Tag Archive for Los Angeles City Council

Morning Links: Vote for Loraine Lundquist in CD12 today, more kindhearted people, and kick leads to shove in the UK

It’s Election Day in the Northwest San Fernando Valley, and there’s a stark differences between candidates.

As in, one is very bike, transit and environment friendly, and endorsed by both the LA Times and Bike the Vote LA.

And one isn’t. Which is pretty much all you need to know about the race.

So if you live in LA’s 12th Council District, get your ass out there and cast a vote for Loraine Lundquist today.

Because this one is too important to sit out.

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Kindhearted people seems to be the theme of the week.

More kindhearted cops, this time from my hometown, where police dug deep to buy a young couple a new tandem bike, after the one they got as wedding present was stolen, but too damaged to fix once police recovered it.

The Chicago Bears carried on a 15-year tradition by giving bicycles they used to get around during training camp to veterans and teenagers in need.

A London woman is looking for the kindhearted man who bought her a bicycle when she was a child refugee in the Netherlands back in the ’90s.

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When kick leads to shove. And kick. And shove…

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Local

No surprise here, as traffic collisions increased in the first full month after a road diet was installed on Broadway in Long Beach. Anytime there’s a major change to a roadway, you can expect an initial increase in collisions as drivers adjust to the new configuration. Which is why with most pilot projects, the data is only considered meaningful after they’ve been in place for awhile.

 

State

A San Diego woman somehow blames the bike riders she doesn’t see using bike lanes for the actions of dangerous drivers.

He gets it. San Jose traffic columnist Mr. Roadshow says delivery drivers and gardeners aren’t allowed to park in bike lanes with no parking signs. But the best solution is to install more protected bike lanes.

A San Francisco bicyclist joins up with a high-powered micromobility crowd on a scooter that tops out around 50 mph, and decides he’ll stick with human power.

Instead of fixing the roads, Sonoma County is appealing a court verdict awarding $1.9 million to a woman who suffered serious injuries when her bike hit a pothole, arguing it was her responsibility to avoid it. But it was their responsibility to ensure it wasn’t there in the first place.

 

National

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says we need more bike-friendly airports, saying riding to your flight is the ultimate in smugness.

Outside considers ten unusual bikepacking items that are worth the extra weight.

An Alaska blogger says you’re more likely to be killed riding your bike than in a mass shooting or by a serial killer, pointing out “there’s an El Paso every 11 days, a Dayton every five days. And no one gives a shit.” Ouch.

Let’s not get too specific, guys. A pedestrian in Salt Lake City suffered a serious head injury when she collided with someone on a bicycle. Or she could have been the person on the bike, and there may have been a car involved. Or not.

A Houston thief decided to trade down, leaving his bicycle behind when he stole a Chevy Tahoe after the driver left it running with the keys inside.

Life is cheap in Missouri, where man killed a bike rider while doing 93 mph in a 35 mph zone. And somehow ends up with a whole 100 days in jail.

Needless to say, it didn’t take long for the pro-Pence bikelash to roll in after America’s favorite seven-time ex-Tour de France champ claimed he blew the doors off the Vice President on a Nantucket bike path. Evidently, they failed to notice Lance’s tongue planted firmly in cheek.

A Connecticut bike rider was injured in collision with a bear; the scofflaw Smokey wannabe was reportedly wearing dark colors, had no license or insurance, and fled the scene after the crash. Seriously, bears should be required to wear hi-viz, be tested, licensed and insured, and wear numbered plates on their massive butts if they’re going to use our roads.

New York police “plan to throw the book” at an 18-year old muscle car driver who sped through a red light, causing the crash that killed a man on his bike who was waiting at the stop light. Unfortunately, given the limits of New York traffic laws, it may be a very small book. The driver’s defense should be that he was driving his Dodge Charger exactly the way Dodge says he should in their commercials.

Faded paint means some NYC bike lanes exist only on paper and in memory.

A New York project is preparing bike riders to act as bicycling rescue workers in the event of an emergency.

Great idea. A new Pittsburgh program encourages businesses to keep bike tools and patches on hand, and let bike riders use the restrooms and fill up their water bottles.

A Charleston SC columnist says bicyclists tick him off when he drives, but “you’d have to be President Donald Trump to be insensitive to the human carnage that’s taking place.”

 

International

A 30-year old BMX rider was killed when he fell off the Vancouver sea wall while attempting a stunt.

Seriously? A British jury let a truck driver off the hook for killing a bike rider in the equivalent of a right hook — even though the victim was doing everything right, and captured the crash on his bike cam.

Lots of people ride the length of Great Britain these days. But not many do it riding Penny Farthings.

An Irish paper says forget the expression that bicycling is the new golf; bike riding rates now exceed golf participation by more than two-to-one on the Emerald Isle. And it doesn’t have to be expensive.

A new $1,500 aluminum bike from a Swedish bikemaker is being made from old Nespresso coffee pods to send a message about the need to recycle.

A well-meaning New Zealand woman apparently makes a habit of telling bicyclists to wear their helmets because a family friend died while skitching — in 1929, when bike helmets didn’t exist. Although skitching was just as dangerous and foolish as it is now.

A 67-year old Japanese bike rider was killed, and a 27-year old man seriously injured, when a salmon driver slammed into their bicycles on a Tokyo highway; once police found the driver, he said he had no memory of the crash.

 

Competitive Cycling

Britain’s Geraint Thomas and France’s Julian Alaphilippe are the top names competing in this month’s four-day Deutschland Tour. Raise your hand if you didn’t even know there was a Deutschland Tour. And yes, my hand’s pointing to the sky. 

Italian cyclist Domenico Pozzovivo will miss the Vuelta after he became the latest pro cyclist to be hit by a driver while training, breaking his arm and leg. 

 

Finally…

If you’re going to steal a family’s bicycle after delivering their Amazon order, try to make sure you’re not on candid camera. Secure your bike with a 14-pound, angle-grinder proof kettle bell.

And yes, if the law says you have to wear a helmet, you have to wear a helmet.

Even if you’re the president of Russia.

 

Morning Links: Seattle jock attacks bike zealots, CD4 candidate offers hope, and LAPD ignores drivers to ticket bike rider

No bias here.

A Seattle radio jock says “bike zealots” are trying to force the city’s traffic problems on the the Bellevue area, apparently by calling for a road diet and bike lanes.

He also claims only 25 bike riders a day currently use the street in question, and doubts the number is likely to increase once the bike lanes go in.

Maybe someone should tell him you can’t judge the need for a bridge by how many people swim across the river.

Or if a new road is needed by how many people currently drive across the fields.

Then again, maybe he could learn something from the bikeway on Vancouver’s Burrard Street Bridge, which many motorists called an unnecessary failure on a road few bicyclists used when it opened ten years ago.

And now may be the busiest bike lane in North America.

All those bike riders must have been busy swimming against the tide a decade ago.

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CiclaValley offers a painful reminder that once upon a time, we actually had the mayor’s support for safer streets and hope for the future of our city.

Even if it does seem like a fairy tale now.

On the other hand, the following response to that tweet is exactly the attitude we need from our elected officials. And why Sarah Kate Levy has my personal support for LA’s 4th Council District set currently held by David Ryu.

Even if she isn’t one of us.

Yet.

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An LAPD cop ignored drivers rolling a red light, and ticketed the guy on two wheels for jumping the light by a few seconds.

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

Someone booby trapped a Colorado bike trail, stringing potentially deadly wires across the path at neck level; one bike rider was lucky to escape with a bloody nose.

Someone painted “No Bikes” on a Tulsa OK bike lane — and bizarrely, “Kayaks Only.”

Then again, the people on two wheels aren’t always the good guys. 

A man is under arrest for attacking a woman after colliding with her as he was riding on an Irvine bike trail; a Good Samaritan intervened to stop the assault and hold him for police.

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Local

No news is good news, right?

 

State

Calbike’s Dave Snyder says the Complete Streets bill currently under consideration in the state legislature would benefit bike riders and pedestrians.  Everyone else, too. One way or another.

No bias here, either. The story says very clearly that police in San Diego conducted a safety operation “focused on enforcing safety laws involving motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.” Too bad the headline is all about a crackdown on bicyclists and pedestrians.

Sad news from Bakersfield, where a woman has died nearly a week after her bike was struck by an alleged drunk driver.

Now that’s more like it. A new San Francisco program provides a variety of hand-cycles, side-by-side tandem bikes and adult tricycles for people with mobility-related disabilities during carfree Sundays in Golden Gate Park.

