Tag Archive for living carfree

LA Council considers Healthy Streets tomorrow, carfree living in LA ain’t so pretty, and Venice bike lane extension

As we mentioned yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council is scheduled to consider the Healthy Streets LA ballot proposition at Wednesday’s meeting.

After the proposition qualified for the ballot, it opened a 20 day window for the council to adopt it as written, or place it on the 2024 ballot for a vote by the city.

Aside from the usual opposition that comes with any proposed changes to LA streets, some advocates have come out against the measure because it doesn’t include a focus on equity or schedule for how the plan will be rolled out.

But that’s not the purpose of the proposal. It’s really a very simple measure — all it does is require Los Angeles to build out the city mobility plan, which they’ve already approved, whenever a street included in the plan is resurfaced.

That’s it.

It’s up to the city to determine when streets get resurfaced, and how to bring equity into the process.

So the best option is for the council to adopt the Healthy Streets LA proposition as written, then adopt a separate plan to fairly and equitably roll it out, especially in lower income communities that are too often ignored.

Unfortunately, I probably won’t be able to make it. I’m still having major health problems that keep me close to home, especially at night in the mornings until my meds kick in.

But I’m begging you, if you can clear your schedule Wednesday morning, go make your voice heard to demand that the city keep its word, and give us the safe, livable streets they promised.

And if you can’t, then email your council member today, before the day is over. That’s what I’ll be doing.

Here is what Streets For All said about it in a recent email.

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS WEDNESDAY AND WE NEED YOU TO COME IN PERSON!

After a year and a half, it all comes down to THIS WEDNESDAY. The City Council has item #20 on its agenda to consider adopting Healthy Streets LA now, or send it to the 2024 ballot.

The City Council no longer takes remote comments, and we need you to show up in person Wednesday at 10am at LA City Hall (200 N. Spring St. Room 340) and make public comment asking them to take Option #1, and adopt Healthy Streets LA. Here are some talking points you can use. We suggest timing yourself to make sure you can say everything you want to say in 1 minute.

We’re almost there, and we need all hands on deck. See you there!

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

RSVP AND TELL US YOU’LL BE THERE

VIEW TALKING POINTS

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It’s not always pleasant to see yourself through someone else’s eyes.

Especially the view isn’t always pretty.

An Indian writer working with the LA Times on a journalism fellowship discovers just how difficult it is to survive in Los Angeles without a car, where the taxis are expensive and transit unreliable, and bike lanes start and stop with no coherent reason.

And you can’t even go through a Del Taco drive through without one, even when the walkup window is closed.

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This is the cost of traffic violence.

A Florida driver killed five people in their late teens and early twenties when he drove the wrong way on a freeway at 4:30 am.

The 30-year old driver, who was the only one who survived the crash, hasn’t had a valid driver’s license since his was revoked after getting caught doing 109 mph.

Yet he continued to drive anyway, racking up traffic violations that include speeding, running red lights and failing to yield at an intersection, despite being described by a former girlfriend as psychotic and obsessive.

Just one more example of authorities allowing a dangerous driver to stay on the roads until he killed someone.

Or five someones.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up. 

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Streetsblog says work is underway to extend the parking protected bike lane on Venice Blvd.

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Buena Park has started work on what will be the longest bike lanes in the city when they’re finished.

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I’m not sure I’d call this a rickshaw. It seems more like a side-by-side tandem to me.

Although I did have to read the tweet to figure out that wasn’t Peter Pan sitting next to Peter Fonda.

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A YouTuber converted his old mountain bike to an ebike, in order to tow his solar-powered camper trailer complete with rechargeable battery.

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

A road raging pickup driver disrupted a Portland open streets event by driving onto the route, screaming obscenities at volunteers and participants, and even flashing a gun at one point. Police say they are investigating.

Once again, cops bend over backwards to exonerate one of their own, after a Lincoln, Nebraska cop right hooked a 15-year old kid crossing the street on his bike with the walk signal; the police insist the kid somehow crashed into the side of the police cruiser as the officer was turning. Something smells like bullshit here, which isn’t hard to find in Nebraska.

British lawyer “Mr. Loophole” wants bike riders who kill pedestrians to face life imprisonment, even though drivers usually get off with a slap on the wrist, if that. And even though it hardly ever happens, while drivers kill people every day.

Cycling Weekly has more information about the Spanish driver who plowed into a group of eight bicyclists, killing a couple of 67 and 72-year old men and seriously injuring three others; the driver was captured ten hours after fleeing the crash. He’s under investigation for murder, after witnesses say he suddenly changed lanes and sped up before hitting the bike riders.

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

A Phoenix man faces charges for shooting and killing another man in a dispute over a stolen bicycle; he confessed to the killing when police arrested him, but swore he actually stole the bike from someone else.

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Local

This is who we share the road with. The LA Times takes a deep dive into deadly street takeovers and side shows, which authorities describe as a scene of lawlessness “bordering on a riot;” six people have already been killed in street takeovers this year.

