Tag Archive for Los Angeles bike plan

Breaking news: Planning Commission approves L.A. bike plan

The Los Angeles Planning Commission just approved the draft bike plan, moving it forward to the City Council for consideration.

Villaraigosa endorses the new bike plan; snowball in Hell stocks skyrocket

I’m not saying hell has frozen over, but I swear I saw the devil shopping for overcoats at Macy’s yesterday. Because L.A.’s mayor has officially, sort of, tweeted his endorsement of the draft bike plan.

I support bike lanes, improvements – do you? Planning Commission hearing on Bike Plan Thurs in Van Nuys. Info at http://bit.ly/ax9Je

Looks like I have to support it now, too. But even scarier is when Mayor Villaraigosa and Alex Thompson appear to agree on the subject. Or any subject, for that matter.

Maybe the devil should be looking for gloves and a nice heavy muffler, too.

In case, like me, you can’t make the Planning Commission meeting Thursday, LACBC will be live tweeting from Van Nuys City Hall, and LADOT Bike Blog will be live blogging, both of which are so much more enjoyable than the dead kind (and congrats on surviving finals, Chris).

And Villaraigosa fulfills his promise of pushing for a three-foot passing law on the state level, made after his Road to Damascus — or in this case, Venice — conversion to bike advocate.

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As a follow-up to Wednesday’s story about the Santa Monica Bike Action Plan, here’s your chance to voice your opinion without the inconvenience of actually having to set foot in the city; second link courtesy of Stanley E. Goldich.

Not everyone seems to be impressed, though.

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And as long as we’re on the subject of cities on the verge of bike friendliness — or at least, bike friendlierness — comes a trio of stories from one SoCal city that actually is, most of the time.

Long Beach officially unveils the new Vista Bike Boulevard, once again beating L.A. to every conceivable cycling innovation. An interview with Long Beach Mobility Coordinator and recovering politician Charlie Gandy. And the city considers eliminating its licensing requirement after it was recently used to bludgeon the city’s first official Critical Mass.

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Flying Pigeon issues a BOLO alert for a stolen Batavus step-through; it’s not like there are many of those around here, so it should be easy to spot. Metro releases bicycle data for 88 cities for web and app designers. Help kickstart CycLAvia into 2011 and expand it into long neglected South L.A. Is it just me, or did this Victorville writer just tell drivers not to merge into a bike lane before making a right turn — as the law requires — dramatically increasing the risk of a right hook? Drivers aren’t the only ones who can tunnel their way from point A to point B. Here’s your chance to ride a stage of the Amgen Tour of California, from Claremont to Mount Baldy, without having to pee in a cup afterwards to prove you’re dope free. If cyclists are a privileged class, why do all the roads seem to be designed with cars in mind?

Tips for begging free gear and sponsors for your next big ride. Meet the Bicycle Accident Victims Fund. A reporter for the Wall Street Journal starts riding around town since NYC belongs to bike people now — especially if we’re going to ride in weather like this — while the paper offers advice on fashionable attire for your bike commute; studded tires might come in handy, too. A successful winter bike to work day in my old hometown — if you can call getting coffee and eggs from New Belgium Brewing instead of beer successful. Courtesy of Carolina cyclist and recent guest writer Zeke comes word of a call for better biker behavior in DC.

An American living in Germany notes a remarkable lack of spandex; I was starting to think I was the only blogger who doesn’t call it Lycra these days. Evidently, London truck drivers are tired of killing cyclists. Eight months in jail for a banned driver who left a cyclist lying unconscious in the road. A study by a Brit doctor shows that a carbon bike won’t get you to work any faster than a traditional steel framed bike. Requiring cyclists to be licensed and insured would be unnecessary, harmful and pointless; agreed. UCI slams back against Floyd “I swear I was lying then but I’m telling the truth now” Landis’ charges of protecting doping bike stars. The dying wish of bike coach Aldo Sassi is for Ivan Basso to win the Tour de France and place the winner’s yellow jersey on his tomb; no pressure or anything, Ivan.

Finally, it wasn’t a lack of compassion or human decency that made a driver leave a cycling transplant surgeon seriously injured in the road, it was that damn new car smell. Then again, if he’d just bungeed himself to his riding partner, that cyclist might not have gotten hit in the first place.

Cyclists storm Planning Commission to demand bike plan changes — and the Commission listens

Just a few of the heroes who deserve our thanks; photo courtesy of LACBC.

It’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way over the last couple of years.

As much as I’d like to be involved in everything that affects cycling in Los Angeles and attend every important meeting, I can’t. Especially weeks like this, when something important took place every day of the week.

While quantum physics suggests that I can, in fact, be in two places at once, I’ve yet to find a way to apply that real life.

And for some odd reason, my wife still expects me to earn a living; maybe if she rode a bike she’d realize that unpaid advocacy work is far more important than something as trivial as paying the bills and keeping a roof over our heads.

So yesterday I looked at a calendar crowded with the Planning Commission’s consideration of the bike plan, a meeting of Beverly Hills new Bicycle Ad Hoc Committee and a biking presentation in Long Beach, as well as a couple of court hearings. And realized that I wasn’t going to be able to attend any of them.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of people who give a damn about bicycling in this megalopolis we call home. Case in point, the previously mentioned meeting of the Planning Commission.

Despite the early hour, the room reportedly was crowded with cyclists; Joe Linton reported that 25 – 30 were still there 3.5 hours later when the item finally came up on the agenda. And there were still a number of riders in the room when the meeting finally ended around 5 pm.

I won’t offer a recap of a meeting I didn’t attend. You can read a full report on Streetsblog today. And you can get a flavor for the meeting from a great Twitter feed put together by Bicycling Nate, which allowed me to follow the progress of the meeting in real time when I should have been working.

However, reports are that a number of cyclists spoke eloquently and forcefully. And the Commission heard them, forming a subcommittee to consider the complaints from cyclists and report back on December 16th.

And yes, I’ve already marked my calendar. Even if I already have two other can’t-miss meetings scheduled for that same 24-hour period.

This was probably the best possible outcome. The Commission didn’t kill a plan that has a lot of good elements in it, but also didn’t blindly forward a plan that still has a number of obvious flaws.

It will be interesting to see what they come back with next month. Just like it would be to see the original work from Alta Planning, which reportedly never made it into the plan the public saw — and risked their hard-earned reputation as one of the nation’s leading bicycle planning firms.

But one thing we don’t have to wonder about is the hard work done by representatives from the LACBC, Bikeside and the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, as well as a number of individual cyclists.

They deserve all the credit for what looks right now like a huge win. And they deserve our thanks.

They have mine.

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More on the bike plan that was considered by the Planning Commission on Thursday. Council candidate Stephen Box called on the commission to reject the plan. Gary encouraged riders to show up en masse at the hearing. Alex Thompson writes that everyone agreed that the bike plan needs fixing. LACBC offered talking points for the meeting. Herbie offered an insightful look at what the plan is and isn’t, and offers the questions she wanted answered. LAist reports that cyclists were united against the plan; of course, there’s a big difference between wanting to fix something and being against it.

