Tag Archive for LA Times

Road-raging deputy brake checks group ride, LA Times calls for Griffith Park car bans, and advocates pan bridge bike lanes

A road-raging Houston deputy constable thought people in a group ride were riding dangerously.

So he apparently decided to make it exponentially less safe.

Makes sense.

The bike riders are now calling for the deputy to be fired for actions that included repeatedly brake-checking the group, which caused at least one rider to crash into his car.

According to Houston’s KHOU-11,

“You see him brake-check people,” one cyclist said. “You see him get out, taunt, intimidate people. You see him drive in oncoming traffic in the oncoming direction. You see him go over across two or three lanes of traffic in the right lane where bikers, by transportation code, are legally supposed to be and legally allowed to be.”

Several angry cyclists then rode past the patrol car, yelling at the deputy and asking for his badge number.

Another cyclist who posted a different video told KHOU 11 he’s pro-law enforcement but believes the deputy’s actions went too far.

“This deputy was definitely out of control,” that man said.

The bike riders say they never received a lawful command or the deputy’s identification, despite numerous requests for his badge number. And not surprising in the current environment, They’ve received a number of threats since posting the video online.

Meanwhile, the local constable — sort of like a sheriff, but with less authority and responsibility — took it upon himself to blame both sides.

Even though only one had threatened anyone’s safety.

Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen said the internal affairs department is conducting an investigation, but he believes there’s fault on both sides.

“After viewing the deputy’s dashcam video, which is now under investigation, it appears both parties, the deputy and cyclists on scene, were not conducting themselves in a safe manner,” Rosen said in a statement. “The cyclists were dangerously impacting other citizens, riding into oncoming traffic lanes and were taking over an entire intersection interrupting traffic.”

Sure, let’s go with that.

Never mind that the deputy appears to have committed a number of possible felony violations, starting with that brake-check, which could and should be charged as assault with a deadly weapon.

But probably won’t be. Because, you know, Texas.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up. Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

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They get it.

The LA Times notes that Los Angeles is finally catching up to other major cities in closing some streets to cars — okay, one — while musing whether that marks the start of a road revolution.

LA’s paper of record also calls for closing more Griffith Park roadways to motor vehicles.

The park’s roads are currently designed for the movement of cars, not the safety and enjoyment of cyclists, walkers and equestrians. Drivers treat Griffith Park Drive and Crystal Springs Drive as shortcuts to avoid traffic on Interstate 5 and the 134 Freeway. The speed limit on park roads is 25 mph, but it’s routinely ignored by motorists. The routes aren’t safe for pedestrians or cyclists. Crosswalks and bike lane stripes are faded. Key roads are missing sidewalks for pedestrians and barriers separating cyclists from cars.

It’s no wonder Griffith Park mostly attracts only “strong and fearless” bicyclists, according to a consultant’s report. Councilmember Nithya Raman, who represents the area, said she wants the roads redesigned so families and kids feel comfortable riding their bikes in the park.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog offers a lengthy Twitter thread on how to make the park safer and more convenient for people on bicycles.

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Renderings of the Class IV protected bike lanes on the new $600 million 6th Street Viaduct, scheduled to open this weekend, haven’t exactly been winning rave reviews online.

Like this, for instance.

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LADOT announced a new bollard-protected bike lane on Grand Ave in South LA.

https://twitter.com/LADOTlivable/status/1544808420427063297

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Active SGV lists upcoming rides on San Gabriel Valley greenways, starting tomorrow with Glendora and San Dimas.

https://twitter.com/ActiveSGV/status/1545110738594775041

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Yes, recent bike convert and state Senator Anthony Portantino really is one of us now.

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

No bias here. Miami shop owners say new bike lanes that replaced curbside parking are killing their businesses, insisting their customers can’t afford to pay for parking. They don’t have money to park, yet somehow, still have money to spend at their stores. Sure, that makes sense.

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

Sadly, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar and his cyclist brother Roberto never got to live out their dream of fielding a winning team at the Tour de France.

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Local

Los Angeles’ StreetsLA staff has completed the first inspection of pavement quality for the city’s entire 1,100-mile bike lane network. However, despite all the happy talk, there’s no mention that the inspection was inspired by the $6.5 million settlement for a bike rider injured by a Sherman Oaks pothole — vastly more than the $4 million the city spent fixing broken bike lane pavement last year.

Seriously? Ryan Seacrest’s radio co-host Sisanie questions whether you could manage to go carfree at Sunday’s South LA CicLAvia. Because walking or biking the short three-mile route is just so, so hard, evidently.

Streetsblog’s SGV Connect talks with Eastside Bike Club founder and Stan’s Bike Shop owner Carlos Morales, one of the nicest and most inspiring people you’ll ever meet; you can read a transcript here if you prefer that to listening.

The Malibu Times complains about Caltrans’ “chaotically staged” virtual meeting to present plans for bike lanes on the western section of PCH through the coastal city, while noting the lack of answers about the project.

 

State 

You can now buy California-based Aventon bikes at your local Best Buy.

A 25-year old Placer County man will spend the next 13 years behind bars for attacking and robbing a 69-year old man on a bicycle.

 

National

The Federal Highway Administration, aka FHWA, is proposing a new rule to measure and track transportation greenhouse gas emissions.

Wired says e-scooters aren’t as green as you think, either.

Several states are siphoning federal highway safety funds, despite the dramatic increase in traffic deaths; US regulations allow them the repurpose up to half the funding they receive.

Consumer Reports reviews the best bike locks, but won’t tell you without a subscription.

Salt Lake City is accused of violating its own Complete Streets requirement after rebuilding a street to the same incomplete format it was before.

A Joplin, Missouri bike rider was seriously injured when he or she was rear-ended by a sheriff’s deputy responding to a burglary call, who evidently somehow couldn’t see someone on a bicycle directly in front of the car. Yet they can’t even be bothered to recognize that the victim was a person, rather than a mere “subject.”

Proposed legislation in New York would require drunk drivers to pay child support for up to 18 years if they kill a custodial parent in a DUI crash.

A New York State mountain biker rides a 27-mile loop, hoping to find one the finest mountain-bike rides in the Adirondacks, but leaves complaining about poor maintenance and fallen trees.

This is why people keep dying on the streets. A pickup driver isn’t facing any charges for killing an 11-year old boy in the Hamptons, despite backing into the victim’s bike while leaving a worksite. Seriously, if you can’t see what’s behind you, don’t effing back up.

 

International

Cycling Weekly looks at ten standout handmade bikes from Enve Composites Bike Builder Round-Up, calling them rideable art.

An Irish man walked with a gentle caress on the wrist for the death of a 63-year old bike rider, after the man’s Yorkie escaped and ran out into the roadway; he was fined the equivalent of just $304 for letting the dog run loose, and a total of $329 for not licensing his three dogs. But not a dime for killing someone. Let’s at least hope the victim’s family has a damn good lawyer.

France is rolling out a new combination bike and pedestrian traffic signal for use when a bike lane runs next to a pedestrian path.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton offers his observations from a recent family vacation to Barcelona, calling it the “most walkable, most transit-oriented, and most bikeable place” he’s ever been. And yes, I’m only a lot jealous.

 

Competitive Cycling

Rouleur looks forward to today’s stage of the Tour de France, the year’s first mountain finish. On gravel, no less.

Slovenian Tadej Pogačar won Thursday’s sixth stage to become the third yellow jersey holder at this year’s Tour; Bicycling asks the pertinent question of who the hell is the new Slovenian race leader. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you

American TdF rookie Quinn Simmons made a good impression on Thursday’s stage, following the wheels of Wout Van Aert and Jakob Fuglsang on a lengthy breakaway before getting reeled in by the peloton as Van Aert sped off.

Italy’s Alberto Bettiol apologized to teammates Neilson Powless and Magnus Cort, after an ill-advised attack on the cobbles during Wednesday’s fifth stage may have helped keep the American out of the yellow jersey, trailing then leader Tadej Pogačar by just 13 seconds.

Juliette Labous won Thursday’s stage of Italy’s Giro Donne, as Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten added to her overall lead. Meanwhile, Dutch great Marianne Vos is withdrawing from the Giro Donne after her second stage win on Wednesday to focus on “other team goals,” most likely the new Tour de France Femmes.

Damn good question. VeloNews examines the hypocrisy in cycling, questioning why some dopers are forgiven while others are shunned.

Comfy bikes and Tour de France teams aren’t concepts that usually go together.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you set a new record for the oldest person to cross the US by bike. Once again, if you’re riding your bike with meth stuffed in your sock, put a damn light on it. The bike, that is, not the sock.

And yes, the late, great James Caan was one of us.

At least on the silver screen.

https://twitter.com/CoolBikeArt1/status/1545113994737979392

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Fake cop busted for kidnapping bike-riding boy, tech turns cars into “candy store of distraction,” and LAFD says wear a helmet

There was a frightening crime in Panorama City Wednesday morning, when a fake cop allegedly kidnapped a 13-year old boy after crashing into his bike.

The victim, who wasn’t publicly identified, was riding his bike near Van Nuys Boulevard and Tupper Street when he was struck by a pickup driven by 38-year old Ottoniel Mendoza.

Mendoza got out of his truck, identified himself as a cop while flashing a badge, and ordered the boy to get into his truck. He was arrested nearby after a witness called police and followed Mendoza as he drove away.

He was booked on suspicion of kidnapping; other counts likely to be added later after the DA reviews the case.

His victim was taken to a hospital with minor injuries from the crash, lucky to escape safe and unharmed.

A passenger in the truck was released without charges.

Thanks to Tony Toretto for the heads-up.

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The LA Times says increasing technology is turning modern cars into a “candy store of distraction,” comparing the problem to overwhelmed military helicopter pilots in the 1980s.

The paper also notes that 70% of drivers admit to using their cellphones behind the wheel, a figure that rises to 86% for people who use their cars for work.

Just in case you’re wondering why they don’t seem to see you.

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The Los Angeles Fire Department wants you to wear a helmet and ride safely if you’re going to Sunday’s South LA CicLAvia.

https://twitter.com/LAFDtalk/status/1544854637022306305

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Streetsblog LA is hosting their annual summer fund drive, hoping to raise $15,000 over the next two months.

And yes, I plan to give what little I can to support their vital work reporting on LA transportation issues.

The website also announced the August 3rd date for their first in-person Streetsie Awards party in three years, honoring L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell.

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

There’s a special place in hell for the Connecticut man who pushed an 11-year old biracial boy off his bicycle; advocates are calling for him to be charged with a hate crime. 

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

Detroit police are looking for a suspect who seriously injured a 51-year old man in a bike-by shooting.

Police in New York are looking for a pair of teenage ebike riders who got into a fistfight with another man, before pulling guns and firing at him on the sidewalk in broad daylight.

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Local

Los Angeles is bringing safety improvements to a 4.5-mile section of Western Ave between Martin Luther King Jr. and Century boulevards in South LA. Although the project appears to include sharrows instead of bike lanes, which have been shown to be literally worse than nothing

LAist offers more information on the coming Rail to Rail Active Transportation Project through South LA and Inglewood, tentatively scheduled to open in two years.