The WeHo Times provides photos from Sunday’s Meet the Hollywoods CicLAvia, while My News LA offers a brief wrap-up.

The sheriff’s department will conduct a traffic safety operation in Santa Clarita from 2 pm to 8 pm today, focusing on violations that put bike riders and pedestrians at risk, regardless of who commits them. You know the drill. Ride to the letter of the law until you leave the area, so you’re not the one who gets ticketed.

 

State 

California is still trying to get its shit together regarding the fully funded ebike rebate program that was supposed to be up and running by now; the California Air Resources team will hold a virtual public workshop tomorrow to discuss issues like participant income eligibility, what types of ebikes should be covered by the program, and what kinds of retailers should participate.

San Diego’s popular Bike the Bay rolls this Sunday, providing your annual opportunity to ride the city’s iconic Coronado Bridge. Thanks to Robert Leone for the heads-up.

KTLA-5 offers an update on the 14-year old boy who was run down by a 68-year old driver while riding bikes with a friend in the parking lot of the Camarillo Premium Outlets; his mother reports he suffered an extensive brain injury, as well as a collapsed lung, cracked sternum, fractured vertebrae and serious road rash. A crowdfunding campaign has raised over $20,000 of the $50,000 goal.

Thanks again to Robert Leone for catching us up on a couple stories we missed recently:

Richmond is planning to revive its moribund e-bikeshare system a month after Bolt bolted, and left hundreds of abandoned ebikes on the streets.

 

National

Runner’s World recommends the best bike helmets for “comfortable, breezy protection.”

Highway-choked Houston is slowly inching away from its auto-centric reputation with a series of multimodal infrastructure projects. Maybe they could show LA officials how to do it.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a “priceless” bike that belonged to a Minnesota man who recently died of a brain tumor; before his death he passed the bike onto his son because he wanted the boy to enjoy riding like he did.

This, too, is the cost of traffic violence. Pioneering heart researcher Jeffrey Robbins, PhD was killed when a teenage driver attempted to pass him as he was making a left turn on his bike to enter an Ohio bike trail. But it’s okay, because the cops say it was just an “oopsie.”

Unbelievable. Indianapolis has removed concrete bollards along a protected bike lane, and replaced them with flimsy car-tickler plastic bendy posts, because it was just to hard to maintain the concrete barriers after drivers hit them. So better to let drivers crash into the soft people on bicycles instead, apparently.

Ebikes are getting more Maine residents out of their cars, and could help the state meet its climate goals. Which is a pretty good indication that their climate goals aren’t ambitious enough.

Boston residents are working together to cope with a month-long shutdown of a pair of commuter rail lines, including mapping bike routes and organizing bike buses for beginning riders.

DC installed a new traffic signal to address years of complaints about a dangerous intersection, nine days too late to save the life of a woman riding a bike who was right hooked by a garbage truck driver.

This is the cost of traffic violence, too. An 11-year old Florida boy was killed when a pickup driver towing a boat swerved up on the sidewalk to avoid a crash, where the boy was riding his bike.

Sad commentary from a Florida website, which says ghost bikes are becoming all-too-familiar roadside memorials on Miami’s Rickebacker Causeway.

 

International

Yes, cars really are out to get us, one way or another. Vancouver bike riders are demanding a safe route after a bike path was closed when the roof of a parking lot collapsed, blocking the bikeway.

Calgary residents complain about new bike lanes intended to slow speeding drivers, as some worry they won’t be safe because…wait for it…scofflaw drivers will break the law.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a hit-and-run driver walked without a single day behind bars for leaving a bike rider with a broken pelvis.

A British bike rider completed the grueling, 2,500-mile Transcontinental race across Europe riding a Brompton foldie.

That’s more like it. France will pay you up to the equivalent of nearly four grand to swap your smelly, polluting car for a clean running ebike, or $400 to buy an ebike without a car trade, and Paris will give up up to $500 to buy an ebike or foldie.

This is who we share the road with. A 20-year old American service member is under house arrest inside the Aviano Air Base in northern Italy after killing a 15-year old boy while driving at four times the legal alcohol limit.

Cycling Tips considers why Australian roads became proportionately more dangerous during the pandemic.

 

Competitive Cycling

The real Vuelta starts today, when the peloton returns to Spain with a harrowing uphill finish.

Semi-retired LA pro cyclist Phil Gaimon now owns the course record for Maine’s prestigious Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, while notching his fourth win in the event; San Jose’s Courtney Nelson also set a course record while winning the women’s event.

 

Finally…

Once again, if you’re carrying meth on your bike, put a damn light on it, already. Congratulations, your kid is now some Tesla driver’s crash test dummy.

And this is how you avoid close passes.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Contact LA city council to support Healthy Streets LA, and CA bill would give up to $5,000 tax credit for carfree households

Streets For All is asking everyone to support the Healthy Streets LA ballot proposal now that it’s before the Los Angeles City Council.

