Tag Archive for Los Angeles City Council

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

We’re less than two days away from CrashCityHall on Friday to demand safer streets for people on bikes, on foot, and everyone else.

If you’re as mad as I am about the needless risks bike riders and pedestrians face on our streets — and the lack of action from city leaders — I hope you’ll join us as we crash the 10 am city council meeting. And urge the mayor and city council to have courage the courage to do the right thing. 

Since many people can’t be there in person, I’m accepting letters from people who want to have their opinions passed on to the council members at the meeting. 

Here’s the third of those #CrashCityHall letters, from Sean Meredith.

……….

From: Sean Meredith
Los Angeles, CA 90027

To Mayor Garcetti and all Los Angeles City Council members:

Ten years ago, for a combination of reasons, I began commuting by bicycle. This harrowing and freeing experience changed me even more than fatherhood. I began to open up to the inequities in our transportation system. For myself, I was willing to risk my life riding and being a second class citizen. But when I imagined myself in the shoes of people who had no option to drive a car. I thought that these folk should be able to get to school, work, or wherever they’re going without dying or feeling constantly threatened. I have since dedicated most of my free time to making biking and walking safe for people of all abilities and ages.

Our car culture is dangerous. And the safety deniers who will trample over anyone’s life to keep the status quo of car dominance are a threat to the future of our city and our world.

Ensuring that public spaces truly serve the people is vital to our daily lives and the future of our planet. This requires our society to confront its expensive commitment to modes of transportation that strangle our communities and warm our climate: cars. Making our roads safe for all users immediately improves mental and physical health outcomes for people of all ages, lessens cancer causing pollutants, and reduces carbon emissions. A world class city where walking is pleasurable, biking is viable, and public transportation is reliable will lower automobile dependency and contribute in the Oight against climate change.

In Los Angeles, pedestrians and cyclists are involved in 14% of trafOic collisions but account for 51% of the fatalities. Hundreds of lives are lost every year and hundreds more families are shattered by these tragic outcomes. Livable streets create community, support local businesses, and are a welcoming environment for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities. As transit consultant Jarrett Walker describes it, a modern city does not have the “geometry” to solve car congestion. Our best option is to develop safe, environmentally friendly alternatives.

Families who want safe streets for all are demanding courage and leadership from our city. Now is always the time to act.

Kindly,
Sean Meredith

………

There’s still time to submit a letter demanding safer streets for bicyclists, pedestrians and everyone else if you can’t #CrashCityHall in person this Friday.

Just email it today to ted at bikinginla dot com.

I’ll print it out and include it with the packages we’re giving each councilmember and the mayor containing copies of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing.

A couple quick tips:

  • If you can, try to work in the theme of our protest by asking them to have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Mention what council districts you live, work or ride in.
  • Stress that safer streets benefit everyone, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars.
  • Feel free to (politely) express whatever anger or fear you may be feeling
  • Demand they take immediate action to protect us all

And let me know if it’s okay to share your letter on here. I’ll be happy to put it online as a guest post leading up to Friday’s council meeting.

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

Recently, I announced my intention to #CrashCityHall this Friday to demand safer streets.

And invited anyone who’s just as mad as I am about the needless risks bike riders and pedestrians face on our streets — and the lack of action from city leaders — to join me. And tell the mayor and city council to show have courage the courage to do the right thing. 

Since many people can’t attend a 10 am city council meeting, I’m accepting letters from people who can’t make it, but still want to have their opinions passed on to the council members at the meeting. 

Here’s the second of those #CrashCityHall letters, from Doug Moore.

………

May 18th, 2018

To Mayor Garcetti and all Los Angeles City Council members,

I write you today in an effort to get you to start thinking about how dangerous our car culture has become in Los Angeles. And to urge you, our city leaders, to implement ways to make our streets more safe for all that use them.

In so doing, these changes will bring other qualities such as reduced car noise, nicer public spaces, better air quality and stress free walking, cycling, jogging and dog walking –and yes, driving.

Being a cyclist, I am very aware of how badly our streets and boulevards have suffered because of the amount and speed of traffic.

I live in Tujunga, CD7, Council Member Monica Rodriquez district. Each morning, I bike a short way on Foothill Blvd to board LADOT Express Bus 409 to DTLA.

I de-bus at the Glendale Park & Ride, prep my bike then cycle 13 miles to my office at USC.

I travel through Glendale, to Eagle Rock Blvd/Cypress Ave (Council District 14, Jose Huizar) to the Broadway Bridge into Chinatown (Council district 1, Gil Cedillo) to Hill street, then to Olympic Blvd then Figueroa (Council District 9, Curren Price) and finally to campus. In the afternoon I reverse this trip – with a slightly different route. On Fridays I drive.