Streetsblog San Francisco calls for regulating killer trucks. Trucks don’t kill, drivers do. But no truck should ever be allowed on the roads with massive blindspots that can prevent drivers from seeing bike riders and pedestrians, or without sideguards to keep people from getting swept underneath.

Hats off to a Santa Rosa bike shop for giving a Utah triathlete a new $5,000 bike after her’s was stolen the day before the race.

Marin County sheriff’s investigator have released the name of a suspect who allegedly stole $25,000 worth of bicycles from a bike shop earlier this month; they’ve recovered the bikes from a storage shed, and have a warrant out for his arrest.

 

National

A new study shows falls at home are the leading cause of nonfatal head injuries in American kids. Which is why your kids should wear BikinginLA’s patented new HomeHelmet™ from the day they’re born until they turn 21.

Anyone who wants a 20 mph e-cargo bike for just $1,500 raise your hand. Sorry, I may be typing one-handed for awhile.

Evidently, bikes as props are a thing for scantily-clad models this year. Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Anne de Paula rides a bike in some exotic-looking beach location while wearing a “cheeky” one-piece swimsuit. Which may be a BikinginLA record for most hyphens in a single sentence.

Twitter erupted with predictable outrage after Arizona police announced plans to give good drivers faux tickets containing coupons for Circle K; the cops backed off after realizing the plan was of “questionable legality,” deciding they’d just stop bike riders and pedestrians instead. But if it’s questionable to pull over drivers who aren’t breaking the law, why wouldn’t the same thing apply to people walking or riding bikes? Or do civil rights only apply to people in cars?

Why bother breaking in to a Denver-area bike shop, when you can just drive a bus through the front door?

The death toll continues to climb in New York, where a 30-year old art teacher was killed when she was doored while riding her bike and knocked into the path of a semi for the city’s 18th bicycling death so far this year; New York Mayor de Blasio reminded drivers that it’s against the law to open a car door into the path of a bicyclist.

South Brooklyn community boards tell de Blasio where he can put his plan to expand protected bike lanes; apparently they don’t care how many bike riders die on the streets.

They get it. A Charleston SC newspaper says it takes a special kind of logic to reject a safety project over fears it would be unsafe, and that ignoring bike and pedestrian safety won’t fix anything.

For one brief instant, it seemed like we had reason to be excited, and maybe there was actually hope for Los Angeles. Except the new Complete Streets project is on the wrong Hollywood Blvd, in the wrong Hollywood, in the wrong state, on the wrong side of the country. 

This is why you always need to maintain your bike. A Florida man is dead after he threw the chain on his bike and fell into the street, where he was struck by a driver.

In yet another example of keeping a dangerous driver on the road until it’s too late, a Jacksonville FL man will face charges for the hit-and-run deaths of two women as they rode their bikes, after police found “biological material” in his shattered windshield; he has been charged with at least six other moving violations dating back to 1999.

 

International

A Vancouver man gets his bike back less than a day after it was stolen — and with a better front wheel — when a bike courier spotted someone riding it and negotiated its return for $60.

She gets it too. A Vancouver letter writer says “Maybe it’s time to end the debate of cyclist vs vehicle driver and just ask your city to provide safe infrastructure for both.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

It takes a real schmuck to steal a paraplegic’s custom adaptive bike from a Calgary hotel parking lot; the theft victim had continued to ride despite losing the use of his legs in a mountain biking accident three years ago.

Toronto newspaper readers go ballistic when a columnist suggests bicycles don’t pose the same threat to pedestrians that drivers do. The simple fact is, someone on foot is far less likely to be killed in a collision with a bicyclist than with a driver, for reasons that should be obvious. But it can and does happen. So it’s your responsibility to ride safely and carefully around pedestrians, who can be every bit as unpredictable as drivers think we are.

Huh? A British columnist bizarrely spends most of his column talking about smoking, vaping, coffee drinking and otherwise distracted drivers. But then says we should pity the drivers who get blamed for the sins of modern bike riders if they actually hit one. Personally, I’d rather pity the person who gets hit. 

So much for that. It only took 60 seconds to steal Dutch bikemaker VanMoof’s $3,000 theft-proof ebike.

The US has a long way to go to catch up with Poland’s glowing bike path.

Four people were seriously injured when a driver crossed over the center line and plowed into their bicycles in a Japanese tunnel; four other people were injured when a second driver crashed into his car, including a two-month old baby who suffered major injuries.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Sacramento Bee says the future of French cycling looks bright, even if the country had its Tour de France dreams dashed once again.

The Independent talks with a man who mentored new Tour de France champ Egan Bernal in his teens, and talked him out of giving up the sport.

The Washington Post examines 2016 Olympic cycling silver medalist Kelly Catlin and the massive hole left in the lives of her family and friends after she took her own life following a series of injuries, and the untreated depression that may have resulted from a concussion suffered during a bike race.

 

Finally…

We may have hit-and-run drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about hit-and-run deer. If you’re going to break into a garage and steal a bike, try not to leave a scent for the police dogs to follow.

And this is why country music is called three chords and the truth. Just hang up and drive already.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for that last video.

Morning Links: LACBC calls for action on safe streets, bad day for San Diego bike riders, and anti-bike victim blaming bile

My apologies for Friday’s unexcused absence. 

I was knocked on my ass by another bout with dangerously low blood sugar. Except this time, I couldn’t get back up. 

It took four hours, three fig bars and two cookies to get my blood sugar back up to a minimal safe level. 

Yes, it’s true. 

Your sweets are my life-saving medicine. 

And as anyone with diabetes knows, the toll something like that takes on your body lasts for hours afterwards. 

Which is all a long-winded way to say diabetes sucks. 

So get tested if you’re at risk or have a family history of the disease. Then do everything you can to get your blood sugar back under control, and keep it there. 

Because you don’t want this.

Trust me. 

Now let’s get on with today’s news. Because we have a lot to catch up on. 

Photo by Dan Fador from Pixabay

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We’ve waited a long time for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, aka LACBC, to step up and take any real action on our streets.

Including during my five-plus years on the board, when I fought a losing rearguard action to encourage them to stop working only behind the scenes, and take good fight to the streets.

It looks like that time is finally here.

They even make it easy for you by including the email addresses for the mayor and city council.

  • mayor.helpdesk@lacity.org
  • councilmember.cedillo@lacity.org
  • councilmember.Krekorian@lacity.org
  • councilmember.blumenfield@lacity.org
  • david.ryu@lacity.org
  • paul.koretz@lacity.org
  • councilmember.martinez@lacity.org
  • councilmember.rodriguez@lacity.org
  • councilmember.harris-dawson@lacity.org
  • councilmember.price@lacity.org
  • councilmember.wesson@lacity.org
  • councilmember.bonin@lacity.org
  • councilmember.Smith@lacity.org
  • councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org
  • councilmember.huizar@lacity.org
  • councilmember.buscaino@lacity.org

Let’s all take a few minutes and email the councilmember for your district. And remember, as the LACBC notes above, to include your address to prove you’re a real, honest to God constituent.

If you don’t live in Los Angeles, contact the councilmembers for any districts where you work or ride, and make it clear you want to be able to bike safely in the City of Angels.

I haven’t had a chance to write my email yet. But I’ll do my best to get it done today.

So I hope you’ll join the LACBC — and yes, me — in demanding safer streets for bike riders, and everyone else, throughout Los Angeles.

And maybe if we all respond, this won’t be the last time the LACBC tries something like this.

If you want to share your email on here, just let me know.

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Speaking of the LACBC, here’s your chance to tell them to form an associated 501(c)4, so they can engage in direct political action without risking their tax-exempt status.

SoCal’s largest bike advocacy group, the LACBC wants your comments on what direction they should take at a Community Input Forum on Saturday, July 27th, as they regroup to confront the challenges of bicycling in Los Angeles.

You already know what I think.

If not, read these last two sections again.

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Saturday was a very bad day in San Diego.

In what was initially a very confusing story, a 60-year old man suffered a life-threatening head injury when he allegedly descended too fast on a steep hill in the city’s Park West neighborhood around 3 pm, made an “unsafe” move to the right and somehow clipped a car mirror.

It made more sense when the Union-Tribune clarified that he clipped the mirror of a parked car; he was thrown several feet onto the pavement as a result.

Just three hours later, someone described only as a teenager was riding on Claremont Blvd in Kearney Mesa when he or she was struck by an SUV turning onto the northbound I-805 onramp; the driver claimed he didn’t see the victim until it was too late.

Which should be seen as a confession, but usually serves only as a Get Out of Jail Free card to absolve drivers of any responsibility.