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Streetsblog’s Damien Newton writes that the City Hall rumor mill has either John Fisher or Amir Sedadi being promoted to take over LADOT. The question is, how can you change the culture of a notoriously dysfunctional and auto-centric agency by promoting from within?

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Long Beach cyclists reclaim bikes seized by police during Friday’s failed Critical Mass ride, and prepare to bring their complaints to the City Council on Tuesday. Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious reports that there seems to be no legal basis for the seizure, while Gary says it’s the dark side of bicycle registration. A online publication reminds the LBPD that repression breeds resistance. And BikeBiz clearly demonstrates that they have no idea that Long Beach and Los Angeles are two different places.

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Mihai Peteu continues his excellent coverage of the Shawn Fields case, the driver accused of killing teenage cyclist Danny Marin in a drunken, late-night hit-and-run on October 2nd.

He reports that Fields entered a not guilty plea yesterday, and that a preliminary hearing is scheduled for December 7th. According to Mihai, the defense complained about a “mean-spirited internet posting” about Shawn; a reminder to all of us — myself included — to let the legal system take its course and not let our anger interfere with the case.

Even if the comments left by his friends break your heart.

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In today’s daily doping news, Alejandro Valverde loses his appeal of his drug ban, while Vuelta runner-up Ezequiel Mosquera denies rumors that his case has been dismissed. The French anti-doping agency wants back into the Tour de France, while 2008 TdF winner Carlos Sastre films a Spanish anti-doping spot. Here’s your chance to ride the full route of next year’s Giro. Next year’s inaugural Quiznos Pro Challenge will roll over some serious mountain territory, even if it’s stuck with a name only a sandwich marketer could love.

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Stephen Box says the City Council is about to pass the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights and a Complete Streets Policy; unfortunately, it’s the Baltimore City Council. UCLA offers a new guide to getting around Los Angeles without a car; maybe they could work with the L.A. Convention and Visitors Bureau to make a version for tourists, too. A Caltrain study shows that cyclists are bumped from their trains just .02% of the time, while riders report a much higher rate. The next time you feel like you’re burning up the road, maybe you really will be. An unnamed woman is killed by a big rig while riding on Alpine Road near Portola Valley.

Bicycling offers readers’ tips on how to survive anything, along with advice on how to fly up hills. Orange gear to ride safe in hunting season; here in L.A., cyclists are always in season. The newly empowered far-right backlash begins as the Weekly Standard says the road to hell is paved with bike paths. A new iPhone app guides you through what to do if you’re in a bike wreck. The bike community loses its best friend in Congress, as Minnesota’s Jim Oberstar goes down to defeat. A Tempe AZ driver intentionally hits a pedestrian he accused of stealing his bike, leaving the man with life-threatening injuries; at this point, a stolen bike would seem to be the least of his problems. Police are unable to locate an Iowa driver charged in the July death of a cyclist. In a perfect example of schadenfreude, Minnesota man steals a bike and rides it off a 75-foot embankment when police give chase. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is accepting public comments on proposed rule changes that will affect children’s bikes, fixies and recumbents.

Oxford police stop an average of one rider without lights every 90 seconds. A Brit cyclist gets away with a warning after hitting a 4-year old girl while riding illegally on the sidewalk. A British rider offers his perspective on road rage. Dublin needs 4,000 more bike parking spaces thanks to a one-third increase in ridership.

Finally, after a very un-Dutch call for children to wear helmets in the province of Zeeland, Amsterdamize notes that an Amsterdam cyclist will die of bike-related in injuries an average of once every 63,368 years.

Today’s post, in which I offer a qualified endorsement of the new draft bike plan

Maybe it was the weather.

Wednesday’s humidity, which followed the scorching heat of the first few days of the week, may have discouraged people from attending the West L.A. hearing on the latest draft of the proposed new bike plan.

Then again, it might have been the unexpected rain that evening, since many Angelenos have a well-founded fear of melting if they get wet.

Or it could have been the gridlocked rush hour traffic, so bad it took over 40 minutes just to drive a few miles down Santa Monica Blvd to where the meeting was being held. And demonstrating better than anything else just why we need an effective plan that provides a viable alternative to driving.

Yes, I recognize the irony of driving to a meeting to create a plan that will encourage other people not to.

And yes, I could have gotten there much faster by bike.

So it’s possible that some people had already come and gone before I finally got there. Or maybe it’s just a sign of bike plan fatigue after nearly two full years of feeling like we’ve had to fight the city for a more effective roadmap to biking infrastructure.

Even if it is starting to look like we may finally be on the same side, after all.

But as Damien Newton points out on Streetsblog, only a handful of people attended the meeting. And only 6 spoke to offer their comments — and no, I wasn’t one of them.

For a change, I wanted to listen.

One of the things I heard was that many people feel overwhelmed by the sheer size of the plan. Which is actually a good thing, since the previous draft was sparse enough that it was relatively easy to pick it apart and expose the flaws.

But while some people complained about various details, most seemed to find things they liked about it, tracing lines on the various maps with their fingers to identify routes that actually led where they wanted to go.

I did the same thing myself, discovering routes in the plan that would allow me to ride various bikeways from the Westside to Downtown, which was my primary complaint about the previous draft.

Whether any of it will get built in my lifetime is another matter. Or at all, for that matter, if the 1996 bike plan is any indication.

Of course, there’s also a lot to dislike. As Joe Linton has pointed out, there are a number of errors in the plan; in fact, Gary found yet another one this week that misidentified streets in Santa Monica, raising the risk of misaligned bikeways.

Joe was also quick to direct my attention to the draft plan’s call for minimum 11’ vehicle lanes, noting that the current L.A. standard is 10’ and some other cities stripe lanes as narrow as 9 feet. Which could cause some proposed bike lanes to slip into the much despised and thankfully discontinued “currently infeasible” category, as the extra foot per lane crowds out space for bike lanes.

Not to mention that studies have shown narrower lanes slow speeding traffic and cause drivers to operate their vehicles more carefully. Always a good thing, unless all you care about is how many vehicles you can move through the city’s streets every hour.

But that was the old LADOT, right?

Meanwhile, Josef Bray-Ali says more could be done to allow building owners to substitute bike parking for car parking, and to remove lanes to make way for bikes.

Personally, I’d like to see a provision for regular maintenance of all city bikeways, along with a requirement that LADOT staffers ride every inch of bikeway in the city on regular basis — or at least encourage and respond to reports from riders — to ensure that they’re actually in safe, ridable condition. Unlike some UCLA adjacent bikeways I could name.

Along with a cycling equivalent of the Mayor’s 30/10 plan that would build out the bike plan while those of us who’ve fought for bikeways on our streets are still young enough to ride them.