The council has 20 days to decide whether to adopt the proposal as written or place it on the ballot for the 2024 election.

Or they could adopt their own ordinance, which could include similar language to the Healthy Streets LA ballot proposal, but could be change at any time, for any reason, unlike the the ballot measure which would require a vote of the people to modify or repeal.

Your support matters, especially since some advocates have come out against it.

WE NEED YOU:
Tell City Council to adopt Healthy Streets LA!

Last month, we turned in more than 100,000 signatures from residents in every single council district in Los Angeles — the people demanded safer streets, protected bike lanes, and dedicated bus lanes. Yesterday, the City Clerk certified our petition.

Now, it goes to City Council. The City Council has 20 days to decide to adopt our measure as an ordinance, or send it to the ballot to let the voters decide. We already know what voters want. That’s why we need your help to get the city council to adopt us as an ordinance within the next two weeks.

MAKE PUBLIC COMMENT ON THE COUNCIL FILE

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Good news for carfree households.

Let’s hope this one passes.

It could do as much as anything to help get people out of their cars.

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This is who we share the road with.

A New Hampshire truck driver plowed head-on into a group of motorcyclists, killing seven people; a jury let him walk without a day behind bars, though he may be deported to his native Ukraine. Just in case you wondered why people keep dying on our streets. And my apologies to whoever sent this to me; I’m afraid I lost track of it over the weekend.

A Pennsylvania man faces charges after plowing through a crowd gathered to raise funds for victims of a deadly house fire, killing one person and injuring 17, including four critically; he then ran down his own mother with his car and beat her to death with a hammer.

A driver plowed into an Arlington, Virginia pub, injuring 15 people, two critically; people inside described the crash as being like a bomb going off.

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Too many Angelenos learn about our deadly streets the hard way.

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Evidently, Portland drivers can figure out what San Diego drivers couldn’t.

Or didn’t want to.

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Not Just Bikes considers the bakfiets as a car. replacement.

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French illustrator Jean-Jacques Sempé created over one hundred covers for The New Yorker, including many bicycling themed illustrations.

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If anyone has me on their Secret Santa list, I’ll gladly settle for a copy of this painting.

Or the original, even.

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

This is what a punishment pass looks like.

No bias here. A Louisville KY TV station reports, apparently seriously, that a salmon cyclist crashed her bike into the front of a police patrol car, rather than the cops hitting her with their car. That’s like saying “Please accept my apologies for hitting your fist with my nose.”

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

Police in Fort Worth, Texas are looking for a bike-riding man who rode out of the darkness to slash a man’s arm with a machete.

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Local

Los Angeles Times readers address the recent article about the Healthy Streets LA initiative qualifying for the ballot with surprisingly less vitriol than expected, though one insisted on trotting out the old “this is not Amsterdam” bromide, combined with the myth that its too hot to ride to work in a suit here. Especially since so many Angelenos have ditched their suits post pandemic.

The Times editorial department says you’ll soon have the chance to vote for safer streets.

Treehugger says the high-speed Windsor Hills crash that killed six victims, including a pregnant mother just two weeks from full term, has reignited debate about installing speed limiters in cars.

 

State 

California governor Gaven Newsom has named former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to serve as the state’s first Infrastructure Advisor to identify priority projects and maximize access to federal dollars.

A memorial crowdfunding campaign has raised over $110,000 for the family of Christine Hawk Embree, the 35-year old Carlsbad mother killed by a driver while riding an ebike with her 16-month old daughter; at last check, the fund stood at more than $119,000.

Eight San Diego men set a new team record for riding across the US in five days, two hours and 47 minutes.

Police in Contra Costa County arrested a hit-and-run driver who allegedly killed a 57-year old bike rider, before crashing head-on into another car minutes later.

A new 600-mile hiking and mountain biking trail could help revive dying towns in the Sierras.

 

National

Bike shops couldn’t keep up during the pandemic bike boom, and ended up ordering bikes that weren’t delivered until the after the boom crested; now they’re overflowing with bikes they can’t sell. For some reason, this story wasn’t blocked by the Wall Street Journal’s paywall, though your results may vary. 

Tech Radar offers a ten point checklist on how to safely secure your bike. And adds advice to never buy cheap secondhand bikes from shady sellers.

A Flagstaff, Arizona woman rode her mountain bike 2,700 miles on off-road trails in 51 days — despite being blind.

There is no lower form of human scum than someone who could leave a bike-riding 6-year old Las Vegas boy to die in the street.

That’s more like it. A Beaumont, Texas driver got 12 and a half years behind bars for the hit-and-run death of a bike rider; his sentence was extended as a repeat offender.

A Wisconsin family brings 17 extra bikes with them to ensure every child can take part in the Green Bay Packer’s tradition of riding borrowed kids bikes to practice.

