloved bikes into sparkling new gifts to inspire better health and a love of bicycling in a new generation.

If you can offer any help, whether bikes, money or time — or all of the above — call the Burbank Recycle Center at 818/238-3900.

Love the bike riding bear in the lower right

Love the bike riding bear in the lower right

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Fifty-eight candidates qualified for next March’s L.A. city elections; all but eight are running for city council seats. The LACBC’s Operation Firefly brings bike lights to South L.A. Flying Pigeon says North Fig doesn’t have to be a killer neighborhood. Getting back on a bike isn’t always like riding a bike. Orange County motorists discover ghost bikes, far too many of which have taken root in the county this year. San Diego counts bikes countywide, while the San Diego Bicycle Coalition says this was the year bikes boosted local business. Thousand Oaks gets a new semi-green bike lane. Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor train line may be looking into a bike share program.

If you’re wondering what to buy your bike riding — or bike curious — friends, consider this review of Elly Blue’s Everyday Bicycling. Nevada begins work on an off-road bike path on their side of Lake Tahoe. Bicyclists, pedestrians and transit users all outspend Portland drivers at area small businesses; NBC picks up the story, as well. A high Seattle driver is charged with attempting to run over a bicycling off-duty cop after he tells her to stop smoking heroin. A 62-year cyclist from my hometown is recovering from a hit-and-run he can’t even remember. A man gets a whopping 30 days for threatening a Montana cyclist with a switchblade. Chicago cyclists get a new two-way cycletrack. Road riding can bring up all kinds of emotions, most of them good. A writer for the New York Times Magazine offers an insightful and very funny sequel to the year-old piece we linked to yesterday, in response to the anti-bike screed from the New York Post’s Steve Cuozzo. New York’s upcoming bike share program is just the latest sign of the city’s revived bicycle culture. If you’re a convicted felon carrying a concealed weapon, don’t ride your bike while drunk.

A Canadian driver right hooks a cyclist, so naturally police ticket the cyclist for riding in a crosswalk — even though the driver had a suspended license. The GranFondo Banff has to develop a new wildlife plan after grizzly bears forced a 40 kilometer reduction in last year’s route. A London driver is acquitted of fatally dooring a cyclist, despite having tinted windows that only allowed 17% visibility. The bike riding journalist whose near-fatal collision inspired the London Times CycleSafe campaign remains hospitalized 13 months later, while the distracted truck driver who put her there gets off with a £2,700 fine and eight months suspended license. An open letter urges the British Judiciary to give a damn about the lives of cyclists in response, while a London blogger struggles to understand. Cambridge police crack down on anti-social cycling; apparently, anti-social driving is still okay. YouTube offers a new bike channel in conjunction with a British bicycling communications channel. A UK writer says cyclists need to give respect in order to get respect; odd that no one ever says that about motorists. The 100th edition of the Tour de France will start in Corsica, while the 101st begins in Yorkshire, England; after most of the recent titles have been vacated, does anyone still care? Your next mountain bike could come from Andorra; no, not the tv witch. In honor of the holidays, the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer tandem bike, of a sort. Bike commuting in Rio. Celebrate the birthday of the man who invented the modern bicycle 158 years ago.

Finally, Red Kite Prayer sums up the day’s tragic events nicely, as always.

Two local riders are shot in separate incidents Saturday morning

It’s bad enough that we have to dodge distracted drivers and oversized SUVs without worrying about getting shot. But that’s L.A. for you.

A rider was shot in the back in Highland Park last night when participants in a Midnight Ridazz ride were confronted by a group of reputed gang members. Evidently, events escalated after the riders were taunted as they passed a house, and some of the riders responded in kind.

According to posts on the Ridazz forum, the victim may have been saved when the bullet passed through his backpack; at last word, he had been treated and released, though surgery may be needed at a later date to remove the bullet. In addition, another rider was knocked off her bike, and one or more bikes may have been stolen.

At almost exactly the same time, another rider was also shot in the back, this time in Pacoima. According to police, the victim is expected to survive.

My heart and prayers go out to both victims, with wishes for a speedy recovery.

If you have any information on either shooting, please contact the police.

And be careful out there. Because cars and trucks that go bump in the night aren’t the only things you have to watch out for.

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