Tag Archive for LA 25×25

A bike rider’s rant about bad drivers, rethinking traffic enforcement, and Bonin signs on to LA’s 25×25

Let’s start with an email I received earlier this week, which succinctly  captures what too many of us are feeling these days.

Here’s what Steven had to say.

Pardon my rant, but it’s just infuriating out there! While I agree with you that being seen is VITALLY important. Every “encounter” I have had with a car or truck has been with someone that definitely saw me or had no excuse for not seeing me! I am paranoidedly cautious doing my best to anticipate possible situations. I have lights, steady and blinking, I wear bright, colorful clothes, I ride the bike lane where I can and fully take the lane when there is no bike lane.  I have been ‘right hooked’ so many times I can’t count! So far the worst result of a right hook has been some minor scrapes to my bike and some minor ‘road rash’. (However, I did dent the passenger door of a car once!)  There have been a few that I have yelled at and they responded — the most common was “You were going faster than I thought” or just “Sorry” and one woman unbelievably said “Didn’t you see my turn indicator?” The only time I got sent to the hospital was when I was clipped by a side mirror and thanks be to God, released the same day with some major hematoma! The guy, to his credit, did stop. But he did say that “I thought I had enough room” AND THAT IS ON THE POLICE REPORT!!!! It’s getting to the point that I feel like I should start randomly swing a baseball bat and justify it by saying “Well, I didn’t hit anybody”

And just for completeness, I have been left hooked, brake checked, purposely cut off (both from the left and the right!), and have had things thrown at me. The urge to physically fight back is almost overwhelming!

I know that feeling all too well, when the urge to smash someone’s windshield — if not their face — becomes overwhelming.

It’s a natural, and perfectly understandable, reaction to having your life needlessly threatened.

But not exactly helpful.

I have a mantra I save for such situations, repeating over and over The world will not conform to my expectations, until the rage finally passes.

Because, too often, it won’t.

People will continue drive dangerously, despite my expectations that they should drive in a safe and responsible manner. Yet they will somehow blame me for almost getting killed. Or just for being on the road.

Or maybe the planet.

Meanwhile, bad street designs and poor maintenance can be aggravating at best, life threatening at worst. And too often the latter.

And I can’t do a damn thing about any of that.

All I can do is try to control my own reaction to it, and not let the jerks of the world ruin a good ride.

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Cal Berkeley grad student Ethan Ebinger was honored by the university for his paper on rethinking traffic enforcement, offering a number of interesting proposals challenging current orthodoxy, including —

  • Decriminalize violations unrelated to traffic safety
  • Ban stops of non-vehicular road users
  • Rely on automated technologies
  • Improve data collection of crashes and stops, test for disparities
  • Balance downstream effects
  • Reframe traffic enforcement within Vision Zero
  • Move traffic enforcement operations to the transportation department

Whether or not you agree with him, it’s worth taking a few minutes to read the full paper to challenge your own beliefs, and maybe even start to see it in a whole new way.

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Two down, 13 to go.

Although you can probably add whoever gets elected in CD5, where all of the announced candidates have endorsed the LA 25×25 plan.

LA 25×25 is an “aspirational yet actionable vision” to return 25% of LA’s street space to human uses, rather than motor vehicles, by 2025, and endorsed by a wide range of advocacy and public service groups .

Not surprisingly, while many progressive challengers have signed on to support it, most of the sitting councilmembers up for re-election this year have failed to respond, as have most of the leading candidates for mayor.

CD3’s Bob Blumenfield is a no, as is current city attorney and mayoral candidate Michael Feuer.

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Bike lanes are coming to Yosemite Drive in Eagle Rock.

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It looks like the host of SiriusXM’s The Stephanie Miller Show is one of us.

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That feeling when riding a bike is a bad idea because of all the other people out there who don’t.