I like a lot of what I see in the draft plan, though. Like the idea of Bike Friendly Streets, and a Neighborhood Bikeway Network that would allow riders to travel within their own local community or feed into the 660 miles of the Citywide Bikeway Network. As well as the fact that the city listened to cyclists and incorporated the Backbone Bikeway Network into the plan as the basis of the CBN.

But the devil, as always, is in the details.

Take Wilshire Blvd, for instance — currently a car-choked thoroughfare operating at or near capacity for much of the day, and one of the city’s most uninviting streets for bicyclists. And just one of the major boulevards that make up the Citywide Network.

So are they actually planning to put bike lanes Wilshire Blvd, which would necessitate the removal of one or more traffic or parking lanes — and could invite open rebellion from the driving public? Or are they simply planning to put up signs designating it as yet another meaningless bike route, leaving us to fight for our survival like Snake Plissken attempting to make his escape from the mean streets of L.A?

A lot depends on who our new BFF selects to replace Rita Robinson as the new General Manager of LADOT. While there have been signs of a culture change at the department in recent months, the person Mayor Villaraigosa hires will go a long way towards determining just how this plan gets implemented and what our streets will look like in another 10 years.

He can — and should — cement his new-found support for cycling by selecting someone who will truly reform the department, and implement genuine Complete Streets policies that will benefit everyone on or along the avenues of L.A.

Or he can appoint someone who will continue the same failed focus on automotive throughput that has ruined our neighborhoods, and puts the safety of every Angeleno at risk whenever we walk, ride or drive on city streets.

A year ago, I would have bet my life savings on the latter. Not that $2.37 would have got me very good odds on a sure thing.

Today, though, it’s a different question.

The mayor’s recent actions seem to show that he gets it now. And raises hopes that he’ll make a bold choice to lead the department and make a lasting mark on the city before he leaves office.

In addition, we seem to have a genuine champion in TranspoComm chair Bill Rosendahl, as his remarks at Wednesday’s hearing show. And I haven’t forgotten Council President Eric Garcetti’s words of support, including a promise to stay on top of the proposed anti-harassment ordinance that should come up for a hearing in the Transportation Committee later this month.

In other words, the pieces finally appear to be in place to transform, not just the streets of L.A., but the safety and livability of the entire city. This bike plan could and should be the catalyst to accomplish that.

So I’ll repeat the offer I made last year, with a little more hope and enthusiasm this time.

If the Mayor and council members will commit to support the new bike plan — and more importantly, fund and implement it — I’ll support it, as well.

And I will gladly ride it with them once it’s built.

There’s still one more chance left to express your opinions and influence what ends up in the final draft before it goes to the Council for approval. Or you can submit your comments online through October 8th.

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Another day, another doping scandal as Ezequiel Mosquera, the runner-up in the Vuelta, tests positive along with a teammate, while Italian rider Riccardo Riccò is under investigation for pills found in his home. Despite sympathy over the miniscule amount of clenbuterol found in his blood — an amount Dave Moulton compares to a gnat’s testicle — Contador could face a two-year ban. Evidently, his excuse is possible, if not probable, after all. Bike Radar asks would you dope? And the Huffington Post points a finger at the investigators in the Lance Armstrong case, suggesting that cyclists may not be the only ones who’ve broken the rules.

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Just 10 days until CicLAvia. LADOT Bike Blog updates the status of current bikeway projects. Long Beach’s biking expats relax in Philly on their way to New York. A cyclist is found dead on the side of the road near Lompoc after leaning his bike against a nearby tree, while a 62-year old bicyclist is killed in an Atherton crosswalk. A Rutgers study shows each additional mile of bike lane results in a 1% increase in bike commuters. Cyclelicious wants to see your decidedly non-bike chic riding attire. EcoVelo says just say no to stealth riding. Single-track riding gets a no in a Portland park; the League of American Bicyclist’s Andy Clarke calls the decision disappointing. People for Bikes says Portland isn’t perfect, but it offers a good example — even without single-tracks, evidently. Meanwhile, a Portland cyclist is arrested in a road rage incident after spitting at the passenger of a van that buzzed him. And still in Portland, police catch a brazen thief when he swaps one stolen bike for another, then pauses to admire a third. Tennessee asks cyclists to rate their experiences on local highways; anyone believe California really wants to know what we think? Me neither. An off-duty Louisville KY cop is killed when he stopped his bike on the shoulder of a highway; even though he wasn’t in the roadway, a witness calls it “unavoidable.” Slate accuses the New York Times of bogus trend-spotting — and cribbing from a 2007 NY Observer story — for their story on hot stylish women on wheels. The spokesman for New York’s Coalition Against Rogue Riding accuses NYDOT of fabricating bike-friendly statistics and calls for the firing of Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan; if they really want to get rid of her, we’ll take her. Seriously. Overly fragrant cyclists booted from the local pub. The London Transport Museum will debate whether bicycling is the wave of the future. Danish police say the death penalty applies for traffic violations. Utility bikes and election posters. An Indonesian militant is injured when his bike bomb blows up prematurely.

Finally, LAB ranked Eddie Merckx as the greatest cyclist of all time, followed by Lance, Major Taylor, Fausto Coppi and Jeannie Longo; needless to say, the vote was held before Longo finished 5th in the women’s world time trial championship at age 51.

Oddly, I somehow failed to make the list.

Your BAC at work — building better bikeways; a civil cyclist anti-harassment ordinance

A few notes from this week’s Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting:

As you may be aware, the City Attorney has finally reported back on the proposed anti-harassment ordinance.

Your Bicycle Advisory Committee hard at work in Hollywood Monday night.

Not surprisingly, the response was that there wasn’t much the city could do, since most of the actions that would be covered by the ordinance — such as throwing objects at cyclists, encroachment, threatening a cyclist, etc. — were already covered by state law. And any attempt to address traffic regulations, such as creating a minimum three-foot passing distance, can only be addressed at the state level.

But then he offered up with a brilliant alternative.

Instead of making harassment of cyclists a criminal offense, the recommendation was to make assaulting, threatening or harassing a cyclist a civil offense under the L.A. Municipal Code.

That would allow bicyclists to sue a driver in civil court for any violations, instead of pursuing criminal charges. As a result, it would eliminate the need for police to actually witness the violation, and require a lower burden of proof since only a majority of jurors need to reach agreement in a civil case, rather than the unanimous verdict required in a criminal trial.

The ordinance would also include a provision for attorney’s fees, which could encourage a lawyer to represent you on a contingency basis. Or at the very least, mean that anyminey you’re awarded by the court wouldn’t be eaten up by lawyer’s fees.

The BAC voted unanimously to endorse the plan, which has been referred to the City Council Transportation and Public Safety Committees for further consideration.

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Reports are that new BAC Second District representative Ayla Stern hit the ground running.

LADOT reported at the meeting that their priority in building out the new bike plan over the first five years will be filling in gaps in the current bikeway system, and building bikeways in areas that currently lack any biking infrastructure.