Christian singer Amy Grant has postponed more concert dates in September and October, as she continues to recover at her Nashville home from being knocked cold falling off her bike.

No, New York City will not be banning cars anytime in the foreseeable future.

The gunman who killed a security guard on the set of Law & Order: Organized Crime in Brooklyn last month apparently stalked the victim using a bicycle.

Someone tossed a heavy bikeshare bike onto the tracks in front of a New York subway train, with predictable results.

This is the cost of traffic violence. Friends remember a Virginia woman who was killed by a teenaged drunk driver while riding with a friend at 7:30 am; the other woman remains hospitalized in critical condition.

President Biden took another bike ride with his family while on vacation in South Carolina. And didn’t fall off this time.

A Miami man carries his 75-pound, sunglass-wearing golden doodle on his back as he rides around his neighborhood.

Kindhearted Florida duputies bought a 13-year old boy “the monster of all bikes” after learning he was depressed over the theft of his bike and the death of his father.

 

International

Road.cc reviews the new book Two Wheels Good – The History and Mystery of the Bicycle, giving it four out of five stars. The website also lists a half-dozen bike upgrades you don’t really need, from high-end gruppos to disc brakes and tubeless tires.

Kindhearted Ottawa, Canada cops dug into their own pockets to buy a new bike for a young kid after the one he received in a charity giveaway was stolen.

Someone may have stolen $3,300 from a bike rider in Trinidad after he was killed in a collision.

A British luxury lifestyle magazine recommends the best places for a biking vacation this fall. And no, nowhere in the US made the cut.

They get it. Officials in Camden, England say new bike lanes will benefit both bike riders and local businesses.

A 34-year old Edinburgh man with terminal motor neurone disease completed a mountainous, 20 hour, 265-mile fundraising ride; in the four years since his diagnosis, he’s raised the equivalent of $181,000 to fight the disease, with another $60,000 pledged for this ride.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a truck driver got just seven months behind bars for killing a 71-year old man riding a bicycle; he played the universal Get Out Of Jail Free card, saying he just didn’t see the victim.

Would you like fries with that? A new documentary tells the story of a Yugoslavian man who ate an entire bicycle in three days. No, really. 

Over 100 bicyclists turned out to mark Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, aka the 75th anniversary of Indian independence.

Nice story from Gabon, where a teacher got tired of watching her students walk for miles to get to school, so she started a company making bamboo bicycles; she already has over 5,000 orders.

You’ve got to be kidding. The new Hermes bicycle sold out in mainland China, despite a price tag over $24,000. Demonstrating that a number of wealthy Chinese have more yuan than sense.

 

Competitive Cycling

Seventy-one-year old Rick Taggart qualified for the US Nationals for his age bracket, despite a high-speed crash in the final mile of a 76-mile race that left him with a broken collarbone; he somehow managed to finish the race anyway.

Pez Cycling News takes a look at seven of the world’s “most challenging, weirdest bike races.”

 

Finally…

That feeling when your bike breaks during a 1,000-mile audax, so you ride into the nearest town, buy a new frame and build up a new one to finish the ride. We may have to deal with LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about getting kicked in the head by a deer doing a high jump. 

And evidently, Napoleon was one of us, too.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

NHTSA considers limiting speeds on new cars, California considers $2,500 tax credit for non-car owners, and Ford finally gets it

It’s Election Day in California. 

If you live in the state, get out and bike the vote if you haven’t already. 

Seriously, what are you waiting for?

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels.

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Yes, please.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aka NHTSA, asked if Americans would accept GPS-based speed limiters that would prevent drivers of new cars from exceeding the speed limit, except in an emergency.

A modern take on mechanical speed governors, the electronic system, which is taking effect in the European Union this year, would slowly reduce deaths and injuries due to speeding as older cars are phased out.

It would also eliminate a leading cause of police traffic stops, reducing racial profiling while improving safety for both police and the vehicle occupants, especially people of color.

Although it’s questionable how well it would be received here in the US, where too many drivers consider speeding their God-given right. And it would drive an inevitable black market industry to disable them.

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Great idea.

Streets For All is working with State Senator Anthony Portantino to sponsor SB 457, which would provide a $2,500 tax rebate for any adults that who don’t own a car.

The goal is to reward people making the socially conscious choice not to drive, while providing a financial incentive for people to go carfree.

Especially in light of a new study shows that the lifetime cost of owning an average small car comes to $689,000, of which society pays $275,000, while owning a Mercedes SUV carries a lifetime burden of over a million dollars.

Which is about as good an argument as you can make for passing a rebate to give up your car for good.

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On further reflection, even Ford gets that their ad was despicable.

Or at least, when social media is against them.

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

No bias here. A writer for City Watch blames road diets for the failure of Vision Zero in Los Angeles, as well as increasing traffic congestion and rising road rage, and all the other ills on our streets. Maybe someone should remind her that most road diets planned for Los Angeles never happened, after cowardly councilmembers cancelled them. 