Long Beach wants to improve community policing by putting more cops on bikes and walking beats.

Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot is one us. Or at least knows the value of posing with a bicycle on the beach.

 

State 

Speaking of a special place in hell, someone — presumably a mountain biker — cut several branches and bushes overhanging a trail in the Del Mar Mesa Preserve, apparently in an effort to increase speed while reducing the trail’s difficulty.

Too many memorials line the streets of San Diego’s Barrio Logan neighborhood, where residents and business owners have complained for years about the lack of traffic safety for pedestrians and cyclists; three people have been killed already this year, including last month’s death of a 63-year old ebike rider.

Mountain Bike Action recommends the off-road, all-levels Sapwi Bike Park and Sapwi Flow Trail Project in Thousand Oaks, a joint project of the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) and Conejo Recreation and Park District.

 

National

Good idea. A bicycle insurance company is now offering nationwide coverage for damage to your bike, as well as optional theft coverage.

A new study says it doesn’t matter whether you ride your bike midweek or on weekends, as long as you ride.

They get it. A newspaper in Bend, Oregon says prioritizing people over cars won’t happen overnight, but it’s worth the effort, as the city fails to live up to its bike-friendly reputation.

Ebikes are now welcome wherever bicycles are allowed in Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park.

Five of the best social bike rides for your next trip to Denver.

Drivers in Austin, Texas can’t seem to avoid a new curb-protected bike lane, with a local resident reporting at least one blown tire there every day; city officials say it’s needed on a section of roadway where the previous painted bike lane failed to prevent several traffic deaths and serious injuries.

Seriously? A Minnesota teenager is dead because 72-year old driver says he lost control of his control of his pickup when he sneezed, and slammed into the boy’s bike after going off the road at 55 mph; he tested under the legal alcohol limit, despite smelling of booze and showing signs of impairment.

Parking won out over a planned bike lane in Louisville, Kentucky, after residents complained and city officials suddenly discovered the street wasn’t wide enough for them.

Speaking of Louisville, a woman is calling for accountability after a hit-and-run driver left a popular bike advocate lying critically injured in the roadway. Maybe if the city prioritized people over parking, things like that might be a little less likely.

A New York website considers how ebikes can help the city meet its climate goals.

Good question. A DC website asks why we treat traffic safety as if it’s less important than transit safety.

 

International

British Columbia bike and safety advocates are calling for mandatory side bars on large trucks, after a frightening crash where a bike rider was right hooked by a driver turning right on a red light; the crash came just one week after another rider was killed in a similar crash. Banning right on red would help, too.

It looks like Britain can kiss pro-bike, pro-Brexit Prime Minister Boris Johnson goodbye, after one too many scandals.

Bike Radar ogles Danish city bikes while in in the country for the first stages of the Tour de France.

A Pakistani court has sentenced a Christian bike mechanic to death for blasphemy, in a dispute that began when Muslim customer demanded a discount after getting his bike fixed.

A new Honda ebike combines a ped-assist bike with a throttle-controlled, sit-down scooter.

A New Zealand op-ed says Vision Zero should account for the premature deaths caused by car pollution, as well as from traffic violence.

 

Competitive Cycling

Aussie Simon Clarke claimed his first Tour de France stage victory in a photo finish over Dutch cyclist Taco van der Hoorn in Wednesday’s cobbled sixth stage, while Wout Van Aert held on to the yellow jersey by a slim 13-second margin.

Bicycling asks if Neilson Powless is America’s sleeper Tour de France threat, after his solo breakaway was caught in the final kilometer; if he could have held on, he would have started today’s stage in the yellow jersey. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you

Slovenia’s Primož Roglič lost two minutes to the race leaders after a crash forced him to borrow a spectator’s chair to pop his dislocated shoulder back in place.

Roglič’s Jumbo-Visma teammate Jonas Vingegaard had to make up time after getting dropped by the peloton following a disastrous series of bike changes, as he struggled to find one he could actually ride.

https://twitter.com/flobikes/status/1544728920024563713?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1544728920024563713%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fcyclingmagazine.ca%2Fsections%2Fnews%2Fjumbo-vismas-bike-change-was-the-most-hectic-near-disaster-ever%2F

 

Finally…

Use a little magnetic attraction to keep your skirt down on a bike. If you’re carrying drug paraphernalia and stolen credit cards on your bike, put a damn light on it, already.

And forget hi-viz. Apparently even riding naked on a tandem isn’t enough to be seen by drivers.

Or one driver, anyway.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Settling for sharrows in Beverly Hills, Times columnist gets that crashes don’t just happen, and parking on the bike path

My apologies for Friday’s unexcused absence. 

I’m still battling the same health issues I’ve been dealing with since before Halloween. Most nights I battle through it; last week I couldn’t. 

But after seeing four different doctors since this all began, we’ve reached a clear consensus is that it’s definitely a) an inner ear problem, or b) not an inner ear problem. 

Maybe the next four specialists I’m supposed to see can figure it out. 

Meanwhile, have happy Presidents Day! Go out and buy a mattress or something. 

And go for a ride, already.

The Sharrows Are Bullshit t-shirt modeled by yours truly in today’s photo can be purchased from our friend Peter Flax.

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Good news and bad from the former Biking Black Hole.

The good news is Beverly Hills, which has made a major turnaround in recent years, will be implementing a “minimum grid bikeway network.”

The bad news is, it’s just going to be signs and sharrows. In other words, it’s the least they can do.

Literally.

Hopefully, this is just the first step as the city implements its Complete Streets plan, with its promises of pursuing “parallel, longer-range efforts to expand and upgrade cycling infrastructure.”

Let’s hope so.

On the other hand, until the paint is on the ground, we’re always just one election — or uprising by angry drivers and/or overly privileged home or business owners — from a change of heart.

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Maybe she’s starting to get it.

It was only a week ago that we criticized the Los Angeles Times’ Robin Abcarian for concluding that Vision Zero was a worthy, but impossible goal, so “why go out on a limb with a big, bold promise that is so obviously doomed to fail?”

But yesterday found her reconsidering use of the word “accident,” after reading author Jessie Singer’s new book There Are No Accidents: The Deadly Rise of Injury and Disaster — Who Profits and Who Pays the Price.

Although the AP’s change of heart on the word should have tipped her off long before now.

She quotes Singer saying that in virtually every case, there is a cause — often more than one — leading up to the cause of any unfortunate event.

“Never focus on the last causal factor,” Singer told me. “The thing we screw up about ‘accidents’ is looking at the last person who made a mistake. Accidents have layered causality. When you look toward the question of preventing harm, there are just so many answers, so many ways we can throw a pillow between us and our mistakes.”

Abcarian seems to take that message to heart, concluding,

Almost every day, I drive past the intersection on Venice Boulevard and Shell Avenue close to where the actor Orson Bean was struck and killed by two cars as he crossed the four-lane street one dark evening two years ago. There’s a new bright crosswalk, warning lights and signs now where before there were none.

I used to think his death was an unfortunate accident. I’m starting to think of it as inevitable.

Meanwhile, Singer, author of There Are No Accidents, says it’s time to stop yelling at drivers, and start expecting the government to demand safer cars.

After the founding of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the 1960s, the organization began requiring safety improvements to protect the occupants of cars, from seat belts and collapsable steering wheels to air bags.

The result was a steady decline in traffic deaths, resulting in as many as 600,000 lives saved, Singer says.

Until now.

But progress began to reverse even before the coronavirus pandemic. Speeding on pandemic-empty streets only exacerbated the threats posed by heavier, more powerful SUVs. The crisis of traffic safety has been particularly acute for people on foot. While traffic fatalities rose 5 percent in the past decade, pedestrian deaths rose by nearly half. For people living in povertyBlack people, and Indigenous people, the likelihood of traffic death, inside and outside a car, is even more acute.

The European Union and Japan have not seen a concurrent crisis. In those jurisdictions, regulators protect people both inside and outside of a vehicle; vehicle-safety ratings take pedestrian risk into account. More than a decade ago, EU and Japanese regulators required that automakers redesign bumpers, hoods, and detection systems to reduce the likelihood of death on impact. Putting the onus of survivability on the automaker spurred the development of new technology, such as airbags that inflate outside the vehicle. Pedestrian fatalities fell by more than a third in a decade in Europe and have fallen by more than half since 2000 in Japan.

Meanwhile, The Nation makes that case that cars kill twice as many people as guns, and disproportionately affect people of color.

And why.

We also need to change our roads, which often plow through Black and low-income communities with the goal of making it easier to drive farther and faster. Replacing intersections with roundabouts could reduce crashes by more than 50 percent. We can hem in streets with curbs. Removing lanes, adding shoulders, bike paths, and speed bumps, and creating turn lanes would all decrease speeding and crashes.

On the other hand, Fox News’ Laura Ingraham seems to come out in favor of traffic deaths in the name of freedom.

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Mark your calendar for March 5th, when the Taylor Yard Bridge officially opens.

Thanks to Joe Linton for the heads-up.

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It’s bad enough we have to deal with people parking in bike lanes.

But this is taking it too far.

https://twitter.com/EntitledCycling/status/1494378341465395202

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This is what we could have in Los Angeles, if our ex-Climate Mayor and future ambassador to India had even a fraction of the courage and commitment shown by the his predecessor, the mayor of Paris.

https://twitter.com/grescoe/status/1494326829305323521

And did I mention who else is following suit?

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Presenting the height of women’s bikewear fashion, circa 1897.

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I’m happy to say Trevor Noah is one of us.

https://twitter.com/CoolBikeArt1/status/1495261934999855115

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Your periodic reminder that this is not what bikes are for.

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This is who we share the road with.

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That feeling when what’s passing you on bike path isn’t a bicycle.

Let’s just hope there wasn’t someone inside.

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Former pro Ted King shares his experience on the annual 400-mile Coast Ride from San Francisco to Santa Barbara, including the invaluable direction finding advice to just keep the ocean on the right.

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The folks at GCN tackle the route of famed Paris-San Remo race.

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

No bias here. A writer complains that a 17-year old boy riding an ebike “could have been traveling upward of 20 mph” when he was critically injured in a collision with a truck driver, using that to justify a call to put the brakes on ebikes. Then again, the teen could have been doing just 12 mph. Or 17. Or any other number he wants to pull out of his ass.

Boston bike riders support a pilot program for widening a bike lane over a key bridge, even as video shows vandals tossing the orange cones off it.

Road.cc asks why asking drivers not to pass bike riders too closely causes so much irrational anger.

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Local

Mark your calendar for March 19th, when Walk ‘n Rollers will mark ten years of making a difference for kids on our streets.

To the surprise of virtually no one who lives here, most people in Los Angeles like living here, though there is a lot of room for improvement.

A writer for City Watch calls out councilmember and mayoral candidate Joe Buscaino for what he calls the “ill-conceived notion” to outlaw sidewalk bike repair. Meanwhile, Buscaino’s turn to the right in the mayor’s race has been outflanked by even more conservative billionaire Rick Caruso.

 

State 

California Assemblymember Phil Ting is taking another crack at making it legal to cross the street, reintroducing a bill that would legalize jaywalking, which disproportionately affects people of color.