The driver remained at the scene, while his passenger jumped out to perform CPR on the victim.

Naturally, the CHP investigators blamed the victim, saying he or she wasn’t riding in the crosswalk. Even though bike riders aren’t expected or required to use a crosswalk.

And even though bicyclists still get ticketed for riding in a crosswalk, which is legal in California following a recent change in the law.

It’s not the first crash at that intersection, either.

Early reports indicated the victim had died, but other sources revised their stories to say it was unclear whether or not the victim was still alive.

Sadly, it seems like prayers and good thoughts are called for in both cases.

Chances are, we’ll hear more about one or both cases in the next few days.

Thanks to JMK for the reminder about the deadly intersection.

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No bias here.

An anti-bike op-ed from an anti-bike writer in the generally anti-bike New York Post says it’s your own damn fault if you get killed.

The two things that might have prevented this horror — training and adherence to rules — are tellingly absent from the protesting cyclists’ list of demands.Not to put too fine a point on it, cyclists are frequently their own worst enemy, and their presence has made everyone less safe.

Of course, automobiles are more dangerous than bikes, but adding cyclists to the mix, many of whom refuse to obey traffic laws, has compounded that hazard.

Never mind that in many, if not most, of the New York’s recent bicycling fatalities the victim didn’t do a damn thing wrong.

But clearly, he doesn’t let that give him a moment’s pause.

When Mayor Mike Bloomberg began wedging bike lanes into our already crammed streets, it wasn’t to meet a demand — it was to create one. To promote cycling, he and then-DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, a bike enthusiast, threw caution to the wind and encouraged cyclists to hit the streets without so much as a helmet law, which might have deterred ridership, especially among the affluent, arrogant, scofflaw cyclists who want to use the city as their own personal racetrack.

Of course, only affluent people ride bikes.

Even though bike commuters are more likely to come from low income households, for reasons that should be obvious to anyone saddled with monthly car payments — let alone gas, insurance, maintenance and taxes.

And as well all know, anyone who rides a bike arrogantly insists on not getting killed by some random jerk. Like say, the writer of that piece, for instance.

It was a recipe for disaster, and the disproportionately influential, ceaselessly kvetching bicycle-advocacy groups capitalized on every heart-rending fatality to further their agenda.

Nobody elected the advocacy outfit Transportation Alternatives to speak for New Yorkers. It isn’t a safety organization, a cadre of seasoned city planners or even some impartial arbiter seeking what’s best for everyone; it’s a bunch of mainly upscale cyclists trying to make the city more navigable for themselves.

Actually, they did.

TransAlt is one of the nation’s largest and most effective alternative transportation and traffic advocacy groups, composed of thousands of average, everyday New Yorkers who elected the group to speak for them.

Then there’s this BS.

It’s not at all unusual to see them texting or riding hands-free as they careen through traffic. Close calls have become a daily occurrence, especially for the elderly and disabled, whose reflexes aren’t ideal for evading speeding cyclists.

Case in point, two months ago, 67-year-old Donna Sturm died after being mowed down by a cyclist who ran a red light in Midtown. If bicyclists can ride fast enough to kill, they ride too fast to enjoy exemption from the training, certification, insurance and identifiable licensing required for the use of every other vehicle on our streets.

Just wait until someone tells him about cars, whose drivers have killed far more New Yorkers than the single person killed by a jackass bike rider this year.

Not to mention that simply bumping into someone while walking can cause a fatal fall — as can tripping over your own shoelaces.

Which by his reasoning means that every person who steps out of their home or apartment must be trained, licensed, insured and certified.

Good luck with that.

We’ll leave the discussion on this final outpouring of faux journalistic bile.

Bike lanes haven’t made anyone any safer, but they have inarguably taken traffic congestion from bad to intolerable. The narrowing of our city’s critical arteries to accommodate a tiny minority whose vehicles are rendered impractical all winter and on rainy days seems to have been irrationally prioritized with regard to triage.

Maybe he should do just a little research before guessing like that. And missing by a mile.

But then, what would you expect from someone who pops up periodically with his anti-bike, but seems to be a ghost otherwise?

Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.

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A Bay Area bike rider was pleasantly surprised when another bicyclist returned his lost money clip, completely intact, just an hour after tweeting that it was missing.

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Driverless cars may not be coming anytime soon.

But a new company plans to introduce fully automated delivery pods in the near future.

And plans to take your hard-won space on the street to do it, knocking us from second class citizens to ranking somewhere behind a bunch of robots.

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This is who we share the roads with.

An Arizona man faces charges for swerving into a bike lane and killing a bike rider, while under the influence of a veritable pharmacopeia of legal and illegal drugs.

Taylor acknowledged taking methadone — a drug used to treat addiction — earlier that day, but he initially denied any other drug use. After failing several impairment tests, he was arrested at about 9 p.m., according to the report.

Taylor later tested positive for opiates, methamphetamine, amphetamine and methadone, the police report said. He told officers he had used meth and heroin earlier in the week before taking methadone the same day as the collision.

Police also found heroin and paraphernalia in his possession, according to the police report.

 

Let’s hope he can manage to get clean in whatever deep, dark hole they throw him in.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the worldwide war on bikes just keeps going on, as someone has been sabotaging popular British bike paths by placing medieval-style booby traps across the trails.

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Local

Mariah Banks pled not guilty in the hit-and-run death of Frederick “Woon” Frazier in South LA last year, despite reportedly confessing when she turned herself into the police weeks after the crash.

Metro wants you to help rank their priorities for Our Next LA.

An ebike magazine goes e-mountain biking with recently retired former LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who helped get the department back on bicycles.

Burbank is studying how to improve safety for people riding bicycles as part the city’s Complete Streets plan, while the mayor calls for “quick and dirty” solutions.

 

State

Speaking of San Diego, the city has made the first installment in the promise by city leaders to remake the downtown area to be safer and more inviting for people on bikes, with parking protected bike lanes, bollards and green intersections appearing on three streets.

A group of bicyclists are riding across the US to raise money for families in need, starting at the site of the Poway synagogue shooting.

A Santa Maria paper says people in cars may be safer, but bike riders and pedestrians, not so much.

Oakland promises its new equitable bike plan will be accessible to everyone, regardless of identity.

 

National

The new Complete Streets Act introduced in both houses of Congress would require states to set aside 5% of federal highway funds for streets that serve all road users.

It’s getting rough in the Great Plains, as a Kansas cop rear-ended a fleeing bike rider while driving on the sidewalk. And an Oklahoma cop tasered an apparently intoxicated bike rider who refused to stop, even though the victim didn’t pose a direct treat to to the officer or anyone else.

Someone please tell this Illinois TV station that sharrows are not bike lanes.

Pittsburgh bike riders are leaving their bikes on buses. Or someone’s, anyway.

A Pennsylvania doctor thanks the four strangers who saved his life when he was struck with a sudden heart attack while riding his bike.

Speaking for NIMBY’s everywhere, a Boston writer says don’t mess with our street, promising to fight plans for a road diet and bike lanes, in an apparent effort to keep it dangerous.

No shit. New York’s police commissioner agrees that the NYPD’s longstanding policy of ticketing bicyclists following a fatal bike crash is just a tad insensitive. You think?

The New York Times wants to know what the hell happened to a city that was supposed to be getting better for bike riders, while Bicycling says it’s shocking just how badly New York is failing people who ride bicycles.

NYC councilmembers want to ensure the city’s expanding bikeshare program serves low-income residents, too.

Does it really surprise anyone that cars — or more precisely, the people operating them — are more dangerous than guns on the streets of the Big Apple?

A homeless man in Louisiana learned the hard way not to stick around the parking lot begging for money after you walk out of Walmart with a stolen bike.

An op-ed in the local paper says people should warned explicitly that riding a bicycle just about anywhere in the Charleston SC area is inherently unsafe, while the paper hopes the third time is the charm to get approval for a bike and pedestrian bridge.

 

International

The good, the bad, and the ugliest bikeways around the world.

A Canadian driver swerved to avoid a crash as a group of Gran Fondo cyclists cut into his lane at the last second to avoid a fall in the peloton.

A Toronto newspaper politely explains the point of ebikes, calling them the great equalizer, while a writer in the city tries bikeshare for the first time, and decides it should be expanded.

A climate change protester shut down a British airfield for 20 minutes to protest a military air show as he road his bike on the runway, pursued by firefighters and service members.

A UK YouTube star became the first person in the country to be killed in an e-scooter crash.

Adding insult to injury, an English thief not only stole a teenage boy’s bike, he flipped the victim off while riding away with it.