An 18-year old Georgia woman faces an attempted murder charge after intentionally running down a woman she knew as the victim was riding her bicycle.

Also in Georgia, a man faces charges for intentionally running down a 15-year old boy on a bike with his ATV, after the boy tossed a banana peel on the side of the road next to the man’s property.

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

A Singapore delivery rider was sentenced to three days in jail for crashing his speeding ebike into a 71-year old man, breaking his wrist.

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Local

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee will hold its monthly virtual meeting starting at 6:30 this evening.

The one-woman play California Coast Classic currently being staged in North Hollywood comedically retells the author’s experience with the annual ride from San Fransisco to Malibu to benefit the Arthritis Foundation.

 

State 

About damn time. Caltrans has received $35 million in funding from the California Transportation Commission to upgrade traffic lights and install Class II painted bike lanes along a 20 mile stretch of PCH in Orange County.

San Francisco is planning a half million dollar pilot program to give free ebikes to 35 delivery drivers to get them out of their cars and cut their carbon footprint.

Maybe he really is lucky. The San Francisco Warriors fan hosted the nine-year old fan whose lucky lowrider bike was stolen for game two of the NBA championship. And won the game.

Yosemite’s bikeshare system gives you up to two hours to visit park attractions by bike, for free.

 

National

People for Bikes suggests three keys to rapidly building out extensive bike networks fast, from getting everyone to the table, to not waiting for policy to catch up.

Condé Nast Traveler talks with the plus-sized founders of All Bodies on Bikes, which works to make cycling more size-inclusive, and eliminate anti-fat bias in society as a whole.

Austin, Texas has invested $23.3 million in new bike infrastructure since 2016, but still has a long way to go to make the city safe enough to encourage people to use bicycles as their primary form of transportation.

Chicago will give away 5,000 bicycles to city resident this year, along with helmets, locks and beginner’s bicycling classes.

Yesterday we mentioned an Indianapolis hit-and-run victim who told police the license number of the car that hit her before she died; now it turns out she was intentionally run down by her ex-boyfriend as she rode her bike, who had been stalking her and their daughter.

Bicyclists in Maine could soon see a $160 million offroad bike trail connecting all of the states 25 largest cities. “Largest” being a relative term, with Brewer checking in at the 25th spot with just 9026 residents.

The jealous girlfriend who allegedly killed gravel cycling star Moriah “Mo” Wilson was reportedly last seen at the Newark, New Jersey airport three weeks ago, the day after Austin, Texas authorities issued a warrant for her arrest.

DC’s 150 miles of bike lanes still leaves significant gaps in the network, leaving riders on their own to confront “eight lanes of death.”

 

International

Milan, Italy announced plans to build 466 miles of protected bike lanes to create one of Europe’s largest and most comprehensive bike networks, with a concentric spoke and hub system connecting every part of the city.

A Ghanian website looks at the the very cool, but very strange wooden bicycles made by a local artist.

Australia’s new prime minister is one of us, taking a diplomatic ride on bamboo bikes with the Indonesian president on a state visit to West Java.

 

Competitive Cycling

French pro Clara Copponi survived a mass crash less than a thousand feet before the finish to win the first stage of the women’s Tour of Britain; the race was delayed over an hour after a driver crashed into a motorcycle cop leading the race.

No bias here. British tabloids went on the attack after a pair of trans women won a gender inclusive fixed-gear crit, with a young mother finishing third; the race was open to “trans men and women whose physical performance aligns most closely with cis-women.”

Scary moment in the Vuelta a Colombia, when stage three winner Luis Carlos Chia crashed into his own wife, who was taking photos of the race, seconds after crossing the finish line.

Bicycling profiles transgender women’s cyclist Molly Cameron, who has faced that same bias herself. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

America’s last remaining Tour de France winner announced he’s suffering from Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, a slow-progressing and treatable form of blood cancer; Greg LeMond says he hopes to be in remission in a few months.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could have built-in Bluetooth and a wireless 4G connection. Do your pedaling on the road, not under your desk.

And that feeling when your bike gets charged by a zebra.

No, right here in California.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

It’s Bike to Work Day, LA Times talks with seven bike-riding Angelenos, and how the press blames crash victims

Happy Bike to Work Day.

But just between us, feel free to bike anywhere.

I won’t tell.

While it’s not the bicycling equivalent of Trick or Treat that it used to be, Spectrum News 1 reports several LACBC chapters will be operating pit stops, including in West Hollywood, Culver City and Santa Monica.

Metro is hosting a Bike to Work Day celebration at Union Station until noon today.

Bike to Work Day Celebration

  • May 19 @ 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Union Station, 800 N Alameda St
  • Los Angeles, CA 90012 United States

Ride Metro Bike Share to work on Bike to Work Day! Stop by our booth in Union Station West for free coffee, pastries, and passes for FREE 30-minute rides.

