Tag Archive for Los Angeles Times

Happy National Bike & Roll to School Day, and the LA Times calls for genuine action on city’s moribund Green New Deal

Just 237 days until Los Angeles fails to meet its Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.
So stop what you’re doing and sign this petition to demand Mayor Bass hold a public meeting to listen to the dangers we all face on the mean streets of LA.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

We’re up to 1,131 signatures, so keep it going! Urge everyone you know to sign the petition, until she meets with us! 

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Happy National Bike & Roll to School Day!

Or as it’s known here in Los Angeles, Wednesday.

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They get it.

The Los Angeles Times writes that Los Angeles needs to take genuine action on the city’s moribund Green New Deal — there’s that word again — to reach its climate goals, not more excuses.

According to the paper, former mayor and current ambassador Eric Garcetti had the easy job of setting ambitious goals for the city, leaving it to his successor to actually carry them out.

You can guess how that worked out.

Plans for more than $40 billion in rail, highway and mobility projects that were supposed to be finished in time for the 2028 Olympics have been scaled back dramatically after Metro was unable to line up even half of the funds needed. A City Controller’s report last fall found that Garcetti’s Green New Deal plan has not accomplished much, lacks meaningful metrics of progress and doesn’t amount to a “comprehensive and actionable set of steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

It’s disappointing that these lofty efforts to make Los Angeles an environmental and transit model have yielded so little.

In the latest instance of lowered expectations, Metro’s staff has for the second time in a year tried to delay the transit agency’s 2030 deadline to convert its entire 2,000-bus fleet to emissions-free electric models, without so much as a vote. In the seven years since Metro adopted the zero-emission policy, it has managed to order only 145 battery-electric buses and get just 50 of them delivered.

A big part of what’s been forgotten in the brief 3+ years since Garcetti breathed the program into life has been any commitment to expanding the city’s bicycle network.

After Garcetti initially left bicycles out of his first draft of the Green New Deal, he followed up a month later by signing a new executive order calling for a “comprehensive citywide network of active transportation corridors, including protected bike lanes, paths along regional waterways and low-stress neighborhood bike improvements,” along with a host of other transportation and energy goals.

In fact, the city committed to expanding the percentage of all trips made by walking, biking and micro-mobility to at least 35% by next year, climbing up to 50% by 2035.

But Los Angeles won’t come close to meeting that goal, after failing to build more than a tiny fraction of the city’s ambitious mobility plan. And it’s not likely to meet the goal for 2035 unless someone lights a fire under city leaders, who so far have shown more interest in delaying, if not halting, any action on building out the plan.

Which is exactly what led to Measure HLA, committing them to building out the mobility plan as streets get resurfaced.

Yet Mayor Bass and the city council have responded to HLA by proposing a cut in transportation funding and a hiring freeze for the already understaffed LADOT and LA Street Services. And slow walking the street resurfacing program to delay implementing the measure.

Ensuring that the city will fail to meet its Vision Zero and Green New Deal commitments for next year, and likely for years, if not decades, to come.

So if you ask me why I’m angry, and why we need to meet with the mayor, there’s your answer.

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A hard-hitting Scottish traffic safety PSA tells drivers to give bike riders a 1.5 meter passing distance — the equivalent of nearly five feet —  “Because it’s not just a bike. It’s a person.”

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It’s now 140 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 35 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law — and counting.

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

No bias here. After a man riding in a London bike lane was filmed being cut off by a driver turning into a No Entry roadway to make a U-turn, UK pro-driving traffic lawyer Mr. Loophole blamed the victim, insisting the bike rider should be prosecuted for the crash, while bike-riding BBC presenter Jeremy Vine said anyone who thinks the bike rider was at fault “should have their driving license rescinded” — a comment that got Vine labelled as “arrogant.”

No bias here, either. Local residents say the UK’s biggest bike lane is a waste of money because not enough bicyclists use it, and the space should be given back to motorists because “they’re the majority.” Meanwhile, bike riders say they don’t use it because it’s covered in twigs and stones, making it too dangerous to ride.

Welsh drivers claim that a new bike lane and walkway that gives more space for bicyclists and pedestrians than to drivers is “an attack on your right to drive a car,” and part of an “anti-car agenda.”

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

Police in Singapore busted a group of 20 bicyclists for violating the country’s draconian limit of no more than five people riding single file, or groups up to 10 riding two abreast; they were also charged with using “non-compliant active mobility devices,” whatever that means.

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Local 

A Next City podcast discusses LA’s “mobility wallet,” which it describes as the biggest Universal Basic Mobility experiment ever attempted in the US; the program provides 1,000 South LA residents with $150 per month to spend on any form of transportation, from transit and micro-transit to bikeshare and ebikes.

West Hollywood will hold an informational open house in Plummer Park on Tuesday, May 21st, to discuss the planned bike-friendly Complete Streets makeover of Willoughby Ave, and Vista/Gardner and Kings streets.

LA County has approved a nearly $3.4 million settlement in the killing of Dijon Kizzee, who was shot by sheriff’s deputies as he tried to flee from a traffic stop for riding his bike on the wrong side of the road, in the Westmont neighborhood of South LA in 2020.

 

State

Calbike reports on what they hope is the last workgroup meeting for the California E-Bike Incentive Project before it finally launches. They hope.

Twenty-six-year old Christian Joshua Howard pled not guilty to a felony count of hit-and-run causing death for the St. Patrick’s Day death of 51-year old Oceanside postal worker Tracey Gross as she rode her bike home from work.

Sad news from San Jose, where a male bike rider was killed in front of a local high school when a speeding driver ran a red light, and slammed into the victim. But sure, tell me again about that bike rider you saw roll a stop sign.

 

National

Bicycling considers how long it takes to ride a century. Read it on AOL this time if the magazine blocks you. 

Electrify News says ebikes are the greatest form of green transportation, and now is the best time ever to buy one. Thanks to Malcomb Watson for the links.

Outside recommends the best bike accessories and tools for road and gravel riding.

A writer for Streetsblog says ebikes are the key for creating financially sustainable bikeshare programs.

Strong Towns considers five ways the National Bike to Work Day can miss the mark.

The White Line Foundation, which was founded in response to 17-year old US National Team cyclist Magnus White’s tragic death, will host the memorial “Ride for Magnus: Ride for Your Life” this August along the same Colorado road where he was killed last July.

California isn’t the only state considering requiring speed limiting devices; a New York state bill would require the devices on vehicles belonging to serial speeders, limiting them to no more than 5 mph over the limit, unlike the California bill, which would require the devices on all new vehicles while allowing a maximum of 10 mph over the posted speed limit. The New York approach sounds like a great complement to the California bill, which will take decades to replace every car now on the road. 

New York plans to permanently reroute the city’s First Avenue protected bike lane through an existing underground tunnel in time for September’s meeting of the UN General Assembly.

A Baltimore woman started selling ice cream from her bicycle ten years ago, founding a company that now brings in a quarter-million dollars a year.

 

International

Cycling News lists the best Giro d’Italia inspired bicycling bargains in both the US and the UK.

Momentum says bicyclists will have an unprecedented opportunity to ride through the iconic streets of Paris to the giant Grand Picnic des Champs on the Champs-Elysées at the end of this month.

An ex-pro paracycling champ has made the unusual transition from the New Zealand national team to owning the leading fence painting firm in Waikato, a district of half a million people.

An Australian study shows replacing parking spaces with bike lanes could improve city accessibility and livability without affecting business revenue, calling it a Robin Hood planning tactic

 

Competitive Cycling

Twenty-two-year old New York native Magnus Sheffield is making his Grand Tour debut in the Giro, as the youngest rider on the Ineos Grenadiers, he’s already won the 2022 De Brabantse Pijl, as well as finishing second overall in the Tours of Norway and Denmark.

Italian sprinter Jonathan Milan claimed stage four of the Giro with a “monstrous” effort in the final 200 yards; there was no change among the top three riders in the general classification.

Jonas Vingegaard took his first ride in over a month following a horrific mass crash in the Tour of the Basque Country, and said he’s aiming to make the start line for this summers Tour de France to compete for a third straight yellow jersey.

This year’s edition of America’s top international bike race, the Maryland Cycling Classic, has been sunk by complications from the Baltimore bridge collapse, after the city’s Francis Scott Key Bridge fell when it was struck by a massive freighter.

 

Finally…

That feeling when a triple Tour de France stage winner stops to fix your flat. Or when a four-year old girl pedals the bike while her dad rides in the basket.

And we may have to worry about a near miss with LA drivers, but at least we don’t often brake for a “deer miss.”

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

LA Times declares overwhelming victory for Measure HLA, and yet another meeting for California ebike voucher program

Just 299 days until Los Angeles fails to meet its Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.
So stop what you’re doing and sign this petition to demand Mayor Bass hold a public meeting to listen to the dangers we face walking and biking on the mean streets of LA.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

As of this writing, we’re up to 1,007 signatures, so let’s keep it going! Urge everyone you know to sign the petition, until the mayor agrees to meet with us!

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Okay, now we can celebrate.

Because yesterday afternoon, the Los Angeles Times joined KNBC-4 in declaring Measure HLA has passed.

Backers of a citizen-sponsored ballot initiative that forces Los Angeles to add hundreds of miles of bike and bus lanes — to make streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists — declared victory on Wednesday.

Measure HLA was leading by a wide margin, according to semifinal results released by the Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk on Wednesday.

“This says people in Los Angeles want change, they want safer streets, and they want the city to follow through on their promises,” said Michael Schneider, who has led the HLA campaign and is executive director of the advocacy group Streets for All, which conceived the measure.

The measure, otherwise known as the Healthy Streets LA ballot proposal, requires the city to build out the Mobility Plan 2035, which was overwhelmingly approved by the city council in 2015 — then promptly put on the self and forgotten.

In fact, you could count the percentage of the plan that has been installed in the nearly decade since on your hands, and still have plenty of fingers left to tell the city how you feel about their decided inaction.

HLA, which goes into effect next month, will require the city to built out the mobility plan any time a one-eighth mile, or 660 feet, segment of street contained in the plan is improved or resurfaced.

The city will be required to track their progress online. And if they don’t fulfill their obligation, residents can sue to force compliance.

Backers overcame opposition from a handful of city council members, along with pro-motorist pressure group KeepLAMoving, and the city’s chief financial officer, who loaded the cost estimate with over $2 billion in barely related expenses that the city would have been required to spend anyway.

The measure was also opposed by the Los Angeles firefighters union, which took a bizarre stance against improving traffic safety while expressing fears it would somehow slow their response times — even though road diets, bus lanes and bike lanes have been shown to improve emergency responses by allowing vehicles to bypass traffic.

The Times applauded the passage of HLA, noting that it will finally spur action from City Hall to increase alternatives to driving.

People are frustrated with congestion but they don’t have great alternatives to driving. Buses get stuck in the same traffic. There aren’t enough protected bike lanes. And too many neighborhoods lack smooth sidewalks, crosswalks, shade trees, street lights and other basic amenities that make it easier for people to walk.