Maltese bicyclists complain about dangerously substandard bike lanes. Especially the section that dead-ends into a brick wall. Oh, and the green paint is slippery, too.

An Indian ex-con hated life on the outside, and the abuse he suffered from his wife and kids, so much that he stole a bicycle to get back to his friends behind bars.

 

Competitive Cycling

Defending champion Annemiek van Vleuten won her second Giro Rosa in a row, only finishing out of the top seven twice in the ten-stage race.

In your spoiler-free Tour de France update, the difficult terrain on Saturday’s 8th stage shook up the standings.

Le Tour went gravel grinding last week, forcing French pro Romain Bardet well off the pace.

Amazing photo catches defending TdF champ Geraint Thomas in midair as he crashes, landing on teammate Gianni Moscon while snapping Moscon’s bike in two and sending him to the hospital.

Then there were three. Tejay van Garderen dropped out of the Tour de France after breaking his hand in a fall, leaving just three American cyclists in the raceVeloNews considers why such crashes are inevitable.

The newly reformatted Colorado Classic announced the course for the August race, as it transforms into a strictly women’s stage race.

Horrible news from the world of track cycling, where a 17-year old Italian cyclist was in intensive care after he was impaled when a piece of the track splintered and punctured his lung at the European U-23 and Junior Track Championships.

 

Finally…

Bike riders hardly ever crash into outdoor cafes, and when they do, the result is usually a little spilled coffee and avocado toast. Before you sell a bike on Letgo, make sure it’s really yours.

And this is who we share the roads with, too.

Note the bike tally on his door.

 

Morning Links: LA approves memorial signs instead of fixing streets, BAC agenda, and Yerba Buena Road closed

I honestly don’t know what to think about this one.

The LA City Council has approved a plan to replace ghost bikes with semi-permanent memorials to fallen bike riders.

The signs can be requested by the families of fallen bicyclists, memorializing the victim while offering a general nod to bike safety.

They’ll stay in place for five to seven years, after which families can pay to have them replaced.

However, a maximum of just 20 signs will be installed each year, which will barely keep up with the number of riders killed on an annual basis in Los Angeles.

According to LAist,

In an interview withKPCC’s Take Two, (Councilmember Bob) Blumenfield explained how the idea for the signs was borne out of a tragedy in Woodland Hills last April. On Easter Sunday, 15-year-old Sebastian Montero was struck by a car and killedwhile riding his bike on Burbank Boulevard.

Blumenfield was in contact with the boy’s family, as well as local police officers— together, they discussed ways to prevent future tragedies. 

“I’ve been to too many of those ghost bike ceremonies, and they’re heartbreaking,” Blumenfield said.

After one officer, Duke Dao, suggested the idea for the memorial signs, Blumenfield ran with it.

I’m told be someone who worked closely with Blumenfield on the proposal that he’s absolutely sincere in wanting to do something to both remember the victims of traffic violence, and keep it from happening again.

But a simple sign’s not going to do that.

Blumenfield is one of the city’s better councilmembers on traffic issues, and is working to get a bike lane installed where Montero was killed.

But many of his peers have taken active steps to block desperately needed, potentially life-saving bikeways.

Despite the unanimous vote to establish the memorial program, we have to wonder how many of the councilmembers voted for memorials to fallen bicyclists instead of taking active steps to prevent their deaths.

Because it’s a lot easier to put up a small memorial sign than to fix the roads to avoid the need for them.

Among those voting yes,

All voted to approve the memorials, while helping create — or at least not alleviate — conditions likely to require them.

Meanwhile, there’s a reasonable fear that the memorial signs will just blend into the streetscape, no more noticeable than the street signs indicating where police officers have been killed.

And if you haven’t seen those, that’s exactly my point.

Ghost bikes are intrusive and evocative. Granted, many drivers don’t know what they are. But once they do, they notice them every time they pass, and that drives the meaning home.

I’m not sure that will happen with these.

Especially if the limit of just 20 a year stays in place. It should be expanded to include not just those riders killed in the future, but the many riders who have needlessly lost their lives in the past.

And it should include pedestrians, as well, since they die in much greater numbers on LA’s mean streets than we do.

Maybe if hundreds of these memorial signs started to appear every year, blanketing every part of the city, people might finally get it. And realize that too damn many people are getting killed just because they rode a bike or went for a walk.

Then the council might finally do more than put up a sign.

Maybe.

Thanks to everyone who sent me links to this story.

Note: I’ve been reminded that today is the one year anniversary of Sebastian Montero’s death.

No word on whether the alleged speeding driver who killed him was ever charged.

Photo by Steve S

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The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee will hold its bimonthly meeting this Tuesday. As always, the meetings are open to the public, and you are encouraged to attend.

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Don’t plan on riding Yerba Buena Road anytime soon.

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Fed up with people driving under the influence, Taiwan is considering instituting the death penalty for killing someone while driving drunk or stoned.

I’d like to think that might actually make someone think twice before getting behind the wheel after drinking, smoking or downing pills.

But the threat of the death penalty hasn’t seemed to stop anyone from murdering other people.

So there’s that.

Thanks to Evan Burbridge for the link.

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Local

LAist notes the problems with LA’s troubled Vision Zero program, including a lack of social media presence for the past seven months. What the city doesn’t seem to get is that most of us really, really want to support Vision Zero LA — if they ever get their shit together.

Famed bike rider LeBron James has gone Hollywood, building a production company on the Warner Bros. lot that has made him a major player in the industry. Word has it he also plays a little basketball.

This is who we share the roads with. A 17-year old boy will likely face a vehicular homicide charge — or worse — for killing one person and injuring three others in a violent crash while apparently street racing in Woodland Hills.

Good for him. A chef at the Long Beach Gladstones will be joining this year’s edition of the 300-mile No Kid Hungry ride. You can donate to support his goal of raising $7,500 by next month’s ride, and help ensure every child has enough to eat.

State

What the hell is wrong with some people? An Irvine man will spend the next 50 years behind bars for killing the person he accused of stealing his bicycle, after vowing to do exactly that.

San Diego police are looking for a man who approached a nine-year old girl as she rode her bicycle and offered to take her to a game; fortunately, she knew to ride home and her parents called the police.

The San Francisco Chronicle complains about the mythical war on cars, exemplified by a discussion of congestion pricing. Never mind that congestion pricing is intended to help improve traffic flow, which is hardly anti-driver. Or that nearly 100% of the roads are already dedicated to motorists, and the rest of us are just hoping for a few crumbs.

Sad news from Selma, where a man was shot and killed while riding his bike Saturday night; police believe he was targeted by the killers.

An Oakland man was busted for trying to break into a secured bike storage area.

An Irish writer takes a ride through California’s wine country.

Even in bike-friendly Davis, local residents break out the torches and pitchforks following a road diet to improve traffic safety.

National

ABC New has caught up with what most of us already know — killer hit-and-run drivers seldom face jail time.

Small towns can have bikeshare too, thanks to a startup dedicated to bringing bikeshare to towns the larger providers pass by.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says Trek’s WaveCel claims aside, it’s better to get more asses on bikes than get more heads in helmets. Meanwhile, Bicycling lists the 16 best helmets you can buy right now.

NPR hops on the e-scooter injury and blocked sidewalks bandwagon.

A Tucson writer says a bike resort is a great idea, just not across the street from Saguaro National Park.

A Grand Junction CO shelter is helping to house homeless youths on Colorado’s Western Slope, while a local bike shop is reconditioning unwanted bikes to get them onto two wheels.

Two Kansas men were killed when a driver slammed into their bicycles from behind. No word on why the driver apparently didn’t see a couple grown men on bikes directly in front of him, but I’m sure we could all take a pretty reasonable guess.

An Oklahoma man learned the hard way not to wear a skull mask while carrying meth and weed on his bike. Although his lawyer might want to argue that simply wearing a mask, scary or otherwise, on a public street is not probable cause for a traffic stop. Which makes everything that followed moot.

Slate tells the tale of a bike-riding Ohio teenager who scandalized the nation by wearing bloomers to church.

An Ohio college student discovers you’re never too old to learn how to fall off a bike.

A ti bike from a Schenectady NY builder was the first place winner at the recent National Handmade Bicycle Show in Sacramento.

The upstate New York jerk who wrote a ten-year old boy a letter of non-apology after a judge let him off easy for sideswiping the boy’s bike will now have to perform community service.

A Bronx councilmember loses his perfect ranking from a conservation voters’ group for not supporting ebikes and scooters.

A New York cop resigned after getting caught writing a ticket to a nonexistent bike rider when he was actually still in the precinct. Then billing the city for the overtime he didn’t work.