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition is teaming with Pasadena nonprofit Day One for a Bike to Work Day stop at City Hall.

That will be followed by a Handlebar Happy Hour this evening.

It’s a good day for a multimodal commute, with free transit for bike riders throughout the LA area.

Saturday’s daylight Ride of Silence has been moved from the Rose Bowl to Memorial Park in Old Pasadena.

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Nice piece from the LA Times, which talks with a broad cross-section Angelenos who love riding their bikes, despite the obvious obstacles.

“The concern is very simple,” bike activist Michael Schneider said. “People feel like they’re gonna die if they bike in L.A.”

Over the past five years, 96 cyclists have been killed on Los Angeles roads, an average of 18 a year, according to LAPD data. So far this year, six have died, including Andrew Jelmert, a 77-year-old real estate agent struck by a driver in Griffith Park in April, and days later, Leonidas Accip Serech who was killed in a hit-and-run crash in Koreatown. That same week, a third cyclist, John Hermoso, was killed while riding near Santa Clarita, outside Los Angeles city limits.

And yet a hardy 3% of L.A. residents, about 120,000 people, through wit, will, joy or necessity, carve out their daily commutes and other trips on two wheels.

The riders range from Schneider and legendary Bike Kitchen founder Jimmy Lizama, to Cal State LA assistant professor Michael Runnels and Lena Williams of People for Mobility Justice.

Most focus on the surprising convenience and sheer joy of riding a bike, despite the built-in inconvenience and inequity of LA-area streets.

Here’s just a portion of what Runnels had to say, in response to the question “What’s the most fun you can have on a bike in L.A.?”

Descending down a hill from Griffith Park. Los Angeles is an unfurling gorgeous flower that has no center — continuous gorgeous petals. And the only way that I began to see how this beautiful city is tied together is on the saddle of a bike. I mean you could see, in a poor neighborhood, you’ll tend to go slower because the roads are maintained less effectively. If you bike to Beverly Hills, the pavement turns smooth. You can see the theory of a city: where the money goes, where the money does not go. The views of the city that’s nestled in the mountains right next to the ocean — it’s stunning. So riding your bikes with friends, in this staggering natural beauty, you’re earning this beauty. You’re getting exercise, you have a zeroed out carbon footprint, and you’re making bonds with your community in ways you could never do with a car.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

It’s today’s must read piece. So take a few minutes and read the whole thing.

We’ll wait.

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In the day’s other must-read, Slate takes a deep dive into how news organizations cover car collisions when the victim is on foot, or otherwise outside the vehicle.

Subtly — or not so subtly — blaming the victim by parroting police reports, without taking an objective look at what really happened.

Across the country, media outlets consistently employ practices that traffic safety experts and advocates object to—writing headlines about pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in the passive voice and highlighting the vehicle instead of the driver (i.e., “pedestrian struck by car” instead “driver strikes pedestrian”). Research suggests that American reporting is much more likely to focus on the pedestrian or cyclist who is struck, rather than the driver behind the wheel. Recognizing the problem, a 2018 Columbia Journalism Review article offered guidance to reporters and editors: “When covering car crashes, be careful not to blame the victim.”

Because most people learn about these incidents from the press, reporting habits around roadway deaths have attracted more scrutiny as pedestrian and cyclist fatalities rise, surging 46 percent and 36 percent, respectively, from 2010 to 2019. Roadways have grown even more dangerous during the pandemic, with more than 42,000 people dying on American roadways in 2021, a 10.5 percent annual increase, the highest on record. Meanwhile, traffic fatalities have fallen steadily across most of Europe and East Asia…

The media’s role in this conversation matters. Public pressure can help push transportation agencies to revise their approaches to road safety, something that the growing death toll suggests is overdue. Media coverage can be instrumental in shaping such pressure, but only if newsrooms dig deeper in their crash reporting and guard against blaming the very people who are getting killed.

Unlike the Times story, this one won’t make you smile. But it’s every bit as important a read.

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Streetsblog reports that a Metro committee has recommended pulling the plug on the $6 billion plan to widen the 710 Freeway, which would require demolishing hundreds of homes and businesses.

Let’s hope that means they’re finally getting it, recognizing that we can’t keep building traffic-inducing highways when the world is literally on fire.

Or maybe not.

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GCN explains how to recycle old bike tires.

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Local

Streets For All is endorsing Bryant Odega to replace outgoing LA councilmember Joe Buscaino in CD15, noting he’s the only candidate for the post who has endorsed the 25×25 plan to return 25% of LA street space to human use.

 

State 

Bike to Work Day returns to San Diego after a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, with 100 pit stops scattered around the city.

A Los Angeles expat has turned his high-end Sonoma home into a bike-centric clubhouse for his friends.

 

National

Seriously? House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy slammed Speaker Nancy Pelosi over a proposal to give House staffers free Peloton memberships, when families are struggling to find baby formula — then joined 191 other Republicans to vote against funding to address the formula shortage.