Measure HLA will ensure those alternatives finally get built, after too many delays by City Hall…

Opponents tried to argue that L.A. is a city of cars and nobody wants to use bike lanes or bus lanes or pedestrian amenities. But they missed the point of Measure HLA — which is that the streets today are bad for everyone, motorists included. If the Mobility Plan isn’t implemented and people don’t have safe alternatives to driving, then traffic congestion and, most likely, the number of traffic fatalities will only get worse.

Fortunately, the passage of Measure HLA means the Mobility Plan is no longer a choice for city leaders. It’s a mandate.

But not everyone was in agreement.

The conservative Southern California New Group somehow considered HLA “controversial,” despite the support of nearly two-thirds of voters in the primary election.

And cited a notorious pro-driving activist to back up that contention.

Jay Beeber, executive director for policy for the National Motorists Association and executive director for Safer Streets L.A., said the measure sounded good but would lead to “a whole host of problems for the city.”

Beeber said voters just created “a massive congestion problem in the city, and they are going to live with that decision for a long time. Most people who read the measure are expecting that it’s just simply roadway improvements and not that it’s going to be taking away car lanes, not that it’s going to be creating congestion, not that it’s going to push traffic into their neighborhoods, not that it’s going to increase (emergency) response times.”

The question now is whether opposition groups will file suit in an attempt to block the measure. And whether city leaders will seek ways to slow walk its implementation, or attempt to bypass it completely.

Which seems likely, given the city’s extensive track record of broken promises.

It seems a very long time ago that the corgi and I met Streets For All founder Michael Schneider in Pan Pacific Park to sign the Healthy Streets LA ballot petition.

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It’s now 78 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 33 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law — and counting.

Despite a promised launch this spring, the California Air Resources Board will hold yet another online work group next Thursday to gather input for implementing the ebike incentive program.

Because evidently, nearly three years just wasn’t enough time to work it all out.

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

London police apologized after dropping the charges against a bike rider who filmed a distracted driver using a handheld phone, just one day before he was set to go on trial for allegedly riding “without due care and attention.”

No bias here. A Dublin, Ireland city councillor strongly denies being anti-bicyclist, despite calling for mandatory registration and insurance for bike riders, which is currently required only by the North Korean dictatorship.

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Local 

The Pacific Palisades Community Council will discuss plans for a pedestrian and bike bridge crossing PCH at tonight’s public meeting; the bridge will connect Will Rogers State Beach to George Wolfberg Park, named for the longtime community and bicycle advocate.

Santa Monica police will conduct more bike and pedestrian safety operations today and tomorrow, ticketing any violation that endangers anyone in the two groups, regardless of who commits it. So as usual, ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limit line, so you’re not the one who gets written up and fined. 

 

State

State Senator Scott Wiener explained his latest bill in the state legislature in an online preview of the upcoming Calbike summit; SB 960 would require Caltrans to fully implement its own Complete Streets policies, similar to Measure HLA.

Bicyclists question a Caltrans Complete Streets plan for El Camino Real in Palo Alto, arguing that the bike lanes planned for the street are intended for roadways with speeds up to 35 mph, while speeding drivers often exceed that.

Heartbreaking news from Dublin, California, where a 10-year old boy suffered “significant injuries” when he was struck by a driver while riding his bike. But at least the driver stuck around after the crash.

The Director of Mobility for the Oakland mayor’s office says he dreams of a day when he can just stick to bicycling, and not have to worry about being stopped for Biking While Black. Read it on AOL if Bicycling blocks you.

 

National

A travel website lists 12 beautiful rail trails across the US, along with the upcoming 3,700-mile Great American Rail Trail that’s currently under construction.

Seattle-based ebike maker Rad Power has introduced four new models featuring a heat-absorbing resin coating the battery to prevent corrosion and “thermal events,” like unexpectedly exploding or bursting into flames.

You now have to be at least 18 years old to ride an ebike in Phoenix, which means that ebike-riding school students are breaking the law.

A bill in the Illinois legislature would require cities specify the safety features and degree of separations between motorists and bicyclists in any maps showing bike lanes.

 

International

London has quadrupled the city’s bike lane mileage since the current mayor took office eight years ago.

A website for the “world’s urban leaders” examines how the Parisian e-scooter ban has affected the city’s mobility, as well as the booming bike use in the French capital.

After a Brisbane, Australia ghost bike was removed by city officials and reinstalled by bicyclists a half-dozen times, advocates put it on a trailer legally parked in a bike lane, instead.

The Australian Bicycle Network examines the safety in numbers effect, noting studies that show more bikes on the streets improves safety for everyone.

 

Competitive Cycling

Tragic news from Iran, where rising track and road cyclist Ariana Valinejad died a week after she was injured when a gas leak in her home exploded; she was just 20 years old.

Colombian pro Santiago Buitrago soloed to a mountaintop win on stage 4 of Paris-Nice, passing Australia’s Luke Plapp to take the leader’s jersey. And no, I never heard of them, either. 

CNN says Team Visma-Lease a Bike’s “outlandish” new Giro bike helmets are under review by pro cycling’s governing body. The helmets include a full face shield, apparently to hide the embarrassment of the people wearing them. 

 

Finally…

That feeling when new bike racks nearly kill your business by preventing drivers from illegally parking in front of it. Who needs a marching band when you can pedal, instead?

And let’s hope they at least read the poor bike its rights. Thanks to Steven Hallett for the photo. 

Photo by Steven Hallett

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

CA ebike voucher program sets next failure to launch deadline, and Times calls out fear-mongering over Measure HLA

Just 312 days until Los Angeles fails to meet its Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.
So stop what you’re doing and sign this petition to demand Mayor Bass hold a public meeting to listen to the dangers we face walking and biking on the mean streets of LA.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can. Only 19 signatures to go to reach 1,000! 

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Good news, maybe.

But don’t hold your breath.

San Diego’s inewsource reports that the next soon-to-be-missed deadline for California’s moribund ebike rebate program is now scheduled for sometime this spring.

That comes after self-imposed deadlines of January 1st, 2023, and the significantly more vague deadlines of second quarter, 2023, then last fall, which is the most recently missed deadline.

Not that we weren’t all expecting it to launch in 2022, after it passed the state legislature and was signed into law all the way back in those heady pandemic days of 2021.

So if anyone feels like Charlie Brown trying to kick a football, you’re in good company.

The story begins with a focus on San Diego nonprofit Pedal Ahead, which has been tasked with operating the program for the California Air Resources Board.

The nonprofit plans to operate a similar program statewide under a $10 million grant it received from the California Air Resources Board, or CARB. But roughly a year after its originally planned launch date, the program has yet to officially start.

CARB spokesperson Lys Mendez told inewsource that the state’s E-Bike Incentive Project is now expected to begin in the spring, as officials need more time for “infrastructure building” — essentially, making sure Pedal Ahead runs smoothly statewide. That includes organizing with e-bike retailers and community groups that can help get the word out and educate the public about the program, she said.

In other words, the same bullshit they’ve been feeding us for the last year.

The only real news in the story is that the soft launch that was supposed to take place last year actually did happen, despite the complete and total news blackout up to this point.

But as inewsource previously reported, Pedal Ahead suffered from low participation when it launched its San Diego program in 2020, with just a fraction of local participants logging enough miles to keep their bikes — and some reporting far fewer miles than what’s required, or none at all. The program also didn’t use an income requirement, allowing people who didn’t qualify as low income to receive a bike.

Despite that, Pedal Ahead beat two other applicants to administer the state program, with CARB citing the nonprofit’s “proven, on-the-ground experience” in San Diego.

Some money has been spent ahead of the program officially opening statewide. A preliminary “soft launch” is already happening in San Diego, the East Bay in Northern California, Fresno and in tribal communities, Mendez said. In those locations, she said the state is “currently testing key aspects” of the program.

Some, as in a quarter of the original $10 million in state funding has already gone to overhead, leaving just $7.5 million available for rebates.

Of that, $5 million is reserved for the lowest income applicants, with just $2.5 million for everyone else who qualifies with an income less than 300% of the federal poverty level.

Never mind that I would have qualified if the program had launched on time a year ago, and won’t now.

So I hope someone enjoys riding my ebike.

Maybe I can get Tern to sponsor me with one of these, instead. It could happen.

The other news in the story is that even after the moribund program finally crawls its way through the earth to launch, like Dracula after dark, it could take a full three months to be approved for a voucher once you apply.

Residents must also be at least 18 years old to apply for a voucher to get a free e-bike from a program-selected retailer, such as a local bike shop. Participants will need to own the e-bike for at least a year and complete surveys about the experience.

The approval process may take up to three months.

Yes, three months.

And if that’s not a sign of the sheer incompetency behind this program, I don’t know what is.

Frankly, I’m ready to give up on the whole damn thing and ask my state legislators to fire both CARB and Pedal Ahead, and start over from scratch.

Because the thing that other cities and states have seemed to find so easy to do — get ebike rebate programs up and running through multiple rounds of funding — seems to be impossible here.

Meanwhile, if Tasha Boerner’s AB 2234 passes, even adults will be required to pass an online test in order to be able to legally buy one, let alone actually ride it, if they don’t already have a driver’s license.

Because living in poverty isn’t humbling enough, evidently.

Thanks to Ellectrek for the heads-up.

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They get it.

The Los Angeles Times writes that all the fear-mongering over Measure HLA — the Healthy Streets LA ballot measure — ignores that what’s really scary is LA’s deadly streets.

According to the paper, some of the city’s most powerful officials have been trying to sabotage the measure, rather than actually doing something to reduce deaths and injuries resulting from traffic violence.

Never mind actually eliminating them, which was supposed to happen by next year. But won’t.

But even though the projects have been on the books for years, last week the city’s top budget official released a questionable new $3.1-billion estimate for the plan, while the union that represents city firefighters claimed that making the streets safer will slow emergency response times.

It’s fear-mongering designed to scare Angelenos into voting against the measure. But what’s really frightening is that L.A. leaders could have started building a more walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly sustainable city years ago and perhaps averted some of the recent deaths. They had the blueprint to make streets safer but didn’t make it a priority. That’s why Measure HLA is necessary.

It’s worth reading the whole thing to see just how much your life is — or more accurately, isn’t — worth to many of those leading this city.

Let alone the people responsible for saving it.

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Bike Long Beach will host a murals and coffee ride tomorrow, to avoid conflicting with Sunday’s CicLAvia, along with a virtual monthly meeting on Monday.

Bike Long Beach Feb Meeting

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Don’t forget Saturday’s 46th Annual LA Chinatown bike ride tomorrow, and Sunday’s Melrose Ave CicLAvia.

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It’s now 64 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 31 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law — and counting.

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

No bias here. Streetsblog says Oakland complains about a lack of resources to build bike lanes, but they somehow had the resources to rip one out along the city’s Embarcadero.