Taking a cue from LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s playbook, Baltimore’s mayor decides to rip out a protected bike lane, and says no way to a planned road diet. Although to be fair, she’s replacing the protected lane with a painted green lane. And she gave it four years, while Garcetti removed the non-protected bike lanes and road diets in Playa del Rey after just one month of driver complaints.

New Orleans is slowly building a bicycle culture, though in typical Big Easy style.

International

A Vancouver radio station asks if bicyclists and drivers will ever see eye-to-eye. Short answer, not until people are required to ride a bicycle in city traffic before getting a driver’s license.

Vancouver’s former chief planner writes in praise of slow cycling and upright bikes.

Only after he passed away at the ripe old age of 93 on Saturday was it revealed that a Montreal man was the secret “Mr. Bike Man” who gave away over 1,700 bikes, helmets and locks to children in the Montreal area for the past 34 years.

This one’s hard to watch. A Brit bike rider gets hit head-on by a driver cutting a corner at an intersection, despite stopping at a stop sign and using daytime lights.

Britain’s anti-bike Lord Winston is back at it, renewing his call for all bike riders to be licensed and insured after claiming he was attacked by a woman when he reprimanded her for riding on the sidewalk. Except he never bothered to report it to the police and no one can seem to verify his claim.

French drivers are apparently vandalizing speed cameras, costing the country the equivalent of nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars. And it may have contributed to a jump in traffic deaths.

An automotive writer rides a borrowed Peugeot racing bike up France’s legendary Alpe d’Huez, and finds it a lot easier to do in a borrowed car.

Amsterdam plans to reduce driving by turning 1,500 parking spaces into trees and bike parking each year for the next six years.

Vitaliy Klitschko, former world heavyweight champ and current mayor of Kyiv — or Kiev, to most non-Ukrainians — is one of us, riding his bike to cast his ballot in this year’s presidential election.

American cycling legend and newly married Indian resident Alexi Grewal says bicycling is seen as a poor person’s vehicle, and that needs to change.

Sydney, Australia residents rise up against what they term a “nonsensical” bicycle superhighway, fearing it would somehow jeopardize pedestrians more than all those cars zooming past. Seriously, why is it that people continue to fight bike lanes that have repeatedly proven to be a net benefit to the surrounding community, regardless of any loss of parking?

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling Australia looks at the all-Type 1 diabetic Team Novo Nordisk, and how they overcome diabetes to ride competitively.

Chris Froome proved he’s comfortable in his domestique role, giving Team Sky leader Egan Bernal a ride back to the bus on his handlebars, after a mechanical forced Bernal to walk across the finish line.

The Australian press is suitably scandalized that Lance was paid $1.5 million in taxpayer funds to compete in the 2009 Tour Down Under, an agreement that was under seal for ten years.

Evidently, it’s considered bad form to toss another racer’s bike off the course after you crash with her, as Italian cyclist Elisa Longo Borghini learned the hard way on Thursday.

Finally…

Next time time you get attacked by a gang of kids, all you really need is a Good Samaritan armed with a bicycle seat. When the bike stencil doesn’t fit in the new bike lanes, it may be just a tad too small.

And taking a cue from Kafka, that angry driver may see you as a cockroach.

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

Morning Links: LACBC responds to LA worst bike city nod, Englander bails, and who we share the roads with

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition offered a response yesterday to Los Angeles being named the worst bike city in America by Bicycling magazine.

Worst Bike City in America Another Mandate to Make LA’s Streets Safer

Reading Peter Flax’s article “Los Angeles is the worst bike city in America” is not a wake up call for LACBC, but we hope it serves as one for some of our leaders. For those that work, partner, and volunteer alongside us, we’re highly aware of the dangers of biking and walking in LA, and care deeply about making our streets safer for all road users. Since 1998, LACBC has steadily grown our advocacy and education efforts around safe streets, with a re-focused commitment to equity and inclusion for the most vulnerable road users over the past three years. And while Los Angeles has seen some progress over our two decade history, having to see our friends and neighbors continue to die on our streets while walking and biking is not something we take lightly.

The October 10 article in Bicycling Magazine makes some excellent points, and speaks to the urgency regarding the state of our county’s streets and sidewalks. Working to advocate for livable streets in all 88 cities in LA County is a difficult task, but one from which LACBC does not shy away. Our team is proud of the framework our Interim Executive Director Janet Schulman and our Board of Directors are providing to the organization, and looks forward to ever-increasing our presence in making Los Angeles a better place to bike. During this time of transition, staff continues to focus on critical mobility justice issues.

As a 501(c)3, the LA County Bicycle Coalition is dedicated to helping our community identify and implement complete street changes that would make our streets safer for people walking and biking. Much of our non-profit’s time is focused on base-building and advocating for policies and practices that encourage safer street design and improve the community engagement process. This is work that takes years to develop and grow, and the programs are transforming Los Angeles’s landscape into one that supports a culture of complete streets.

Like you, we take great pride in being an Angeleno, and we’ll never tire in trying to make tomorrow better than today. We invite you to become a part of the movement for safer streets in Los Angeles, and to volunteer with us in making our streets safer for those traveling around LA County.

It’s not exactly the hard-hitting response we might have wanted. But it may be the best we can hope for as the coalition struggles without permanent leadership after losing two executive directors in the space of a year.

Meanwhile, there’s still no hint of a response from the mayor’s office, or any member of the city council.

Today’s photo, like yesterday, represents the massive fail of being named America’s worst bike city. And the repeated failures on behalf of city leaders that brought us to this point.

Maybe we’ll just keep using it every day until they finally do something about it.

………

Speaking of the city council, the only Republican on the panel, CD12 Councilmember Mitch Englander, announced he’s leaving the city council at the end of the year.

He becomes the second councilmember in recent years to blow off the people who elected him in favor of a higher paying job in the private sector.

………

This is who we share the roads with.

A Florida man was driving 100 mph in a 40 mph zone when he plowed into another car and sent it into a man walking his dogs on the sidewalk.

And was so drunk he didn’t even realize he’d suffered a compound wrist fracture, with the fractured bone breaking through the skin.

Blood tests afterward showed he had an alcohol level of .28, three and a half times the legal limit.

He had two previous arrests for DUI in Florida, as well as four DUI convictions in a ten year period in Virginia, along with another three for driving with a suspended license, earning him a whopping one year of probation.

He’s now facing charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, DUI causing serious bodily injury and reckless driving.

Just one more example of authorities going out of their way to keep a dangerous drunk driver on the roads until it’s too late.

And on the other side of the world, the passenger in a New Zealand contractor’s truck can be heard on video urging the driver to run over a bicyclist on the shoulder of the roadway.

The owner of the company responded by calling it “extremely embarrassing.”

Never mind how embarrassed he should be that his employees were stupid enough to post it online.

………

Local

L.A. City Councilmember José Huizar officially opened the new left-side Spring Street parking protected bike lane with a ribbon cutting in DTLA.

The LA Daily News reports on the ghost bike installation for Roberto Perez, the victim in Sunday’s Sun Valley hit-and-run. Now if we can just find the heartless coward who left him to die in the street.

North Hollywood residents will have more time to weigh in on the planned widening of Magnolia Blvd through the NoHo Arts district after people questioned whether it meets LA’s Vision Zero goals; you now have until November 26th to comment.

CiclaValley looks back at the recent NACTO convention in Los Angeles.

 

State

Orange County rapper Innate followed up last year’s solo album with a 5,000-mile bike ride across the US.

The California Coastal Commission has given its blessing to plans for a lane reduction, bike lanes and Complete Streets makeover of the Coast Highway 101 through Leucadia.

San Francisco’s new mayor shows what can happen when the mayor isn’t running for president, moving to speed up work on a pair of safety projects on Market Street. Maybe LA’s mayor could take notes the next time he has a layover at LAX.

JUMP is looking to hire a Market Entry Project Manager in San Francisco.

 

National

Bicycling repeats what we’ve been talking about all week. If you want to fight climate change, leave your car in the garage and ride a bike.

Three bike riders tell Bicycling what Coming Out Day means to them, and why it matters. I’ve had a number of deeply closeted friends over the years, and have seen close up the damage living a double life can do. And the relief that comes with coming out.

Singletacks talks with the executive director of Little Bellas, an organization dedicated to mentoring young girls on mountain bikes.

Outside talks with the professional race car driver who helped Denise Mueller-Korenek shatter the land speed record for a human-powered bicycle.