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Local

Leah Shahum, the founder and executive director of the Vision Zero Network, writes to the LA Times to say Los Angeles, and the entire nation, needs to move past the outdated “Five E’s” approach to Vision Zero, and have the political will to create an effective and equitable Vision Zero effort built on proactive strategies such as designing streets and managing speeds for safety. Let’s hope the mayor reads it while he’s packing for India. Or the new interim mayor, anyway. 

The good news is, Metro Bike is expanding their docked bikeshare system in North Hollywood. The bad, they’ll be shutting NoHo Metro Bike locations down during the upgrade work, starting Monday.

Santa Monica has unveiled new bollard-protected bike lanes on 23rd Street. And for a change, they’re the kind of substantial bollards that might actually keep someone out, as opposed to the flimsy, car-tickler plastic bendy posts usually used in LA.

 

State

This is the cost of traffic violence. The Fresno Bee remembers the much-loved, 61-year old retired high school English teacher who was killed by a truck driver while riding his recumbent Wednesday afternoon.

A San Francisco paper says the debate over the city’s Slow Streets and street closures have become a political minefield.

 

National

Denver demonstrates what a city can do with a little commitment, as they reach the halfway point in a five year, 125-mile bike lane building program, with 73% of city residents now within a quarter mile of a protected bike lane.

A writer for D Magazine applauds the new Vision Zero plan for Dallas, Texas, but questions whether it will actually save lives. Only if the city’s leaders have the political courage to make substantial changes to the streets, unlike the spineless wonders in charge of a certain Left Coast megalopolis we could name.

Northwest Arkansas is upping their offer to recruit tech workers to move to the area, providing recruits with a new bicycle and $10,000 in Bitcoin. Which will probably be $6,000 before you can get around to spending it.

What the hell is wrong with some people? A pair of Chicago gang members face murder charges for fatally shooting a mentally disabled man as he rode his bicycle last May, for no apparent reason; a third man was allegedly involved, but not charged.

 

International

Strava will now show points of interest within the app, including local landmarks, bike shops, cafes, start points and photo spots, as well as to get fresh water or a toilet break.

Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter discusses how to dress for winter ebike rides. You know, for people who live in places where that matters.

Good question. Cycling Weekly writes that 1,100 bicycles are stolen in the UK every day, so why isn’t bike theft a higher priority? I’d like to hear an answer to that one here, as well.

On a related note, a new bike sculpture was installed outside a London train station, made with parts from 45 different bicycles — the average number of bikes stolen in the country every hour.

A judge told a 76-year old Scottish driver to expect a “substantial” prison sentence next month, after he was convicted of killing a popular primary school teacher while attempting to pass two large vehicles at once, hitting the teacher’s bike head-on. Let’s just hope the judge meant what he said.

A news site names a 29-year old woman as the best mountain bike mechanic Lesotho, in case you find your self in need in the mountainous South African country.

 

Finally…

Now we’ll have to worry about getting buzzed by drivers from above, too. More evidence ‘cross is really hard.

And that feeling when your bicycle apparently goes out into the street of its own volition, and gets struck by a car that doesn’t seem to have a driver.

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

25×25 plan to reshape LA’s public spaces, man killed in Texas mass casualty bike crash, and Zuckerberg’s bad bike fit

Before we get started, there’s news of a 24-year old man killed in a hit-and-run while riding his bike in Santa Ana early Friday morning.

However, I haven’t been able to find official confirmation of the crash, or any further details.

Hopefully we’ll learn more soon.

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Streets For All announced a bold plan to reshape the streets of Los Angeles on Monday.

The group’s 25×25 plan calls for devoting 25% of the city’s public space back to the people, instead of cars.

Consider this manifesto from the opening page of the 25×25 website.

For over a century, the people of Los Angeles have been forced to accept a “normal” on our streets that is anything but:

  • It is not normal for a whole city to be crippled by traffic.
  • It is not normal to breathe poisonous air.
  • It is not normal for children to lack space to play.
  • It is not normal for jobs to be rendered inaccessible, especially for low-income communities and communities of color.
  • It is not normal for sidewalks to be impassable and broken.
  • It is not normal for bus service to be unreliable and late.
  • It is not normal to fear death and serious injury when crossing the street or riding a bike.