Garmin’s new $400 bike tail light comes complete with a rear-facing, hi-def bike cam and built-in radar to warn you about oncoming vehicles.

Bicycling says Coldplay wants you to help provide the pedal power to power their shows. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

An Idaho man celebrates riding 200,000 miles over 36 years. Something I was on track for before diabetes and other associated health problems knocked me off my bike.

A Denver weekly says the city’s rating as one of the nation’s safest cities for bike commuters doesn’t jibe with its rising traffic death toll, six years after adopting a five-year Vision Zero plan.

Denver riders who missed out on one of the city’s ebike rebate vouchers will get a second chance in 60 days, when any unused vouchers go back on the market.

An Illinois woman was sentenced to five years behind bars for the hit-and-run death of a Wisconsin man who was riding his bicycle against traffic.

That’s more like it. Philadelphia is adding bicycle parking patrols to target drivers who park in bike lanes.

 

International

Police in Liverpool, England caused an uproar when they tweeted bicyclists should ride with courtesy and care, with bike riders angrily noting they’re not the ones who are killing people.

Undefeated English UFC featherweight Lerone Murphy reports he nearly died after he was struck by a careless driver while riding his bike, and nearl bled out when it took 45 minutes for an ambulance to get there.

Speed cams work. A speed camera installed to enforce a British city’s new 20 mph speed limit caught 1,100 drivers in just the first 24 hours — and a whopping 23,500 speeding drivers before it was officially turned on. So what the hell is California waiting for?

The wife of the inventor of Haribo gummy bears was one of us, riding her bike to make deliveries of the then new confection around Bonn, Germany in the 1920s.

Ukrainian soldiers are turning to local ebike maker Delfast, mounting bikes with anti-armor rocket launchers to turn them into stealth tank killers.

 

Competitive Cycling

Spanish pro Juan Pedro López held on to the pink leader’s jersey in Wednesday’s 11th stage of the Giro, as Italy’s Alberto Dainese won the stage, becoming the first Italian to win at this year’s race.

Disappointing news, as Eritrean cyclist Biniam Girmay was forced to withdraw from the Giro hours after becoming the first Black African to win a Grand Tour stage, due to a hemorrhage suffered in his left eye when he popped a bottle of prosecco to celebrate his victory, and was struck by the cork.

Thirty-nine-year old Italian cyclist Domenico Pozzovivo is fighting through pain from a horrific head-on crash by a driver two years ago to compete in the Giro, assuming the sole leadership of the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert after Girmay was forced to drop out.

 

Finally…

Your next carbon frame could be virtually unbreakable. A pair of exercise bikes went down with the Titanic 110 years ago.

And Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is one of us. Or at least, the fictional president he played was.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Study calls for more and better bike helmet testing, bike/ped safety ratings for trucks and SUVs, and how to live carfree

We’ve said it many times before.

Bike helmets can help in a crash, but not as much as they could.

Or should.

Now Bicycling reports a new study confirms the same thing, saying more rigorous testing is needed to improve them.

  • Bike helmets are designed to protect you against a traumatic brain injury (TBI), yet testing them in a way that mimics real-world falls and collisions has been lacking, a new study suggests.
  • Current manufacturer methods tend to test helmets with falls from right angles, which is how you’d land if the bike was stationary.
  • The research describes a new method of helmet testing where crash test dummies hit the ground at an angle as they were moving—basically, the way you’d actually fall off a bike.
  • However, previous research indicates helmets still significantly reduce the risk of skull fractures and other TBIs, so it’s important to wear one while riding.

That last point is important.

I probably wouldn’t be here now if I hadn’t been wearing mine during the infamous beachfront bee incident — which is exactly the kind of relatively slow speed fall bike helmets are designed to protect against.

Not the high speed collisions most drivers seem to think.

But even with one, I still spent a night in intensive care, and the better part of a week in the hospital.

That’s also the only time I’ve needed one in four decades of riding.

But I’m damn glad I had it on.

As usual, you can read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

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Interesting idea.

A bill in the New York legislature would impose a safety rating system on trucks and SUVs to rank the danger they pose to bike riders and pedestrians.

But then what?

Studies have previously shown that the flat grills, high hoods and high road clearance of today’s trucks and SUVS — let alone their ever-increasing size — are a key factor in the rising rate of traffic deaths in the US.

And while it might be helpful to know which vehicles pose the greatest risk, it’s pretty meaningless if that’s as far as it goes.

There needs to be additional action to force improvements for the lowest rated vehicles, such as fines that increase with each drop in safety ratings.

Or better yet, force the SUVs and trucks with the worst safety rating off the road. Then give the next lowest tier five years to improve their safety before removing that one from the road, too.

And keep going until every truck and SUV qualifies for the highest safety rating — which, chances are, none do now.

Yes, safety ratings are a good idea.

But ratings without action will just mean more needless deaths on our streets.