An Oregon FedEx driver is going on trial for failing to yield in the death of a bike rider; the case hinges on whether a bike lane continues through an intersection. But it’s still just a traffic citation, rather than a criminal case.

A Seattle TV station questions whether it’s really the best bike city in the US. On the other hand, a Seattle weekly doesn’t mince words, saying Bicycling is dead wrong about the city’s first place finish.

My hometown is just one of four Colorado cities that made Bicycling’s list of the 50 best bike towns in the US.

A Denver TV reporter bikes to work live on camera, then learns from angry viewers that the state didn’t actually legalize the Idaho stop, they just made it so individual cities could if they want. And so far, Denver doesn’t.

Residents of an Ohio city are unhappy with plans to relocate a bike path in front of their homesEven though studies show it will make their property values go up.

Akron, Ohio is right sizing the city’s streets by removing lanes and installing bike lanes. And without the near riots that accompanied LA’s attempts to do the same thing on the Westside.

Support is growing for a two-way protected bike lane on New York’s Central Park West.

The NYPD responds to Streetblog’s Freedom of Information request on its decision to “close critical Manhattan bike lanes” during last month’s United Nations General Assembly by telling them, in effect, to mind their own business.

He gets it. A Maryland university professor says the cities of the future should be built for people on two wheels.

 

International

A Canadian writer explains that there are good reasons why you don’t need a license to ride a bike.

European bike makers, bicycle tourism companies and nonprofit organizations have banded together to form an organization representing 650,000 workers to “unite all the private sector voices in cycling, behind one vision, in one structure.”

If you build it, they will come. London opened three new quiet ways across the city, as newly released figures show bicycling in the UK capital increased 8% last year. Los Angeles has no idea how much bicycling went up or down last year because they’ve never bothered to measure it.

Britain’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says traffic planners should consider the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, children and older people to improve safety.

British bike hero Sir Chris Hoy says it’s time to end the “us versus them” attitude between drivers and bicyclists. No shit. Especially since most of the latter are also the former.

A writer from the UK suggests that the 30-mile Sellaronda in Italy’s Dolomites may be the most beautiful bike route in the world.

 

Finally…

Why mountain bikers should be glad summer is over. And the forgotten era of women’s bike racing in the ’90s.

No, the 1890s.

Morning Links: Gaimon’s new Rules, distracted cop crash, Ofo kisses LA goodbye, and history of the Bike Oven

Before we get started, drop whatever you’re doing and check out today’s must-read piece, as Phil Gaimon rebuts the infamous Velominati Rules.

And completely and totally nails it.

Then again, as far as I’m concerned, he could have quit with Rule #10: “Don’t be a dick.”

Which pretty much covers every other rule. And everything else.

Go ahead, we’ll wait.

Former pro Phil Gaimon with a very odd bike helmet; photo shamelessly stolen from his website.

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Call it a Peculiar crash, indeed.

A bike rider was the victim of a seriously distracted Peculiar, Missouri cop, who turned into his bike as he was stopped at a three-way intersection.

The officer was suspended with pay after admitting on the video that he was texting at the time of the crash.

Thanks to Todd Munson, Jeff Vaughn, J. Patrick Lynch and Victor Bale for the heads-up.

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Chinese dockless bikeshare provider Ofo waves Los Angeles a fond farewell as the overextended company prepares to pull out of North America.

Thanks to Matthew Gomez for forwarding the email.

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A new video tells the story of LA’s groundbreaking Bike Oven.

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If you want to understand why LA City Councilmembers are able to act like little kings in their districts, and why it’s so hard to get anything done in this city, consider that we have the fewest city council districts of any major US city.

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Clearly, hit-and-run is not just an American problem.

Two American bike tourists were killed in Tajikistan when a driver slammed into the group of riders before fleeing the scene; two Dutch bike tourists were also killed, and three others injured.

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Local

Santa Monica’s city manager says SaMo is making progress dealing the the e-scooter phenomenon, calling it both a problem and an opportunity

Long Beach will host the LA area’s first nighttime open streets event with Beach Streets Twilight on August 25th.

 

State

A Bakersfield writer visits local advocacy group Bike Bakersfield, and discovers that bicycles are changing lives in the city.

A team of 11 people riding from Seattle to San Diego to raise awareness of sex trafficking pause in Santa Barbara to discuss the problem.

The speeding bicyclist who killed an elderly pedestrian in San Francisco several years ago, bringing scorn and derision on the Strava app, is now launching his own ten-part podcast to give his side of the story.

Sad news from Oakland, where a bike rider was killed in a hit-and-run, which apparently wasn’t deemed newsworthy by the local media.

 

National

When you’re a JetBlue pilot, your mountain bike flies for free.

Who says you can’t put a bike rack on a Vespa?

Forbes says bike-friendly apartments are popular with renters.

Next City says when you imagine who is biking in American cities, you’re probably wrong.

Streetsblog talks with Lime Bike Chief Programs Officer Scott Kubly, who says e-scooters are the next big thing.

The New Yorker takes an in-depth look at the extreme cyclists of the Navajo Nation.

A former player for the Arizona Diamondbacks is creating his own cross-country triathlon, starting with a seven-mile swim across the San Francisco Bay, followed by biking 2,344 mile to Chicago, then running the rest of the way to New York.

Houston police say noted cardiac surgeon Dr. Mark Hausknecht was targeted by the bike-riding killer who shot him as he rode his bike.

People can’t seem to figure out why there are stripes in a Texas bike lane. You’d think the local DOT might want to explain that before the paint went down. But evidently, you’d be wrong.

The Department of DIY strikes again, as Rhode Island residents install their own stop signs on a bike path where a six-year old boy was killed recently, rather than wait months to go through official channels; the state DOT says they can stay for now.

The Boston Globe says dockless ebikes and scooters don’t bite, so relax already.

They get it. A Virginia newspaper says the best way to reduce the severity of bike crashes is for everyone to slow the hell down. Okay, I may have added “the hell” to that, but still.

 

International

Call it urologist humor. A new study shows that a shock absorbing bike seat can help prevent erectile dysfunction in men due to uneven road surfaces, and genital numbness in both men and women. As well as helping make “cycling be less of a pain in the butt.”

The Guardian says road trips are even better by bike, and offers four more to add to your bike bucket list, including our own Route 66. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal recommends a bike tour through the “Tuscany of America,” while the Japan Times recommends the island of Kyushu.

Vancouver’s ex-city planner says streets should make people want to stick around. Not, say, drive through as quickly as possible, as with most of Los Angeles.

She gets it. A British Columbia automotive writer says drivers should be grateful that every bike rider takes a car off the road, even if the riders are doing it for their own benefit.

A Yukon mountain biker was lucky to make it back home after a stray bullet fired by a man sighting a rifle barely missed him. At least, we can all hope it was an accident.

Caught on video: After riding erratically, a Winnipeg bike rider crashes into a stopped car while fleeing from police, then takes off on foot. Watch carefully in the background, and you can see a passerby trying to roundup the rider’s stray wheel following the crash.

Montreal bicyclists are angry over getting banned from a historic cemetery due to the actions of a few riders, even though cars, electric scooters, dog walkers and picnickers are still allowed.

So much for the myth of the scofflaw cyclist. A new London study showed only a tiny fraction of bike riders rode faster than 20 mph on the city’s cycle superhighways, and the overwhelming majority obeyed traffic signals.

The Guardian’s Peter Walker asks why London’s Conservative mayoral candidates won’t embrace the city’s bicycle infrastructure, when the free-market case for it is so clear.

Hundreds of teenage bicyclists descend on a British city, wreaking havoc by surrounding cars and frightening drivers.

The Netherland’s world-standard bikeways are melting under Northern Europe’s unrelenting heatwave.

Cycling legend Gino Bartali is getting animated in a new film.

Abu Dhabi is getting bike friendly, as it nears the halfway mark in its goal of adding 500 bike racks throughout the city.

Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris is one of us; the women’s representative to the Kenyan parliament rode with the Nairobi Critical Mass last week.

Tests show ebikes could save Australian commuters up to $200 a week.

 

Competitive Cycling

Who says women are the weaker sex? An international team of women’s cyclists completed the entire 2018 Tour de France route one day ahead of the official Tour to show that women can handle the rigors of a Grand Tour.

Geraint Thomas made history by becoming the first Welsh rider to win the tour, as his TV announcer wife waited for him at the finish line in Paris. Although London’s notorious tabloid press was quick to paint him as a “self-confessed booze-loving party animal.”

Houston’s Lawson Craddock made history by becoming the first American to capture the Lanterne Rouge for finishing last in the Tour de France, and the first to trail the race from start to finish. On the other hand, he rode all but the first few kilometers with a broken shoulder blade, while raising more than twice the $102,100 stretch goal for a Houston velodrome.