They also plan to focus on completing key links, such as the Cahuenga Pass between Hollywood and the Valley, as well as extending the Orange Line bike path and building a new bike path along the Expo Line. In addition, if a street included in the bike plan is scheduled for resurfacing, a bikeway can be striped as part of the repaving, whether or not it’s part of the five year plan.

A perfect example is the work currently being done to install HOV, or car pool, lanes on the 405 through the Sepulveda Pass. Metro has offered to build bike lanes on Sepulveda Blvd wherever their work involves that street, which is the key connecting route for cyclists between the Westside and the Valley — despite a bike lane that repeatedly stops and starts and is only a few feet wide in places.

The BAC passed a motion asking the city to use this opportunity to fill in any remaining gaps to create a continuous bike lane from Ventura Blvd to Wilshire Blvd, and to explore innovative solutions to improve safety for cyclists at the Sepulveda Blvd onramp to the southbound 405.

They also approved a motion to ask that design and construction of the Expo Bikeway be done along with the rail work, so that it can be included in any plans and not precluded by the plans or alignment for the Expo Line.

A limited schedule of hearings on the bike plan will take place next month.

  • Sept. 2, Thurs 5:00 to 8:00 PM in the Braude Building in Van Nuys
  • Sept 11, Sat 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM @ Hollywood Neighborhood City Hall, 6501 Fountain Ave.
  • Sept 14, Tues 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM @ Felicia Mahood Senior Center next to WLA City Hall
  • Sept 16, Thurs 5:00 to 8:00 PM in South LA /Webinar
  • Additional dates may be added but any delay will probably foreclose the possibility of applying for the next Metro Call for Projects

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Speaking of bikeways, Claremont Cyclist asks what good is a bike lane or path when it’s obstructed?

Funny he should mention it. I ran into this guy — not literally, fortunately — in Westwood yesterday; maybe he was just trying to save seven bucks.

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Are drivers out to get public radio hosts? First KCRW’s Warren Olney got doored earlier this year; now Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! gets hit by a car as he was riding through an intersection.

Fortunately, he’s okay, aside from what he describes as the occasional stab in the back from an invisible angry dwarf, but says his racing bike may be cursed. And it gave a Chicago bike commuter second thoughts about some of her close calls. Thanks to Patrick Murray for the heads-up.

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A rally is scheduled at City Hall for noon today with Barbara Boxer and Move LA in support of the Mayor’s 30/10 plan to speed up transit projects; what we need is a 25/10 plan for bikeways to go with it. Speaking of the Mayor, he wants your questions for Monday’s Bike Summit, even if you can’t be there in person.

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LACBC’s first monthly volunteer mixer was a success. Santa Monica ciclovia gets its own website; thanks to Gary Rides Bikes for the link. Flying Pigeon helps distribute the new Blogdowntown Weekly on Nihola Family bikes. Ubrayj sees some progress in his campaign for a car-free Lincoln Park. Tucson police finally begin enforcing Arizona’s three-foot passing law; the cartoon at the beginning alone is worth the click. A Kentucky man buys a bike custom made for Floyd Landis — for $5. Evidently, bike share isn’t a new idea; Mark Twain suggested it 115 years ago, in Portland, of course. Testing out the triple seat Kangaroo Family bike. Did Chicago police protect the Hyatt Hotels heir from road rage charges after he tried to run a cyclist off the road? Is the real conflict between cyclists and motorists, or between patient and not-so-patient people? A writer says cyclists should be as courteous as other road users; do we really need to lower ourselves to that level? Brisbane police crack down on bell-less bikers. A Vancouver politician says Critical Mass should declare victory and obey the law. Evidently, L.A. cyclists aren’t the only ones who have to deal with pothole problems.

Finally, an Austin man was killed last year after crashing in his first bike race; yesterday, his heart finished the first lap.

Charges finally filed in the death of Jorge Alvarado; revised bike plan released

Bahati rider Jorge Alvarado, from the VeloNews forum

Two months after pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado was killed by a street racing teenager, two of the three drivers involved have been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter.

According to the Press-Enterprise, 18-year old high school seniors Brett Morin and Patrick Roraff were racing when Roraff lost control of his car and hit the cyclist.

“Individually, their driving behavior may not have resulted in the tragedy that occurred,” Supervising Deputy District Attorney Vic Stull said Friday, “but combined, it was just almost vehicular Russian roulette — way beyond what anybody would see as reasonable conduct.”

The Contra Costa Times — which lists Morin’s age as 20, rather than 18 — says that Roraff was travelling in excess of 70 mph at the time of the collision.

“You can call it street racing, you can call it negligent driving – what they were doing depends on your point of view,” prosecutor Vic Stull said Friday. “We don’t have to prove they were racing to have a jury find them liable for the death. They were driving very fast, they were driving very dangerously. For us, that’s sufficient.”

A story in the Highland Community News — which describes the events in more detail than you may want — says three cars were involved after the drivers and passengers skipped school to go “hang out.” According to the paper, the events leading to Alvarado’s death began when Morin moved left to keep Roraff from passing, causing the second car to swerve right, lose control and skid across the left shoulder where Alvarado was riding.

The Community News reports that Roraff apologized to the victim’s family, and told investigators:

“I feel so stupid for even doing that, like trying to show off and trying to be – just stupid. I don’t know why I would do that. It’s just like – I wish I could go back and just change everything, but I can’t. I feel so – I just want to say sorry to the family. I can’t believe I took away a life.” Roraff had a promising soccer (sic) and was hoping to go to college on a soccer scholarship.

At the scene, he was reported saying, “There goes my life. There goes my soccer career.”

No reason was given why there were no charges against the third driver, or why prosecutors did not charge the drivers with murder, which the Contra Costa Times suggests the Sheriff’s Department had recommended. However, they note that investigators are still looking into whether others may have contributed to Alvarado’s death in some way.

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KCBS Channel 2/KCAL 9 reports on the bicyclist injured in a collision with a Sheriff’s Department vehicle in the aftermath of the Lakers’ victory Thursday night. Evidently, the rider was going east on 11th at an estimated 11 mph, with the police cruiser headed north on Flower at slow speed when the cyclist hit car and was thrown into air. (Unfortunately, coverage of the collision is merged with the other reports from Downtown; it should be the third story after you push play. Thanks to David for the link.)

The Times indicates the collision occurred at 9:18 pm as the Sheriff’s vehicle was stationary, while L.A. Rider questions whether it was the same cyclist he witnessed riding the wrong way on 9th while talking on a cell phone.

And somehow, this one missed the radar, as L.A. Creek Freak discovers a shrine to a dead father along the L.A. River Bike Path in Cudahy; no mention of whether he was walking or biking, or if it actually occurred on the bike path; there are no news reports that I can find.

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It’s almost summer, and infrastructure seems to be in full bloom.

Eco-Village reports that the rare painted bike lane has taken root on San Pedro Street adjacent to the 105 Freeway in South L.A. LADOT Bike Blog confirms the sighting, as well as confirming that we weren’t hallucinating and there really are new sharrows on Fourth Street.