Also back for another round is a proposal in the legislature to legalize a pilot speed cam program, while another bill would require Leading Pedestrian Intervals at all stop lights statewide. Let’s make sure the law explicitly allows bicycles to use LPIs, too.

A proposal from San Diego’s mayor would shift infrastructure spending, including bikeways, to lower income areas.

Kern County’s long awaited lake-to-lake Kern River Bike Trail has finally become a reality, with a 36.3-mile pathway connecting Lake Ming with the Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area.

 

National

A Streetsblog op-ed makes the case for why Vision Zero is a human rights issue for the deaf community and other disabled people.

A new add-on battery promises to double the range of your ebike.

Ford is examining replacing warning alerts with the sounds of simulated, in-car footsteps and bike bells to get the driver’s attention.

Bicycle Retailer examines the role volunteers play in helping Bike Index return stolen and missing bikes to their rightful owners.

Peloton workers say the company sent out rusted stationary bikes to customers as it struggled to keep up with demand.

Shaq says he once bought a new bike for a random kid at a bike shop. Although the kid was probably too young to know who the hell his giant benefactor was.

After nearly 30 years, Seattle’s King County has finally pulled the plug on its well-intentioned but misguided mandatory bike helmet law, after belatedly discovering that it unfairly targets the homeless and people of color; repeal of the law also removes a contested pretext for traffic stops.

European countries offer hard-hitting traffic safety messages; in the US, we’re more likely to get messages like this one from Austin, Texas that says Life is Valuable, Please Drive Safe. Which isn’t likely to get anyone to take their foot off the gas long enough to read it.

Hoboken NJ offers proof that Vision Zero really can work if cities make a commitment to it, with no traffic deaths for the past two years, and a 35% and 11% drop in collisions involving pedestrians and bike riders, respectively.

She gets it. A Virginia columnist decries news coverage that blames and dehumanizes victims of traffic violence.

Our sympathy to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which now has the fourth-worst traffic congestion in the US, behind only eternal leader Los Angeles, New York and Miami.

A new Florida law allows group rides to proceed through stop signs ten riders at a time. But only after coming to a complete stop first.

 

International

Momentum highlights beautiful bike trails in national parks around the world. Which you could visit on your very own amphibious ebike camper.

That’s more like it. A skyscraping Toronto condo tower is being targeted to the bicycling community, complete with a bike repair room, secure bike lockers and a dedicated bicycle elevator.

Road.cc remembers Southern England’s classic handmade steel-frame bike builders of the last century.

You’ve got to be kidding. A prolific thief was given a “final, final chance” after he was convicted of stealing the equivalent of $1369 worth of parts from a British bike shop, which he claimed was to buy his daughter a birthday present — despite a whopping 126 previous convictions. Must have been a damn good present, too.

This is why people keep dying on our roads. A judge could give a convicted drunk driver his license back after a ruptured Achilles heel left him unable to walk or ride a bicycle. So they want to put him back in a big, dangerous machine and give him another chance to kill someone, since he wasn’t successful the first time.

Life and lies are cheap in the UK, where a woman walked without a single day behind bars for fleeing the scene after running down a nine-year old boy on a bicycle, then lying to police investigators, claiming she hadn’t been in a wreck.

Life is cheap in the UK, part II. A 76-year old British man will spend two years behind bars for the impatient pass and head-on crash that killed a man riding a bike, who was reportedly doing everything right. But at least he’s been banned from driving for seven years, even though it should have been life.

Life is cheap in Ireland, too, where a drunk, hit-and-run driver got a lousy two and a half years for killing a man on a bicycle, after leaving him lying in a field to die alone.

Your next French e-cargo foldie could glow in the dark.

After India’s prime minister tried to link the Samajwadi Party, which uses a bicycle as its symbol, to a 2008 terrorist bombing, an Indian paper relates the history of bike bombs around the world.

Longtime Bollywood actor and producer Anil Kapoor is one of us.

Bicycling Australia tackles the eternal question of whether or not to shave your legs.

 

Competitive Cycling

After 13 years, retired pro Ruth Winder discovers that unbecoming a pro cyclist isn’t much easier that becoming one.

Egan Bernal gives a first-person account of the harrowing 38 mph crash that nearly left him paralyzed, as he shares his hope of a return to racing.

Belgian pro Wout Van Aert had a one word response to Chris Froome’s suggestion that specialized time trial bikes should be banned from pro cycling: “Bullshit.”

Cycling Tips examines legendary Black cyclist Major Taylor’s 1903 singlespeed Peugeot track bike, complete with wooden rims.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you get away with seven grand worth of meth because the cops didn’t have probable cause to stop your bicycle. When you’re such a jerk your mom gives away your new birthday bike before you can even ride it.

And when you leave your bikes at the beach just a tad too long.

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

Times op-ed says LA can’t keep pushing bikes and buses aside, and 330-mile NorCal rail trail threatened by coal plans

Just 11 days left to give to the 7th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive

Thanks to Michael B and Phillip Y for their generous donations to help keep all the best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day. 

This is the only time all year we actively ask — okay, beg — for your money. 

So take a moment to open your heart and wallet. And give now via PayPal, or with Zelle to ted @ bikinginla.com.

Any amount, no matter how large or small, is truly and deeply appreciated.

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He gets it.

In a hard-hitting LA Times op-ed, Streets For All founder Michael Schneider says Los Angeles can no longer afford to push buses and bicycles to the side.

Or worse, actively block implementation of safe bus and bike lanes.

Paul Koretz kills a bike lane on Melrose and fights a bus lane on Wilshire. Gil Cedillo and Mitch O’Farrell work together to kill a bike lane on Temple. Paul Krekorian kills a bike lane on Lankershim. David Ryu kills a bike lane on 6th Street. John Lee fought a bus lane on Nordhoff. All of these real events over the last few years have something in common: members of the Los Angeles City Council actively ignoring the city’s Mobility Plan 2035, part of the general plan passed by the council in 2016.

He goes on to explain that there’s no way to get drivers out of their cars without more efficient transit and bikeways.

And that there is no way to prioritize alternative modes of transport without sacrificing some driver convenience and space on the street.

Then there’s this.

Another issue in Los Angeles is that we tend to build bike lanes in small segments based on the city’s repaving schedule. The problem here is that just like car lanes, bike (and bus) lanes really work well only as a network. Imagine if the 101 almost connected to the 405, and the 405 almost connected to the 10, and in the gaps, drivers faced a dirt road with potholes. How many cars would drive on those roads? Yet we ask the same of people on bikes today. Unless someone can get to where they need to go and feel safe for the entire journey, many won’t bother. That requires a network of protected bike lanes that connect to other protected bike lanes, criss-crossing the city.

Not surprisingly, he hits the nail on the head when it comes to the solutions.

We need all candidates running for mayor and City Council in 2022 to be leaders on this issue. The mayor especially must lead by action, not just talk, as it is today. Individual council members should not be allowed to block road changes prescribed in the Mobility Plan. We need citywide implementation, across district lines; the average Angeleno has no idea where one district ends and one begins, and those boundaries should not determine where a bike or bus lane mysteriously stops or starts.

We have elected far too many hypocrites and spineless “leaders” with their finger to the wind, bending whichever way people scream the loudest.

That needs to change.

Now.

We have to elect genuine leaders committed to their principles, who know what needs to be done and have the political courage to do it.

Because this city may not survive otherwise.

At least not in any form we’d want to live in.

………

Gravel Bike California is sounding the alarm about plans to use an abandoned railway to ship coal to California’s North Coast, where it would be loaded onto ships and transported overseas.

Not only would the plan be like setting a torch to the growing climate emergency, it would expose everyone living along the rail line to the dangers of highly carcinogenic coal dust.

And it would mean the death of plans to convert the defunct North Coast rail line into the Great Redwood Trail, taking riders through ancient redwood forests and along roaring rivers.

You can sign a petition to oppose the plans here.

Because there’s no benefit to anyone to shipping coal through the redwoods.

Except for the people whose pockets it would line.

………

Throw in some donuts, and we’ll all show up.

………

Take a Welsh mountain biking break if you’ve got 24 minutes to spare.

………

‘Tis the season.

All 55 third graders at a Lakewood, California elementary school got new bikes for the holidays, after initially being told just two students would win one.

A Good Samaritan bought a new bike for a popular Milwaukee pizza shop employee after his was stolen, giving it to the police to pass along anonymously.

A Newport RI bike club donated 100 rebuilt bicycles to students at a local elementary school.

………

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

A Montreal bike rider was the victim of a pepper spray attack by a road raging motorcyclist, who thought the victim should have been riding in the nonexistent bike lane.

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

Police in Miami are looking for a shooting suspect who fled on a red BMX bike. No, the one in Oklahoma.

………

Local

Los Angeles will break with longstanding tradition, and take advantage of a new state law to actually lower speed limits on some streets next year.

This is who we share the road with. A 21-year old USC student was killed by a pair of street racing drivers as he walked in a crosswalk near campus; surprisingly, both drivers stopped following the crash.

 

State

This is who we share the road with, part two. Once again, an elderly driver has been kept on the road until it’s too late, as an 87-year old Desert Hot Springs man faces vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run charges for crashing his Caddy into the back of a school bus, then plowing into a group of kids as he tried to flee, killing a nine-year old girl and injuring three other children. Whoever kept renewing his license should face charges, too.

No surprise here, as a Salinas paper says whether you’re safe on a bicycle depends on where you are. In other words, just like anywhere else.

With just over two weeks left in the year, San Jose traffic deaths are approaching record levels, despite the city’s Vision Zero program.

 

National

Yes, you can bring your Christmas tree home by bicycle.

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske writes about the need for bright lights on your bike, both to stay safe and and limit liability in a collision. I suggest going even further by riding with multiple bright lights day or night to increase your visibility. And note to Mionske: Isn’t time to stop using that outdated and inaccurate term “accident?” A crash isn’t an oopsie. 

Cycling Tips offers four great bicycling photos from the previous two centuries and the stories behind them. Like a stunt cyclist upside down on a loop-the-loop, and riding down a steep flight of stairs on a Penny Farthing.

A Washington writer says bike riders should just go around people who walk in the bike lane when there’s no sidewalk, because “running into a pedestrian is fundamentally unsafe.” Well, yeah. He’s got a point. 

Heartbreaking story from a Flagstaff AZ writer, who struggles to process her emotions in the wake of witnessing a woman killed, and several others injured, when a tow truck driver blew a red light and plowed into them during the city’s May Bike Party.

The couple responsible for putting up ghost bikes in Houston are looking for volunteers to help replace stolen bikes. Seriously, there’s a special place in hell for anyone who’d steal a ghost bike.

It defies logic, but apparently, it’s possible to hit and kill a 12-year old bike-riding Texas girl with your pickup without doing anything wrong.

New York bike riders are demanding a downtown civic group replace their sleek-looking bike racks, which they say only a thief could love.

