Tag Archive for Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Morning Links: Debunking a bike rumor, Insurance Institute criticizes protected bike lanes, and a bicycle video Monday

Before we start, let me offer a quick apology and thank you to anyone who sent in links for today’s post.

As you’ll see below, it’s been a traumatic weekend, and with a few exceptions, I’ve lost track of who may have sent what. 

I’m incredibly grateful to anyone who takes a few minutes out of their busy day to give me a heads up, whether or not my muddled brain manages to keep up. 

Photo by Deniz Anttila from Pixabay.

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Let’s start by debunking a rumor.

According to a Reddit post last week, a bike rider was killed by motorist in DTLA last week as a result of a road rage dispute.

Fatal bicycle accident on 7th and hill in DTLA

I was walking on 7th today around 10:30am and came across a woman on the side of the street who was clearly having a panic attack. I looked beyond her parked car and there was a man on a bicycle, his head face down on the pavement and blood everywhere. He wasn’t moving. There were no police or authorities on the scene yet. A man next to me said that the bicyclist kicked a car and the car hit him and drove off. He died on contact… Did anyone else see this? Have any more info? I’m not sure if the woman was panicking because she saw it happen or because she hit him and the kicking story isn’t true. Pretty gnarly to see. I walked on the same corner about 30 minutes later and it was as if nothing happened… all there was left was some blood and a bit of flesh on the pavement. Woof.

Except it didn’t happen.

Any fatal crash would require the roadway to be closed for several hours as police investigate the crash. Especially if it involved a homicide investigation.

Not just cleaned up and reopened in a matter of minutes, as if nothing ever happened.

But just to be sure, I checked with someone with knowledge of the situation, who said there was an incident at that location, but it didn’t involve a crash. Intentional or otherwise.

And no one was killed.

So let’s be careful spreading rumors. There are enough real tragedies without needlessly, and incorrectly, adding more.

Thanks to Matt Stewart for the tip.

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A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says not all protected bike lanes are created even.

And in some cases, aren’t even as safe as a regular painted bike lane.

Compared with a major road with no bike infrastructure, the risk of a crash or fall was much lower on two-way protected bike lanes on bridges or raised from the roadway — for example, within greenways. In contrast, the risk of a crash or fall on a two-way protected bike lane at street level was much higher than that of a major road.

One-way protected bike lanes differed little from major roads in terms of injury risk.

“A cyclist on a protected lane at street level is likely to encounter vehicles at intersections, driveways and alleys more often than on a protected lane enclosed within a bridge or greenway,” says Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president for research and the lead author of the new paper. “Pedestrians also sometimes enter street-level bike lanes, which can cause cyclists to swerve and fall.”

On the other hand, a crash in a protected bike lane is less likely to be fatal.

That said, the types of bicyclist crashes seen in street-level protected lanes weren’t the type that are typically most severe. Most fatal bicyclist crashes involving motor vehicles occur midblock, while cyclists in protected bike lanes in the study collided with vehicles most often at intersections or junctions with driveways and alleys. In such cases, vehicles are usually turning and traveling slowly…

“There is evidence that protected bike lanes help prevent the worst crashes,” Cicchino says. “What our study shows is that certain locations are better than others for this type of infrastructure.

So the choice seems to come down to whether you want to prevent crashes, or save lives.

Or just insist on building better bike lanes to begin with.

You can read the full press release hereThanks to Chris Woodyard for the heads-up.

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CiclaValley narrates an inaugural ride along a new segment of the LA Riverfront Greenway in the San Fernando Valley, better known in lower sections as the LA River bike path.

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A Boston public radio station traces the long and winding backstory connecting a mass market brand of French cognac to early cycling legend Major Taylor.

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Seriously, don’t blame the driver next to you when you don’t hold your line. Or keep both wheels on the ground.

Meanwhile, bike-riding British radio host causes an uproar by responding that a clown on a bicycle doesn’t hurt anyone, unlike a clown in a car.