And as promised, the revised bike plan was released on Friday; I’ve already downloaded my copy. Bikeside’s Alex Thompson notes that the new draft marks a 180° reversal from the much reviled previous draft.

As he wisely points out, we’re under no obligation to accept or support this or any other plan. If LADOT delivers a great new bike plan, we should back it; if not, then we can and should reject it. We should also take full advantage of the comment period make sure we end up with the best possible plan for the streets of L.A.

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In weekend riding news, unfortunately, it’s too late to join in on Streetsblog’s Friday fundraising ride through NELA; though I’m sure Damien wouldn’t mind if you still wanted to send in a few bucks.

Click to enlarge

Saturday marks the long awaited Folk Art Is Everywhere Bike Tour, offering an easy 3.5 mile art ride with several stops at shops and galleries in Echo Park and historic Filipinotown — perfect for beginning or occasional riders, or anyone who just enjoys art and good company.

Sunday, Dorothy Le of the LACBC hosts a Los Angeles Bike Tour through the bridges of L.A.

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Slovenian rider Jure Robic won this year’s Race Across America on Friday for a record 5th time, covering the course from coast to coast in nine days, 61 minutes.

Robert Gesink holds onto the leader’s jersey in the Tour of Switzerland, with Lance Armstrong in striking distance less than one minute back. Bicycling looks at the real reasons Lance’s new team was snubbed by the Vuelta.

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Gary reports that Santa Monica has set aside $25,000 for bicycle education, what form it will take is still to be determined; if you’re not familiar with Gary Rides Bikes, check it out for intelligent insights on bicycle issues. Biking cross country on the Yellowstone Trail. Dave Moulton offers his objections to Critical Mass. Yet another radio jock spews a violent anti-bike rant, while cyclists call for his firing; maybe he just wants Lance to appear on his show. Tips on how to trigger a traffic light sensor. A Tucson man removes graffiti by bike. A Baltimore columnist calls for adopting the Idaho stop and says bicyclists to wear helmets and slow down in the door zone. The first London bike share station goes up. The Guardian looks at the Black Hawk bike ban, as well as the joys of night riding — something I rediscovered myself just the other night. An Aussie cyclist plans a ghost bike for his fallen friend, only to discover one already on the site.

Finally, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry as the International Cycling Union (UCI) announces that all bikes used in this year’s Tour de France will be scanned for illegal motors.

L.A. gets sharrows, and the newly revised bike plan is released. No, really.

Big news in the L.A. bike world.

Just days after L.A. got its first — and second — sharrows, LADOT Bike Blog announces that the long-awaited revision to the city’s proposed bike plan will be released on Friday.

What, is it February already?

In what is, for L.A. at least, a seemingly ambitious plan, LADOT is proposing 200 miles of new infrastructure — in addition to what’s already funded or in progress — at a rate of 40 miles a year for the next 5 years.

Not quite New York’s 50 miles a year, let alone their recent 200 miles of new bikeways in just three years. But it’s a start, assuming it’s not the biking equivalent of vaporware. And that the city actually funds it and follows through, which is far from a given.

The blog — which has become surprisingly good at providing the department’s perspective — says the new plan will go well beyond the traditional Class 1 Bike Path, Class 2 Bike Lane and Class 3 Bike Routes by introducing a number of new-to-L.A. innovations:

Bicycle Friendly Streets – Bicycle Friendly Streets are a bit of a catch-all for streets where we don’t have the room to install bicycle lanes, but we still want to make the street as safe and useful for bicyclists as possible.  Treatments for Bicycle Friendly Streets could include Sharrows, traffic circles, bulbouts, choker entrances, bicycle loop detectors, traffic diverters, lane striping, and other traffic calming devices – depending on the type of street and volume of traffic.  This coves a lot of streets in the mid-Wilshire area, where the streets are already pretty tight and there’s no way to fit in more infrastructure.  If you’ve seen the Bicycle Boulevards in Berkeley, you’ve got a good idea of what we’re aiming for.

Pilot Streets – These are streets that may be good candidates for the California Traffic Control Devices Committee (CTCDC) and federal (FHWA) Department of Transportation experimental project studies.  By arranging to do a CTCDC or federal project, the City can experiment with new infrastructure methods that normally aren’t allowed by Caltrans’ Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices(CA MUTCD).  As part of the federal experimental project, the federal government assumes legal liability for the project and offers technical and advisory assistance to the City in implementation.  The City, in turn, would be responsible for filing regular progress reports to the federal government.  For those who are fans of what Long Beach is doing for bike infrastructure, a lot of their projects were made possible through federal pilot projects.

Enhanced Bicycle Routes – Enhanced Bicycle Routes are current Bike Routes that the city would like to beef up.  These Bike Routes are usually on high-volume arterial streets that cannot fit a bike lane.  While these streets are too much of a thoroughfare to qualify for the treatments prescribed for “Bicycle Friendly Streets”, Enhanced Bicycle Routes may be eligible for Sharrows installation and enhanced signage.  The 2010 LA Bike Plan hopes to use Enhanced Bicycle Routes as a tool for “gap closure”, connecting the gaps between existing bike lanes on streets where a bike lane would not fit.

Transit Bike Lane – A Transit Bike Lane is a dedicated bus lane that also allows bicycle traffic.  You’ve probably seen signs on Figueroa Street near downtown to that effect.  City Planning hopes to implement similar Transit Bike Lanes in all places where dedicated bus lanes are going in, Wilshire Blvd. being an example.

Meanwhile, the LACBC notes that while some cyclists have complained about the placement of the sharrows on Fountain, others are excited to finally have a defined place on the road.

We understand the community’s concerns about proper placement of sharrows and we agree that in addition to getting sharrows on our streets the goal is to ensure that best practices are achieved. After contacting multiple bicycle advocacy organizations from different cities that have painted sharrows, LACBC has found that many place their sharrows at 11 or 12 feet and have reported positive reactions from local cyclists. We have also found that some cities paint them in the center of the lane or at 13 to 14 feet from the curb depending on lane width with very positive reactions from the community as well. Most of these cities reported following the guidelines as recommended from the San Francisco study and CAMUTCD code which states that the sharrow marking should be placed at a minimum of 11 ft, but optionally, the distance from the curb may be increased.

Moving forward, LACBC recommends that LADOT carefully consider alternate placement locations for sharrows depending on the lane width, traffic volume, size of parking lane, and other important factors that determine where they should be placed in order that sharrows are used effectively and appropriately when installed in the future. We also request that LADOT make it clear what the goals of the study are and maintain as much transparency as possible in order to build more trust within the community.

I rode the new 4th Street sharrows myself on Wednesday night, as I enjoyed an exceptionally pleasant rush hour ride to Downtown with a friend who knew all the back routes that I didn’t.

And while I didn’t measure them myself, they certainly seemed far enough from the curb. In fact, they were actually a little too far out in the lane for my taste.

But maybe I’ve just gotten a little too comfortable skirting the edge of the door zone over the years.