Yesterday we linked to video of a nine-year old DC boy run down on his bike by a hit-and-run driver as he was riding home from school with his mother; today he’s speaking out to call for safer streets. My kind of kid.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana is finally recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community. And only 40 years too late for me, after risking my life to ride there. And don’t get me started on beer-chucking LSU frat boys. 

 

International

Yanko Design looks at the year’s best new bicycle innovations, including airless bike tires, zip-on bike tire treads, and a compact air pump — for car tires.

The Guardian’s Peter Walker digs into a pair of rapidly spreading London myths — that the city is the most congested in the world, and the reason is bike lanes. Neither one of which he says is true.

It only took four hours to fully crowdfund new bike lights from Northern Ireland’s See.Sense, promising 575 lumens from the front light, and 350 in the rear, which brightens as you slow down. And if you hurry, a set will set you back as little as $118.

UK authorities are urged to close a loophole in traffic law that allows killer motorists to keep driving if taking their license away would cause an extreme hardship. Imagine the hardship it causes the people they kill.

A 26-year old British man is riding over 5,100 miles from Bristol, England to Beijing, despite being diagnosed with cancer.

If you’re an Aussie football star, maybe don’t get drunk and attempt bike stunts. And fail.

 

Competitive Cycling

New Zealand could struggle to compete internationally in the future, with the short-sighted closure of four of the country’s cycling development centers.

 

Finally…

Apparently, you need a better excuse than simply not remembering that you stole a bike. You could have been the proud owner of a $7,500 handmade El Polo Loco lowrider bike if you’d just moved a little faster.

And who says self-driving tech is just for the people on four wheels?

………

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

LA deputies harass Latino bike riders, paranoid anti-bike Eagle Rock screed, and Cedillo keeps Temple Street deadly

Call it biking while brown in LA County.

The Los Angeles Times released a major investigative story Thursday on the harassment Latinos face riding a bicycle Los Angeles County.

Something we’ve been warning about for over a decade now.

Both Los Angeles police and LA County sheriff’s deputies have long used the simplest pretexts to stop and search bike riders of color, often handcuffing the riders or placing them in the back of a patrol car while rifling through their belongings for what amounts to minor traffic infractions or fix-it tickets, such as riding without lights after dark.

In fact, that was one of the primary reasons the LA city council canceled the city’s mandatory bike licensing program over a decade ago.

But while the problem continues for both Black and Brown riders in the City of Angels, it’s apparently much worse outside the city where the sheriff’s department has jurisdiction.

Especially for Latino men.

A Los Angeles Times investigation found deputies search 85% of bike riders they stop even though they often have no reason to suspect they’ll find something illegal. Most bicyclists were held in the backseat of patrol cars while deputies rummaged through their belongings or checked for arrest warrants.

The Times’ analysis of more than 44,000 bike stops logged by the Sheriff’s Department since 2017 found that 7 of every 10 stops involve Latino cyclists, and bike riders in poorer communities with large nonwhite populations are stopped and searched far more often than those in more affluent, whiter parts of the county.

For all the stops and searches, deputies rarely catch criminals. During searches, they find illegal items just 8% of the time, The Times’ analysis shows. Weapons were seized just 164 times — less than half a percent of all searches.

And the stops can go far beyond embarrassment or inconvenience.

Some cyclists shrugged off the encounters as an inconvenience that comes with living in high-crime neighborhoods. Others felt deeply harassed, targeted because they fit the vague description of a crime suspect deputies claimed to be searching for, usually because they were the same race.

Being stopped was even more disruptive for some riders interviewed. One white bicyclist in Norwalk said he lost his job because he was two hours late to work after he was held in the backseat of a patrol car while deputies searched his belongings and questioned him about who in the neighborhood was dealing drugs and carrying guns. A Latino rider in East L.A. said deputies took him to jail after they found a pipe in a bag of recyclables he planned to redeem for cash. A Black rider said a deputy confronted him at gunpoint and ordered him to stop while he was riding home from Lueders Park in Compton and doesn’t understand why.

Sometimes the confrontations can turn deadly, as it did for Black bicyclist Dijon Kizzee in South LA last year, when he was fatally shot by deputies in what began as a traffic stop for riding salmon, a common practice in the area.

Seriously, take a few minutes to read the entire thing.

We’ll wait.

Because everyone deserves the right to feel safe on the streets, whether the risk comes from drivers or sheriff’s deputies.

And we’ll never get people out of the cars if a large segment of the population has to worry about getting stopped by cops just for who they are, or where they ride.

Meanwhile, the paper offers a behind-the-scenes look at how they uncovered the facts and reported the story.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

………

In a truly bizarre City Watch screed, a self-described Eastside community activist purports to speak for the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce in accusing Metro, two current and former LA councilmembers, a county supervisor and the former mayor of Glendale of conspiring with bike advocates to destroy businesses on Colorado Blvd, in order to claim business owner’s real estate development rights.

No, really.

Someplace along the line it became clear that there is a small coalition of players who are ramming the ‘road diet’ version of the Colorado Blvd piece of the Glendale to Pasadena BRT route. Politically, it’s the combination of Jose Huizar (until he was busted), Hilda Solis from the County Board of Supervisors, and now the Councilmember for CD 14 (and Candidate for Mayor) Kevin De Leon. The Mayor of Glendale was also involved until he ceased to be Mayor.

To be direct, I don’t think any of them give a rats ass about the local businesses that are going to get wiped out during the construction process.  I guess they are more interested in the land use opportunities for developers than actual businesses which have been around for years, providing the backbone of Eagle Rock.

The ex Mayor of Glendale got what he wanted; he owns property in the construction area, and senses opportunity. I guess Hilda Solis got what she wanted. According to folks in the know she left Congress so she could come to LA County, become a Supervisor, and retire after she termed out. Nice pensions.  Her machinations at the Metro Board would be consistent with this analysis.

But wait, there’s more.

Two other groups also personally benefit by this plan. TERA,The Eagle Rock Association, has a leader who is a rabid bicycle advocate, and has choreographed the bike movement ‘take no hostages’ road diet vision to get rid of all those nasty cars that people use to get around in.   Then there is another ‘leader’ on the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council who personally gained an architectural contract with Metro concerning the BRT, and has also shut down any gainsayers.

You know, to get to work and and even buy things at the local businesses.

Personally, I find them loud, inflexible, and nasty.  Nasty like attacking anyone who does not agree with them. And I have to wonder exactly how many of the bicycle crowd actually live in Eagle Rock, as opposed to all of the residents and others who use their cars to shop with the local businesses.

He goes on to accuse supporters of bus rapid transit and a Complete Streets makeover on Colorado Blvd of bullying and threatening opponents.

And he says he has the receipts to prove it.

Or not.

More objective observers have reported the exact opposite, with advocates being shouted down in meetings and confronted outside, and both threatened and doxed on social media.

But as proof of the bad behavior on the part of bike and transit advocates, he points to a Google Drive where he has saved hundreds of tweets from those supposed bullies.

Admittedly, I haven’t had time to read all of them, which would literally take hours. But all the ones I’ve seen have been pretty damn innocuous.

Like this, under the heading of Alissa Walker Bullying.

Full disclosure, I know Alissa Walker, she’s one of the least threatening people I know.

Then there’s this, under the heading Bullying Boulevard Sentinel, a local Eastside newspaper that has often opposed bike lanes and Complete Streets.

It would seem to be extremely paranoid to consider any of that threatening or bullying in any way.

Granted, there may be something more egregious somewhere in that vast collection of archived tweets.

But I sure as hell haven’t seen it yet.

……..

It’s truly heartbreaking how hard some of our elected officials have worked to keep our streets dangerous.

In this case, CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo teamed with CD13’s Mitch O’Farrell to cancel a shovel-ready road diet on one of the city’s most dangerous corridors.

With predictable results.

………

They get it.

The SF Gate asks why Gov. Newsom vetoed a bill that would have allowed people on bicycles to treat stop signs as yields.

And why a practice most bike riders — and drivers, for that matter — do on a daily basis remains illegal.

This Bay Area rider sums it up pretty well.

“They’re getting in the way of making it legal to be safe,” said Alex Lantsberg, a San Francisco cyclist.

Lantsberg said stopping at stop signs is in fact more dangerous for cyclists, who become “sitting ducks” in the face of “a 4,000-pound death machine.”

“You don’t want to lose the momentum of moving through a stop sign. It’ll turn people off from cycling,” he said. “I also think it’s safer for cyclists to maintain momentum and get away from cars.”

“A flesh and blood human on a 20-pound rolling triangle is much more at risk than a person in a steel-encased La-Z-Boy,” he added.

………

It’s hard for me to ask others to give when I’m not in a position to do it myself.

But if you’ve got a few extra bucks lying around, donate some of it to L39ion of Los Angeles to help put more bikes in schools.

The crowdfunding campaign has been stuck around $12,000 for several days. And it’s hard to imagine a gift that could do more long-lasting good.

………

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

Police in Honolulu are looking for a bike-riding hit-and-run suspect who allegedly fled the scene after darting out in front of a motorcyclist, leaving the man lying injured in the street. Although a description of 100 to 200 pounds doesn’t exactly narrow the suspect list. 

………

Local

Another writer for City Watch asks if anyone at LA City Hall got the memo from  the COP26 climate conference. Probably not. And if they did, they’re not likely to actually do anything about it.

Happy birthday to LA’s Griffith Park, which turns 125 this year.

 

State

Bakersfield bike riders are about to get a shiny new seven-mile bike lane, the missing link in a continuous 30 mile trail from Lake Ming to Buena Vista Lake.

Berkeley is facing the usual fight over preserving parking spaces, or improving safety for everyone on the road by installing bike lanes.

A New Hampshire couple calls biking across the Golden Gate Bridge the highlight of their visit to San Francisco.

A Sausalito driver faces multiple DUI, drug and weapons charges after allegedly running down not one, but two people riding their bikes Halloween evening; a search of his car revealed fentanyl and an illegal weapon, as well as a wooden billy club.

 

National

Bicycling offers a look at how a man recovered his life after a painful mountain biking crash led to a dependence on painkillers. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you. 

Bicycling also warns against seven technologies and standards to avoid when buying a used bike. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t seem to be available on Yahoo, so you’re SOL if you don’t subscribe to the magazine.

A writer for Reader’s Digest — which apparently still exists — swaps her car for an ebike for a week, and finds she doesn’t need it after all. Although the story comes off more as a long-form ad for the ebike she used than anything remotely objective.

Portland considers establishing e-cargo bike micro delivery hubs to help reduce truck and van traffic.

A Denver weekly talks with elite-level cyclist Andrew “Bernie” Bernstein, after the hit-and-run driver who nearly killed him was sentenced to just two years behind bars.

The Massachusetts man killed by a speeding driver on a cross-country ride with five other bicyclists foretold his death by noting Texas had the worst drivers they’d encountered so far; one of the two women injured in the crash was his fiancé.

Tragic news from New York, where a man started riding a bike to work over fears of using transit during the pandemic, only to lose his life at the hands of an unlicensed truck driver.

Philly residents describe just how dangerous it is to ride a bicycle in the City of Brotherly Love.