Britain’s CyclingMikey, scorned among the motoring crowd for recording scofflaw drivers with his bike cam, says bicyclists “are seen as the cockroaches of the road.” Well, tell us something we don’t know.

Berlin’s rightwing mayor is fulfilling a campaign promise to make more room for cars by ripping out bike lanes. Which is more proof that we’re never more than one election from losing all the gains we make.

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

Apparently, someone has our back, but not in a good way. After a 19-year old driver hit a bike rider in San Antonio, Texas, someone opened fire, riddling the car with bullets.

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Local 

The Beverly Press says Measure HLA could pave the future for mobility in Los Angeles.

 

State

Calbike calls on California to divest from wasteful, induced demand-inducing highway projects, and invest in Complete Streets and the state’s transportation future.

Calbike also introduced a slate of 16 bills they’re backing for the current legislative session, including bills that would mandate Complete Streets following Caltrans resurfacing projects, similar to Measure HLA, as well as mandating motor vehicle speed limiters and truck sideguards.

An Orange County mother has made it her mission to preach ebike safety in the face of rising ebike injury rates. Although I’ve yet to see a study that shows ebike injury rates in relation to ebike ridership, without which claims of rising or worsening injuries are merely anecdotal.

San Diego will pay nearly $3 million to the family of Hossein Samadi, who was killed in a 2020 collision with a city truck parked in a bike lane Carmel Valley Road without warning cones or flashers.

San Francisco Streetsblog attempts to cut through the latest misinformation regarding the city’s Valencia Street centerline bike lane.

Bike Magazine examines how Davis became “Bike City, USA.”

 

National

Vehicle-to-everything technology, aka V2X, rears its ugly head once again, as a writer for Streetsblog says we could improve safety for bicyclists by allowing cars and bikes to talk to one another. As long as you’re willing to wear a transponder every time you ride, or be held accountable anytime you don’t.

Velo marks Black History Month with a look at eight groups making bicycling more inclusive across the US.

NPR reports bike helmet use declined almost 6% each year for the last five years, while ebike head injuries saw a 49-fold increase, with just 44% of injured ebike riders wearing helmets. Although as noted above, those numbers are virtually meaningless without a comparison to increasing ebike ridership rates, and comparing helmet use by ebike riders who suffered head trauma with similarly injured riders of regular bikes.

An Oʻahu bike club uses two wheels to explore Honolulu’s Kalihi Valley, one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods.

This is why you let the police handle it. A Portland woman was nearly killed when she went with friends to a homeless camp to help recover a stolen bicycle, and was shot by a man with a high-powered air rifle.

Denver opened a new $14 million, 1.5-mile protected bike lane that bike riders have been waiting on for more than eight years.

Cleveland’s Vision Zero program is called into question after 550 people were struck by drivers while walking or biking in the city.

The husband of fallen US diplomat and bicyclist Sarah Debbink Langenkamp says littering can get you up to five years behind bars in Maryland, but the driver who right hooked his wife with a 50,000 pound truck walked with a traffic ticket that carried a lousy $2,000 and 150 hours of community service.

 

International

More on the “clever policing” that London cops used to bust a $165,000 bike theft ring by using a bait bike. Something that remains off-limits for the LAPD, over misplaced fears of entrapment, thanks to a singularly uninformed opinion from former City Attorney Mike Feuer, who wants to be my next Congress Person; yeah, good luck with that. Thanks to Steven Hallett for the link. 

Meanwhile, bikejacking victims call for more cops around London’s Regent’s Park, where gangs of moped-riding thieves are reportedly targeting a list of high-end bicycles, including Pinarello, Bianchi, S-Works and Brompton, which are then shipped to Russia to evade sanctions.

A British letter writer says excuse me, but 1 million bicyclists a year, 2,739 cyclists every day and 114 an hour does not a low number using a bike lane make.

Paris is now officially the most bike-friendly city in France.

Over a quarter of Belgians rode an ebike last year, as electric bicycles continue to gain in popularity. That’s a figure we may never see here, as long as officials continue to drag their feet on an underfunded rebate program, and fight against safer, more livable streets.

Czech carmaker Škoda’s We Love Cycling site looks forward to this year’s trends in bicycle fashions. Which are pretty much the same as last year, and every other year.

 

Competitive Cycling

British cyclist Adam Yates was forced to retire from the UAE Tour following a concussion protocol fail, when he continued riding after a crash, until he radioed the crew to ask what happened since he didn’t remember anything.

A writer for Cycling Weekly knows just how it feels when Phil Gaimon steals your hard-won KOM.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you get hit with a bicycle during a pro wrestling street fight. Or when even an Aggie understands we’re second-class road users.

And presenting the driver psychology course for bicycling safety.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Santa Monica cops cool with vehicular assault, opponents misrepresent HLA, and group rides offer up close view of LA

Just 319 days until Los Angeles fails to meet its Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.
So stop what you’re doing and sign this petition to demand Mayor Bass hold a public meeting to listen to the dangers we face walking and biking on the mean streets of LA.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can. Just 55 signatures to go to reach 1,000!

………

I’ll be off for President’s Day on Monday, but we’ll have a guest post from Cal Poly Pomona history professor John Lloyd critiquing the new bill that would impose an online test and permit before anyone without a driver’s license can buy or ride any type of ebike or e-scooter, and ban kids under 12 from riding them. 

Meanwhile, Calbike doesn’t like the damn bill either, saying it “would create an unnecessary new bureaucracy and mostly harm youth of color in California while not taking the steps necessary to make our streets safer for all users.”

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What happens when you get threatened with a motor vehicle in Santa Monica?

Apparently nothing.

Even if you catch it on video.

In this case, Twitter/X user Mobility For Who reacted to a driver attempting to run a stop sign with a polite “Whoa, buddy!”

The driver naturally responded politely in kind.

Yeah, no. The driver responded with an angry honk as the bike passed in front of him, then revved his engine and squealed his tires in what can only be interpreted as a threat, which had the intended effect of scaring the hell out of Mobility For Who.

Unless you’re a Santa Monica cop, that is.

In that case, they try to blame the victim for using a handheld phone — which isn’t illegal, even if it was true. Also for running the stop sign, which again wasn’t true.

And while the cop was correct that road rage itself isn’t against the law, the actions resulting from it often are. Even just exiting your vehicle to approach another road user is prima facie evidence of assault, according to an LAPD officer.

In this case, what you see on the video is, at a minimum, a misdemeanor case of assault with a deadly weapon — which means threatening someone, rather than actually making contact.

As others pointed out on Twitter/X in response to these posts, had this occurred in Los Angeles, it would have made a good case under the city’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

But not in Santa Monica, or anywhere else in Los Angeles County.

I’ve met with the police chief in Santa Monica, along with representatives of BikeLA Neighborhood Chapter Santa Monica Spoke, to address the department’s lack of enforcement to protect bicyclists and other vulnerable road users.

And left with promises they’d look into it, and ensure the law was enforced fairly against dangerous, aggressive and/or threatening drivers.

But that was four chiefs ago, as the department’s revolving door on the top floor has prevented any continuity or progress in protecting the rights and safety of vulnerable road users. And allowing street level officers to regress in their commitment to protect bike riders and pedestrians, instead of the current policy of just enforcing laws against them.

I encouraged Mobility For Who to meet with the current chief, whoever that may be now, to press their case — if not for this case, then for the next person it happens to.

And yes, I do know the current chief is Ramon Batista.

For now, anyway.

But that’s the problem. Whatever progress we might make by taking our concerns up with the chief would only last as long as he does in that role. And if past history is any indication, you might be better off buying ripe bananas than counting on the Santa Monica Police Chief to stick around.

It’s a problem that will have to be addressed with, and by, city leadership, who can require the department to better protect people walking and on bikes.

Or more likely, the inevitable lawsuit that will come from their failure to do anything.

………

The Healthy Streets LA ballot measure continues to make news.

A rally in support of Measure HLA, as it is referred to on election ballots, brought out four of the six City Councilmembers in favor of the measure to encourage voters to mark yes on their ballots.

According to Streetsblog’s Joe Linton,

Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez spoke movingly of meeting a 29-year-old man who had barely survived a car crash. The victim’s mother told Hernandez that “before, he was very active – he would ride his bike everywhere.” When Hernandez met him, “he was in a bed in a hospital, having been there for months already… he got hit while he was riding his bike…”

Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martínez spoke of the urgency of passing Measure HLA. “These High Injury Network streets happen to be in the most poor areas of our city – the ones that have historically been redlined – and it’s mostly working class people that are biking, walking or taking public transit… who are being killed every single day,” he said.

Both Councilmembers Nithya Raman and Katy Yaroslavsky spoke of their fears as mothers of young children, and how scary it is to cross unsafe streets just to walk their kids to school.

Raman drew attention to the need for Mobility Plan improvements to be implemented citywide, “in a way that is connected, that enables people to get out of their cars.” She concluded by calling Measure HLA “smart public safety-oriented policy-making.”

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles firefighters union held their own event to oppose Measure HLA, while demonstrating both their lack of understanding of mobility issues, as well as an inherent windshield bias and commitment to car culture.

Take this quote from California Professional Firefighters President Brian Rice, who Linton says was repeatedly dismissive of bicycles and transit, in addition to displaying his own misinformed conservative political bias.

“I hate to tell you men and women, California – and Los Angeles in particular – this is a car community. You may not like it,” Rice declared, “but it is.” Rice derisively asked, “Do you really think you’re going to see buses go faster than 12 miles an hour?”

Rice declared that “a small group of elite… Democratic Socialists” are behind Measure HLA…

However, many of the people behind the measure are far from elite. And while I suspect most probably are Democrats, given the political makeup of LA County, none have cited Marx, Che Guevara or Mao in any of their conversations with me.

But I digress.

Rice concluded his remarks emphasizing fiscal issues that firefighters don’t lead with, but which appears to be among their core concerns: spending money making streets safer competes with more resources going to firefighting.

The city released a misleading cost estimate for Measure HLA implementation: $250 million annually. (Safe streets advocates can only wish that HLA gradual implementation could ever result in that kind of annual investment. Measure HLA proponents estimate annual costs to be more like one tenth of the city’s estimate.) The city estimate rolls in some non-HLA costs, including the cost of the city’s annual street repaving program which already has been and will continue to be in the city budget, regardless of HLA. It also inflates per-mile bikeway and bus lane cost estimates well above what the city currently spends.

Nope. No bias there.

A writer for LA Progressive also takes a very non-progressive stand, saying he’ll vote against the measure because it “ignores two essential criteria that bicycling on LA’s streets must be safe and bicycle paths and lanes must directly connect to each other.”

Except that’s exactly what LA’s mobility plan, and by extension, Measure HLA, does.

Former LA City Planner Dick Platkin adds that HLA offers a “deceptively simple way to solve LA’s traffic congestion, just switch from cars to bicycling and walking.”