………

Speaking of the LACBC, they want to know what you think about the LAPD’s plans to crash next week’s Critical Mass; I’ve only been suggesting that the police join the ride for a couple years already.

And CicLAvia asks if a police-accompanied CM will really be a rolling ciclovía, and requests your help to kickstart the city’s first real ciclovía this fall.

………

RAAM continues as riders tweet from the Midwest. Spanish competitor Diego Ballesteros was hit by a car just east of Wichita when a driver drifted off the road and struck him from behind. He was airlifted to a local hospital in extremely critical condition, though reports indicate that his prospects for full recovery are good following surgery.

Mark Cavendish finds himself shaken, but not stirred, following his major crash in Tuesday’s sprint to the finish in the Tour of Switzerland, as other competitors protest his tactics and road rash takes him out of the competition. In non-Cavendish news, Rabobank’s Robert Gesink takes stage 6 and the overall lead. Meanwhile, the fallout from Landisgate continues.

Normally I’d be watching, but there’s this little sporting event in South Africa that has my attention right now, as Mexico reenacts Cinco de Mayo.

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Thursday is Dump the Pump Day, as The Source reminds us.  And this is what L.A. may look like if we don’t dump our cars soon.

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Cyclelicious reports that Gil Garcetti signed copies of his new book Paris, Women & Bikes — with forward by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Jen Klausner — Thursday night at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica. I flipped through the book at the River Ride earlier this month, and it’s a beautiful collection of photos on the subject; if you’re a fan of cycle chic, it’s worth checking out. The LACBC may have copies for sale soon.

If that name doesn’t quite ring a bell, Garcetti was L.A.’s District Attorney for eight tumultuous years, including the O.J. Simpson Trial; Thursday marked the 16th anniversary of the infamous slow speed chase. And rumor has it that Gil’s kid has a pretty good political career going himself, as well.

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Here’s your chance to run L.A.’s other leading biking organization, as C.I.C.L.E. looks for a new executive director. Following the other day’s SMIDSY report, L.A.’s most entertaining bike blogger asks if an attractive woman in a pink dress riding a cargo bike with a huge potted plant can’t be seen by a driver, who can? Gary grows impatient with impatient drivers. LA Weekly reports on last week’s L.A. edition of the World Naked Bike Ride; not safe for work, as the Weekly notes; thanks to George Wolfberg for the link. Travelin’ Local looks at Los Angeles and Cities for Cycling. Dave Moulton offers a contrarian look at the recent Critical Mass Takedown. San Diego’s killer bike lane finally gets repaved. The bike-riding hit-and-run driver charged with intentionally attacking four cyclists in San Francisco pleads not guilty. The Reno paper looks at bike lawyer Bob Mionske prior to a speaking engagement in the other Nevada gambling town. New York police officers are in hot water for failing to report hitting a bike rider while driving on the wrong side of the street. A Phoenix rider is glad to have his bike lane, even if it is one just .117 of the time. The Obama administration is spending $1.2 billion to promote walking and cycling in the U.S.; thanks to Dr. Michael Cahn for the link. A federal study shows that biking and walking now account for 11.9% of all trips, while fatalities are down 12% and 22.3% respectively. Rock hopping and other stunts on a carbon Raleigh roadie. Scofflaws are scofflaws, regardless of vehicle. How to avoid big trouble with big trucks. How to stay cool in the long hot summer. Trek kills Gary Fisher, sort of. Bikes belong everywhere says Bikes Belong. The former Ugly Betty looks pretty good on her bike. A New England cyclist frightens drivers without even trying. Two St. Louis riders are shot by bike riding robbers. Brit train operators are trying to be more bike-friendly. A Prague tram driver chases down his runaway train by bike after it leaves the station without him.

Finally, five men have been found guilty for causing the death of a London cyclist who was inadvertently caught up in a two-vehicle dispute over a puppy. Yes, an innocent man died because fight over the price of a puppy.

And am I the only one who thinks Texas Rep. Joe Barton nominated himself for biggest political twit of the year Thursday morning?

A raft of bike-related court cases; L.A.’s revised bike plan MIA.

Dj Wheels catches us up on the current of court cases affecting the cycling community — some of which we’ve discussed before, along with a few new ones in the ever expanding list of drivers brought to justice.

Robert Sam Sanchez, charged in the hit-and-run death of Rod Armas in Malibu while allegedly intoxicated, had his Preliminary Setting continued to May 26 at 8:30 am in the Malibu Courthouse.

According to Wheels —

I didn’t see anyone that appeared to be there for the victim’s family, but there were plenty family members there in support of the Defendant. The deputy DA said again that there would either be a disposition on this day (ie. a plea deal entered) or there would be a date selected for a Preliminary Hearing (a mini trial before the judge to determine if there is sufficient evidence to hear the case before a jury).

William Keith Square, arrested in the hit-and-run death of a still-unnamed cyclist in Carson on April 17th, was arraigned three days later and entered a not guilty plea on all counts. A Preliminary Setting was held on May 5th, and Preliminary Hearing scheduled for June 10 at 8:30 am. Notes Wheels, “Funny how when you don’t have private counsel, the process moves a lot faster.”

Angelina Gailine Everett, accused of the hit-and-run that left an injured Ed Magos lying in the street on January 6. Dj Wheels explains —

She initially stopped, but then left the scene without rendering aid or exchanging information with the injured cyclist. The city attorney was not going to file charges at first, but after pressure from the cycling community and a promise from the newly appointed Chief Beck to request that the C.A. take a second look at it, charges were finally filed on April 6. There was an initial arraignment date of May 6, but apparently Everett did not show up. According to my sources, the city attorney might have sent the citation and notice to appear for her arraignment to an old address.  The court’s system still doesn’t have a new arraignment date entered.

Everett is charged with:

1) one misdemeanor count of leaving the scene of a collision where there physical injuries to one of the involved parties – CVC 20001

2) one misdemeanor count of leaving the scene of a collision where there is property damage – CVC 20002(A)

Naira Margaryan, accused in the death of Gerado Ramos 13 months after he was struck while riding in a Glendale crosswalk.

On September 23, 2008, Margaryan ran over a cyclist at a crosswalk in a residential section of Glendale, after allegedly blowing through a stop sign. Detective Mankarios of the Glendale PD claims the victim cyclist was somehow also at fault in violation of the Cal Vehicle Code by riding his bike on the sidewalk. The case was filed on April 30. There was an initial arraignment date of May 13, and the defendant appeared with private counsel but did not enter her plea. Arraignment was continued to June 2 at 8:30am at the Glendale Courthouse in Dept. 1.

Margaryan is charged with:

1) one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence – PC 192(c)(2)

In a non-bike related case, former state legislator Walter Karabian stands accused of assaulting an unnamed parking attendant during a USC football game last fall. Wheels reports that a pretrial conference was heard on May 13, with another hearing scheduled for June 10 for compliance with discovery requests, as well as a Trial Setting Conference. A jury trial has been tentatively scheduled for July 19.