Tragic news from St. Petersburg, Florida, where authorities are trying to identify an elderly woman who suffered life-threatening injuries when she crashed her bike with an e-scooter rider; she arrived at the hospital without ID, and no identifying features. Yet another reminder to always carry identification with you when you ride. And preferably something that won’t get stolen if you’re incapacitated.

 

International

At last, a new indoor trainer that allows you to lean into turns.

Halloween is over, so it’s time for the holiday gift guides. Bike Rumor is off to an early start with their gift-giving guide for people on two wheels. Meanwhile, Pink Bike recommends 21 new bike tools for the coming year.

The Department of DIY strikes in the UK, as a local councilor fumes when “ignorant” vandals repainted their own bike lane, after their first attempt had been removed. So instead of removing it again, maybe they should just make it permanent.

A Dublin man and his backpack-riding Westie won’t be riding anytime soon, after thieves stole his racing bike, then took the ebike he borrowed the next day.

Canadian Cycling Magazine goes riding at rush hour in newly bike-friendly Paris, and calls it a dream.

Bike riders in Cyprus could soon be required to wear a bike helmet if a draft bill in the legislature passes. Similar measures elsewhere have been found to be counterproductive, while depressing ridership. 

Wellington, New Zealand is considering a plan to cut crosstown traffic by dividing the city into cells, which would allow drivers to get in and out, but not move freely from one to another.

A university lecturer in New Zealand says it’s parking that kills businesses, not bikes or buses.

 

Competitive Cycling

Florida ultracyclist Amanda Coker didn’t just set a new 24-hour record by breaking the 500-mile barrier, she also set 10 other Guinness World Records in the attempt.

Meanwhile, British pro Alex Dowsett came up short on his effort to reclaim the hour record, saying the biggest failure would have been to never try.

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can own your very own vowel-free, no-frills e-cruiser bike for about a grand. If you can’t trust your bike-riding neighborhood drug dealer, who can you trust?

And how drunk do you have to be to ride a bike home from a night out, only to discover the next morning it wasn’t yours.

………

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

Columnist who wrote about bus bike theft leaves LA, the massive cost of traffic violence, and restoring your faith humanity

LA Times City Beat columnist Nita Lelyveld penned her final piece for the paper, which included a reminder of one of my favorites.

In a story from nine years ago, she told how two strangers on a bus became close friends when one rescued the other man’s bicycle from a would-be thief.

A story that started right here a few months earlier.

She also told my own story of taking in a homeless man’s corgi so he could get back on his feet. Which literally saved his life when he saw the outpouring of love and support that resulted, much of it from readers of this site.

Along with a followup from earlier this year, relating how my wife and I had become friends with the now formerly homeless man, and the new puppy that filled the hole in our lives after our own corgi died.

To be honest, I’m not sure I would have trusted anyone else with the story.

Nita’s moving on to Portland, Maine, where she’ll be the new city editor for the Portland Press Herald.

Their gain, LA’s loss.

Photo by Maria Orlova from Pexels.

………

Sometimes, I don’t even know what to say.

So just let these numbers sink in: 112,519 people who weren’t in cars — mostly pedestrians and people on bicycles — have been killed by drivers since 9/11.

And nearly 2 million — yes, million — American traffic deaths since 1975, which would make it equivalent to the 5th largest city in the US.

Somehow, we have to make our fellow Americans care enough to finally do something about it.

………

I’m usually not one for surveys, but I might make an exception this time.

PeopleForBikes wants your opinion on what it’s like to ride a bike where you live for their 2022 City Ratings, and promise it will only take five minutes of your time.

Anyone who does will be entered to win prizes, including this Schwinn Orange Krate bike.

From PeopleForBikes

Then again, the fewer people who respond, the better my chance of winning the bike I wanted as a kid, but never got.

So forget I said anything.

………

This is who we share the road with.

Phil Gaimon posted video this morning of the aftermath of a road rage incident in Boulder, Colorado. Although it’s not clear if the driver severely beat the victim, or ran him down with his car, then got out to look at him.

The good news is, the driver has been identified, and may yet be held accountable for his crimes.

………

As usual, drivers make the best case for protected bike lanes.

………

Let’s interrupt the usual news with a few stories to help restore your faith in humanity.

A nurse on Hawaii’s Big Island discovered it takes a village to recover a stolen bicycle — in less than a day, even — while reminding everyone to get vaccinated.

Bighearted Texas cops used donations from local businesses to give a new bike, helmet, lock and lights to a man formerly homeless man who had been walking 14 miles round trip to get to his job in another town.

Kindhearted Oklahoma cops dug into their own pockets to buy a new bike for a special needs man, after the bicycle he used as his primary means of transportation was stolen.

Firefighters in Waukesha, Wisconsin opened their own wallets to buy a used bicycle for a man whose bike was destroyed in a collision with a driver, after learning it was his only means of transportation.

An anonymous Good Samaritan surprised a Virginia girl with a new bicycle, leaving it on her porch with an unsigned note a month after hers was stolen.

………

Clean transportation nonprofit Calstart is looking for a new director of innovative mobility.

https://twitter.com/ryanschuchard/status/1430362551301206020

Although even after reading the job description, I’m still have no idea what that means.

But something tells me I’m probably not qualified, anyway.

………

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

A road raging Aussie driver drove over a bicycle and took off with a bicyclist clinging to the hood of his car, in a confrontation that began when a group of bike riders complained about the driver swerving into them; the driver can be heard on the video saying “I will fucking destroy you, I’ve got money mate.” And there’s nothing scarier than an angry driver with money, right?

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

A bike-riding parolee was busted for “terrorizing” a Venice community by slashing car tires with a folding knife and shattering a window in the west LA neighborhood with a brick.

A man was permanently banned from a Washington Walmart after entering the closed store on his bike, riding around the store pocketing drinks and candy bars before threatening security guards with a meat cleaver.

………

Local

Los Angeles CD4 Councilmember Nithya Raman appeared to throw long-standing plans for a 4th Street Neighborhood Greenway under the bus in a meeting with Larchmont area homeowners, agreeing to oppose proposals for bike and pedestrian traffic signals on 4th and Highland, and 4th and Rossmore. Even though they would benefit local residents as much as anyone else, without causing any harm.

Metro Bike is offering two weeks free for any passholders who refer a friend.

Simon Cowell is still one of us, taking his ebike for a ride through the ‘Bu, a year after shattering his back crashing an electric motorcycle. Which the press still insists on calling an ebike.

 

State

Paso Robles is looking for public input for a planned bicycle pump track, to be designed by the same firm that built the skate park for the Tokyo Olympics.

Drivers were outraged by the estimated 5,000 people on bicycles who turned out for the 5th annual Santa Cruz Ride Out and “clogged traffic for hours.” In other words, kind of like drivers do all by themselves multiple times a day.

 

National

Bicycling makes their picks for the best ebikes of 2021 — including LA-based Aventon — with prices starting at just $999 and going up. Way up. I can’t find this one on Yahoo, so you’re on your own if Bicycling blocks you.

A father and daughter duo rode their antique Penny Farthings across the US from San Francisco to Boston, covering 3,314 miles in 57 days. Then turned around and rode across the US from north to south, for a total of 6,100 miles.

Forbes reviews the new book by the guy who took a New York bikeshare bike on a ride across the US in search of a new home, before settling on — and in — Tusla OK.

Heartbreaking news from Wisconsin, where an 88-year old man was killed by a driver while trying to make a left turn on his bicycle. Anyone who makes it to that age deserves better, damn it — and safer streets to ride on. Never mind that it takes the local paper until the penultimate paragraph to mention that the pickup that hit him even had a driver.

Chicago Streetsblog tells the sad story of protected bike lane proposals killed by parking pushback. Something tells me Los Angeles could produce an even greater tearjerker.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A 70-year old retired creative writing professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and former Alaska Writer Laureate was killed in a Maine bicycling collision last week.

 

International

After a Toronto councilmember had her own bicycle stolen, some unsympathetic residents blamed her for supporting shelters for the homeless, accusing them of taking her bike.

A pair of British men are on trial for murder in the death of a young father, after he accused one of them of stealing the other man’s bicycle to buy more drugs; the alleged killer swears he didn’t mean to harm the victim, despite repeatedly punching him and stomping on his head. I’d hate to see what he’d do if he did mean to hurt someone.

Welsh residents complain about plans for a “national standard” BMX track over fears that it will add to traffic congestion. More proof that NIMBYs are the same everywhere.

 

Competitive Cycling

It’s starting to look like the only thing that could keep two-time defending Vuelta champ Primož Roglič from the red leader’s jersey is falling off his bike. Which is exactly what happened yesterday.

Tragic news from Spain, where ultra-distance cyclist Ana Orenz was competing in the unsupported, nearly 2,00-mile Transiberica race when she suffered “devastating” injuries after crashing into a wild boar during a high-speed descent; Orenz suffered a broken neck and spinal injuries, as well as severe head trauma, and lay alone in the roadway unable to move for two hours before she was found. A crowdfunding page has raised nearly $41,000 of the $58,700 goal.

 

Finally…

Who needs a Bookmobile when you’ve got a cargo bike? Now you, too, can have your very own Louis Vuitton bicycle, complete with awkward hand brakes that look chic but will probably kill you, for the low, low price of $27,000.

And it takes a pretty smart dog to be this knowledgable when it comes to doping.

………

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

SD teacher blames bike injury for rape charge, prolific bike racing bank robber, and award winning photog was one of us

Thanks to everyone who reached out to let me know this site was down on Friday. 

I still don’t know just what went wrong, but everything seems to be working now. 

As always, I’m very grateful for the help!

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels.

………

You’ve got to be kidding.

A San Diego teacher walked without a single day behind bars for statutory rape after claiming he had sex with a 17-year old student because of a brain injury he suffered in a bicycling crash.

Brain damage or not, there’s no fucking excuse. Keep your damn pants zipped, and leave underage kids alone.

Period.

………

Today’s must read tells the story of a Chicago bike racer training for the Olympics who took up bank robbing as a hobby.

Tom Justice kept just two twenties from his first several robberies, dumping the rest in the trash or where homeless people could find it.

He eventually spent 11 years behind bars after stealing a total of $129,338 from 26 banks in Illinois and Southern California, making his escape on a bespoke racing bike.

………

Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Aurelio Jose Barrera was one of us.

After he retired from the LA Times, Barrera rode his bike every morning to deliver excess fruit from neighbors’ trees to feed homeless men and women.

He won the award for a groundbreaking series of black and white photos that personalized LA’s long-overlooked Latino community back in the 1980s, when the paper didn’t think it was worth covering.

Barrea died after a fall this past week; he was just 60 years old.

Thanks to Grace for the heads-up.

………

A reminder, if you need one, that the door zone is dangerous, and dooring sucks.

………

Seriously, who wouldn’t want a bike ridden by a man who was declared Righteous Among the Nations for his work saving hundreds, if not thousands, of Jews during WWII, and if there’s any justice, a future Catholic saint?

And he won a few bike races, too.

If anyone has an extra 90 grand lying around, I promise to pay you back. Although it may take another lifetime or two.

………

It looks like the season of bike giveaways is starting as early as all those damn Christmas movies this year.