Even though it does no such thing, since the mobility plan is based on the assumption that most Angelenos will continue to drive, while offering safe alternatives to those would prefer other options.

He goes on to site Councilmember Traci Park, one of the city’s least progressive councilmembers.

And repeats the city’s extreme $2 billion cost estimate, which Linton explained above includes inflated figures, as well as the city’s entire resurfacing budget, which it is already committed to and HLA has no bearing on.

HLA would only add the cost of paint and any additional barriers, along with the basic design costs for each street restriping.

So maybe Platkin should try writing for a less progressing site.

Oh wait, he did.

Never mind that it was the previous LA city planners and engineers who got us into this car-centric mess to begin with.

………

Nice piece from freelance writer Michael Charboneau for the LA Times The Wild newsletter, introducing four group rides offering an up close and personal view of the City of Angels.

He nails his introduction, kicking it off this way.

Riding a bike in Los Angeles is an act of defiance — against car culture, against endless sprawl, against bike lanes that disappear without warning and against gaping potholes. But on the best days, riding a bike is a pure joy. And I’ve found that you can get even more out of those moments with this one easy trick: Ride your bike with other people.

………

Calbike will host a webinar on March 6th to discuss the state bike advocacy group’s campaign to demand Complete Streets on Caltrans Corridors.

Speakers: Senator Scott Wiener; Kendra Ramsey (CalBike); Jeanie Ward-Waller (Fearless Advocacy); Laura Tolkoff (SPUR); Sandhya Laddha (Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition).

Please join us to learn more about our statewide campaign for Complete Streets and Complete Corridors on Caltrans’ State Highway System. Our joint campaign is bolstered by SB 960, authored by Senator Scott Wiener, which will require Caltrans to implement safe streets for people biking, walking, and using transit. Along with the senator joining us, we will also have state and local experts demonstrating the path needed for Complete Streets and Complete Corridors on Caltrans’ roads that run through your community.

………

CicLAvia will kick off their 2024 season this evening with the release of Los Angeles Ale Works seek-la-VEE-ah West Coast IPA, after it was rained out last week.

(Did I hear someone say “Oh please, not another IPA!”? Or was that just me?)

The free event will be held in conjunction with the Ivy Station Night Market, featuring food trucks, music, games, local vendors and kid-friendly activities.

It comes just over a week before the year’s first CicLAvia a week from Sunday on Melrose Ave between Fairfax and Vermont.

In addition to the usual two-wheeled frivolity, I’m told we can expect the first-ever CicLAvia corgi parade, though the time and location are still TBD.

………

It’s now 57 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 31 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law — and counting.

………

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

No bias here. The president of a San Francisco merchant’s association offers an alternative to the “well-intentioned, but ill-conceived” Valencia Street bike lane, while offering a gratuitous slap at bike advocates, saying “diehard bike advocates can come across as a little sanctimonious and zealous,” even though “they’re doing the Lord’s work.”

Planetizen correctly says New Jersey’s proposed requirement for liability insurance for low-speed ebikes would have a chilling effect on micromobility, effectively halting any transition away from cars.

No bias here, either. A writer for the London Telegraph says bicyclists are the rudest, most entitled people in the UK today, with Lycra-clad boors giving off “an almost palpable air of smug self-satisfaction, even as they make life miserable for fellow road users.” Just wait until someone tells her about drivers. However, you’ll have to either subscribe to the paper or sign up for a free trial if you want to read the damn screed. 

English authorities have launched a murder investigation following the hit-and-run death of a man riding a bicycle, after reports that he was also assaulted by an occupant of the vehicle, either before or after the crash.

A Singapore driver pled guilty to committing a rash act to endanger the personal safety of others, despite claiming she tried to de-escalate a confrontation with a road-raging bike-riding woman several times.

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

And no bias here, either. A 12-year old boy on an ebike somehow collided with a 66-year old Key Biscayne, Florida woman riding a bicycle in the opposite direction, killing the older woman. So local officials immediately called an emergency meeting to ban ebikes and e-scooters, ignoring 1) the crash was caused by one or more people riding where they shouldn’t have in the middle of the street, and 2) the tragic results might not have been any different if both were on non-electric bikes.

………

Local 

Jacobin looks at the LA bikeshare worker’s opposition to the proposed takeover of the Metro Bike operations by Lyft.

LAist offers an overview of the Pasadena city council election.

 

State

A new bill in the state legislature would ensure that all California bridges will remain toll-free for bike riders and pedestrians.

Costa Mesa has received $7.4 million in grants from the Orange County Transportation Authority, aka OCTA, to “create three interconnected, separated bike lanes as part of a major expansion of the City’s bicycle network.”

A Novato driver was busted on felony hit-and-run and driving under the influence of prescribed medication after he ran down two 15-year old boys as they rode their bicycles, followed by crashing into a pickup a block away; fortunately, everyone is expected to survive their injuries.

 

National

The Consumer Products Safety Commission has ordered a recall of Bell Soquel Youth Helmets due to risk of injury resulting from a balky strap.

Portland bike advocates want to change the narrative after bicycling rates rebounded slightly, following last year’s precipitous drop.

Oregon has their own ebike bills under consideration, including one opposed by Portland’s The Street Trust that would create California-style ebike classifications, and legalize ebikes for kids under 15, while banning throttle-controlled ebikes for the same age group.

Denver is down to just four bike messengers for the entire city, including one world champ.

A potential new helmet padding design developed at the University of Colorado could absorb as much as 25% more impact than existing foams, improving protection from bicycle helmets, as well as other types of helmets.

Kindhearted Texas cops bought a new bike for a local boy after his was destroyed by a hit-and-run driver.

New York celebrated a full decade of Vision Zero, despite just a 12% reduction in overall traffic fatalities and a record number of bicycling fatalities last year.

That’s more like it. A Mississippi man will spend 12 years behind bars after pleading guilty to the DUI death of a Tupelo bike rider.

 

International

Bicycling says bike riders in Nuevo León, Mexico are fighting to take back their streets, following two decades of drug cartel violence. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

The first woman to win the 3,000-mile Race Across America has been disinvited to speak at an Ottawa, Canada Women’s Day event because she served in the Israeli Defense Force 30 years ago.

Canada’s bicycling minister says he didn’t mean what he said when he said the country will stop funding large highway projects. Or so he says.

A new report says Croydon is failing bicyclists and pedestrians, as the only London borough not seeking funding for greater bicycle infrastructure and bus priority lanes. Their semi-pro football, aka soccer, team kinda sucks, too.

The CEO of British foldie maker Brompton answers questions for Cycling Weekly, saying “People see us as a little, quirky, odd bike.” Which is exactly how most people view them.

 

Competitive Cycling

American Magnus Sheffield says he’s “incredibly lucky to be alive” after crashing on the same descent that killed Swiss cyclist Gino Mäder in last June’s Tour de Suisse, adding it’s a reminder of how fragile life can be. Amen.

A Guyana bike race celebrates the country’s “rich history of bicycling excellence.”

 

Finally…

That feeling when something gets lost in translation between Dutch bike infrastructure and Chorlton-Cum-Hardy. Or when a bike needs a new forever home after its owner dies.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Driver blames bike rider for riding legally, Bob George ghost bike gone, and no SoCal counties deadliest for bike riders

Just 321 days until Los Angeles fails to meet its Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.
So stop what you’re doing and sign this petition to demand Mayor Bass hold a public meeting to listen to the dangers we face walking and biking on the mean streets of LA.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can. Just over 70 signatures to go to reach 1,000!

………

In a letter to the Los Angeles Times, Norwood Paukert recounts the story first told here last week about being intentionally run down by a pair of young men on Griffith Park’s Zoo Drive.

I have no memory of the impact, but I was told by the park ranger on scene that witnesses had watched a car with two young men inside intentionally swerve into the bike lane and ram me from behind, throwing me over the handlebars into the street, and then laughing as they sped away.

We’ve seen similar stories coming from all over the world — as near as Huntington Beach and Las Vegas, and as far as Australia — of young men deliberately running down people on bicycles, usually while driving stolen cars.

Yet no one seems to be connecting the dots here, despite with rumors circulating of a hit-and-run challenge targeting bicyclists.

Meanwhile, another letter on the same Times link asks a “bike enthusiast” to explain why an Eagle Rock bike rider would be riding against traffic on the sidewalk, right next to the painted bike lanes on Colorado Blvd.

When there was a large gap, I checked again for pedestrians, and started to move forward. Out of nowhere, here comes a bike rider, on the sidewalk, coming from my right against the traffic flow. I came within millimeters of knocking him down.

I have seen many cyclists use the bike lanes correctly, but I have also seen them riding in groups so that they overflow the bike lanes into traffic. I’ve seen them at night with no reflective gear on.

Let’s start with the idea that the rider came “out of nowhere.”

Bikes are allowed on the sidewalk in Los Angeles, and drivers have a responsibility to look both ways. That includes looking for anyone walking or biking on the sidewalk, which is bi-directional — meaning there is no right direction, and people are entitled to travel in either direction.

Even people on bicycles.

Secondly, there is no requirement to ride in the street, even if it has a bike lane.

It’s possible that riding with traffic on the opposite side of the street may have been inconvenient if the rider was heading to or leaving a business or residence on the near side of the street, or connecting to a street on that side.

Or they may have just been uncomfortable riding on a busy street with nothing more than a thin strip of paint for protection.

And it’s odd that drivers can accept illegal, dangerous and otherwise bizarre behavior from other drivers, but somehow can’t comprehend when someone on a bicycle does something similar.

People are people, regardless of how they choose to travel. And people will inevitably do what’s most convenient, or which seems to make sense at the time.

So maybe it’s time to lighten up when someone on a bicycle acts like a human being.

Meanwhile, GCN examines just what we do that manages to piss drivers off so much.

………

Sadly, the ghost bike for fallen bicyclist and Hollywood producer Bob George has been removed already, his memory erased from a town that forgets too easily.

………

A new report from personal injury law firm Bader Scott analyzed data the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aka NHTSA, to determine the nation’s most dangerous counties for bicyclists.

To the surprise of no one, the worst offenders came from Florida. In fact, the top three counties, and 14 of the top 20, are in the state, which is the nation’s deadliest state to ride a bike in.

California was also represented near the top, with San Joaquin County ranking eight, and Stanislaus County 15th. (Hint: Stop the page from loading to get around the paper’s paywall.)

Surprisingly, no SoCal county ranked in the top 20. Although it would be interesting to see what the rest of the list looks like.

………

There’s still time to reserve your spot in next weekend’s L.A. Chinatown Firecracker Bike Ride celebrating the upcoming Lunar New Year, Year of the Dragon.

Here’s how a recent press release described the event.

The 46th Annual L.A. Chinatown Firecracker 5K/10K Run/1K Kiddie & PAW’er Dog Run/Walk & 20/50-Mile Bike Ride – which will be held over the weekend of February 24-25, 2024, where thousands will take to the streets and where the events start and end, as well as a free to the public post-event festival at the historic Los Angeles Chinatown Plaza (Event Festival until 3pm on Saturday as well as a Lantern Paw Festival in Blossom Plaza from 11am-4pm in conjunction with Saturday’s Paw’er Dog Walk, and on Sunday, the Firecracker event festival goes until noon).