Yelena Krupen is accused of damaging the property of an unnamed victim in a hit-and-run collision while driving with a suspended license.

On December 3, 2009, Krupen struck a cyclist from behind with her Mercedes on Santa Monica Blvd at Bedford Ave. in Beverly Hills, causing damage to the bicycle. However, Krupen immediately left the scene after backing up off the rear wheel of the bike. Another motorist who witnessed the incident followed the Mercedes for a short distance, wrote down the license plate and returned to the scene with the info, which was later provided to the BHPD. After an investigation by BHPD and some complaints to the BH City Council for what was feared would become a dismissal, charges were filed on March 15, 2010.

Arraignment was held on March 26 and Krupen pleaded not guilty to both counts with the assistance of the Public Defender. A pretrial conference was held on April 23, which was continued to May 20. The defendant was not present but appeared by private counsel. She was ordered to be present at the next hearing.

Krupen is charged with:

1)one misdemeanor count of failing to stop and provide information at the scene of a collision where there is property damage only – CVC 20002(A)

2)one misdemeanor count of driving with suspended/revoked license – CVC 14601.1(A)

And still no word on charges against Patrick Roraff, the 18-year old driver who allegedly killed pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado while street racing near San Bernardino on April 8th.

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Remember the new bike plan that seemed to be such a big deal last year? Yeah, me neither. LACBC seems to recall that LADOT promised us a revised plan all the way back in February, and — justifiably — takes the city to task for failing to schedule a realistic release date three months later. And oh-so-politely points the finger at the upper echelons of the department.

Seems to me that if the people in charge at LADOT wanted to release a bike plan, it would have happened already. So here’s my polite suggestion. Either get with the program, or get hell out of the way so people who actually give a damn about cycling in this city can get something done.

Otherwise, you may find L.A.’s cycling community gathered on LADOT’s doorstep with a different finger extend.

And this one won’t be pointing.

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Richie Porte keeps the leader’s jersey in the Giro; Vinokourov starts his comeback by gaining 10 seconds on the leader, leaving him just 9 minutes and 48 seconds behind. Thursday’s Amgen Tour of California was not hijacked by Floyd Landis, despite appearances to the contrary; Michael Rogers — no relation — claims the leader’s jersey despite having the same overall time as Dave Zabriskie.

Landis-accused Lance Armstrong crashes out at the beginning of the stage, while Greg “Everyone is a Doper but Me” LeMond sides with Landis for a change; tune in tomorrow for As the ToC Turns.

Meanwhile, Blog Downtown anticipates big crowds and closures on Saturday.

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Gary gets a pleasant Bike to Work Day surprise — along with some not so nice surprises. Bike to Work Day is celebrated in Claremont and by the LACBC Downtown, while UCLA offers Bike to School Day. Metro offers free rides to cyclists with helmets, but may have forgotten to tell their drivers. And a little Tweet pressure gets Trader Joe’s to think twice about opening in Bike Week without bike parking.

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LADOT continues their advice for beginning cyclists. Pasadena tells cyclists to please stay off the sidewalk. A new OC bike shop will offer dial-up roadside service. Hemet police find cyclists at fault in 16 of 18 collisions; yeah, no hint of bias there. A cyclist in Oakland is killed when he gets doored by a driver and forced into a bus. On the heels of the worldwide popularity of the Tweed ride comes the Seersucker Ride; seriously, does anyone look good in seersucker? Dave Moulton notes that most drivers would give a stray dog more than three feet clearance, so why not a cyclist? The obvious answer is most people like dogs. A cyclist confesses to running red lights, carefully. Boulder CO police are looking for the speeding driver of a $110,000 Mercedes SUV who fled the scene after striking a cyclist in a bike lane. The Washington Post says sharing the road is a two-way street. Evidently, there’s a rash of narco-cyclists in Dallas; oddly, they lifted the photo from USC’s Daily Trojan. A Miami rider says a bus driver ran over him on purpose; the driver claims the cyclist intentionally collided with the bus. Truckers call a proposed new law that would require a four foot distance when passing a cyclist — five feet above 49 mph — “insanity.” Korea prepares a new mandatory bike registration plan to deal with the problem of abandoned bikes. Drivers going through bus and bike-only traffic lights are turning a Birmingham UK road into a ring of death.

Finally, this is pretty much the definition of a very lucky bicyclist.

Is the Backbone Bikeway Network all it’s cracked up to be?

A local cyclist offers an intriguing analysis of why the Backbone Bikeway Network may not be the best thing for L.A.

I am simultaneously inspired and troubled by the hubbub regarding the Backbone Bikeway Network (BBN). It’s inspiring to see so many bicyclists working together for an ambitious unified citywide vision. On the other hand, some of the supporting rhetoric troubles me because it is packed with extremely simplified reactive viewpoints that are oblivious to the very large and very blatant barriers to progress for bicycling in Los Angeles…

Most importantly, although riding on secondary streets is not the same as riding on arterials, people who characterize it as inferior are wrong. A simple glance at the design guidelines in the New Draft Bike Plan reveals physical solutions that prioritize secondary streets for bicyclists, de-prioritizing them for auto-traffic. We don’t have to subscribe to the auto-oriented hierarchy of roads (i.e. freeway-highway-arterial-collector-residential). We are bicyclists! We are free! We can invent our own system. We can embrace the solutions that turn collector streets into bike boulevards and create a new world for ourselves, rather than futilely struggling to be part of one that is hostile to us.

Possibly the most egregious part of BBN support comes with the claim that it represents a “plan with a backbone.” Planning is more than drawing lines on a map. In a city like Los Angeles, it entails a mind-numbingly awesome amount of research and work, collaborating with various government branches and assessing the needs of myriad communities. Creating a plan that incorporates all competing interests takes time, effort and energy—not to mention risk of public shaming, which has happened plenty within the zany LA bicycle world. It isn’t easy to hash out specific solutions and details in a room with other people who disagree with you. It is much easier to insulate oneself in a room where everyone agrees with you, and it is even easier to mistake that insulation as strength.

It’s a well written and insightful criticism of a plan that has admittedly received an overwhelmingly positive response from the cycling community.

Myself included.

And whether or not you support the Backbone Bikeway Network, it’s worth reading all the way through.

From my perspective, what we need are a mix of arterials and secondary roads; overemphasis on one or the other won’t meet the needs of the city’s riders.

While many cyclists — myself included — prefer riding side streets, others may not, for a number of reasons. One of the many problems with L.A.’s roadway system is that side streets often stop and start frequently, and a street that is safe, wide and quiet can become narrow and crowded within just a few blocks. As a result, it can frequently be a challenge to get from one part of the city to another without riding primary streets.

And that, in a nutshell, is the biggest problem I, and many other cyclists, had with the last draft of the bike plan. While I liked the idea of bike-friendly streets and the collector system it offered, it lacked the viable cross-city routes we need to get to and from work and school, or just visit the many great neighborhoods and communities that make up Los Angeles.