A nonprofit founded by Specialized donated 26 mountain bikes to a Laramie, Wyoming middle school as part of a program to use bicycling to boost student success.

A Mad City nonprofit aims to change children’s lives by giving away more than 2,000 bicycles over the next year.

Over 120 children got new bikes courtesy of an Indiana charity, although that was down from last year’s 400 bikes due to a drop in donations this year.

A pair of North Carolina bike charities responded to the bike shortage caused by the coronavirus bike boom by refurbishing bikes for local children who can’t afford one.

Kindhearted Florida sheriff’s deputies gave a young girl a bicycle after learning she was walking two miles each way to get to an education center for struggling kids.

………

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

Just horrible. Two people are dead in Las Vegas after a passenger leaned out the window of a moving car to push a woman off her bike, then fell out of the car himself. The woman was killed when she hit her head on the asphalt, and the man who needlessly took her life died when he hit his head on a street light after skidding 150 feet along the roadway. The driver could face a well-deserved murder charge.

An English roadway is being called a deathtrap after someone removed all the plastic bollards that had recently been installed to create a separated bike lane.

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

A New York bike rider apparently didn’t take too kindly to a pro-Trump rally blocking the Brooklyn Bridge.

………

Local

Despite a pandemic-induced shutdown, CicLAvia celebrated its tenth anniversary earlier this month. I was there for the first one on 10-10-10, and witnessed the inception of CicLAvia as an LACBC board member when few people thought it could really happen in auto-centric Los Angeles. Myself included.

We already knew J.Lo was one of us. And so are her kids, as they all went for a ride in Santa Monica over the weekend, while she reminded us that voting is always in style.

Long Beach needs volunteers for its annual bike and pedestrian count later this week.

 

State

A Ventura man faces attempted murder charges for a series of attacks on homeless people; a bystander suffered minor injuries when the attacker ran him down with his car as he tried to follow the suspect on his bike.

Sad news from Napa County, where a 65-year old man was killed while riding his bike; naturally, CHP investigators blamed the victim.

More bad news, as a bike rider was killed in a Eureka collision. Note to Redheaded Blackbelt — maybe don’t include a photo showing the victim’s tarp-covered body next time. No one needs to see that shit.

 

National

A HuffPost writer considers how the Covid-19 pandemic could encourage cities to step back from car-centric design. Except in Los Angeles, where drivers continue to enjoy the lion’s share of the roadway, and the knee-jerk support of elected leaders.

Wired rates the best locks to protect your bike; not surprisingly, their picks lean towards Kryptonite.

Heartbreaking news, as a new bike rider and soon-to-be father of two broke his back sliding off a Utah embankment, leaving him a paraplegic; he’s now in a coma after suffering a heart attack in the hospital.

A Wyoming bicyclist isn’t letting the shorter days stop her morning rides. Thanks to Andy Stow for catching a not-so-small boo boo on my part

A Minneapolis man discusses what it’s like to be a Black mountain biker, and the frustration of wondering if people refuse his help because of his skin color.

An 88-year old New Hampshire woman will face charges for killing an 83-year old man riding his bike. One more reminder that it’s better to take away grandma’s keys than risk spending her final days behind bars.

Providence, Rhode Island bike riders complain that the city is villainizing and over-policing already marginalized young men taking part in the Bike Life movement, and confiscating their bikes without due process.

Instead of just complaining about teenage riders weaving through traffic and popping wheelies, a Boston paper examines Bike Life to understand why.

Now that’s guts. After four years, a New Jersey man returned to the scene of an Iowa crash that left him a paraplegic while riding cross-country, and finished the remaining 1,200 miles on a handcycle.

 

International

And we thought LA drivers were bad. Bike riders Bogotá, Colombia are taking lessons in self-defense to deal with the city’s overly aggressive, road raging drivers.

London bus passengers complain about a “crazy” bike lane that cuts through a bus stop. A design that’s been used here in LA, too.

No bias here. London’s Daily Mail says popup bike lanes installed during the pandemic are being ripped out after “paralyzing cities” with gridlock. Never mind that the whole point of popup lanes is that they are temporary, but can be converted to permanent lanes if they prove successful, and removed if they don’t.

Oasis star Liam Gallagher is one of us now, riding a bike through the streets of London after doctors tell him to stop jogging.

Despite a previous vow to never ride a bike, a British man took to two wheels — and Lycra – as part of his recovery program, and managed to finish a century sportive just a year after a near fatal car crash.

A new Indian film tells the story of an unskilled laborer and his trusty, if rusty, bicycle.

 

Competitive Cycling

It’s taken seven years for former British cycling ingenue Tao Geoghegan Hart to fulfill his promise (it’s Gaelic, pronounced Tay-oh Gay-gan) but he broke through in a big way with a surprise win the the Giro d’Italia.

Hart got the unexpected opportunity when Ineos-Grenadier team leader Geraint Thomas was knocked out of the race after rolling over a stray water bottle in stage three. The race came down to a two-man showdown in the 9-mile time trial on Sunday’s final stage.

The BBC calls Hart Britain’s new cycling star. He’ll get nearly $250,000 for the win.

The 19th stage of the Giro was cut in half after riders put their collective feet down at the start, complaining about plans to add a three-mile detour to the originally planned 160-mile distance so late in the race; instead of paying out prizes for the stage, the race organizers donated the money to help fight Covid-19.

Italian cyclist Matteo Spreafico has been provisionally suspended for doping after testing positive for a drug to treat muscle atrophy following two stages. But the era of doping is over, right?

Meanwhile, the Vuelta neared the finish of the first week of racing, as American Sepp Kuss managed to annoy virtually everyone in the peloton with his breakaway tactic.

A 39-year old Placenta man completed a Ironman Triathlon, despite battling a cancerous brain tumor.

 

Finally…

If it doesn’t have pedals, it’s not a bicycle — no matter how many bike parts it has. Sometimes the demon-like ghost caught on camera is just a bike-riding kid in a Halloween mask.

And who cares about someone’s car when you can talk bikes, instead.

………

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

Anti-urbanist writer insists LA sprawl prevents Covid-19, and cure your coronavirus blues with a simple bike ride

What a load of crap.

In a Sunday op-ed in the LA Times, longtime anti-urbanist Joel Kotkin insists once again that Angelenos love single-family sprawl.

And that spread of the coronavirus proves they’re right.

No, really.

Let’s ignore for now his bizarre belief that Los Angeles residents love living in far-flung communities — and the resulting hours long commutes that come with it, rather than being forced to move to distant suburbs in order to find somewhere, anywhere, they can actually afford to live.

It’s his equally strange insistence that LA’s relatively low rate of Covid-19 infections compared to New York that proves sprawl is better that density.

For nearly a century, Los Angeles’ urban form has infuriated urbanists who prefer a more concentrated model built around a single central core.

Yet, in the COVID-19 pandemic, our much-maligned dispersed urban pattern has proven a major asset. Los Angeles and its surrounding suburbs have had a considerable number of cases, but overall this highly diverse, globally engaged region has managed to keep rates of infection well below that of dense, transit-dependent New York City.

As of April 24, Los Angeles County, with nearly 2 million more residents than the five boroughs, had 850 coronavirus-related deaths compared with 16,646 in New York City.

I’d say someone should remind him that correlation does not equal causation, but that would destroy his entire argument.

In Kotkin’s blindered view of the world, the virus spread rapidly through New York merely because people live close to each other and share transit systems.

And was slowed in its deadly progression through the City of Angels because we hide out in our hermetically sealed SUVs on the way to our single-family homes in socially distant communities.

Never mind that Los Angeles shut down at the first reports of Covid-19 infections and deaths, followed quickly by California, while New York waited until the virus was already widespread within the city and neighboring New Jersey.

He also conveniently ignores the fact that parts of Los Angeles are among the densest communities in the US — and by some reports, the densest. And that over half of LA residents are renters, most of those in multi-family buildings.

For his argument to bear any validity, the virus would have to tear through denser neighborhoods like Maywood, Huntington Park and West Hollywood, while sparing less dense areas in the San Fernando, San Gabriel and Antelope Valleys.

Not so much.

As this chart from the LA Times shows, the coronavirus is well dispersed throughout LA County, in dense areas as well as the sprawling single-family communities Kotkin seems to think are virus proof.

The only way to accurately determine what effect density has on the spread of the virus will be to wait until it’s over, and perform epidemiology studies to look at just how and where it spread.

Because it’s entirely possible that an area with lower population density could show a significantly higher rate of infection per capita than an area with two or three times the population.

And let’s not forget the role that redlining and racial convents have played in how LA’s communities formed, and the relative wealth and health of their residents.

Kotkin concludes by simultaneously making, and refuting, his own argument that people prefer sprawl.

At the same time, most Californians seem less than eager to abandon their single-family homes for the pleasures of what some call “elegant density.” Even before the pandemic, they were voting with their feet for less density and lower costs. Even as L.A. County’s population has started to decline, over 87% of all the growth in the region in this decade took place on the periphery where single-family homes and spacious apartments are still remotely affordable.

State policy, urban planners and pundits may decry this trend, but after a pandemic, dispersion may well seem a safer bet than densification. It turns out Californians are already headed in that direction.

Exactly.

Angelenos continue to move to far-flung neighborhoods, often against their own wishes, because those are the only places they can afford to live.

And no, over-reliance on cars didn’t save us, either.

Because it only takes a quick glance at those underserved communities to see the virus didn’t get there by transit.

I could go on. And on.

But Grist already dismantled Kotkin’s flimsy arguments in favor of sprawl six years ago.

Besides, the best argument against Kotkin’s love of sprawl is to just go outside and take a deep breath.

And let what has recently turned into the cleanest air of any major city remind you what life could be like without hundreds of thousands of people driving into the city every morning.

It’s just tragic that so many people had to die to get us there.

Photo by Josh Kur from Pexels.

………

Sadly, a poorly framed article from the Los Angeles Times repeats many of the same misguided arguments about density being responsible for spreading the coronavirus.

Even though they refute it themselves.

At the same time, there’s lots of evidence that shows density isn’t destiny.

Highly populated cities in Asia, including Seoul, Tokyo and Hong Kong, have seen a fraction of New York’s cases. The same is true for America’s next densest big city, San Francisco, which issued a shelter-in-place order nearly a week before the East Coast metropolis. As of Saturday, the Bay Area city had reported only about 1,300 confirmed cases — compared with more than 8,450 in the city of Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, they insist on following the lead of too much of the American press by presenting unsupported arguments on equal footing with demonstrable evidence to the contrary.

Because opinions aren’t facts.

No matter who has them, or how loudly they express them.

………

On the other hand, Times columnist Robin Abcarian gets it.

After what she describes as weeks of “major mood swings and a bizarre feeling of dislocation,” she found a simple solution.

She got together with her ten-year old niece, and went for a bike ride.

At this weird moment in history, with an invisible virus making life hell for so many, I daresay that getting outside and communing with nature, where it can be done safely in a socially distanced way, is one of the best ways to regain a sense of well-being and optimism.

I defy you to wander around the wetlands, or get up close to a colony of frisky sea lions, and not be thrilled to be alive.