In addition, the 50-mile Bike Ride snakes through DTLA, LA River, “Frogtown”, LA Zoo, Travel Town, Burbank, Glendale, Verdugo Foothills, Montrose, La Canada, Pasadena, Altadena, San Marino, South Pasadena, El Sereno, Lincoln Heights, and much more.

The L.A. Chinatown Firecracker is one of the largest and oldest running races in the U.S. which had its humble beginnings from a few Belmont High School Alums (a public school located in the Westlake community just outside of Chinatown).

Meanwhile, there’s just two weeks left to get early bird pricing on the April Finish the Ride and Finish the Run in Griffith Park.

………

It’s now 55 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 31 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law — and counting.

………

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

No bias here. A San Diego TV station blames the victims by suggesting the safety of Encinitas ebike riders is in the hands of Gen-Z, meaning teenage ebike riders. Even though the real danger comes from the drivers they’re forced to share the road with, thanks to a lack of safe infrastructure.

No bias here, either. In a clear indication of who they think poses the greatest risk, Fresno police cited 32 drivers in their latest bicycle and pedestrian safety operation — and 96 bicyclists and pedestrians.

Or here. A London bike rider famous for riding with his cat was scolded for riding around a car, after the driver had just pulled out and cut him off.

An Irish driver complains that a bike rider must “enjoy playing with traffic” by riding in the traffic lane when there’s a perfectly good bikeway right next to it — even though it’s blocked by a bollard.

………

Local 

The LA Times sums up the prosecution’s case against wealthy socialite and Grossman Burn Center co-founder Rebecca Grossman as “Liquor, Valium, speed and recklessness;” Grossman is on trial for two counts of murder for the high speed hit-an-run deaths of two little kids as they crossed the street with their parents and siblings in Westlake Village last September.

Yo! Venice offers video of the badly damaged Marvin Braude Bike Trail, which collapsed during last week’s heavy rains; remarkably, the bike path appears to have been build with little or no rebar or other means of support beyond the concrete itself.

Hermosa Beach is considering a proposal to allow cops to impound bicycles and ebikes of riders cited for traffic violations. Although that would appear to violate state law, which does not permit it.

 

State

Sad news from Los Altos, where a woman riding a bicycle was killed in a collision.

San Francisco State Sen. Scott Wiener discusses his proposed bill to require speed limiting devices in all new cars, which keep drivers from exceeding ten miles over the speed limit. And which would probably do more to save lives than anything else the state could do right now.

 

National

He gets it. A writer for Bicycling says stop the ebike hate, and love your fellow bicyclists regardless of how they dress or what they ride. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t seem to be available anywhere else, so you may be screwed if the magazine blocks you. 

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a writer for Visor pens a love letter to bicycling, expressing “the simple yet profound joy of riding a bicycle.”

Portland, Oregon rebounded from a “precipitous drop” in bicycling rates last year with a modest 5% increase in this year’s count.

The rich get richer. On top of Denver’s successful ebike voucher program, residents of the city can now get paid $1 a mile to ride their bikes instead of driving, up to a maximum of $200 a month.

New York bicycling deaths dipped just slightly last year, a full decade into the city’s failed Vision Zero program.

A pair of bills in the New Jersey legislature would impose an $8 annual registration fee and require a $35,000 liability insurance policy for even slow-speed, ped-assist ebikes, as well as e-scooters, in an apparent attempt to kill the ebike boom and keep people in their cars.

 

International

A new report suggests the post-pandemic sales slump affecting the worldwide bike industry will last through at lease next year; meanwhile, sales at Shimano’s bicycle division were down 30% last year.

A writer for Cycling Weekly describes what it’s like to ride in the worst bike lane in the world.

Momentum offers ten ways to go on a bicycle date.

Cyclist explains how to get more aero on your bike. Unless you ride an upright bike, in which case, as you were. 

Canadian Cycling Magazine nominates a Toronto driver for the most egregious case of driving in a bike lane. Which sounds like a challenge to SoCal drivers.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. A driver walked without a single day behind bars, despite being convicted of intentionally ramming a bike rider into a large truck, breaking the victim’s spine and leaving him a “hollow shell of a person.”

Harry Styles is one of us, as he goes on a late-night bikeshare ride through the streets of London with girlfriend Taylor Russell.

Dublin, Ireland offered a plan to halt pass-through traffic in the city center to make room for buses, bicyclists and pedestrians, along with drivers who actually have a destination in town, after a study showed that 60% of downtown Dublin drivers were just passing through.

 

Competitive Cycling

Sad news from Seattle, as former Giro and ‘cross cyclist, and longtime bike industry pro, Tim Rutledge died following a battle with cancer at age 65.

 

Finally…

At 15, most of us were happy just to ride a bike, not run your own bike shop. Now you, too, can ride your bike like the Swiftie you are.

And a corgi on an ebike is all I really ask of life.

Thanks to Dr. Grace Peng for forwarding the tweet, or whatever the hell it’s called these days.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

LA Times voter guides for CD4, CD6 and Healthy Streets LA; SGV bike ride Sunday; and Weiner talks speed governors

332 days until Los Angeles fails to meet its Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.
So stop what you’re doing and sign this petition demanding a public meeting with LA Mayor Karen Bass to hear the dangers we face just walking and biking on the mean streets of Los Angeles.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels.

………

The Los Angeles Times offers a detailed voter guide to the Healthy Streets LA ballot measure, including a look at what it does and doesn’t do, as well as who supports and opposes it.

And there’s a lot more of the former than there is the latter.

The paper also provides election guides for the six-way race for the CD6 seat currently held by Imelda Padilla on an interim basis, as well as the two men challenging Nithya Raman in the reconfigured CD4.

………

Update: This ride has been postponed until next Sunday due to risk of rain.

Safe Streets For SGV is hosting a moderately paced, nine-mile bike ride on Sunday to call for safer streets and promote better connections between Alhambra and South Pasadena.

………

State Senator Scott Weiner describes his bill that would require speed governors in all new cars, which would “only” allow drivers to break the law by 10 mph.

Which sounds perfectly damn reasonable to me.

Thanks to MYVOTECD1 for the heads-up.

………

The latest episode of Bike Talk is available online now.

A listener, Reese, speaks for connected, protected bike lanes in Utah. 2:00

News: With pedestrian and cyclist deaths in Los Angeles at an 8-year high, the departing Los Angeles Police Chief blames their reckless biking and walking habits. In California, SB 961 calls for all new cars to have speed governors. A Die-in against traffic violence at LA City Hall. 7:12

When a 14 year old on his bike was hit by an uninsured motorist in Chicago, personal injury lawyer Jonel Metaj took the case all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court. Now, people in Illinois with uninsured motorist coverage will be protected when biking and walking, too. 18:57

Alison Cohen is the founder of Bicycle Transit Systems, which operates bikeshare in cities throughout the US. She explains how BTS came to be threatened with replacement by Lyft in Los Angeles. 33:00

A Bike Thought by Stacey. 52:23

………

Not only was Farrah Fawcett one of us, but she could clearly do “Look Ma! No hands!” with the best of them.

………

It’s now 43 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 31 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law, and counting.

………

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

This is why people keep dying on the streets. A couple of young Frenchmen walked without a single day behind bars for an eight-month series of attacks in which they leaned out of a moving car to push at least a dozen bike riders off their bikes and into ditches, and hit at least one man repeatedly with a small truncheon; they were both sentenced to two-year suspended sentences after telling the judge they were really, really sorry. No, really.

No surprise here. A pair of Australian teenagers were arrested for intentionally running down two Melbourne bicyclists in a stolen car last week, leaving the men with serious, potentially life-changing injuries, and posting video of the attack online. They joined a now worldwide social media-inspired trend of teens stealing cars and intentionally attacking people on bicycles — including recent attacks in Huntington Beach and Las Vegas — for no other reason than they can.

………

Local 

Metro announced plans to improve streets, bus stops and bike lanes along the 710 Freeway corridor, after cancelling plans to widen the freeway in the face of public opposition.

Seven Culver City cops will join the Police Unity Tour, riding 300 miles to honor fallen officers.

 

State

San Diego and Imperial counties will share $12 million in state infrastructure funding, including for bike and pedestrian projects.

The atmospheric river that poured through California yesterday left a Santa Barbara bike lane closed due to flooding, with no projected opening date.

 

National

Bike Rumor picks the year’s best bike handlebar bags.

SRAM issued a recall for all aftermarket 12-speed eTap AXS Red, Force, Rival and Apex shift-brake levers produced before July 2023 that were not installed by a bicycle dealer, telling owners to stop using them immediately.

Forbes recommends fat biking as one of “three winter adventurers (sic) you can’t afford to miss in Anchorage.” Especially since they finally have snow this year.

A kindhearted Maine high school resource cop called on a local bike shop to donate a refurbished bike for a kid who was struggling with attendance, leading to a new program accepting donated bikes for students.

A Baltimore letter writer says traffic calming doesn’t work, and new bike lanes will never lure people out of their motor vehicles, because cars.

After losing his own vision, a New Orleans man created a tandem bicycling group to allow blind people to keep riding.

 

International

Momentum offers seven “examples of stunning and inspiring bicycle infrastructure around the world.” None of which are in Los Angeles. Or North America, for that matter. 

A longstanding worker-owned bike shop in London’s Brixton neighborhood is begging for donations to help it withstand the worst year in its two decade history.

Singer Harry Styles is one of us, spending the last day before he turned 30 riding through London in a quilted orange puffer jacket.

A new London study suggests male Sikh bike riders might not benefit from bike helmets, because the style and thickness of their turbans could already provide the best possible head protection.

British ebike brand Gocycle is introducing a futuristic take on the family e-cargo bike — as long as you have at least seven grand burning a hole in your bank account.

Unbelievable. A road raging Jersey teenage was acquitted of manslaughter for killing a bike rider with a single punch to the face, claiming he was frightened by the victim, despite repeatedly honking at him and getting out of his car to confront him after the man deservedly flipped him off.

This is who we share the road with. Italian saboteurs are cutting down speed cams, and ripping out speed humps to fight for their God-given right to speed.

The Jerusalem Post highlights the best selling bike phone mounts. One of which I already own. 

A pair of Aussie researchers say e-scooter injuries are rising, but there’s not enough data yet to say if they’re more dangerous than other micromobility methods, such as bicycles.

 

Competitive Cycling

The first win of the 2024 cycling season goes to Belgian Soudal Quick-Step sprinter Tim Merlier.

 

Finally…

Why you shouldn’t trust your bike to the cheapest lock you can find at CVS. What happens when you let a Magic 8-Ball write your bike lane headlines.