It is also a misconception that the Backbone Network will require bike lanes along major boulevards, or the removal of parking or traffic lanes. Rather, it is, as I understand it — because I was not involved in either its creation or promoting it after — simply the recognition that these are streets that cyclists will use, and that they should be optimized in some way to make them safer and more convenient for riders.

In some areas, that could take dramatic forms, such as reconfiguring the roadway, while in others it may be nothing more than improved traffic signalization, better enforcement and signs saying bikes are allowed full use of the lane.

By itself, the Backbone Bikeway Network is not the solution to anything. But integrated into a network of bike lanes, bike boulevards, bike-friendly streets and off-road paths such as the Orange Line Bike Path or the planned Expo Line Bikeway, it could provide a way to ride safely through your own neighborhood, to get to and from the local market, or get to any other neighborhood throughout the city.

If the revised plan accomplishes that, it will be a huge step forward; if not, it will fail.

But if nothing else, the Backbone Network has succeeded beyond all expectations in one key way. For the first time, it had the entire city talking about making a place for bikes on the streets of L.A.

And that alone was an act of genius.

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The Press-Enterprise offers the most detailed report yet on the tragic death of pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado last week. The comments are another matter; some go out of their way to blame the victim for being on the road — or perhaps the planet.

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Two weeks, two wins — after winning the Tour of Flanders last weekend, Fabian Cancellara wins in a spectacular breakaway on the cobblestones of the legendary Paris-Roubaix classic, aka the Hell of the North.

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The UCLA Bicycle Academy looks at the new League of Bicycling Voters Los Angeles. Just because a rider is a woman or dressed for work doesn’t mean she can’t drop you. Is Orange County bike-friendly? The owner of the Tour de France will take over TV production for the Amgen Tour of California, which should mean better coverage for this year’s race. A New York bike messenger flew into a rage after chasing down a hit-and-run limo driver; naturally, the cyclist is arrested but the driver who hit him isn’t. A DC cyclist is intentionally run down by a driver who got out of his car and yelled an obscenity before fleeing the scene; fortunately, the rider was not seriously injured. Why Chattanooga is really is bike-friendly. Even in the 18th most bike-friendly city, cyclists face road rage and harassment. The senior Senator from Minnesota is a cyclist — and we had to learn this from a fashion magazine? The Miami schmuck musician who killed a cyclist earlier this year tried to flee the scene at over 80 mph with a blood alcohol level of .122. David Letterman’s alma mater is being terrorized by a bike-riding butt slapper. Baton Rouge hosts the first ever Velo Louisiane. In today’s sports news, it’s Cubs one bike valet, Dodgers zero. Biking through Alaska’s Denali National Park. While the British government is trying to get more people on bikes, they’re trying to get the postal service off. If cycling is to succeed, it must be reclaimed from “angry men with tiny bums.”

Finally, Aussie PSAs tell phoning and tweeting drivers, “Don’t be a dickhead.”

Anatomy of a bikeway — L.A.’s abandoned Class 1 bike path

In a city with so few bikeways, why would an off-road bike path over a mile long be forgotten — abandoned by cyclists and the city alike?

This Class 1 bike path runs south from Wilshire along Veteran, through the park, down Sepulveda, then several blocks west on Ohio.

Just a few blocks from the 275 foot long “stupidest bike lane in America,” you’ll find – if you look hard enough — a Class 1 bike path that should serve the massive biking population of UCLA, while providing a viable alternative to driving into car-clogged Westwood.

Yet few people even know it’s there.

It’s a bikeway that’s virtually unmarked, so hidden from view that I only found the final segment a few weeks ago when I decided to ride it from one end to the other.

This used to say Bike Path. I think.

Maybe I’m not very observant. Or maybe I just mistakenly assumed that a valuable asset like that would have signs indicating its existence.

Then again, I would also assume that it would be at least minimally maintained. While I understand that L.A. doesn’t have any legal responsibility to maintain any off-road path — having won their legal battle to absolve themselves of any liability for injuries suffered by cyclists — you would think common decency and human compassion would compel them to take some steps to protect the safety of those who might use it.

You would be wrong.

See any sign indicating a bike path? Me neither.

This path has been allowed to deteriorate to the point that it is virtually unridable in some places, putting the safety of less attentive riders at risk — particularly shameful since it runs through a public park and past a popular Little League field, explaining why most of the cyclists I’ve seen on it have been children.

This indentation is several inches deep — more than enough to catch the wheel of a passing cyclist.

However, the city may get an unpleasant surprise one of these days. Because the same law that the courts have ruled absolves the city of any liability for dangerous conditions on a Class 1 bike path also requires that adequate warning be provided for any known hazards.

And I can assure you that LADOT has been made aware of these conditions.

After all, I informed them myself.

One of the better sections of the path, and a great place to teach a child how to ride a bike.

And I saved a copy of the email, just in case anyone happens to need it.

……..

Bike Radar notes that two days remain to submit your thoughts on what constitutes harassment of cyclists on the streets of L.A. This year’s Amgen Tour of California kicks off with a Nevada City to Sacramento route on May 16. How to pee while riding your bike, male edition — step four, “Direct the stream away from you.”

If you want to keep cyclists from using a bike path, that’s a good way to do it.

A new book tells the story of how a masters cyclist recovered from a near-fatal broken neck to win 11 gold medals. South Dakota’s proposed three-foot passing law dies in committee. Forth Worth adopts a new bike plan with a 900% increase in biking infrastructure, including nearly 500 miles of on-street bike lanes. Central Oregon considers banning bike events on a popular racing route. A $10,000 racing bike stolen from Lance’s U23 development team is discovered in a Mexican flea market. Still drunk from the night before, a driver blames bright sunlight for why he struck and killed a Florida cyclist last fall. Biking continues despite the snowpacolypse. Finally, an Oxford, England cyclist has a unique approach to dealing with potholes — rather than complaining, he plants them with primroses. And You Are The Engine tells the tale of the first mile-a-minute cyclist, who accomplished the feat in 1899 by drafting on a steam engine train(!).

A cyclist on a bike can brake, turn or accelerate to avoid a collision; a rider walking his bike is a sitting duck if a driver runs the red light.

No signage indicating a bikeway here, either, but at least cars aren’t allowed on the sidewalk/bikeway. And yes, this is shown as a Class 1 bike path in the latest draft of the new bike plan.

These cracks rise several inches, and run most of the way across the path.

Note the faded yellow paint. Would you consider that an adequate hazard warning?

Now imagine encountering that after dark.

Of course, the crosswalk at Sepulveda and Ohio isn’t much better.

At Ohio, the bikeway turns west, sharing the sidewalk with pedestrians — few of whom seem to notice the faded markings on the cement.

At least this section has signs, though most people assume they indicate a bike lane in the street — which could be why most cyclists ride there, instead. And at the next intersection, cyclists going straight have to cross the path of drivers entering the VA grounds.

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