Streets For All envisions a city where the bus is never stuck in traffic. Where children can bike themselves to school. Where green space dots every corner of the city. Where everyone can get where they’re going quickly, with dignity and joy.

Streets For All is asking candidates in next years city elections to sign on to the 25×25 plan, with half of the candidates for city offices already endorsing it.

So far, more than 50% of viable candidates running in 2022 have already signed on:

Mayor: Jessica Lall
Controller: David Vahedi, Kenneth Mejia
City Attorney: Kevin James, Marina Torres
CD1: Eunisses Hernandez
CD3: Yasmine Pomeroy
CD5: Molly Basler, Jimmy Biblarz, Sam Yebri, Scott Epstein, Katy Yaroslavsky
CD9: Curren Price, Dulce Vasquez
CD13: Al Corado, Dylan Kendall, Hugo Soto-Martinez, Kate Pynoos
CD15: Bryant Odega

It’s worth noting that one candidate for city controller hasn’t signed on.

Then again, it’s no surprise that bike-unfriendly pseudo-environmentalist career politician Paul Koretz would oppose it.

However, it’s hard to imagine LA’s glacial bureaucracy moving fast enough to build out the plan’s long list of measures in just the next four years.

  • 1,550 miles of additional Slow Streets
  • 60,000 safer crossings at all intersections
  • 615 miles of dedicated bus lanes on Tier 1 Metro bus routes
  • 30.5 million square feet of public plazas and open space for people
  • 26.1 million square feet of wider sidewalks
  • 600 miles of new protected bike lanes
  • 200,000 additional trees
  • 6,000 new bus shelters
  • 2,500 new public restrooms
  • 10,000 new benches
  • 20,000 new trash cans
  • 7,500 additional Al Fresco outdoor dining implementations
  • 10,000 new loading zones

Meanwhile, this is what they say the plan would achieve, if implemented.

  • Likely reach zero annual traffic deaths on city streets (achieve “Vision Zero”)
  • Increase the number of Angelenos that live a 10 minute walk from a park or plaza from 65% → 100%
  • Increase the number of Angelenos that live within a 10 minute walk from a bus-only lane from 11% → 55%
  • Increase the number of Angelenos that live a 10 minute walk from a protected bike lane from 10% → 65%
  • Ensure every school and park is directly connected to a neighborhood greenway or slow street
  • Reduce VMT in LA by at least 13% per the LA Green New Deal
  • Increase the percentage of all trips made by walking, biking, or transit 35% per the LA Green New Deal

Of course, the key to all of that is the phrase, if implemented.

Which is always the problem in Los Angeles, where it’s one thing to get a plan passed, and another for city officials to actually carry it out.

But it has the potential to be truly transformational.

So let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Photo from LA25x25.com.

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Sad news from Texas, where a man has died after a driver slammed into a group six bike riders in Liberty County, northeast of Houston.

And as usual, the speeding driver has been released without so much as a ticket.

The victim was identified as 51-year-old Kent Joshua Wosepka from South Hamilton, Massachusetts, one of six riders participating in an annual cross-country ride from San Diego to St. Augustine, Florida.

He was a talented artist, who chaired the board of trustees for Boston’s Montserrat College of Art.

A 54-year old woman, also from South Hamilton, and a 59-year old woman from Santa Rosa were also hospitalized in serious condition; the other three riders were uninjured.

Investigators allowed the 66-year old driver to walk without charges, despite police concluding he “failed to maintain his speed.”

At least this time the investigation is being conducted by the state police, rather than the local sheriff, as was the case in nearby Waller County in late September, when a teenaged driver plowed into another six riders while attempting to envelop them in a cloud of exhaust fumes, known as rolling coal.