And when the mayor’s office says just kidding about scrapping the city’s annual bike ride.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

LA Times endorses Healthy Streets LA initiative in March vote, and SCAG to study turning highways into boulevards

Stop what you’re doing and sign this petition demanding a public meeting with LA Mayor Karen Bass to hear the dangers we face just walking and biking on the mean streets of Los Angeles.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

………

Big news for the coming March election, as the Los Angeles Times has joined a broad range of community groups to endorse the Healthy Streets LA initiative.

Frustrated by the lack of political will and bureaucracy, street safety advocates collected enough signatures to put Healthy Streets LA, or Measure HLA, on the March ballot. The initiative would force the city to carry out the improvements in the Mobility Plan. Any time city departments repave at least one-eighth of a mile of street, they would have to add the improvements outlined in the plan, whether bike lanes, bus lanes, pedestrian enhancements or fixes to ease vehicle traffic.

This makes sense. When city crews have to repaint the lines when repaving a street, why not restripe the roads according to the Mobility Plan at the same time? Yet in a city as large as Los Angeles, making this a smooth process is not always easy. The multiple departments responsible for street paving, engineering and transportation safety struggle to coordinate and have missed opportunities to install Mobility Plan projects. The mandate of Measure HLA would, ideally, prompt City Hall to better organize street work programs and make Mobility Plan improvements a part of routine road maintenance.

The paper concludes their editorial this way.

Measure HLA has broad support among neighborhood councils, environmental, labor and business groups. Their members understand that Los Angeles needs to evolve into a city that is safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and, yes, even motorists. The plan recognizes that Angelenos will still drive — it includes 80 miles of streets that are prioritized for vehicle travel and projects that help drivers maintain safe, consistent speeds and reliable travel times.

The rising number of traffic deaths is a preventable tragedy. Voters have the power to make Los Angeles’ streets safer. Vote yes on Measure HLA.

I couldn’t agree more.

………

The Southern California Association of Governments, aka SCAG, has received a federal grant to study the possibility of removing some SoCal highways, and possibly converting them to boulevards.

They could start with the proposal to remove the purposeless 90 Freeway stub, and converting it to housing and a Marina Central Park.

………

29 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 30 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law, and counting.

………

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

San Diego police arrested 32-year old Alvaro Jovani Lopez for torching the Mission Valley memorial for fallen bicyclist and father Matt Keenan, destroying a banner and Keenan’s ghost bike; they found Lopez already behind bars for a parole violation. No reason was given for his dastardly deed.

Life is cheap in Wisconsin, where a Madison man who strung wire across a bike bridge, nearly decapitating a bike rider, walked with a gentle caress on the wrist when the judge sentenced him to a lousy four years probation.

No bias here. Underground hip-hop artist Gorilla Nems, aka Travis Doyle, took out his anger on New York’s Complete Street transformation over the past decade or so, telling a podcast host “Fuck bike lanes…this ain’t Copenhagen,” while instructing his followers to ignore walk signals and just cross the street anytime they want, after looking both ways.

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

A 59-year old New York woman has emerged from a months-long coma after she was struck by a bikeshare rider as she was crossing the street; a 62-year old man was ticketed for riding salmon and running a red light.

………

Local 

The Metro board delayed a vote to award Metro Bike management to Lyft, after ride hail drivers and delivery riders teamed with bikeshare workers to protest the proposed contract. But you’ll have to subscribe the Daily News or find a way around the paper’s draconian paywall if you want to read about it.

Glendale residents complained they were left out of the decision making process for the city’s new bike plan, even though they say they’ll be directly affected by a proposed bike path.

 

State

Police in Huntington Beach are using bait bikes to bust bike thieves. Something the LAPD still won’t do over fears they’ll be accused of entrapment.

They get it, sort of. A Simi Valley paper says safety is a two-way street, but drivers shoulder most of the responsibility to look out for vulnerable bike riders. Although they should go to cliche jail for trotting out the tired two-way street metaphor.

Oakland got a clear message to fix their crumbling roads, when the city agreed to a $6.5 million settlement with a woman who was paralyzed when her bike hit a pothole.

Six Santa Rosa teenagers were arrested for stabbing a 41-year old man to steal his bicycle last week.

 

National

The 18-year old Las Vegas man accused of deliberately killing former Bell police chief Andreas Probst in a hit-and-run last year is now facing an attempted murder charge in a separate case for the gang stabbing of a Las Vegas man.

Life is cheap in Indiana, where a woman faces just a year behind bars after confessing to a hit-and-run that left a bike-riding man with multiple broken bones.

That’s more like it. Instead of fighting bike infrastructure, residents of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park neighborhood are actually calling on the mayor to finish a new bike boulevard.

An “avid” New York bicyclist tells tourists the best routes for exploring the city by bicycle.

They get it, sort of, too. New York officials unveiled a new campaign encouraging bike riders to be more courteous and look out for pedestrians, while admitting that drivers pose the real danger to people walking.

Bike advocates say New York has a new “Boulevard of Death,” marking the failure of the city’s Vision Zero program after ten years.

A former Maryland Director of Planning and Zoning was indicted for the alleged drunken hit-and-run that killed a bike-riding man.

A North Carolina paper examines how bike riders and pedestrians are coping with the added danger as more drivers take to local roads.

 

International

Road.cc asks bike experts if the switch to internal cables has been worth it. Meanwhile, Cycling Weekly takes up the burning topic of whether bike bells really have a useful reason to exist.

The violin belonging to a British musician was somehow reconstructed, despite being broken into over 100 pieces when he was hit by a bus while riding a bicycle; unfortunately, he wasn’t as lucky, losing a leg as a result of the crash.

A new Danish study examines how the country encouraged greater bike helmet usage without mandating them.

A new United Arab Emirates bike ride took bicyclists through all seven emirates in seven days.

Adding insult to literal injury, an American tourist was fined for illegally stepping into the path of an ebike rider — while he was in a coma as a result of the collision; the ticket was withdrawn after he hired a lawyer to fight it.

 

Competitive Cycling

The future of the Tour of Britain, the Women’s Tour and other British races could be in doubt because the organizer of the races entered liquidation proceedings, after losing their license to conduct the races over an unpaid fee totaling the equivalent of over $884,000.

Australian pro Luke Plapp was left with a shredded kit and some truly ugly road rash after a nasty fall on a descent in the Tour Down Under.

Aussie sprinter Sam Welsford celebrated his 28th birthday by winning his third stage at the Tour Down Under on Friday. Today’s race was conducted yesterday, because they live in the future down there. 

 

Finally…

It’s hard to use a bike lane that’s blocked by a shitload of sugar beets. Stealing bikeshare bikes back from the thieves who stole them. A micro musette for mademoiselle et monsieur

And we may have to deal with rubbernecking drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about nuzzling giraffes.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Much ado about nothing for PCH safety, Los Angeles Times talks dooring, and “Share the Road” told to hit the road

Just 5 days left in the 9th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Only one person donated yesterday. So thanks to Jeff S for his generous support to keep all the best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day!

We’ve fallen behind last year’s record pace, so we’ve got some ground to make up in order to top the previous year for the 9th year in a row.

So don’t wait — give now!

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Days left to launch the California ebike incentive program this fall as promised: 1

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If you haven’t already, sign — and share — the petition demanding a public meeting with LA Mayor Karen Bass to listen to the dangers we face just walking and biking on the streets of LA, and city’s ongoing failure to build the safer, more livable transportation system they promised.

………

Call it much ado about nothing.

Caltrans made a big deal yesterday about plans to spend a whole $4.2 million to improve safety along a 21-mile stretch of PCH in Malibu, which works out to a measly $200,000 per mile.

Not exactly the major investment they made it out to be.

According to LAist, those improvements include,

  • Optical speed bars
  • 13 speed safety feedback signs
  • Enhanced striping to warn drivers of upcoming curves
  • Painting the speed limit on the roadways, and
  • Refresh signs designating the PCH safety corridor

None of which is likely to save a single life on Southern California’s killer highway.

Here’s how local radio station 99.1 KBUU, aka RadioMalibu.net, described the chest-beating news conference.

Caltrans and the state of California held a major media event on Malibu Monday, but a city clamoring for changes to Pacific Coast Highway was left empty handed.

The state Transportation Secretary travelled from Sacramento, but did not have any new traffic calming plans to disclose. 

Toks Milshakin repeated the list of quick fixes already disclosed by Caltrans: a $4.2 million set of new lane striping, speed limit signage, and other small safety projects.  

The news conference produced the news that the state will not be able to immediately lower the speed limit on any stretch of PCH.

No new speed study has been conducted, or will be conducted soon. 

No change in the speed limit.

No changes in design.

Caltrans safety manager Lee Haber said right now, that the state cannot lower the speed limits on PCH. 

And that’s just the beginning of a scathing report from the local media, which has been covering the mounting toll on the deadly highway for more than two decades.

Along with local safety advocates, who have been fighting for changes just as long.

Then there was this response, after Malibu Mayor Steve Uhring lauded Caltrans for taking time out to listen to city officials, saying he feels very confident they made some big strides yesterday.

If those strides resulted in any permanent or temporary changes, none were announced Monday.

Instead, officials stuck to the existing design and operation of the highway.

State law requires that the speed limit be computed based on the 85th percentile speed … the speed travelled by 85 percent of the cars.

PCH was designed 70 years ago with lane widths and curves to accommodate 55 mile per hour traffic … and study after study proves traffic moves at a design speed … not a speed limit. 

Never mind that the urgently promised safety study necessary to reduce those excessive speeds, or do much of anything else, won’t be complete until 2025.

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

Because the authors clearly and concisely shred all the happy talk and lauding news reports resulting from the announcement of the state’s meager investment in improving safety on the highway, concluding,

…it is .. after all … a state highway. 

One that is not going to see any major changes … anytime soon … other than 4 point 2 million dollars worth of paint and new signs. 

Ouch.

Thanks to Hans Laetz for the heads-up.

………

The Los Angeles Times takes a look at the problem of dooring and what to do to prevent it.

The paper views it through the lens of artist Yasmine Nasser Diaz, the widow of Hollywood producer Robert George, who was killed in October when a motorist opened their car door at Fountain and Edgemont in East Hollywood, knocking him into the path of another car.

“Dooring” and “doored,” colloquialisms among bicyclists, refer to a collision caused by a driver or passenger opening a car door into an oncoming cyclist. For some cyclists, such as Diaz, it is among their greatest fears. But collisions such as these, they say, can be prevented with greater awareness and better infrastructure.

Developing bike infrastructure in Los Angeles is complicated by logistics and competing interests. Bicyclists say L.A.’s car-centric culture hinders progress and argue that the city favors the comfort of drivers.

Yeah, you could say that.

The story goes on to cite Joshua Cohen, of BikinginLA sponsor Cohen Law Partners.

In California, motorists are mandated to not open a door “unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic,” according to the state vehicle code

But when car doors do collide with cyclists, the fallout can range from a few bumps and bruises to serious damage. Joshua Cohen, a personal injury attorney, said he’s dealt with cases in which cyclists had severed fingers, as well as back, neck and head injuries.