………

I think we can all relate to this one.

https://twitter.com/chrisfroome/status/1253702076120563721?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

………

The Global Cycling Network builds a tall bike.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton says LA city officials are slow walking requests to open up streets for pedestrians and bike riders to provide space to exercise while social distancing, as other cities around the world have done.

Pasadena is taking a half-step towards giving people more space on the streets, posting signs warning drivers that bike riders and pedestrians could be using them in hope that might encourage them to take their foot off the gas pedal. Okay, make that just a quarter-step.

A planning website interviews Santa Monica’s former bike-friendly city manager, suggesting Rick Cole’s resignation under pressure could be a warning for other cities dealing with heavy financial loses due to Covid-19.

The Long Beach bikeshare service has shut down during the coronavirus crisis, turning their attention to private’s rentals and bike repair instead.

Ryan Phillippe is one of us, going for a ride though Brentwood with his 16-year old son.

 

State

This year’s AIDS/LifeCycle ride has been cancelled, but fundraising to fight HIV/AIDS and support HIV+ people goes on.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Bill Walton’s virtual group ride Bike for Humanity raised $100,000 from over 1,500 participants around the world.

Berkeley embraced slow streets decades ago, even without a pandemic to force their hand.

They get it. A Lodi newspaper calls bicycling an ideal way to get some exercise and get around town during the coronavirus shutdown.

 

National

Writing for the Atlantic, Traffic author Tom Vanderbilt says the pandemic has finally shown people the damage cars have done to our cities, and the road space they’ve commandeered.

A Nevada woman learns that riding a mountain bike again really is just like riding a bike.

A Lawrence, Kansas bike shop is reclaiming bikes dumped in a landfill by the city’s bikeshare provider, and giving them to people in need.

Last week we shared video of a St. Louis bike rider getting run down by a hit-and-run driver. Now it turns out that what the police described as minor injuries actually were cracked ribs, a punctured lung and a broken vertebrae.

Chicago Streetsblog calls the late Effective Cycling author John Forrester a worthy adversary.

Bicycling and walking continue to boom in Minneapolis.

Indiana University’s famed Little 500 has been cancelled, costing the women’s ROTC team their first chance to compete; the race was the inspiration for Breaking Away.

A book store in New York’s East Village is staying afloat during the lockdown by delivering books to customers by bike.

So much for supporting essential workers. A roving band of armed bandits are targeting bicycle delivery riders in Upper Manhattan, pushing them off their ebikes before riding off on them.

 

International

Seriously? A writer for Cycling News says riding with earphones is pointless and selfish during the lockdown, and any other time. In California, it’s legal to ride with one earphone in your ear, but not both; it’s also smart to keep the volume down to a level that allows you to hear people and traffic around you. But it would be nice if drivers were required to keep their volume down so they can hear, too. 

People around the world are getting on their bikes and trainers to raise funds to fight Covid-19.

I like him already. The councilman who got the most votes in the Dominican Republic’s latest election arrived for his inauguration on a bicycle, his preferred form of transportation for the past several years.

Bike repair is booming in Saskatoon as people turn to “the only activity left,” but the Saskatchewan city isn’t providing more road space for riders and walkers.

She gets it. A writer for London’s Independent newspaper says bicycling is booming during the coronavirus crisis, and we need to keep it that way.

British experts say bike riders are getting a bad rap, and someone on a bike is no more likely to spread coronavirus than someone taking a leisurely walk.

Sad news from Great Britain, where bicycling fatalities are running twice as high as normal for this time of year, despite the country’s coronavirus lockdown; 14 riders have lost their lives, along with another in Northern Ireland.

Welsh bicyclists are limited to riding within a “reasonable walking distance” of their home under the country’s lockdown rules, whatever that means. That can vary from a few blocks to several miles, depending on who’s doing the walking. And the question is whether the same rules apply to people in motor vehicles, or if they’re singling out transportation riders.

A Scottish advocacy group calls for more space on the streets for people biking and walking to maintain the gains seen during the coronavirus shutdown.

If you’re tired of sitting around waiting for the US to reopen, consider moving to the UK, which has a critical need for people capable of putting bikes together to clear up a 20,000 bike backlog.

A Dublin newspaper looks at the worst places to ride a bike in Ireland.

Bikes are making a comeback as Europe prepares to reopen and people look for an alternative to mass transit.

Milan plans to rebound from the coronavirus shutdown by permanently reallocating 22 miles of streets for biking and walking.

Covid-19 forced an Italian couple to cut short their six-year bike ride around the world, after crossing the Himalayas and Australian Outback.

A ten-year old Indian girl is supporting her family by pedaling around her Uttar Pradesh city peddling the face masks they’re making.

Sad news from Iran, where a 17-year old member of the country’s national cycling team was killed in a collision.

A bighearted former teacher is volunteering to deliver medications by bicycle to HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis patients in Eastern Uganda.

A Korean company is investing $8 million to provide up to 4,000 ebikes in Thailand, along with solar-powered charging stations.

Conde Nast Traveler talks with Kiwi TV producer Jemaine Clement, who’d rather do his traveling by bicycle.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Weekly looks back at the career of Britain’s Madam Gray, who the credit with being the godmother of women’s cycling, helping the sport become what it is today.

 

Finally…

Nothing like getting knocked off your bike — and ticketed in the ER for violating the quarantine. How to ride RAAM without actually going anywhere.

And now you, too, can own your very own steel-framed roadie used by five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain, for the low, low price of just under 60 grand.

………

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

Morning Links: 85th Percentile Law is killing bike riders and pedestrians, and the war on bikes goes on

The deadly 85th Percentile Rule has gone mainstream.

Credit the LA Times’ Laura Nelson for interrupting the paper’s move to El Segundo with a front page story explaining how and why speeds are set at the speed of the 15th fastest driver on the street — the 85th percentile of drivers.

To update driver speeds, city engineers visit a street in the late morning or early afternoon, park along a stretch of road without stop signs or traffic lights, and use an electronic device to measure the speeds of 100 drivers.

They rank the speeds from fastest to slowest and identify the 85th percentile — that is, the speed just below the 15th-fastest driver. City engineers use that “critical speed” as a basis for establishing a new speed limit, typically rounded to the nearest 5 mph.

Which means drivers can set the speeds with their right foots. Which is kind of like putting bank robbers in charge of security at Wells Fargo.

Although that might be an improvement over their recent scandals, but still.

Failing to conduct those surveys, or raise speeds as a result, means police officers are prohibited from using speed guns or other electronic devices to stop speeders.

And drivers can go as fast as traffic and LA’s over-engineered streets will allow.

The restrictions on police using electronic devices has coincided with a 77% drop in the number of speeding tickets written annually by the Los Angeles Police Department, from 99,333 in 2010 to 22,783 last year.

Traffic officers have been particularly hamstrung in the San Fernando Valley, where the majority of the city’s speeding tickets are written and more than 130 miles of streets carry speed enforcement restrictions, according to a Times analysis of city data.

“People are driving like maniacs on city streets,” said Dennis Zine, a former city councilman in the Valley who worked as a traffic officer. “It’s costing people their lives.”

Particularly the lives of bike riders and pedestrians.

There have been numerous failed attempts to reform the 85th Percentile Law, each dying in the legislature over fears that speeding drivers will have to slow down or get the tickets they deserve.

Which is kind of the point.

Maybe this story will finally motivate homeowners to join with bicycle and pedestrian advocate, to demand that state legislators change the law that imposes highway speeds on city streets.

And leaves far too many bodies in its wake.

Thanks to David Drexler for the heads-up.

………

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

An Australian bike rider suffered a broken collarbone and fractured ribs when he was clotheslined by a garden hose stretched across a roadway.

A rider in South Africa blacked out — and was nearly decapitated — when he struck a fencing wire that had been strung across a bike trail at neck height; fortunately, the wire snapped, preventing serious injury.

Someone vandalized a pair of cyclist resting posts in Vernon, British Columbia, which position riders in the right spot to be recognized by traffic signals, and allow the rider to rest at the light without unclipping. Note: I originally wrote this as Vernon, California; thanks to Joe Linton for the correction.

And police in New York are continuing their decidedly non-bike friendly ways by ticketing bicyclists riding in a new privately developed park where planners somehow left out bike lanes on the wide, one way street.

………

If you were planning to ride Topanga Canyon next weekend, you might want to start making other plans.

https://twitter.com/CaltransDist7/status/1020389661045227520

………

Local

The newly affordable Metro Bike bikeshare is expanding onto the Westside towards the end of this year, and wants your input on where to put docking stations.

Los Angeles is installing intelligent traffic signal controllers throughout the city, in part to allow the installation of bike traffic signals.

Bike Talk talks with bike shop owner and advocate Carlos Morales.

The Hollywood Reporter says a backlash is brewing against e-scooters, which are being blamed for crashes and near-crashes with bicyclists and pedestrians.

A Michigan man who attempted to ride all of Route 66 in honor of his late son arrived in Santa Monica last week, raising $10,000 for pediatric cancer research.

 

State

Bike SD expresses concern that a bikeway is being held hostage by a neighborhood planning group.

A writer takes an epic carfree ride down Highway 1 where it was closed down by a Big Sur mud slide; the highway was just reopened to cars last week.

Now that’s more like it. A road in the Presidio will be closed to cars to improve safety for San Francisco cyclists and pedestrians.

A California appeals court has denied a plea from Marin cyclist Jeff Smock to overturn his road rage conviction for beating a truck driver senseless after the driver allegedly clipped him with the truck’s side mirror. He appealed despite receiving a slap on the wrist for the conviction.

Marin County vows to appeal a judge’s ruling blocking mountain bikes from using a single track trail that had recently been widened to make room for people on bikes, as well as on foot and horseback.

 

National

Bike Snob says kissing bike lanes is the new equivalent of politicians kissing babies, as support grows for bicycling. Except in Los Angeles, where elected leaders quake in fear of angry four-wheeled voters.

Bicycling rates the year’s fastest, funnest and most exciting ebikes. And more clickbait from the magazine, as they list their picks for the 30 greatest bike moments in pop culture.

Bicycle Times offers tips on how to smuggle documents like cycling legend Gino Bartali.

Mobility Lab shares a nice piece from 

Travel site Lonely Planet says you don’t have to drive to get your kicks on Route 66 anymore.

A self-described Spandex Mafia shows up in defense of an Oregon protected bike lane, after a city councilmember uses the term to disparage people on bikes.

Las Vegas bike riders get their own carfree open streets event when they’re allowed on a 25-mile segment of new freeway before its opened to cars next month.

Salt Lake City bicyclists ride to remember a 23-year old man who was killed in a collision with a train on a late night group ride; the crossing gates reportedly went up after train passed in one direction, then quickly came back down when a second train approached from the other, catching his bike on the tracks.

Horrible news from Houston, where a renowned cardiologist was shot and killed as he was riding his bicycle by a bicyclist who passed him, then turned around and fired; he had treated former President George H.W. Bush for a heart condition several years ago. No word on a suspect or what may have prompted the shooting. Thanks to Ed Ryder for the link.