Ireland’s Dan Martin beat out Craddock and a handful of better known riders to win the award as the tour’s most competitive rider.

Getty Images wants to introduce you to famed Tour de France superfan El Diablo.

In a great, if somewhat surreal, interview, the Irish writer who blew the whistle on organized doping in pro cycling — and lost his job as a result — talks with ex-Tour de France winner and current cannabis entrepreneur Floyd Landis.

The Conversation asks if pro cycling has a concussion problem.

This week marks the annual Big Bear Cycling Festival and the Tour de Big Bear.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to use your bike to commit a crime, take it with you when you go. Building a bike to survive the apocalypse.

And some drivers hide their license plates to avoid getting caught on speed cameras; bicyclists can just ride naked.

 

Morning Links: Possible LA bike registry, who we share the roads with, and a powerful call for traffic safety

The Los Angeles city council voted to reinvent the wheel on Friday.

Despite several free, nationwide bike registry programs — including Bike Index, which this site links to — the council voted to explore creating its own registry program.

Never mind that the cost of administering such a program would likely exceed the amount it would bring in.

Or that the city council cancelled LA’s existing bike registry nearly ten years ago after it was almost universally ignored, and nearly impossible to use.

And that police officers too often used it as an excuse to pull over and search bike riders of color.

Then there’s the problem that all thieves had to do to escape discovery was take stolen bikes to one of the 87 other communities in LA County, where the LA bike registry wasn’t used.

What’s really needed is voluntary, countywide — if not statewide — registry.

Until that happens, Los Angeles is a lot better off partnering with one of the existing free bike registries.

And promoting the hell out of it.

Full disclosure: Neither this site, or I personally, receive any compensation for hosting the Bike Index bike registration program here. I just effing hate bike thieves, and want every stolen bike to find its way back home.

………

This is who we share the roads with.

A road raging Denver driver fatally shot a 13 year old boy, and injured three other members of the boy’s family after following them to a parking lot and briefly arguing with the boy’s mother. Then told police he has mental health issues after admitting to the shooting.

So why was he allowed to own a gun — let alone drive a car?

Meanwhile, a Toronto bicyclist was tailgated through a narrow alley by a driver who kept honking his horn, and yelling “Looks like another dead cyclist.”

And commenters fall over themselves congratulating an Indiana state trooper after he tweets about ticketing a driver for not speeding in the left lane. Thanks to Chris Klibowitz for the heads-up.

………

Powerful piece from a Toronto columnist, who says we know how to make roads safer, we just have to do it.

He writes that New York eliminated fatalities on Queens Blvd, aka the notorious Boulevard of Death, where 186 people were killed between 1990 and 2014.

How did they do it? As summarized by the Times, they narrowed and removed some car traffic lanes, and decreased speed limits by five miles per hour. They increased the amount of time given to pedestrians to cross the street and increased the number of pedestrian crossings. They redesigned sidewalks at intersections to narrow the crossing in some places. They introduced bike lanes and larger medians protected by barriers to the road. They added cameras with photo radar near schools.

If you want to make roads safer, you can. How to do it is not a mystery. Slow traffic down through laws, enforcement and — especially, crucially — design improvements. Put infrastructure on the street to protect cyclists and pedestrians. Pay close attention to intersection design. Voila.

He goes on to add that Stockholm, Sweden, the birthplace of Vision Zero, has a fatality rate just one third of New York or Toronto.

Stockholm didn’t cut its fatality rate dramatically by educating people and more strictly enforcing laws. The Swedes did it by slowing urban traffic and by re-engineering their roads to reduce serious injuries and fatalities. “Most of the people in the safety community had invested in the idea that safety work is about changing human behaviour,” Matts-Ake Belin, one of the architects of the program, told CityLab in 2014. “Vision Zero says instead that people make mistakes … let’s create a system for the humans instead of trying to adjust the humans to the system.”

Lower speeds, better protections, designs that discourage collisions and encourage safety.

We know what works. We can see its success even on the so-called Boulevard of Death. The obstacle to ending our own killing streets is not knowledge. It’s caring enough to bother applying it.The

Maybe some day, Los Angeles will care enough, too.

………

Organizers of a British triathlon threaten to permanently ban racers who were responsible of undertaking a woman riding a horse on a trail, crashing into the side of the horse in their rush to pass unsafely.

And yes, both the horse and its rider were wearing hi-viz.

Seriously, it takes a special kind of schmuck to pull something like this on a public right-of-way, race or not.

………

Local

Metro is teaming with the Mid City West Neighborhood Council to offer a free class on how to ride safely on city streets; participants will also receive a free helmet and bike lights.

The executive director of Los Angeles Walks calls for dedicating one or two parking spaces per block for shared bikes and scooters, rather than parking them on sidewalks.

Yo! Venice reports bike theft is on the rise in the seaside community, which is already one of the city’s hotspots for bike theft. And recommends registering your bike to help get it back if it’s stolen.

 

State

A Fresno bike shop’s troubled spring took a turn for the worse when one of their customers collapsed and died on one of the store’s group rides; a fundraising page has raised over $1,700 of the $2,500 goal for his family.

A San Francisco bike rider is suing the city and county, as well as a construction company, after she broke her wrist falling on debris in a construction zone.

Caltrans will widen shoulders and install bike turnouts along Highway 1 in Marin County to improve bike safety, as well as installing “mumble” strips along the center line, which are quieter than rumble strips.

 

National

GeekWire tries out one of Uber’s Jump dockless bikeshare ebikes as they begin moving into Seattle. The bikes are already available in the Bay Area, but haven’t begun a southward migration yet.

A retired Kentucky journalist discovers that he lives just off a US bike route, and stumbles onto a cross-country Bike MS ride.

Milwaukee bike advocates have declared 100 Days of Biking to celebrate the trails, rides, events and people that make the region special.

The son of the founder of Crain’s Detroit creates a lot of pro-bike blowback after his myopic, windshield-biased screed complaining that city planners are “discriminating against cars in favor of two-wheeled transport.”

An eight-year old New York program extends the joy of bicycling to people with visual or physical disabilities by pairing them with a partner on a tandem bike.

Despite needing a number of improvements, bicycle traffic often exceeds motor vehicle traffic during rush hour on New York’s Chrystie Street, where a protected bike lane was installed two years ago.

 

International

A stuntman offers advice on how to crash your bike while keeping your body and dignity mostly intact. I offer my own hard-earned lessons on how to crash on the Survival Tactics page above.

A Vancouver TV station says ebikes are revolutionizing people’s commutes.

While Vancouver residents prepared to celebrate a pair of Car Free Day open streets events, a local TV station can only see through the prism of their own windshield bias, warning of a traffic hell for motorists.

Saying “this is why we can’t have nice things,” organizers threaten to pull the plug on a popular Windsor, Ontario bike ride because of the behavior of a handful of riders.

The Montreal Gazette examines how to coax commuters out of their cars and onto bikes.

Toronto condo owners are being warned not to trust locked bike rooms in their buildings, which are being targeted by thieves. Which is fair warning for bike riders anywhere — don’t trust bike rooms or garages without extra security of your own.

A 13-year old boy was arrested in the death of a Toronto bike rider who was intentionally run down, then kicked, beaten and stabbed by the occupants of the car.

A UK bike rider says the country’s mental health services have failed him, as he’s suffered from PTSD after finding the body of a suicide victim while biking to work two years ago.

A British reporter discovers first hand the abuse and harassment women on bikes experience on a daily basis.

A researcher calls for a mandatory helmet law in Norway, after a meta-analysis shows helmets reduce the risk of head injuries by 60%. Even though the experience in other countries shows that helmet laws reduce the injury rate by reducing the number of people riding.

A riot broke out at an Eritrean cycling festival after opponents of the country’s president barged in throwing bottles, food and beer kegs; nine people were injured, including children.

Another ride to add to your bike bucket list — experiencing the unique biology of Madagascar by bike. And as long as you have your bucket list out, here’s eight more epic cycling tours around the world.

In a major turnaround, two-thirds of Aukland, New Zealand residents now believe bike lanes are good for the city and would welcome them in their own communities. This should be a lesson for Los Angeles; the opposition to bike lanes disappeared as more were built and people began using them.

An Aussie columnist says it’s time to end the bad blood between drivers and people on two wheels. Funny how it’s only the ones who ride bikes who call for a truce on the streets; it’s almost as if most drivers don’t even know there’s a problem.