“The edge of the car door where it strikes the human body — generally, if you think about the physics of that happening — it’s almost like someone striking it with a sword because the leading edge of the car door is basically a thin piece of metal,” Cohen said.

Despite that, the law is rarely prosecuted.

A spokesperson with the LAPD says arrests are unlikely to be made unless police can prove malicious intent.

Otherwise, it’s just another oopsie — even though motorists are always at fault in a dooring, because they have the responsibility to prevent it.

The decade-plus I’ve spent tracking SoCal bike deaths tells us that dooring is rarely fatal. Which is good, because it’s one of the most common forms of bike crashes — despite the LAPD stats, which show only two reported doorings this year.

Presumably, one of those is the one that killed George.

………

Don’t let the door hit it on the way out.

………

‘Tis the season.

The San Diego Chargers of Los Angeles surprised over 100 students at a Boyle Heights elementary school with new bicycles for the holidays.

An organization founded by a group of Sacramento high school students when they were just in elementary school is asking readers of the local paper for $5,000 in funding, after donating over 500 bicycles to kids in need over the past ten years.

Bicyclists in the Bosnian city of Mostar donned their finest Santa suits and rode through the city handing out candy to kids, to celebrate the holidays.

………

………

Local 

Streetsblog visits the new Boyle Heights’ Myers/Mission Roundabout connected to the 6th Street Viaduct, along with short bikeway segments on Myers Street and Mission Road.

 

State

A new bike law going into effect January 1st somehow slipped under the radar, requiring bike riders to obey bicycle traffic control devices when they differ from other traffic signals.

An op-ed from a representative for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition says despite the usual parking controversies, both bicyclists and small business owners really just want a more vibrant city.

San Francisco advocates warn tragedy is inevitable on one of the city’s Slow Streets, which is now slow in name only.

Vallejo is evicting residents of a homeless encampment just before the holidays, so the city can begin a $10 million project to rebuild the bike path they’ve been living next to.

 

National

Survivors of the Goodyear, Arizona crash that killed two bike riders and injured 19 others are still waiting for justice ten months later, after the county attorney passed the buck case back to the city attorney.

She gets it. A letter writer in St. George, Utah makes a detailed case that better bicycle infrastructure will improve safety for everyone.

The trial for the two Las Vegas teens accused of intentionally running down and killing former Bell CA police chief Andy Probst was pushed back to next fall, while their attorney attacked the entire grand jury system, and blamed mental, physical and emotional problems for their inappropriate courtroom behavior.

Cincinnati’s bikeshare system will be out of commission until at least early spring, as it undergoes “significant staff reductions.”

Megan Lynch forwards news that a bill in the New Jersey legislature would require low-speed ebikes and e-scooters — not the high speed, throttle-controlled ebikes — to be registered with the DMV and carry liability insurance, passing the Budget and Appropriations Committee on a 4-0 vote. Even though ebikes don’t seem to be what’s killing people on the state’s streets.

Sad news from Atlanta, where a leader of a local winter bicycling league was killed by a driver while on a ride with the group.

 

International

Cycling Weekly offers advice on how to save money — and the planet — by buying a secondhand bike instead of a new one, without suffering buyer’s regret.

A London website says don’t ride your bike through the Tooting neighborhood, where workers see bicycle collisions on a near daily basis. Maybe it would help if drivers would do a little less tooting and more driving.

A speeding English driver was sentenced to nearly five years behind bars for killing a 14-year old girl as she rode her bike on the sidewalk.

A new British study confirms what most of us already know, that drivers who also ride bikes, or at least understand where bike riders are supposed to position themselves on the streets, are less likely to blame the person on the bike for a close pass.

Taiwan is introducing 16 new bicycle tour routes connecting 13 national scenic areas, for your next trip to the island. You know, before China tries to take it over.

 

Competitive Cycling

No surprise here, as world champ Mathieu van der Poel returned to ‘cross competition, and immediately climbed to the top of the podium.

 

Finally…

That feeling when the kid in the store bicycle display could use a hand. Or when the local bike path goes to the dogs.

And that feeling when you emulate your hero by crashing and burning, just like the real Evel Knievel.

………

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Better bike lanes beat hi-viz for safety, commuting 46 miles — each way — by ebike, and Sunset4All gaslit by O’Farrell

It’s Day 12 of the of the 9th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Which means you have just 19 days left to support SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy.

It was a slow weekend while I was out of town for my sister’s birthday, but the fund drive is still ahead of last year at this time.

Please join me in thanking Bonnie W, Patt M, Plurabelle Books and Damian K, who says he’s only here for the corgis, for their generous donations to keep all the freshest bike news and corgi pics coming your way every day. 

So take a moment and give now!

It’s okay, we’ll wait. 

………

He gets it.

A writer for Velo says better bike lanes will stop bicyclists from getting hit by drivers — not lighting yourself up like a Christmas tree.

There is one proven way to lower the risk of cyclists being killed: adding quality bike lanes.

A quality bike lane works for cyclists of even the most novice of levels to help them feel comfortable moving around their community. Usually, they’re separated from the road, or at the very least partitioned in a way that provides freedom of movement and opportunity to get around.

Hi-viz and fluorescent gear won’t stop inattentive drivers from hitting cyclists. It won’t stop a driver angered by the mere inconvenience of having to share the road. Unfortunately, it won’t stop drivers who mean well but don’t see a cyclist either. It’s a bike lane. More specifically, it’s separated bike lanes that improve cyclist safety.

It’s worth taking a few minutes from your day to read the whole thing.

Because he’s right, even though I ride with enough lights to guide Santa’s sleigh these days.

Thanks to Joel Falter for the heads-up. 

………

He gets it, too.

Los Angeles Times Letters Editor Paul Thornton shares his experience after buying an ebike to beat traffic on a commute between his Alhambra home and the Times offices El Segundo that can stretch to two hours or more.

Tell that to someone who says you can’t use a bicycle for LA’s long commutes.

That was until I bought an electric bike and just this week started using it to ride the 46-mile round trip between home and work.

On Tuesday morning, by which time L.A.’s rush-hour traffic had fully rebounded from its holiday break, getting from Alhambra to El Segundo by e-bike took 90 minutes. The electric motor flattened hills and helped with attaining traffic speed sooner.

The commute home lasted 80 minutes. That’s 46 rush-hour miles in less than three hours — typically what it takes in a car, and less than the same journey on Metro rail.

But as we’ve all learned by now, even the best bike commute isn’t all sunshine and roses.

Thornton says bicycle safety is dangerously backsliding due to a lack of safe bike infrastructure, even as cities rush to catch up.

Big SUVs and trucks, with front ends resembling battering rams, are outselling all other vehicle types and killing pedestrians and cyclists with greater ease than ever before. Even many of the “protected” bike lanes popping up around Los Angeles, which separate cyclists from vehicles with flimsy plastic bollards that collapse if hit by a car, offer barely any protection.

To L.A.’s everlasting shame, traffic deaths have ballooned to crisis proportions since then-Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the goal of eliminating them completely by adopting Vision Zero in 2015. That year, according to the group Streets Are for Everyone, 203 people died in L.A. traffic; in 2022, 312 were killed.

Once again, it’s worth taking a few minutes from your busy Tuesday to read it.

Because he succinctly captures both the risks and the opportunity ebikes present, on a personal level.

And gives me a nice shoutout in the process.

………

The Guardian takes a look at the Sunset4All project to improve safety and livability along LA’s busy — and deadly — Sunset Blvd, led by LA Bike Dad Terence Heuston.

Heuston says that at the time his group formed, safety problems with the Sunset corridor were already on many radars. The section of Sunset made it on the LA department of transportation’s Vision Zero High Injury Network, a list of the most dangerous roadways in Los Angeles. And safer biking on Sunset fit with Los Angeles’ Mobility Plan 2035, a blueprint launched in 2015 to transform LA’s streets into “complete streets” – roadways that can be safely used by bikers, pedestrians, cars and mass transit alike – by the year 2035. Furthermore, in 2015 the LA Metro Active Transport (Mat) program identified the Sunset corridor as high priority for safety improvements because it would make a significant impact on resident use of active modes of transportation, as well as the Metro.

The clear solution was creating protected bike lanes along the corridor, which studies have shown can improve safety for everyone on the street.

With Heuston leading the charge, activists were buoyed by the idea that they were advocating for something so many agreed should be done. “We were hoping this could be a model project,” says Heuston. “Sunset is this iconic boulevard in the most iconic ‘car-centric’ city in North America. The idea was: if we can change it here, then we can change it anywhere.”

They had community buy-in thanks to countless events like the coffee walk gathering and long hours spent talking to various groups, lots of volunteers and the support of their city council – or so they thought.

Unfortunately, Heuston and the other volunteers were gaslighted by former CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, who told them to hire expensive independent traffic engineers to create plans and renderings for the project.

So the plans and renderings crowdfunded by the group just ended up in the circular file.

Hugo Soto-Martinez, who defeated O’Farrell for District 13 in the 2022 general election, says his predecessor lied to the group. Studies conducted by third parties aren’t accepted by the city. O’Farrell was “just sitting on the project”, Soto-Martinez said.

And yes, once again, it’s worth taking the time from your busy day to read the whole thing.

If for no other reason than to fully grasp the frustrations bike and safety advocates experience dealing with our auto-addled city leaders.

………

Dr. Grace Peng calls your attention to a proposal to improve bike-carrying bus service in the Bay Cities. And wants your support to put an actual ebike user on the Redondo Beach Ebike Task Force.

Preferably her.

………

This is who we share the road with. A Bellevue, Washington driver turned a local restaurant into a drive thru, the easy way.

Thanks to Ralph Durham for the heads-up.

………

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

No bias here. A Claremont, California letter writer applauds himself for striking a nerve with the “bike lane fanatics,” then proceeds to say a recent survey showing overwhelming local support for bike lanes doesn’t pass the smell test. Which evidently, is the only proof he requires. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link. 

A New York bike rider shares “infuriating” video of the city’s drivers blatantly ignoring bicycle infrastructure, with “numerous sizable vehicles obstructing an already small bike lane.”

No bias here, either, as London’s Daily Mail accuses the city’s mayor of chopping down a historic palm tree to make room for “yet another bike lane for his beloved cycling constituents,” before conceding that the tree was merely moved to another location.

Organizers of an Oxford, England Christmas market threatened to cancel the event because city officials demanded they maintain bicycle access, instead of blocking a bike lane.

French officials decided to celebrate the season by plopping a large Christmas tree in the middle of a trans-European bike path. Because why wouldn’t they?

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

Bakersfield police arrested one person and seized seven bicycles after a large group of bicyclists took over city streets on Saturday, allegedly causing traffic hazards and disturbing the peace, as well as engaging in thefts, vandalism and at least one assault with a deadly weapon.