Dallas bike riders say more has to be done to protect bicyclists, following the hit-and-run death of a rider who reportedly did everything right.

A new book describes the history of bicycling in the Windy City.

The World Naked Bike Ride strips down and rolls through St. Louis. But how can you tell when a bike-riding Wookie is naked?

St. Louis is renovating a velodrome popularly known as Mr. Bumpy Face because of the rough track.

The Indiana Business Journal gets it right, as an urban designer and university professor says the streets belong to all of us, even e-scooter users.

A South Carolina doctor decries the lack of support for healthy activities in the area after drivers succeeded in demanding the removal of a new lane reduction and bike lanes before the project was even finished.

 

International

Bike Radar offers advice on how to climb hills faster.

If you’re over 50, running or bicycling to work can cut your risk of a heart attack as much as a third.

Road.cc lists the UK’s best smartphone apps for bicycling, some of which should be available in the US.

A new 85-mile Calgary bike path connects 55 communities with over 400,000 people. And links to a 621-mile bike path network, the longest bike path network in the world.

Tragic news from Calgary, where a 75-year old man was killed in a collision with a bike rider as he was walking in a marked crosswalk; the rider allegedly ran the red light, but remained on the scene after the crash.

The local newspaper says someone is going to get killed on a bikeway bypass around a temporarily closed footbridge in Ottawa, Canada; a safer plan was nixed when people signed a petition preferring parking over preventing injuries to people on bikes.

The Department of DIY has struck once again, as Ottawa bicyclists build their own pop-up protected bike lanes using orange and black highway cones.

Louis Garneau — yes, that Louis Garneau — was seriously injured when he touched wheels with another rider on a Montreal group ride; the founder of the popular bikewear line suffered a concussion and punctured lung, but credited his helmet with saving his life.

No bias here. A Toronto newspaper portrays a conflict between people on bikes and residents of a hill country community as cyclists versus blue collar locals. Never mind that some of the riders live in the community, and many bike riders are decidedly blue collar.

The former bike-riding parking cop who gained fame on Twitter for ticketing bike lane blockers is now running for the Toronto city council.

A British man who was left paralyzed when he was struck by a distracted driver while riding his bike is demanding that phone makers automatically lock devices when a car is in motion.

Teenagers under 18 can now legally ride on sidewalks in Australia’s New South Wales state.

 

Competitive Cycling

Rouler looks at the classic Tour de France illustrations of Roger Blachon.

American cyclist Lawson Craddock explains how he’s surviving the Tour de France with a broken shoulder blade, completing all 15 stages so far after falling in the first stage. His suffering has raised nearly $130,000 for a Houston velodrome.

Dan Martin says when you’re bored, attack. On the other hand, punching another rider is apparently frowned on, as Team Sky’s Gianni Moscon learned the hard way.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Tour de France fans continue to get on Chris Froome, even though he was officially cleared of doping charges recently. However, the fans are reportedly getting out of control.

An Ontario writer recounts Canada’s contribution to the Tour de France.

Twenty-three-year old Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel has become the first rider to win national championships in cyclocross, road cycling and cross-country mountain biking.

A Spanish Continental rider offers the latest proof that the era of doping is not over.

 

Finally…

Your ebike could be rolling on automotive hand-me-downs. Spit your mouthwash out before riding into Peridot.

And you won’t want to miss the world’s cutest bike race, even though one of the competitors evidently did.

Weekend Links: The CHP gets it wrong again, the LA Times gets it right, and North Fig safety dogs Cedillo

We’re still at 19 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive after yesterday’s unplanned absence.

So let’s get two more people to sign up or renew your membership now to make it 21 new members by the 21st.

Your fellow bike riders are depending on you to add your support to the LA area’s leading voice for bicyclists, and help make this a more bikeable, livable and equitable city.

Never mind the great LACBC gear you’ll get just for signing up.

………

Happy Bike to Shop Day.

………

Once again, the CHP gets it wrong.

Despite what a CHP officer told the OC Register’s traffic columnist, there is no law in California requiring cyclists to ride single file, on narrow roads or anywhere else.

Even though the department has been known to misapply CVC 21202, which requires bicyclists to ride as far to the right as practicable.

However, subsection 3 of the ride to right law exempts substandard lanes from that requirement, explicitly stating that the law does not apply on any lane that is too narrow for a bicycle to safely share with a motor vehicle. In most cases, that means any lane less than 14 feet wide, since bike riders are allowed to ride a safe distance from the curb, and drivers are required to give at least a three-foot passing distance.

That means, despite the officer’s assertions, that there is no legal justification for ticketing cyclists who ride abreast in a narrow lane, and no requirement under California law that they ride single file in the scene shown in the photo accompanying the column, where the lane is clearly too narrow for a cyclist to safely share with most cars, let alone a truck or SUV.

Yes, it is courteous to allow drivers to pass when safe to do so.

However, it is often safer for bicyclists to ride side-by-side on narrow roadways — not so they can chat, but to increase visibility and prevent unsafe passing.

As for whether it’s legal to cross a solid yellow line to pass a cyclist, that is allowed in most states with a three-foot or wider passing law. Unfortunately, Governor Brown vetoed an earlier version of California’s three-foot passing law that would have allowed drivers to briefly cross the center line to pass a cyclist, but only when safe to do so.

It’s not the officer’s fault he doesn’t know the law in this case.

The CHP has long failed to adequately train their officers in bike law, forcing officers to rely on cheat sheets that don’t list the many exceptions to CVC 21202, or go into detail on any of the other laws governing the rights and responsibilities of bike riders.

But providing false information like that only puts bike riders at needless risk, and encourages driveway vigilantes to take out their frustrations on bicyclists who are riding safely and within their rights.

Let alone subjecting them to tickets that aren’t legally justified, but are often too difficult to fight.

………

Great opinion piece from Paul Thornton the LA Times, who says if LA really wants to encourage more bicycling, the city needs to fix the roads so they’re safe to ride.

He also calls out former councilmember Tom LaBonge and current member Paul Koretz for dangerous decisions that defeat the purpose of the city’s Mobility Plan.

………

The Eastsider examines the North Figueroa safety issues dogging CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo, as he claims to be working to improve safety, despite unilaterally cancelling a road diet designed to do exactly that.

And they talk with Flying Pigeon LA bike shop owner Josef Bray-Ali, who has thrown his hat into the race to challenge Cedillo in next year’s city elections.

………

Germany’s Andre Greipel wins his third sprint of the Giro d’Italia, then promptly quits the race. Andrey Amador takes the leader’s jersey from Bob Jungels after the 13th stage, becoming the first Costa Rican to lead a Grand Tour.

Cycling Weekly examines five talking points about the Giro as the race reaches the legendary Dolomites this weekend.

This has been one of the most democratic Amgen Tour of California’s in memory, as the race had yet another stage winner in Latvian pro Toms Skujins. Aussie Rohan Dennis won Friday’s time trial to leap into second place, 16 seconds behind leader Julian Alaphillppe.

Meanwhile, American Megan Guarnier won the first stage of the women’s tour in a last minute breakaway.

The AToC heads to Santa Rosa today, on the same day the city hosts their 122nd Rose Parade. Which is different from Pasadena’s Rose Parade.

………

Local

CiclaValley reacts to Thursday’s bicycling fatality in Panorama City, which occurred just hours after he returned from Wednesday’s Ride of Silence.

LA’s Fox-11 concludes it is in fact possible to go carfree in SoCal.

The newly opened Expo Line extension adds 130 bike racks and lockers at seven new stations.

The LAPD has put out a BOLO Alert for a bike thief in the Central LA area.

South LA Councilmember Joe Buscaino rode an ebike 25 miles to work at City Hall in observance of Bike to Work Day.

KPCC is the latest media site to talk with the Eastside’s Ovarian Cycles Bicycle Brigade, who host their monthly women-identified Luna Ride tonight.

A writer for the Daily Bruin tweets that the board of directors for Westwood Village has voted to spend $44,000 for two bikeshare hubs in the village this fall. Unfortunately, the lack of bike lanes means there won’t be any safe places to ride them.

The Santa Monica Spoke invites you on a multi-modal Expo Line ride on Sunday.

The LACBC talks with Antelope Valley cyclist and soap maker Sharon Murdock.

 

State

It takes a world champion schmuck to steal an adult tricycle from a 67-year old Anaheim woman with multiple sclerosis.

A Huntington Beach man gets seven years for beating a police officer who stopped him for an alcohol violation while riding his bike; the officer’s daughter was doing a ride along and witnessed the assault. Not that the sentence isn’t warranted, but why is it that motorists seldom get a fraction of that for actually killing a cyclist or a pedestrian?

Potential San Diego bike commuters want more than just bike lanes to get them to ride, like showers and more considerate drivers. They have a much better chance of getting the showers.

A Fresno cyclist says don’t count on laws to protect you from distracted drivers.

In a seriously disgusting assault, a white Rancho Murieta driver ran a black bike rider off the road before getting out and punching him, after telling the victim to “go back to the hood.”

 

National

Members of the bicycle industry finally bind together to promote bicycling in the US. Something should have been done decades ago — and with a much higher budget.

HuffPo says we’ve been brainwashed into calling crashes accidents.

Caught on video: A Seattle truck driver jumps the curb in an apparent attempt to run down a bike rider; the action starts after the 1:50 mark. Note to cyclists: when you’re posting video of drivers behaving badly, feel free to delete the extraneous footage leading up to it.

A Salt Lake cyclist says he’ll be happy to pay for his fair share of the roads, as long as drivers pay theirs.

Agenda 21 is just so passé; evidently the new global bad guys are AARP and the World Health Organization, forcing age-friendly complete streets down the throats of those fine, upstanding Vermonters.

Apparently, traffic violations that put bike riders at risk don’t violate the rules of New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission.

A DC bike commuter lists his pet peeves about riding to work, from cars that don’t signal to the traditional catcall to get on the sidewalk.

A bicycling Florida non-profit is redefining sharecropping, riding en masse to work organic gardens on land borrowed from homeowners; the model has already spread to Oakland and Uganda.

 

International

Brazil’s bike-riding president is running out of options to fight her ouster by impeachment.

A Toronto bike lane carries nearly as much bicycle traffic as the roadway next to it does cars.

Nothing like just now returning one of London’s Boris Bikes late after it was rented on New Years Day — in 2015.

London’s Telegraph asks if an increase in heavy truck traffic in the UK is responsible for an unexpected decrease in bike ridership. Not bloody likely, to use the vernacular.

More spending on bicycling would show Britain is serious about increasing ridership.

Two Afghan cyclists on a round the world journey stop in New York to tell UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon their country is tired of war and violence, before setting out across the US for Los Angeles.

An Aussie writer asks motorists to remember the driver who killed his 75-year old bike-riding uncle, showing rare understanding and sympathy for the inevitable impact it had on the man responsible.

 

Finally…

Forget self-driving cars; the next thing is Google’s interactive Levi bike jacket. Nothing like putting a billboard in the middle of a bike lane.

And the next time you’re in San Diego, a bronzed Bill Walton and his bike will be waiting to greet you on the shores of Mission Bay.

 

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