I would like to provide the following undisputable facts, that come from years of this type of cycling, this type of intimacy with traffic, this type of exposure to our roadways:

  • Our streets are more dangerous than they have ever been – mostly because of excess speed.
  • Drivers are more distracted than ever before in our city’s history.
  • Motorists are driving while smoking weed. Alot!
  • Many drivers are attentive and share the road. But there is a disturbing trendwhere higher numbers of drivers are doing just the opposite.
  • Painted cycling infrastructure such as “Sharrows”, striped lanes, colored lanes,pedestrian crosswalk demarcation & similar are often seen as ‘optional’ for motorists.We all know about the latest trend of motorist hit-and-run tragedies. These have left other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists severely injured or dead.Here in Tujunga, in April, a DOUBLE FATIL hit and run occurred on Foothill Blvd. The driver, as of this writing, has yet to be apprehended. An innocent couple, engage to be married have perished from our community.

Where has this selfish, narcissistic attitude from drivers come from?

We all know about the speed of traffic on major roads and boulevards is dangerous even at legal limits, but when most drivers are 10, 15, or even 20 mph above and beyond, the danger level is unacceptable.

Where does this need-to-speed attitude come from?

We all know about the horrible traffic congestion in our city and how it continually downgrades the quality of life here. We skip get-togethers. We forgo dinners and kids sports and other social engagements across town – because “the traffic getting to the Westside from Eagle Rock is a nightmare”.

It’s not funny anymore. It’s a serious soul-sucking way of life in our city. Why have we surrendered our social connections and quality of life?

The answer to all these is the same: Our run-away, out-of-control car culture. We’ve reached “peak-car” in our city.

I know that you, leaders of this city, who are smart and insightful and understanding, know this too. You can see it as we all do.

We must start to make changes. I don’t have all the answers, but there are ideas out there that organically reduce traffic speeds. That help separate cars from people walking. Jogging. Cycling. Walking the dog. That make our public roadways safer for everyone who uses them, including motorists.

Widen the sidewalks, not freeways. Add separated bike lanes, not car lanes. Make streets and boulevards pleasant. Green with more trees and shade. More quiet to provide a nice place to shop. To hang-out with neighbors. To read on a bench.

As far as safety, traffic cops at critical intersections help so much! Intersections are where many of the dangers lie for cars vs walkers and bikers. I love seeing these guys when approaching an intersection, whether by car or on bike. Everyone is instantly on best behavior and courteous.

Getting buy-in and approval on these changes is the hard part, of course. Motorists tend to seethe at reduced speeds and “perceived” increase in commute times. Reduced lanes. Less parking. But this is the right direction for Los Angles. The right thing to do in your district.

We’ve tried over and over to increase the car infrastructure thinking that these projects would help. Did widening the 405 Fwy really help? What a huge, expensive, time consuming project.

It’s time to swing the other way on transportation projects. Less “car-centric”, more “people-centric”. Motorists are people too, and they’ll appreciate these changes.

When faced with options in difficult circumstances such as this, an upside is this: it’s always easy to pick out the correct option. It’s the one that tends to be avoided. It’s the one we put at the bottom of the list. It’s the one that’s the hardest.

Why? Because the right thing to do is always the hardest thing to do. That’s a fact of human nature.

I know you are thinking: “Change the car-culture, yeah, right.” But it can be done. In bits and pieces. You will gain converts. It can build momentum and you must try, as lives of our residents are depending on safe passage to work, school and the market.

In the book “Profiles of Courage”, check out the examples of other great leaders, who have acted bravely. Acted with integrity. Gone against the opinions of their constituents to do the right thing.

As a cyclist (yes and a motorist too) I am growing weary of seeing yet more Ghost Bike installations that signify the death of a fellow rider.

As a motorist, I’m continually saddened and outraged to see yet another makeshift memorial of candles, Crosses and flowers where a Mom or Dad or son or daughter or young couple was killed in a crosswalk.

We can do better and am counting on you all to have the courage to do so.

Thank you for your time today. Be brave. Do the right thing. And finally, a reminder that it’s Bike Month. Get out and ride. You’ll be glad you did.

Sincerely,

Doug Moore, cyclist, motorist, pedestrian, resident

………

If you can’t #CrashCityHall on Friday, email a letter demanding safer streets for bicyclists, pedestrians and everyone else to ted at bikinginla dot com by this Wednesday.

I’ll print them out and include them with the packages we’re giving each councilmember and the mayor containing copies of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing.

A couple quick tips:

  • If you can, try to work in the theme of our protest by asking them to have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Mention what council districts you live, work or ride in.
  • Stress that safer streets benefit everyone, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars.
  • Feel free to (politely) express whatever anger or fear you may be feeling
  • Demand they take immediate action to protect us all

And let me know if it’s okay to share your letter on here. I’ll be happy to put it online as a guest post leading up to Friday’s council meeting.

Morning Links: Motions to inspect broken bike lanes move forward, and keeping dangerous drivers off streets

Maybe our broken bike lanes might get fixed after all.

Streetsblog is reporting the approval of both of motions calling for the inspection and maintenance of LA’s bike lanes and bike paths at Wednesday’s meeting of the City Council Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee.

However, assuming the motion passes the full council, there’s still a long way to go, as Joe Linton points out.