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Dutch bikemaker VanMoof released the video below to show how willing people are to buy a stolen bike.

Except it turns out the entire thing was a scam — the “real” people were hired actors, and the money came directly from the film crew.

Which is a little worse than just spreading rumors.

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It’s sort of like lane assist for bicycles.

A new Dutch ebike prototype has smart steering assistance built into the handlebars to help keep riders upright.

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Evidently, the old song was right.

A new study shows breathing in air pollution is as bad for your lungs as smoking. Especially for active people — like the ones who ride bicycles, for instance.

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This is who we share the roads with.

Washington State police found a distracted driver stopped on the side of the road playing Pokémon Go on not one, not two, but eight separate phones at once.

And apparently let him go with just a warning.

If you want to know why people keep dying on out streets, that’s a pretty good place to start.

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Local

Los Angeles is now marking the sites of fatal collisions with rainbow halos created by artist John Morse, in collaboration with Southern California Families for Safe Streets and Los Angeles Walks.

WeHoVille offers a recap of Sunday’s Meet the Hollywoods CicLAvia, which allowed tens of thousands of people to experience Hollywood, Highland and Santa Monica Blvds without cars, most for the first time. Meanwhile, apologies for the tardiness as the Militant Angeleno’s latest Epic Tour tells you what you may have missed yesterday.

Santa Clarita police will stage yet another bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement day this Thursday, ticketing anyone who commits any violation that could jeopardize the safety of people walking or biking. The usual protocol applies — ride to the letter of the law that day until you leave their jurisdiction, so you’re not the one who gets written up.

 

State

California Streetsblog accuses Caltrans of trying to sabotage the Complete Streets bill in the state assembly with an over-inflated price tag.

A news story popping up across the US asks if California can put cars in the rear view mirror, noting that the only way to meet the state’s climate goals is reducing the number of cars on the streets.

The Orange County Register’s David Whiting considers the family fun of the popular Over the Hump mountain bike race.

KPBS says a group suing to stop plans for a bike lane on 30th Street in the North Park neighborhood vastly overstated their local support, as 31% of the people who signed their petition live outside of San Diego, let alone North Park.

A Santa Barbara man recovered a stolen bike and returned it to its rightful owner after spotting someone stashing it in an alley.

It’s only taken the state three years to get around to clearing a rock slide off a Sacramento-area bike path, once again demonstrating just how much they value people who get around on two wheels.

 

National

An Irishman gets a different view of the US by riding his bike 4,500 miles across the country.

Maybe he should have kept up the steroids. Turns out the singer/dancer/actress is in much better shape than her athlete boyfriend, as J-Lo nearly drops A-Rod on a bike ride.

CityLab looks at the birth of the beach cruiser in 1970s California, and how it helped turn vacationers into bike riders.

GeekWire says Lime’s ebikes can be a blast. Sometimes literally.

Bicycling rates the best commuter bags for bike riders, starting at just $30.

A lot of people go spring skiing, but not many ride their bikes there. And even fewer ride their bikes 3,650 miles to just ski Alaska’s Mt. Denali.

Colorado Springs CO spent ten years installing bike lanes before the auto-centric bikelash began; a leader of the car-focused activists says he doesn’t like bike lanes even though they haven’t slowed down his commute, because he’s highly offended that someone wants to force out of his car and onto a bicycle. Because really, who hasn’t stood by helplessly as those damn militant bicyclists grab some poor, innocent driver, jerk them out of their cars and force them onto bicycles?

Nice. Houston opens a 30-acre, $25 million bike park.

This is who we share the roads with. An Oklahoma driver admitted to being high on meth when he crashed into a bike rider, apparently without breaking.

That’s more like it. A drunken Illinois hit-and-run driver who killed a 19-year old bike rider and injured another man was sentenced to 15 years behind bars — which could be doubled due to prior felony convictions.