Caught on video: A Perth, Australia bicyclist was lucky to escape with a case of ‘roo road rash after becoming the latest victim of a jay-jumping kangaroo.

A Japanese newspaper says the best way to explore Okinawa is on two wheels.

Seoul, Korea was expecting 5,000 bicyclists for a 13-mile annual bike parade on Saturday.

 

Competitive Cycling

A Scottish cyclist broke the 97-year old hour British hour record — on a Penny Farthing.

 

Finally…

Now your bike can have its own little house, just like the dog. If you’re going to ride on the freeway, at least take the lane.

And I’d be pretty pissed if bike riders whizzed near me, too.

Another open letter to Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council of Los Angeles #CrashCityHall

There wasn’t time to get all the #CrashCityHall letters online last week.

So we’re going to post the remaining letters over the next few days — starting with this powerful post from registered dietician and endurance cyclist Matt Ruscigno, founder of LA’s iconic Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hillclimb. 

………

Dear Mayor Garcetti and City Council of Los Angeles,

I’m writing to you today as a long-time resident of our wonderful city, a public health expert, and a recent victim of an inattentive automobile driver. That collision left me with 16 broken bones requiring 6 nights in the hospital, a chest tube, and a surgery to install metal plates in my shoulder and collarbone. If I weren’t a skilled cyclist, I would probably be dead.

It’s easy to dismiss this as an ‘accident,’ but the statistics on the number of people injured and killed by automobile drivers in Los Angeles paint a different picture. This is a public health crisis. Yet we know how to fix it:

  • Reduce automobile speed limits
  • Invest in infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians
  • Reimagine public space to focus on people, not automobiles

Los Angeles and California are leading the way in reducing automobile emissions but are falling behind (see London, Bogota, New York, Copenhagen for examples) when it comes to the public health issue of people dying in the streets because automobile speed and convenience is prioritized over human safety.

Los Angeles is a beautiful city with near perfect weather for cycling and walking year round. And we are simply running out of space to store and transport personal automobiles. The benefits of building infrastructure that makes human-powered transportation more accessible are well established:

  • Improved air quality and lower rates of asthma, especially among children
  • Increased physical activity that lowers risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other chronic diseases
  • Fewer automobile collisions that result in injury or death of our most vulnerable road users

The potential to transform our city is awesome, in the true sense of the word, but it won’t be easy. Copenhagen didn’t become a place where 24% of city trips are taken by bike overnight. It took strong leadership and knowledge to re-imagine how city space is used. This isn’t about cyclists versus drivers; it’s about making it easier for more people to walk and bike more often.

The statistics are there: something needs to be done, and soon. We can build on what other cities have done and apply it uniquely in our wonderful city. There are thousands of us here to help, but we need leadership from our elected leaders. There simply isn’t enough space in the city to keep prioritizing automobiles, so the question is, how many more people have to be injured or killed before we start taking concrete steps? I hope we can do this soon as I’d hate to see a single person go through the pain I’ve experienced over the last 5 weeks.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Matt Ruscigno, MPH, RD

 

An open letter to Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council of Los Angeles #CrashCityHall

No Morning Links today, as we get ready to #CrashCityHall Friday morning. Hopefully we’ll see you there; if not, I’ll see you back here on Monday.

What follows is my letter the mayor and city council. And we’ll feature some of the late arriving letters next week.

………

May 18, 2018

Dear Mayor Garcetti and the City Councilmembers of the City of Los Angeles,

Howard Beale may have been a fictional character, but he might as well be a citizen of Los Angeles trying to survive on our deadly streets.

Because like many other residents of this great city, I’m tired of living in fear for my own life and the safety of others on the streets and sidewalks of L.A.

And like Beale, we’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore.

We live in a city where for too long, the movement of motor vehicles has been prioritized over the safety and movement of human beings. To the point that too many people who drive feel they own the streets, and everyone else has an obligation to get out of their way.

Unfortunately, too many members of our city council seem to agree. If not in their words, then by their actions.

The elected leaders of this city have voted to adopt Vision Zero, but failed to adequately fund it. You’ve adopted the 2010 Bike Plan and Mobility Plan 2035, but failed to build it. You’ve adopted Complete Streets policies, but failed to support them when it came time to put paint on the street.

And you hired one of the leading traffic planners in the United States, but you listen instead to the complaining voices of untrained motorists who don’t want to be delayed for a few moments on their commute. Even if it means saving the life of another human being. Or their own, for that matter.

As Stevie Wonder put it, “If you really want to hear our views, you haven’t done nothing.”

So let’s be perfectly clear.

Many, if not most, of the people you were elected to represent may drive cars. But we are all human beings, some of whom bike, some of whom take transit, and all of whom walk.

And none of whom want to bury a loved one or feel threatened on the streets. Yet too many of us do, every day.

As a human being, I don’t want to see one more needless death or injury on the streets of Los Angeles. As a taxpayer, I don’t want my city to waste one more penny on the needless lawsuits that result.

And as an Angeleno, I want safer and more livable streets for all of us.

When you side with the traffic safety deniers, who like climate change deniers, reject the proven science of traffic safety and urban planning, and insist on their right to drive with the pedal to the metal, you are choosing their convenience over the safety of literally everyone else.

And failing the people who voted you into office, and who you were elected to serve.

The people who have written the letters in this packet, and those who will speak before the council today, are not activists. We are the citizens of Los Angeles, who are sick to death of being treated like second class ones at the expense of motor vehicles.

We know that failure to take action now to build Complete Streets and provide safe, viable alternatives to driving that allow Angelenos to choose to leave their cars at home will inevitably lead to a dystopian, smog-choked and gridlocked future.

Because right now, traffic in Los Angeles is as good as it will ever be, as more and more cars are added to an already built-out traffic grid.

Only you can prevent the inevitable failure of a once-great city by taking action right now to ensure the safe, livable and prosperous Los Angeles we all want.

We understand that takes courage to do the right thing in the face of public opposition. But you weren’t elected to blindly follow the voices of those who scream loudest.

Anyone could do that.

You were elected to lead this city. To carefully examine the issues and make the tough decisions that will benefit your district, and all of L.A.. And make this the city that it can and should be, for all of us.

We are your constituents. We don’t want to be the victims of your inaction.

And we’re not willing to wait one more day for safer streets for our children, parents, families and friends.

So we ask you, today and every day, to have the courage to do the right thing.

We’ll have your back when you do.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers

BikinginLA.com

Council District 4

………

One more brief note.

This may be the best letter we received for #CrashCityHall, even if it is the shortest.

Dear Los Angeles,

Please be so kind as to stop killing cyclists and pedestrians.

NOW.

Sincerely,
Marvin D
San Diego, CA

Guest Post: The fourth open letter to the Los Angeles City Council #CrashCityHall

Dear Mayor Garcetti and City Council of LA,

In an effort to “be the change you want to see in the world,” I sold my car ten years ago and have since used my own feet, a bicycle, or the transit system to get around.  While the results of this have brought the most rewarding experiences of my life, it has also been a struggle to live without a car in a car’s world.

Drivers are becoming increasingly more distracted, careless, unsympathetic and enraged.  These behaviors cause not only car accidents but the deaths of cyclists and pedestrians, who travel without the protection of metal armor.  Why do drivers feel so entitled to the roads?  Why is this set of traits common in the majority of car owners?  It’s easy to see the answer on the streets – they’re designed specifically for cars.  With lanes designated for driving, turning and parking, there’s often no space left for a bicycle to squeeze through.  And pedestrians must be defensive even when walking through a crosswalk with a walk signal.  Drivers are impatient to share the road when they believe it belongs to them.

Every time you see a cyclist in the streets of LA, please understand the fear we’ve overcome to be there.  Please know that we have been spit at, screamed at, sworn at, had objects thrown at us, been told to “get off the road,”  have had way too many “close calls,” or have lost a fellow cyclist to careless driving or road rage.  And yet we’re still out there.  As pedestrians and cyclists we’ll continue to defend our space on the streets, but we would truly appreciate some help from our representatives.  Please take some steps to create streets that belong to everyone.   A city’s priorities are evident in it’s infrastructure and use of public space.  If you, dear City Council Members, were to add more bike lanes, create some road diets, invest in green spaces instead of parking lots – think of the message you’d send.

Sincerely,

Amanda Gohl

Pico-Union, Los Angeles, CA 90015

………

Join us tomorrow as we #CrashCityHall to demand safer streets, and urge city leaders to have the courage to do the right thing. 

  • Los Angeles City Council
  • Los Angeles City Hall
  • 200 N. Spring Street
  • 10 am
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