Greg Spotts spoke on BSS’s (Bureau of Street Services) efforts to address issues keeping street pavement in good repair. The city faces a reported $3-4 billion backlog in street maintenance. With some recent street repaving monies from the S.B. 1 gas tax and Measure M, BSS is stepping up its efforts to inspect and maintain streets, and now has dedicated staff working to inspect and repair asphalt on city bike lanes.

Spotts noted that BSS has identified 300 bike network locations that need “large asphalt repair.” BSS crews are currently working their way through these sites, having completed 19 repairs to date.

And those are just the ones they know about.

But at least the city has hired six new people to fix and maintain bike lanes.

Meanwhile, there may be hope for LA’s crumbling streets.

Councilmembers Mitchell Englander and Joe Buscaino say at current rates, streets and sidewalks in Los Angeles won’t be repaired in time for the 2028 Olympics — missing the games by a mere 20 years or so.

But money from Measure M and the new state gas tax increase could provide a source of funding that would allow the city to speed up those repairs.

We can only hope.

Of course, if the proposition calling for the repeal of the gas tax qualifies for the ballot, and California voters decide they’d prefer crappy streets and lower gas prices, all bets are off.

………

I’m not always a fan of Bike Snob.

But he nails it this time, saying our current system of licensing drivers and motor vehicles is “woefully ineffectual and does little to keep dangerous drivers off the streets.”

Meanwhile, a Canadian writer asks if driving is a privilege, why is it so hard to revoke?

It’s like Traffic author Tom Vanderbilt put it — a driver’s license is too easy to get, and too hard to lose.

………

Curbed’s Alissa Walker takes a deep dive into the subject of sidewalks, and comes to the conclusion that they’re not even necessary.

Yes, the CEO of Ford, the company that essentially put automobiles on U.S. streets, is calling for a “complete disruption and redesign of the surface transportation system.”

What Ford is preparing for—and championing through its bike share and microtransit shuttle services—is the fact that streets will no longer be planned around this binary use of cars versus everyone else. And the place for new modes to mix is not a narrow broken sidewalk: It’s the safe, shared, slow, well-maintained street that has walking at its core.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all equation of lane widths calculated to move cars quickly, with pedestrians pushed off to the side, the definition of a city street will change based on what people need, neighborhood by neighborhood, says Greg Lindsay, director of strategy for the urban mobility festival LACoMotion.

It’s a great read. And may challenge your concept of what a street should be.

It did mine, anyway.

………

Great idea. A new youth racing program at the LA Velodrome aims to develop at least one track cyclist for the US Olympic Team at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

………

Local

Westside bike co-op Bikerowave is hosting a fast, 25 – 30 mile woman-led ride tonight, and every Thursday. The co-op is also hosting a moderate paced ride to the East LA Art Walk this Sunday.

Sant Monica Spoke and the Santa Monica Planning department are hosting a Kidical Mass ride this Saturday.

 

State

San Luis Obispo decides to move forward with a modified version of the bikeway that’s been drawing all the bike-hating NIMBYs out of the woodwork. Proof that not all NIMBYs live in Los Angeles. It only seems that way.

A new bike and pedestrian trail project would connect downtown Redding to the Sacramento River Trail.

 

National

Streetsblog questions whether the dockless bikeshare revolution is just a mirage.

A former pro explains how he learned to love wearing a helmet mirror.

The new chairman of the Federal Reserve is one of us, as he struggles to convince his security detail to let him keep up his eight-mile bike commute to DC.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune offers tips on how to ride your bike at Mardi Gras, for those lucky enough to go. Pro tip: Avoid Mardi Gras Day, when it’s too crowded move, and go the weekend before when the crowds are smaller and it’s more fun.

 

International

How to roll the dents out of your steel frame bike.

Canadian bicyclists are urged to bike commute tomorrow as part of the international Winter Bike to Work Day. Try not to suffer too much under LA’s sunny skies and 80° temperatures.

Here are ten beautiful places in the UK to add to your bicycling bucket list.

British advocacy groups are “deeply concerned” about plans to ban bikes from a highway that’s a popular time trial route.

In a win for the gig economy, bicycle couriers for Britain’s National Health Service win full employment rights, after their employer had argued that they were self-employed contractors.

That gold-inlaid custom bike built for Irish mixed martial arts champ Connor McGregor cost the equivalent of nearly $21,000.

More proof that bike riders face the same problems everywhere. An Aussie bicyclist complains about pedestrians and dog walkers making a beachfront pathway a nightmare.

 

Competitive Cycling

Australia’s 3,500-mile Indian Pacific Wheel Race has been cancelled following the death of pioneering ultra-distance rider Mike Hall in a collision during last year’s race.

A French design firm reimagines the dreaded broom wagon. Although they somehow think riders in the Tour de France will be able to hop on board to catch a rest, then rejoin the race when they’re feeling better.

 

Finally…

Why should ‘bent riders miss out on all the fat bike fun? Anyone can race a dual snow slalom on skis; try it on a bicycle instead.

And when a dockless bikeshare company fails, it becomes the UK’s cheapest bicycle.

In every sense.

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