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They get it.

NACTO, aka the National Association of City Transportation Officials, came out against the proposed transportation bill introduced in the US Senate, arguing it “largely maintains the status quo that made American transportation so inequitable, unsustainable, and unsafe to begin with.”

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The Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition is hosting a webinar tonight to discuss how to live your life carfree.

 

Then again, all you really need is three simple steps.

Step 1: Sell your car.

Step 2: Buy a bike.

Step 3: Ride it. Everywhere.

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

Once again, someone has sabotaged a bike trail in the UK, planting upright spikes on a Scottish mountain bike path where they were most likely to trap, and possibly seriously injure, unsuspecting riders. And once again, this should be treated as the serious crime it is, not just a mere prank.

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

Florida police arrested a 39-year old ebike-riding man for tossing a cooler full of human shit outside a Jewish school in a Miami suburb, two days after he shouted anti-Semitic slurs and threw a bag of shit at the temple nextdoor.

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Local

Micromobility providers are ready to roll out again as America reawakens from its coronavirus slumber, including Santa Monica-based Bird and West Hollywood’s Wheels.

Nick Jonas credits his wife Priyanka Chopra with helping him recover from a broken rib he suffered falling off his bike while filming an undisclosed project with his brothers.

 

State

A 64-year old San Diego man suffered serious injuries when he was cut off by a driver pulling out an alley in the North Park neighborhood, and slammed his ebike into the side of the car; the victim suffered a broken ankle, in addition to other non-life threatening injuries.

The Santa Rosa bicyclist who died last week after he and another bike rider were hit by an alleged drunk driver was a skilled winemaker with the Gary Farrell Winery in Healdsburg; the 12-year old boy who was also injured was not related to him, and just happened to be riding in the same area.

A Sonoma County writer asks how safe it is to ride a bike in the county, then fails to answer the question.

 

National

Black Girls Do Bike is teaming with Little Bellas to encourage more “Black, Indigenous, Girls of Color” to start riding with Little Bellas, which is dedicated to encouraging girls to ride bikes, then to continue riding with the Black Girls Do Bike community once they outgrow the Little Bellas program.

In case you need a refresher, the Southern Nevada Bike Coalition explains how to correctly wear a bike helmet. First step, make sure it’s not on backward, which I’ve somehow seen too many times.

A Las Vegas man was killed when he crashed into a small dog while riding a motorized bicycle; sadly, the dog didn’t make it, either.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee is reintroducing The Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Areas Act, which would allow local managers to decide whether and how to allow bicycles in wilderness areas; the original bill expired in the previous congressional session before any action was taken.

Arkansas is hosting a statewide bike summit to talk road safety this month.

A Chicago writer says the city’s new bikeshare ebikes are a game changer — so stop tossing them into Lake Michigan.

Peloton is responding to last year’s shortages created by increased demand during the pandemic by building their first US factory in Ohio.

Charges have finally been filed against a Pennsylvania man who killed a man riding a bike back in 2019, while allegedly stoned on methadone, Klonopin and Xanax. The only question is what the hell took so long?

 

International

Road.cc rates the 15 best chain lubes, while examining the eternal question of wet vs dry.

A street-racing Liverpool man was sentenced to two years behind bars and banned for driving for four years for slamming into a man on a bicycle, leaving the victim with lasting brain damage after languishing in a coma for a full month; the 28-year old future inmate recently suffered a stroke, which he describes as “karma.” The other driver was sentenced to 13 months.

A London police commissioner called for a ban on e-scooters before their wide rollout in the city next month, warning that more people will be hurt. So wouldn’t it make sense to ban cars instead, since they hurt far more people, more seriously?

London should provide more cargo bike parking and make market deliveries by cargo bike, according to a new report from a sustainability think tank.

No bias here. A former Scottish deputy police chief says the bike boom means traffic laws have to be enforced — especially against the people on two wheels.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a 76-year old man got just two and a half years behind bars for running over a ten-year old boy on a bike, then backing up and running over him again — as the boy’s father and others watched in horror — while driving at over twice the legal alcohol limit. Fortunately, the kid survived, but with major injuries.

An Irish man faces charges for a strong-arm robbery in which he pushed a woman off her bike as she was riding to work, then punched her in the face as she lay on the ground before making off with her bike, all while “extremely intoxicated” on booze and Xanax.

Cycling Tips highlights six unique brands from the Australian Handmade Bicycle Show, including one that makes wooden handlebars, and another that makes a tail light designed to illuminate the rider’s legs, rather than the roadway.

 

Competitive Cycling

Tour de France winner Egan Bernal tightened his grip on the pink leader’s jersey by winning Monday’s 16th stage of the Giro, which was shortened by nearly 40 miles and two mountain passes due to rain and snow.

 

Finally…

No, you probably can’t get this much air on a mountain bike. And sometimes, two wheels are faster than four.

Especially when it’s this four.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

And get vaccinated, already.

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