Sometimes a story just goes from bad to worse. After a Pittsburgh bike rider was run down from behind by a hit-and-run driver, police arrested an off-duty Pittsburgh cop for the crime, after video showed he downed two shots and 160 ounces of beer before getting behind the wheel — because he was celebrating the drive-by murder of Pittsburgh rapper Jimmy Wopo.

A mob of “two-wheeled hooligans” rode their bikes on a wild rampage through Providence RI, stealing snacks from a Dollar Tree and randomly assaulting people. Police bizarrely blamed dockless Jump ebikes for the rampage because some of the kids rode them after hacking the locks. Which is like blaming car rental companies for all the reckless drivers on the 405. Or anywhere else.

A kindhearted Connecticut cop turned bike mechanic when he saw a kid having problems with his bicycle.

A Buffalo NY man decides to trade his motorcycle for a slow roll bike ride.

New York bike riders are up in arms after the local DA refuses to charge a truck driver who kept going after running over a bike rider, concluding she fell over after hitting a pothole, and the driver had no idea he’d hit anyone. No, really.

A Gothamist op-ed says making incremental changes on the streets has failed, and it’s time to break car culture now.

A surprisingly even-handed report from a New York TV station observes that the rate of pedestrians hit by bicyclists is going up. But while many bike riders break the law, it’s not always the bicyclist’s fault.

On the other hand, a writer who seems to suggest he’s an expert on bicycling because he briefly worked as a bike messenger 20 years ago says New York is living in a golden age of bicycling — or would be, if not for all those lawbreaking bicyclists. Yes, people on bicycles need to obey the law and use the streets safely, just like anyone else. But safe bike riders get killed just like the other kind.

Wealthy New York residents are suing to stop a bike lane next to Central Park, choosing to protect their precious parking spaces over human lives; as one resident who opposes the suit puts it, “The optics are terrible. No doubt we look like an overprivileged, insensitive group of people.” Gee, you think?

A Brooklyn bike shop is taking the next step in bike advocacy by posting the city’s bicycling death toll on the door to ensure everyone see it. Meanwhile, LA bike shops don’t seem to grasp the concept that safer streets would mean more customers.

Miami police have finally arrested the motorcyclist who fatally shot a bicyclist on a group ride after other members of the ride came forward with video contradicting his claim of self-defense. The New Times says the shooting is symptomatic of the dangers people on bicycles face.

 

International

Don’t steal a bike from a runner. A Winnipeg woman manages to chase down the man making off with her bicycle and get it back. While running in bare feet, no less.

The Guardian’s Laura Laker considers just how much we lose when a local bike shop shuts down. Hint: A lot. You may get a better price online, but you’ll pay much more in the loss of hands-on service. Besides, you might make some new friends if you venture out into the real world to do your shopping.

An Aussie woman living in France got her stolen bike back thanks to a sharp eye in the classifieds and an assist from the local gendarmes. 

A new German/Canadian study shows that bike helmets make you feel safer. Even if you’re nowhere near a bicycle.

Wonder Woman’s Gail Gadot is one of us, as the Israeli actress poses for a photo on her bike as she waits on a bridge. Although someone should explain to the Daily Mail what a selfie is. Because they don’t seem to have a clue.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling offers a preview of the 2019 Vuelta a España; the year’s final Grand Tour kicks off on Saturday in the Alicante province.

1960s Italian racing great Felice Gimondi passed away from a heart attack at age 76; he won the 1965 Tour de France in his first year as a pro, followed by victories in the Vuelta and the Giro, making him just one of seven riders to win all three Grand Tours.

The pro cyclists union says the narrow streets, unmarked road furniture and dangerous conditions of the Binck Bank Tour mean it doesn’t deserve to be a WorldTour race.

Writing for the Guardian, competitor Nick Van Mead offers a first-hand description of what it’s like to compete in the self-supported, unmapped Transcontinental bike race across Europe from the Black Sea to France’s Atlantic Coast — including getting chased through Serbia by packs of wild dogs.

 

Finally…

Seriously, who needs a seat tube? Apparently, you can carry just about anything on a bicycle or four.

And who needs an ebike when you’ve got an exosuit in your shorts?

 

Morning Links: More Venice Blvd disinformation, study says road diets save lives, and East Side Riders video

Sometimes I don’t even know where to start.

In his latest column, the Mar Vista Community Council’s self-appointed traffic planner/dermatologist Kenneth Alpern says it’s time to stop all the lies and abuse on Venice Blvd.

Which I assume means he won’t be writing anymore.

Especially since he doesn’t seem to have a problem co-opting the #TimesUp movement for something that has nothing to do with sexual harassment.

Never mind that he’s the one who’s been dishing out abuse towards anyone who disagrees with him, particularly Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Mike Bonin.

Then again, that comes with their jobs.

But it doesn’t — or at least shouldn’t — be part of the job description for LADOT Principal Project Coordinator Nat Gale, who has been subjected to repeated accusations and character assassination at Alpern’s hands.

Simply because, like the other traffic safety deniers who’ve been fighting the Mar Vista Great Streets project for the past year, Alpern chooses not to accept the established science behind road diets and protected bike lanes.

They also reject out-of-hand any stats that come from LADOT. Not because they have any credible evidence to refute them, but simply because the facts don’t align with their pre-established biases.

So let’s look at just a few of the inaccuracies in his latest screed.

Because it would be rude to call them lies, even though that’s what they are.

So …TIME’S UP! Enough of listening to the hundreds of taxpaying citizens, and overwhelming majority of the community, have their good will and patience and collective voice snuffed out because of a few activists who believe in crushing the voices, safety, and quality of life of that overwhelming majority (which includes the overwhelming number of bicyclists who do NOT support this project).

Seriously, show me one survey that supports his argument that the overwhelming majority of the community opposes the road diet on Venice Blvd. Especially since public opinion at his own community council meetings has been evenly split on the subject.

And never mind that he has absolutely zero basis to claim that most bicyclists, let alone an overwhelming majority, don’t support the project. I’ve personally heard from a few bike riders who oppose the project, compared to dozens who support it.

TIME’S UP! Enough of the false LIE that half of the community wants the Venice Blvd. Road Diet, when at best only 10-20% want it and everyone else hates it, and wants it reversed NOW.

To the best of my knowledge, there has been no survey of the general public to determine how many support or oppose the project. If he has any valid stats to back up his claim, let him produce it.

TIME’S UP! Enough of the constant and daily accidents and near-accidents that endanger motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists, including and especially children!

Again, if he has valid stats to back up his claim, let’s see them. Otherwise, let’s wait until LADOT releases the actual, factual stats at the end of the full year of the pilot project, which concludes this week.

And I have to wonder just how many people have been killed or injured as a result of those constant near-accidents.

TIME’S UP! Enough of a reconfiguration that was not done in compliance with ADA/disability community laws and legal requirements!

If any of that is true, the city would be required to make any necessary changes to bring the project into compliance. And probably subject to numerous lawsuits already.

TIME’S UP! Enough of a reconfiguration that shredded over a decade of community input for what was supposed to be a beautification effort on Mar Vista, and which was (despite the LIES to the contrary) imposed in the dead of night without ANY true input or debate!

We’ll let Streetsblog’s Damien Newton refute that.

Bonin and a band of neighborhood and business advocates have used the Great Streets Plan for Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista (roughly between the 405 and Lincoln Boulevard) as a sort of Livable Streets master class to educate people about what a street can be if it is reimagined as something new. The presentation of the image boards showing the various Great Street options at both the “usual suspect” locations (Farmers’ Markets, the Mar Vista Community Council, and Mar Vista Chamber of Commerce) and high schools, libraries, coffee shops, and markets allowed a wider range of stakeholders to weigh in on the proposed changes.

That was written nearly three years ago. And a full 21 months before the road diet was installed.

You would think that a community council member like Alpern would know what’s going on in his own community. But evidently, you’d be wrong.

Then again, you’d also think Alpern would know what the hell is going on with his own community council, since LADOT lists 12 community events where the project was discussed prior to installation — including two years of attending the Mar Vista Community Council’s Great Streets Ad Hoc Committee meetings.

TIME’S UP! The number of bicyclists using the “protected” (but with lots of blind intersections) bike lane is very small, while both commuters and bicyclists avoiding Venice Blvd. in Downtown Mar Vista is very high, and stop pretending it’s otherwise!

So show us the bike counts. Or any other factual basis for this claim.

Then again, if commuters are avoiding the street, why do traffic safety deniers continue to claim it suffers from soul crushing congestion?

As Yogi Berra famously said, “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”

Of course, the question is why Alpern and Restore Venice Blvd’s Selena Inouye are using such false and unsupported claims to demand the removal of the road diet before the official stats for the project have even been released.

For some reason, they seem to be unable to wait a few more weeks for the stats to be compiled.

Possibly because they suspect the real statistics won’t support their claims. And want to poison the waters before LADOT can tell us what’s really going on.

So let me be clear.

If the facts back them up, and the road diet has actually made the street less safe for bicyclists and pedestrians, I will be the first to demand changes.

Even if that means acceding to their wishes, and restoring the boulevard to its original dangerous and destructive configuration.

But I suspect they won’t.

And I suspect they suspect that, too.

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A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety examines the rapid increase in pedestrian deaths in the US, which have gone up 40% more than other traffic deaths in recent years.

However, it’s unlikely that Ken Alpern or the rest of the Restore Venice Blvd/Keep LA Moving crowd will like their conclusions.

Pedestrian fatalities have increased precipitously since reaching their lowest point in 2009. To have the largest effect in halting the escalation in pedestrian fatalities, countermeasures should be implemented where the rise in fatalities has been greatest. Specifically, transportation agencies can concentrate efforts on improving urban arterials, which represented nearly two thirds of the increase in fatalities during 2009–2016 and on which about half of pedestrian fatalities occurred in 2016.

And…

Transportation agencies can improve urban arterials by investing in proven countermeasures, such as road diets, median crossing islands, pedestrian hybrid beacons, and automated speed enforcement. Better road lighting and vehicle headlights could improve pedestrian visibility at night.

Of course, that will only work if our council members have the courage to ignore the traffic safety deniers to make those changes.

And automated speed enforcement, aka speed cameras, are currently illegal in California. Which is something that has to change.

Thanks to Peter Flax for the heads-up.

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Great new video about how South LA’s East Side Riders Bike Club is using bikes to make a positive difference in the community, and maybe even break the color barrier in Olympic and pro cycling.

And about founder John Jones III, who pays most of the expenses out of his own pocket.

Seriously, take a few minutes to watch it. It may be the best four minutes of your day.

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CiclaValley informs us that the new 7th Street semi-protected bike lanes are proving popular as parking spots for Uber drivers.

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This is who we share the roads with.

Parody Twitter account @realJohnBoehner forwards video of a British woman calmly removing a barricade, then driving through hundreds of runners taking part in a half marathon.

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Local

A Hispanic man in his 20s was shot and killed while riding his bike in South LA early yesterday morning; police said there was no initial indication the killing was gang related.

CicLAvia is hosting a community meeting in Panorama City tomorrow to discuss plans for the June 24th open streets event in the north San Fernando Valley.

Pasadena police will be cracking down on traffic violations that endanger bicyclists and pedestrians this Friday and Saturday, even if they only endanger themselves. You know the drill, ride to the letter of the law until you’re outside their jurisdiction. Thanks to Megan Lynch and The Preven Report for the tip.

Bike friendly Santa Monica continues to show Los Angeles how it’s done, as the city planning commission approves plans for a protected bike lane on 17th Street; their only complaint was that federal funding requirements mean it won’t be completed until 2021.

Now the Santa Clarita Cycling Bear sculpture makes a little more sense, as the local paper explains more about it. Although I’m very disappointed that the bear isn’t actually riding a bike.

 

State

San Diego is attempting to put a permanent stop to a DIY pump track in Ocean Beach by building housing on property that was originally deeded as a park for the children of San Diego.

San Luis Obispo County bicyclists celebrate the completion of a road safety project that began in 1974.

There’s a special place in hell for the driver who crashed into a four-year old girl as she rode her bicycle in Stockton last week, then drove off and left her bleeding in the street.

A Redding driver complains about closing a little-used street to improve safety for a bike path because it will inconvenience him personally, and because he seldom sees a bike rider using it. Remarkable how many drivers take the time to perform bike counts while they zoom by. And how rarely bike riders happen to go by at that exact moment.

 

National

Marketplace discusses whether Uber is disrupting itself by moving into bikeshare.

A governing website explains why Seattle paid $3.8 million to build a one-mile bike lane, while the city’s protected bike lanes will cost $12 million per mile — four times the national average. And it ain’t because they paid too much for paint.

Meanwhile, a Seattle website says the war on pedestrians is already underway, because ebikes are now allowed on sidewalks. Maybe they could cite the number of pedestrians killed by bicycles, electric or otherwise, and contrast that with the number killed by motor vehicles each year, and determine which one really poses a problem.

Streetsblog Denver wonders why the local alternative weekly is pedaling anti-bike propaganda.

A Houston sports writer offers ten tips for bicyclists and motorists on how to share the roads with each other, and pathways with pedestrians. Bizarrely, it’s apparently legal to park on a dedicated bike path in the Texas city.

A Texas writer says safer streets will result in more people on bikes.

Work on Detroit’s rapidly expanding bike lane network could go on hold as bike riders complain about poor design and a lack of maintenance on the city’s first protected bike lane.

The road raging driver caught on video deliberately running down a cyclist on Tennessee’s Natchez Trace Parkway has copped a plea to significantly reduced charges that will result in just 10 months behind bars and three years probation. The conviction is credited to the crash being caught on bike cam, which put the lie to the driver’s ever-changing excuses. Thanks to Victor Bale for the tip.

Delaware bike riders complain about a lack of safety, even on back roads.

A Miami commissioner holds a “Dead Serious” meeting to reduce bicycling deaths.

 

International

Toronto residents are still waiting after a newspaper declared it the Year of the Bicycle. In 1975.

A study of 13 European cities reveals London is next to last in air quality, behind only Moscow, and is one of the most dangerous cities to walk or bike. The former may have a lot to do with the latter.

Sad news from the UK, where a bike rider who was killed in a collision with a truck was still setting records at 86 years old, and belonged to the same bike club he founded just after after WWII.

Horrifying story from Australia, where one of the country’s top masters racers died of ovarian cancer after falling under the influence of a self-described healer, who claimed to have cured cancer in hundreds of others.

Caught on video: A Kiwi bicyclist captures a bus driver, who didn’t know the law, nearly merging into him. Followed by another doing the same thing.

In a story that could have been written nearly anywhere, an Aussie writer bemoans the rise of the entitled motorist.

 

Competitive Cycling

It’s split results for Britain’s Yates brothers, as Adam Yates missed the Amgen Tour of California podium by two seconds, while his twin brother Simon continues to lead the Giro. And no, that’s not a spoiler, since the Giro had a rest day on Monday.

Bicycling looks at a day in the life of a bike mechanic.

Outside profiles the incredible Marianne Vos, calling her the greatest cyclist you’ve never heard of. Unless of course you have, in which case she may just be a greatest cyclist, period.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could cost less than 2,000 rupees, which works out to around 30 bucks. Co-existance on the roads is easier when bicyclists follow the rules they’d follow as drivers, if only drivers actually followed them.

And this is why dogs should always wear helmets when they mountain bike.

Thanks to LA bike lawyer and BikinginLA sponsor Cohen Law Partners for the link.

 

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