Let’s hope the drivers are held accountable in both cases. But I wouldn’t count on it.

It’s Texas, after all.

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Maybe we can talk KCBS/KCAL9 bike riding news anchor Jeff Vaughn into trade his news desk for a bicycle seat.

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That feeling when you’ve got $69 billion, but can’t manage to get a decent bike fit.

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

A Houston-area bike rider was severely beaten by a neighbor, who ordered him to leave the corner he was stopped at because he was “making everyone nervous,” apparently just for being a Black man on a bicycle.

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Local

The LA school district is participating in a pilot project for the All Kids Bike program, ensuring every kindergarten kid at two elementary schools will have a chance to learn how to ride a bike during PE classes.

A Koreatown website examines Bicycle Meals, the volunteer group delivering food to homeless people by bicycle three times a week.

CD11 Councilmember and Transportation Committee Chair Mike Bonin is asking for public endorsements as he faces re-election next year, as well as a right-wing recall attempt; Bonin has long been one of the most bike and pedestrian friendly members on the council.

This is who we share the road with. A 27-year old Long Beach man faces charges for an allegedly deliberate hit-and-run attack in which he drove onto a crowded sidewalk outside a Halloween party early Sunday morning, injuring six people, following what was described as a domestic violence incident.

 

State

Phillip Young forwards news of a support group for people who have been injured in bicycle crashes, courtesy of the San Diego County Bike Coalition. (Scroll down. No, keep scrolling.)

Police in Pacifica are looking for a hit-and-run driver who ran down a bike rider from behind, leaving him or her with serious injuries.

Legendary Sausalito bike shop owner Anthony “Tony” Tom died last week; he was around 65-years old.

A Davis letter writer says the city is no more the nation’s bicycle capital than any other college town, and that a bicycle capital “should do more than rest on its laurels for establishing bike lanes in the 1960s.” Ouch.

 

National

Seattle introduces a simplified plan to close a 1.4-mile gap in the city’s Burke-Gilman Trail, which has defied solutions for over two decades.

In an unusual twist, gambling giant Ceasar’s Entertainment may shoot down plans for a bike lane through Downtown Reno, because it doesn’t go in front of their casinos.

You’ve got to be kidding. Life is cheap in Ohio, where a hit-and-run driver who nearly killed a bike-riding mother of three walked without a single day behind bars when she was sentenced to one lousy year of probation, and lost her driver’s license for a whole six months. Anyone who leaves the scene of a crash without stopping should lose their license for life, at a bare minimum.

A New York State man faces up to seven years behind bars for killing a bike-riding woman while he was high on weed, which is legal in the state — but not for drivers.

 

International

Cycling Weekly looks forward to the best Black Friday deals on kids bikes and balance bikes, both in the UK and the US.

A group of English pediatricians and other health professionals rode their bikes 800 miles to the COP26 climate summit to call attention to the dangers of pollution and climate change for kids.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a terrified 10-year old British boy’s bicycle at knifepoint.

An Indian man launches the first bike brand in Chhattisgarh state, employing traditional art and craft forms to make a handcrafted bamboo bike.

 

Competitive Cycling

American ultracyclist Amanda Coker shattered the women’s 24-hour record, becoming the first woman to ride more than 500 miles in a single day.

Oleg Tinkov, the former owner of the Tinkoff-Saxo cycling team, has been convicted of tax fraud in the US and fined $500 million — less than a quarter of his estimated wealth — on top of a one-year suspended sentence.

 

Finally…

Seriously, what kind of lowlife steals an ice cream bike from a gelato shop? If you have to steal a bike, don’t visit grandma until she turns off her security cam.

And I would have thought Daniel Boone was more of a horse guy, myself.

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Thanks once again for Matthew R’s generous monthly donation to help support this site, and keep SoCal’s best bike news coming your way every day. 

Meanwhile, our seventh annual Holiday Fund Drive is coming at the end of this month. So start saving your spare change. 

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

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