The family of a 91-year old British Army veteran says the ebike rider who crashed into him will likely get off with a slap on the wrist because the country has failed to update its bike laws, after the man died of his injuries three months after he was struck.

………

………

Local 

LA Weekly takes a long-delayed look at Mobility Plan 2035, which promised a transformation of Los Angeles streets when it was passed by the city council in 2015 — but fails to mention that it was promptly shelved and forgotten, in a story with the depth of something written by AI.

CD10 Councilmember Heather Hutt called for new protected bike lanes on a 3.1-mile stretch of Venice Blvd between Fairfax and Arlington avenues.

A coalition of South LA organizations is launching a new ebike library pilot called Power Up South Central, similar to an existing program in Pacoima.

Tomorrow is the last day to offer comments on the Glendale Bicycle Transportation Plan.

Santa Monica’s mayor proudly proclaims that the city will soon be the bicycling capital of the world, warning Amsterdam to watch out as she opens the new protected intersection on 17th Street. Correction: I originally misidentified the mayor of Santa Monica as a man, rather than a woman. But with a name like Gleam, I had a 50/50 shot. Thanks to Joe Linton for setting me straight. 

A Santa Monica letter writer says speed limits and road design must change if the city hopes to save lives.

 

State

The Orange County Bicycle Coalition has teamed with CABO and the American Bicycling Education Association to create a short video explaining CVC 21202, the basic law governing the operation of bicycles on the roadway. Thanks to Phillip Young for the link.

A Fullerton writer calls for safer bike and pedestrian detour around construction zones. Something that’s just as needed in Los Angeles, where construction work too often reminds us that people walking and biking barely enjoy second-class status.

 

National

Cycling Weekly offers a long list of reasons why roadies should ride in the dirt this winter.

A Wyoming website profiles one of the state’s most senior wildlife biologists, who is also a ninth-degree blackbelt in karate, the former mayor of Laramie, and a founder of the Tour de Wyoming cycling event.

A Houston magazine calls ghost bikes painful reminders of the city’s cyclist death problem, with over 100 such memorials dotting the city.

Bicycling says convicted killer Kaitlin Armstrong is appealing her 90-year sentence for fatally shooting gravel cycling champ Moriah “Mo” Willson, in a perceived love-triangle with pro cyclist Colin Strickland. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you. 

A 30-year old Chicago woman faces charges for the drunken death of a 59-year old man riding a bicycle in October, while running three stop signs and driving in the bike lane, with a BAC two and a half times the legal limit.

The mayor of Anne Arbor, Michigan is one of us, urging others to join him in commuting by ebike.

 

International

Momentum tells Elon Musk’s vaunted Cybertruck to move over, because ebikes are the real sustainability game-changer, and considers the right and wrong way to lock your bike.

Bike riders continue to flock to Bolivia’s famed Death Road, despite the nearly three-mile high roadway claiming the lives of nearly 20 bicyclists every year.

Good question. The parents of a Newfoundland teenager want to know why the driver who hit him was able to get behind the wheel despite a lifetime ban on driving, after the man fled the scene after hitting the kid as he was riding his bike.

Forbes talks with a representative of the European Cycling Foundation attending the COP 28 climate conference about the role bicycling can play in confronting the climate crisis.

An angry driver tells British radio star Jeremy Vine to fuck off, after the bike-riding BBC presenter challenged him for blowing through a stop sign.

An Oxford, England city councilor responds to a challenge from a bicycling critic to post a photo of school bike racks on a cold wet December day by doing just that — showing the racks overflowing with bikes.

A French engineer is attempting to solve the problem of exploding lithium-ion ebike batteries by storing energy with a supercapacitor, instead.

A Kenyon newspaper looks at the nation through the eyes of a 24-year old woman who is riding solo over 8,000 miles across Africa.

A Pennsylvania man recreates a historic 900-mile trip from Nagasaki to Yokohama by Penny Farthing, 136 years after the original journey.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling News offers a comprehensive team-by-team look at next year’s WorldTour cycling teams.

 

Finally…

Seriously, why wouldn’t an elderly ghost want to watch a little kid learn how to ride a bike? Is it really a folding bike if the wheels don’t?

And why go around when you can go through?

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Beach city anti-ebike hysteria, tackling bicycling’s gender pedal gap, and 3 years for pipe attack on naked bicyclists

It’s the Penultimate Day of the First Week of the 9th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Or Day 6, in other words.

And we’re off to a great start, well ahead of last year’s record pace, thanks in part to the kindness and generosity of yesterday’s Giving Tuesday donors.

So let’s all thank Ben F, Bernard B, Anne F, James Z, Catherine D, and Jennifer P for their generous donations to help keep Southern California’s  best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day. 

So take a moment, and give now!

It’s okay, we’ll wait. 

………

It was a light news day in the world of bikes yesterday.

Which is a good thing, since I got another shot in my eye to control bleeding in the retina yesterday, and can barely see my screen to write these words.

Yet another reminder, if we need it, that diabetes sucks.

So if you’re at risk or have any of the warning signs, do whatever it takes to get or keep your blood sugar under control. Because you don’t want this crap.

And forgive me if I screw something up, because I seriously can’t see half of what I’m reading or writing this time.

Now let’s get to it.

………

Los Angeles Times letter writers respond to a recent article about the anti-ebike hysteria sweeping the area’s beach cities.

Although the paper might not have characterized it quite that way.

Some pointed out, not incorrectly, that throttle-controlled ebikes that can easily exceed common bicycling speeds should more appropriately be regulated as underpowered electric motorcycles, rather than bicycles.

While others point out that, despite the hysteria, the story makes clear that there have been no reported collisions between pedestrians and ebike riders in the area in the past two years.

Which means they’re trying to fix a problem that has so far resulted in no reported injuries, while ignoring the ongoing carnage caused by motor vehicles just feet away.

Still, no one should ever ride a bike at speed around pedestrians, who can be even more unpredictable than we are. And who face just as much risk, if not more, in a collision with someone on a bicycle, regardless of the bike’s power source.

………

A new British report from Lime titled Tackling the Gender Pedal Gap considers concerns preventing women from bicycling, topped by worries over poorly lit streets and isolated riding routes.

According to a story from the UK’s Stylist, the report also found,

Anti-social behaviour (36%) and fear of harassment from other road users (34%) were also listed as major deterrents for female cyclists. Only one in five women said they felt safe cycling alone at night and four times as many women as men (82%) said they view cars as a safer transport option when it’s dark.

The same likely holds true in this country, serving as yet another reminder that women face dangers on the streets that most men don’t.

And that they should be directly involved in all bicycle planning decisions.

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‘Tis the season.

A group founded by a Minnesota real estate broker teamed with a local nonprofit to refurbish bicycles to distribute to kids in need this holiday season, capping their efforts with a $2,500 donation.

Bicycling Australia recommends holiday gift ideas for bicyclists. Although it should be noted that some things may not be available in this country or could be sold for a different price. And you may have to install or use it upside down.

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GCN considers whether it’s ever acceptable for bicyclists to break the rules.

It depends on the rule, of course.

But given that most traffic laws weren’t written with bike riders in mind, it can sometimes be necessary to break the rules to protect your own safety.

Just bear in mind that, like civil disobedience, you might do it for the right reasons, but still have to suffer the consequences.

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

A 40-year old Portland, Oregon man was sentenced to three years behind bars for a violent attack against two people participating in the World Naked Bike Ride earlier this year. Robert Earl Houchins received a bias crime enhancement for yelling homophobic slurs as he struck the riders across the back with a metal pipe; fortunately, neither victim was seriously injured.

No bias here. A British commentator is calling for all bicycle and scooter riders to be required to wear hi-viz clothing to make them more visible to drivers, who want us to dress up like clowns because they’re apparently unable to rely on their own eyesight or lights. Or put down their phones, for that matter.

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Local 

Streetsblog visits a new traffic circle under construction at Parthenia Place and Columbus Ave in North Hills; the project also includes a short protected bike lane.

Santa Monica has finally converted the intersection of 19th Street and Idaho Ave into a four-way stop after years of complaints from local residents; it only took the death of fallen bicyclist Tania Mooser and serious injuries to another bicyclist two weeks later to get the city to act.

 

State

The San Diego Reader considers which of the city’s many bike wheel-busting potholes should be fixed first.

San Diego is nearly a year away from starting work on an overhaul of the “notoriously congested” I-805 and Palm Ave interchange in Otay Mesa, including new 6-foot wide sidewalks and separated bike lanes.

A San Francisco letter writer says the real danger on the new Valencia Street centerline bikeway isn’t the people on the 30-pound bicycles, it’s the people in the two-ton cars.

 

National

He gets it. A writer for the Brown University student newspaper says bike helmets are ineffective because they’re a piecemeal solution to a societal problem, and it shouldn’t be up to the individual to be solely responsible for their safety while riding a bike. Before anyone fires off an angry comment, the writer isn’t anti-helmet, and neither am I. I never ride without mine, but recognize that bike helmets should always be seen as the last line of defense when all else fails, not the first. 

 

International

Momentum offers a guide to bike tourism and planning your first ride. Meanwhile, the magazine also offers advice on how to handle a real northern winter on an ebike. Which is not something we’re likely to encounter here in sunny Southern California. But given the unpredictable effects of climate change thus far, it may not be entirely off the table.

I want to be like her when I grow up. A 78-year old English woman has been named one of the UK’s most exceptional women in cycling after riding the full length of the country, then following it up by riding 200 miles from Yorkshire to London.

A beachfront British town has ripped out a short new bike lane bordered by a wiggly line that a local NIMBY group characterized as a “Mickey Mouse” layout that had made the town the “laughing stock of the nation.”

France has committed to investing the equivalent of $137 million in bicycling infrastructure across the country. Which is like the US investing nearly $650 million on a per capita basis. 

The Belgian region of Flanders has installed speed cams on bicycle-priority streets to ticket anyone exceeding the 18 mph speed limit, including people on bicycles. Although identifying someone on a bicycle from a speed cam photo could be problematic — and licensing bicyclists isn’t likely to help, given the small size required for a bicycle. 

Cycling News reports Shimano was struck by hackers who blackmailed the Japanese component maker, threatening to release a massive trove of data if they failed to pay up — then followed through by releasing information including confidential employee details, financial documents, a client database, and other confidential company documents. Which means it’s possible your personal information may have been compromised if you’ve dealt directly with the company. 

 

Competitive Cycling

The Spanish cycling community is mourning the death of former pro and elite cyclist Jorge Martin Montenegro, after the Argentine native was found dead in his home at age 40.

Dutch multi-discipline cycling star Mathieu Van der Poel may be forced to give up cyclocross to deal with nagging back issues, after winning five world titles competing in ‘cross, mountain biking and road cycling. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you. 

Cycling Weekly asks if we’re seeing the death of multi-discipline cycling stars.

 

Finally…

Fishing with magnets for underwater abandoned bikes. And the godfather of gravel grinding.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin