Tag Archive for Los Angeles Times

Bike riders Gavined by governor’s veto pen, rude writer confronts rude rider, and bad Claremont proposal threatens bikes

We’ve been Gavined.

We’re only a few years removed from when Jerry Brown became a verb meaning a too close pass, after he vetoed legislation establishing a three-foot passing law.

Twice.

It took a third try, and a vastly weakened law, to get it past Brown’s overactive veto pen.

Now Gavin Newsom is trying to take his place by irrationally vetoing bike and pedestrian safety laws.

Consider this statement that accompanied his veto of the Safety Stop Bill, otherwise known as the Idaho Stop or Stop as Yield, which has gone into effect in several other states without an accompanying jump in carnage.

And note, there’s no bike in carnage, but there’s sure all hell a car.

While I share the author’s intent to increase bicyclist safety, I am concerned this bill will have the opposite effect. The approach in AB 122 may be especially concerning for children, who may not know how to judge vehicle speeds or exercise the necessary caution to yield to traffic when appropriate.

Fatalities and serious injuries have been on the rise on the state’s roads since 2010. The Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System shows that, since 2015, there were 3,059 crashes involving bicycles at an intersection in which the primary collision factor was failure to stop at a stop sign. The data indicates bicyclists were determined to be at fault for 88 percent of the collisions resulting in fatalities and 63 percent of those involving injuries.

So let’s be clear.

Few, if any, legitimate sources use that 88% figure; most researchers find fault either evenly divided, or drivers at fault for most crashes involving bike riders.

While it’s a useful tool, the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, better knows as SWITRS, is hardly the most reliable source. SWITRS depends on voluntary self-reporting by law enforcement agencies, which results in most, but not all, serious collisions being reported.

It is also dependent on the CHP and other law enforcement agencies with their infamous windshield bias and lack of adequate training in bike law.

And never mind that of those 3,059 collisions at intersections where someone failed to stop at a stop sign, it wasn’t necessarily the person on the bike who failed to stop.

Drivers blow through stop signs at least as frequently as people on bikes, and with far more deadly results.

And as we’ve said many times before, even the most reckless bike rider is primarily a danger to him or herself, while a reckless driver is a danger to everyone around them.

Not to mention Gavin also killed a very good law decriminalizing crossing the damn street, for similarly specious reasons — despite clear evidence that it has resulted in biased police enforcement against people of color.

Although to his credit, he did sign a bill that allows the first small steps towards weakening the deadly 85th Percentile Rule and lowering speed limits.

So maybe Gavined should be the new term for irrationally rejecting bike and pedestrian safety rules.

Or maybe that’s what we’ll call it when someone gets a ticket for otherwise safely rolling a stop sign or crossing the street mid-block, which would have been legal under the laws he rejected.

Or both.

Because we had high hopes that California would finally take a long-delayed rational step forward to make it safer and easier to get around without a car.

But instead, we got Gavined.

In today’s photo, a family takes a break on the front plaza of LAPD headquarters during yesterday’s CicLAvia in Downtown Los Angeles.

And my apologies for the lack of attribution for the people who sent me links for today’s post. Too be honest, it’s nearly 5:30 am as I finish this, and I’m just too damn tired to go back and see who sent what. But I thank you, and truly appreciate the help!

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A worker with a homeless organization complains about a rude bike rider on the LA River bike path, in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.

He was standing on the pathway, comforting a homeless man who’s longtime partner had just died, when a man on a bike yelled at them to get out of the path.

These were the circumstances when you, spandex-clad and biking south along the river, yelled at the three of us to get out of the path, to which I responded with a predictable vulgarity.

I was surprised when you returned to insist that I apologize for my foul language and for forcing you to shift lanes. You seemed genuinely certain you were the injured party, and I imagined you carrying that for the rest of the day — telling your friends about the confrontation, using it as an example of our ongoing civilizational decline…

Things shouldn’t be like this. I took your behavior as evidence that you, like many of my neighbors, view unhoused people exclusively as nuisances, similar to bad traffic on the 5 or our most recent oat milk shortage.

As usual, though, we’re only hearing one side of the story.

Undoubtedly, the man on the bicycle would see things differently; he had no way of knowing about the death of the homeless man’s partner.

But based on what we’ve been told by the author of the piece, it would seem like they were both wrong.

He could, and should, have moved the homeless man off the pathway to avoid blocking a path used by countless people every day. It’s likely that the two people comforting a homeless man blocked more of the path than he realized.

The bike rider could have also held his tongue as he rode past, assuming there was enough room to get by. Yes, it’s annoying when people stand on a bike path. But that’s what people do.

And sometimes, as in this case, there’s a reason for it.

The author also could have responded without swearing at the bike rider, which seems uncalled for under the circumstances.

So what we’re left with is two people behaving badly, and one whining about it in the pages of the Times.

Neither of whom seem very sympathetic in the retelling.

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Eric Griswold calls our attention to a very badly worded motion before the Claremont city council that could ban bikes from one or more surface streets, in violation of state law.

So just to be clear, under California state law, bike riders have all the rights and responsibilities of motorists, and must be allowed on any public street where cars are allowed, with the exception of some limited access highways.

While some cities have tried to ban bikes from certain roadways, it’s questionable whether it can be legally enforced. Although fighting it could mean taking it to the state appeals courts, which is a slow and costly process.

So let’s hope Claremont takes another look at this wording, and sends it back for a rewrite.

And maybe gets a new law firm for the next draft.

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Sunday marked the return of CicLAvia to DTLA, exactly 11 years to the day after the first one.

And yes, a good time was had by all.

Even our very own BikinginLA intern, who not only experienced her first CicLAvia, but also took her first pedicab ride.

Not to mention her second. And loved every minute of it, thanks to our very kind and friendly driver.

We also had a chance to talk corgis, bikes and city finances with the man who may just be LA’s next city controller.

Maybe he could put his own corgis to work sniffing out financial irregularities at city hall.

https://twitter.com/kennethmejiaLA/status/1447365863363923969

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Show this tweet the next time someone complains about bike lanes in front of businesses.

Then wait for the inevitable “Yeah, but this isn’t Madrid.”

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

An editor with Esquire wants us to feel sorry for him for getting his first traffic ticket in 30 years for right-hooking a bike rider who came off the sidewalk “out of nowhere.” Evidently, though, the cops understood that no one ever comes out of nowhere if drivers are paying attention, even if he doesn’t.

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

There’s a special place in hell for the man who brutally attacked an 18-year old woman in South Los Angeles as she was walking with her young brother, stealing about 30 bucks before making off on a bicycle.

New York police are looking for a bike-riding man who shouted a racist comment at an Asian woman before bumping her with his bike.

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Local

All five candidates to replace pseudo-environmentalist, bike lane-blocking, thankfully termed out CD5 City Councilmember Paul Koretz will participate in an online debate on mobility on October 25th, sponsored by Streets for All.

Congratulations to LA’s Silver Lake neighborhood, which is officially the world’s 14th coolest neighborhood.

This is who we share the road with. A man was beaten to death by bystanders after using his car as a weapon to intentionally crash into several people on a sidewalk when he was tossed from a Hawthorne business, then crashed into a building as he tried to get away, only to be pulled from his car and killed by members of the crowd he attacked

Not everyone turned out for CicLAvia on Sunday, as some people took part in the return of the bike ride on the course of the Long Beach Marathon. Although I suspect some people did both.

 

State

An Orange County woman got her stolen bike back a day later, after cruising the neighborhood with her dog until she spotted a man riding it, and the police in Santa Ana recovered it for her.

Cycling Tips looks at Day Two of this year’s Sea Otter Classic.

Moving piece from a Berkeley publicly funded paper about the 81-year old retired firefighter who died of a heart attack while riding his bike last week.

The San Francisco Chronicle examines the lack of equity for two San Francisco drivers who killed two bike-riding women in separate crashes on the same night; one driver got a lousy 16 days behind bars, while the other has been held in county jail for five years on $10 million bail, without ever getting a hearing.

 

National

Treehugger says US ebike sales are up a whopping 240%.

How to repurpose old wheelbarrows to build your own DIY bike trailer.

Chicago residents petition to restore a Slow Street, after the city continues its campaign to remove them.

In a major traffic collision, an eight-year old Ohio girl was riding her bicycle when she was struck by a 10-year old boy and 8-year old girl in a pony cart, spilling them all.

Two hundred Massachusetts bike riders turned out turned out to honor the sacrifices of police and firefighters who gave their lives to protect the public.

Bicycling rates continue to rise in the Big Apple, with a 33% jump in weekday ridership.

Jersey City NJ bike riders are getting the secure bike parking we all need with a Black and Brown-owned Brooklyn-based startup that provides customizable bike storage pods that can fit in a single parking space. Let’s hope they come here to SoCal soon.

Woody Harrelson is one of us, riding a bike around DC shortly after punching a drunk man at the Watergate Hotel, who allegedly lunged at him when Harrelson asked him to delete photos of him and his daughter. .

 

International

Birmingham, England announced a transformative plan to cut motor vehicle use by requiring drivers to use a ring road, rather than allowing them to drive across the city, while introducing a fleet of zero-emission cross-city buses and additional protected bike lanes.

Oh, bother. Local residents agree on protecting England’s Hundred Acre Wood, made famous by Winnie-the-Pooh, Eeyore and Piglet et al, though there’s less agreement on whether to allow bicycles. Although something tells me Pooh would welcome bikes.

Nice story from the UK, where YouTube BMX star Zak Jones gave a young boy with autism a new bike after meeting him at a skate park, when the boy, who had never ridden a bicycle, decided to become a cycling star like Jones.

It takes a major schmuck to borrow a Kenyan boy’s bicycle, then turn around and sell it.

Life is really cheap in Malaysia, where an appeals court confirmed that a driver got a walk for killing eight — yes, eight — teenagers on the customized bikes known as basikal lajak. And she got her driver’s license back, too. I don’t care who you are, it takes major recklessness to crash into eight people on bicycles with enough force to kill them all.

Covid is delaying construction of a Sydney, Australia bikeway, as “snobbish” and “narrow minded” residents work to stop it.

Australian actor Samuel Johnson is one of us, possibly to his regret, after permanently losing his sense of smell when he was struck by a driver while riding his bike.

 

Competitive Cycling

Slovenian cyclist Tadej Pogacar won the Il Lombardia classic, in the final race on this year’s WorldTour calendar.

Pink Bike offers a photo essay from the Red Bull Rampage, calling it the greatest show on earth.

British sprinting star Mark Cavendish turned up at the women’s Tour of Britain to speak out in support of women’s cycling.

Congratulations to SoCal’s own Coryn Rivera, who is now Coryn Labecki, after getting married and moving to a new team.

American BMX cyclist Connor Fields crash in the Tokyo Olympics left him with a serious traumatic brain injury and memory loss, raising questions about whether he can recover enough to compete again.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your new low-end e-mountain bike is okay for everything, except riding mountains. Who needs the Batmobile when you’ve got a turbo-charged bicycle?

And clearly, dooring is nothing new.

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

SD bike riders protest deadly streets, former WY senator dies from bike crash, and LA Times says slow speeding drivers

It looks like San Diego bike riders have finally had enough.

After a horrifying 12 bicycling deaths in San Diego County so far this year — roughly double what the county might experience in a typical year — dozens of local residents held a protest ride and press conference to demand safer streets.

That bloody toll includes five people who were killed on their bikes in just the past month.

“Grief makes you angry,” San Diego Bicycle Coalition executive director Andy Hanshaw said. “If there’s not a dedicated path that’s seperate from the road, then we need a safer bike lane on the street, and your typical white stripe is not safe enough.”

Beloved bicyclist and San Diego State University administrator Laura Shinn was killed on Pershing Drive last Tuesday. Police said she was in the bike lane, wearing a helmet, when a driver hit her from behind.

Graphics by tomexploresla

“A lot of people are feeling hesitant,” bicyclist Elizabeth Mayer said. “They don’t want this freedom option of transportation taken from them because they’re afraid of cars.”

Although someone might want to tell NBC-7 that not everyone who rides a bicycle is an “athlete.”

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Sad news from Wyoming, where former US Senator Mike Enzi has died following some sort of bicycling crash.

According to the local Gillette, Wyoming newspaper, the 77-year old politician was transported to a medical center near my Colorado hometown after he was involved in a “serious bicycle accident” Friday night.

He died of his injuries on Monday.

Newsweek reports that Enzi was found lying in the roadway next to his bicycle, about the same time his Apple Watch sent a distress call indicating a bad fall.

The magazine reports he had suffered a broken neck and broken ribs; there’s no word on whether he fell off his bike, or may have been the victim of a hit-and-run.

Regardless of whether or not you agreed with his politics, he devoted his life to serving his state and his country.

And he was one of us.

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They get it.

The Los Angeles Times says it’s time to stop letting drivers set speed limits with their right foot.

The Los Angeles City Council was recently forced to raise speed limits on sections of Olympic and Overland boulevards in West L.A. — where a woman was killed this year by a recklessly speeding driver.

Why? Because an outdated and absurd law essentially requires cities to set street limits based on how fast people are already driving on a stretch of road — not whether that speed is safe.

This law is based on a flawed methodology, according to a report released last year. It relies on the overly optimistic assumption that most drivers will drive at a safe and reasonable speed, and that it’s safer to set speed limits that reflect the “natural” flow of traffic.

The paper calls for passage of AB 43, which would modify the deadly 85th Percentile Law to allow cities and counties to lower speed limits by a modest 5 mph on streets with injury high rates of injuries, or heavy bike and pedestrian use.

What we really need is to repeal the 85th Percentile Law entirely.

But until we can get there, this is a start.

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This is what it looks like to ride the new bike lane on New York’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge.

Just don’t count on riding it yourself for the next few months.

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Local

Bird is rolling out their next generation e-scooters in Long Beach this week.

 

State

Clean Technica says California’s new ebike rebate program is a done deal. But securing the funding is not the same as approving the program.

Former San Luis Obispo councilmember Robert “Red” Davis passed away peacefully in his home over the weekend. The 76-year old bike advocate had served as president of the SLO Bike Club, as well as chairing the Morro Bay Citizens Bike Committee and the County Bicycle Advisory Committee; a local bikeway is named in his honor.

A San Francisco TV station tries out a $5,500 ebike intended to replace a car, and capable of carrying two passengers and up to 400 pounds at 30 mph. However, that top speed means you’d be required to wear a helmet, and prohibited from using bike paths and protected bike lanes.

San Francisco Streetsblog says a pilot speed cam program may be exactly what the city needs to meet its Vision Zero goals in the next three years. On the other hand, Los Angeles has virtually zero chance of meeting its goal of ending traffic deaths by 2025, by which time the mayor who committed to it will likely be serving as ambassador to India, anyway. 

Sacramento officials identify the 76-year old man who died a month after he was run down by a drunk motorist illegally driving on a bike path.

 

National

TikTok’s Mr. Barricade discusses the benefits and practicality of quick-build bike lanes.

The New Republic says car sales and usage are on the rise, crushing hopes of reclaiming streets for bike riders and pedestrians.

A pair of Navy vets discuss their 1,300-mile bike ride to visit sites marking the 9/11 attacks to honor those who died that day.

The kindhearted staff of a Wyoming co-op dug into their own pockets to buy a new bike for a young girl, after someone stole her bicycle and tried to fix its flat tire at their shop.

Someone please tell San Antonio, Texas that a 35 mph speed limit does not a Slow Street make.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 75-year old Kansas man is planning to ride 75 miles to celebrate his birthday, while raising funds to help former inmates reenter society.

There’s a special place in hell for the person who jumped out of a car and shot a 12-year old St. Louis boy, just missing his 11-year old companion; fortunately, the boy is expected to survive.

Olympic silver medalist Brent Emery now devotes his efforts to building custom adaptive bicycles for kids with disabilities; Emery won his medal for team pursuit in the ’84 Los Angeles games.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A legend in local television was killed when a driver ran down a 77-year old former Florida TV executive in the fog on Saturday morning; Stephen McKenney Steck had ridden his bike every day for the last seven years.

Speaking of a special place in hell, that goes double for whoever viciously beat and robbed a 68-year old New York grandfather as he rode a bikeshare bike.

 

International

Raleigh wants to replace your car, too, for the low, low price of just $6,000. Apparently, “replace your car” is code for a cargo bike that costs as much as a used car.

Toronto bike riders are complaining after police ticketed dozens of bicyclists for speeding and blowing a stop sign in a local park, setting up a speed trap on a street where the limit was 20 mph for everyone. Although, as another story that was hidden behind a paywall wondered, is it really fair to ticket bike riders who don’t have a speedometer?

The world’s longest solar power-generating bike path is now open in the Netherlands, stretching over 1,000 feet.

Hats off to Mohammad Ashraf, who is completing a 2,300-mile ride across India, despite having to ride with just one leg after the other was paralyzed in a 2017 bicycling crash, which also limited use of his right hand.

 

Competitive Cycling

Britain’s Tom Pidcock took gold in men’s Olympic mountain biking in his first Olympics, after barely qualifying as U-23 rider.

Mathieu van der Poel blames a missing wooden ramp for crashing out of the mountain bike race, saying it had been there during his practice rides.

Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten says she’s “gutted” after falsely claiming victory in the road race after losing track of Anna Kiesenhofer, who finished over a minute ahead of her to claim the gold.

 

Finally…

That feeling when a cross-state group ride crosses paths with a police chase. Nothing like being 300 miles into a 1,200 cross-country bike ride because you lost a bet.

And don’t count on riding BMW’s compact, folding ped-assist e-cargo bike anytime soon.

Or maybe ever.

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

LA Time’s Lopez calls for legalizing speed cams, Bike Index helps return stolen bike 500 miles away, and LA NC talks ebikes

He gets it, all right.

Last week we quoted LA Times columnist Steve Lopez as he called out the death cult of speeding drivers enabled by the relatively empty, over-engineered streets of pandemic-era Los Angeles.

In the first month of the pandemic last spring, the California Highway Patrol reported that although traffic volume was down 35%, the number of citations for driving in excess of 100 miles an hour had increased by 87% over the same period a year earlier. Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, 4,851 more CHP citations were issued for speeding at 100 miles an hour or more, a 93% increase over the same period a year earlier.

This weekend, he pointed towards one major solution, with a full-throated endorsement of automated speed cams.

On Sunday, when I wrote about the perils of drivers thinking that light traffic during the pandemic is a license to try out for NASCAR, readers shared their own horror stories about speeding drivers and offered their own solutions. One was automated speed enforcement, which I’d already been looking into.

The way it works is that, if you’re driving over the speed limit in a monitored area, a sensor will read your speed and license plate, and you’ll get a citation in the mail.

The problem, as we’ve noted here before, is that they’re illegal here in the late, great golden state.

Currently, the technology is prohibited in California, but 140 communities in the country have used it with impressive results.

“Washington, D.C., saw a 70% reduction in speeding,” said Seleta Reynolds, general manager of L.A.’s Department of Transportation. “New York saw huge reductions in severe and fatal crashes. That technology is going to save people’s lives for years to come.”

As Lopez notes, that’s thanks in part to pressure from police unions, who have blocked previous attempts to legalize speed cams out of fear it will cost cops jobs, rather than simply freeing more officers to focus on more important things.

There are currently two bills before the state legislature to rectify the situation.

Assembly Bill 550 would legalize speed cams on streets previously recognized as dangerous, as well as in work zones, while Senate Bill 735 would limit the cams to school zones.

Both would require giving hotfooted drivers advance notice through signs indicating they’re entering a speed enforcement zone.

Which is kind of like warning robbers the cops have the place staked out, so they can avoid getting caught.

We need them everywhere drivers speed, rather than just limited locations. And as anyone who’s spent much time on SoCal streets knows, drivers speed everywhere.

But it’s a start.

Let’s hope both pass, or they get merged into a single bill for passage.

And let’s keep on top of it, and keep pressure on our representatives to make sure they do.

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This is a perfect example of why you should register your bike.

Even though the thieves took this bike far from the LA area, Bike Index’ free national stolen bike database helped lead to its safe return.

Or you could just count on faith to get your stolen bike back.

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The Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council is talking ebikes this Thursday.

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The case of the missing bike lane.

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Soon you, too, will be able to wear the new volcano-inspired colors of the L39ION of Los Angeles cycling team, which will be available from Rapha.

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

No bias here. A conservative commentator wants bike riders banned from the streets because someone on a bike complained about people blocking bike lanes, albeit in a rude and obnoxious manner. Seriously, we’ve all had to deal with people blocking bike lanes, but try to make the same point without being a total jerk about it.

And maybe Matt Walsh could try not being a jerk about it, too.

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Local

Chris Pratt is one of us, going for a ride in LA with his eight-year old son as Katherine Schwarzenegger follows with their infant daughter.

 

State

Beaumont proposes working together with the cities of Banning and Calimesa, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and Riverside County to develop multimodal transportation projects along the I-10 corridor, including bicycle routes.

A 22-year old woman suffered moderate injuries — whatever that means — when a driver failed to see her riding salmon at an Hesperia intersection.

No bias here. Britain’s Daily Mail accuses Prince Harry of racing through LA traffic on his “expensive” ebike. Even though he was riding near his Montecito home, about 84 miles away.

A Bakersfield bike path will be closed for improvements for one day a week from tomorrow.

In a tragic irony, a Berkeley bike and pedestrian advocate suffered major injuries when she was struck by a driver while riding with her son on a street where walkers and bike riders are supposed to have priority — and just hours after meeting with city transportation officials on how to improve traffic safety.

 

National

Transportation Secretary Pete says Biden’s transportation plan represents a once in a century opportunity to remake how Americans get around, where cars and highways are no longer king. I like this guy more every time he speaks.

The EPA says the days of pickup drivers enveloping you in a cloud of dark smoke are over, as they sue the Cayman Islands maker of a conversion kit allowing drivers to roll coal. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

A new study concludes that, in the absence of congestion pricing, privately-owned self-driving cars will be a disaster for downtown areas, as many owners choose to keep them circulating rather than pay for parking.

Electrek says the proposed 30% tax rebate on the purchase of a new ebike sponsored by Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Jimmy Panetta has a good chance of passing in the current Congressional term.

Inside Hook considers the psychology behind why drivers hate people on bicycles.

Family members say the fatal police shooting of a 17-year old Arizona boy wasn’t justified, after bodycam video showed he had thrown a gun away as he ran from his bike, and never turned to face the cop before he was shot — all for what started as a simple traffic stop for weaving between lanes on his bicycle.

Bicycling’s Joe Lindsey says no, former NBA star Shawn Bradley wasn’t paralyzed in a Utah bicycle accident, as much of the press termed it; he was injured in a collision when he was run down by a driver. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

A reporter from Illinois is riding his bike west to Los Angeles along the famous Route 66, aka the Mother Road, to collect stories about life in the Age of Covid.

Good question. A Daytona Beach FL paper asks how many people have to be killed walking or riding a bike before the state finally says enough?

Florida sheriff’s deputies arrest the 22-year old hit-and-run driver who ran down the sheriff of Volusia County as he was riding his bike — and while she was busy shopping on Amazon. Meanwhile, the sheriff thanked the truck driver who stopped to help him after the crash.

 

International

Road.cc recommends six of the best bike locks, with prices starting at under $40.

Gear Patrol lusts after three ebikes you can only get in Europe, for now.

Parking in a bike lane in Mérida, Yucatán will now cost you the equivalent of up to $77.

The CBC says the great pandemic bike boom has created a demand, combined with supply chain disruptions, that will take the Canadian bike industry years to catch up.

Toronto police are giving fewer tickets to people on bicycles, even though more people are riding bikes.

The owner of a burger bar in Bath, England claims a new bike lane will batter his business. Because evidently, only people who drive eat hamburgers. And if drivers aren’t willing to walk a little further to do business with his shop, maybe he should try making a better burger.

Bike riders in an English county turn thumbs down on a proposed $12.5 million bicycle bridge, saying the money could be better used to improve bike infrastructure on the streets.

New projections show that, not only will ebikes start outselling cars in Europe, it will probably happen sooner than you think.

Cuban expats living in Belgium are organizing a bike ride for this coming weekend to protest the ongoing US blockade of the island.

A Manilla website tells the horrible story behind the city’s first ghost bike, installed to honor a bicyclist who was shot to death by a driver in a road rage incident following a too-close pass; his killer is now serving life behind bars. A reminder that you never know who has a gun and a short fuse. Especially here in the US. 

 

Competitive Cycling

Italian pro Elisa Longo Borghini won the women’s Trofeo Alfredo Binda race, taking everyone else by surprise with an attack with a little more than 15 miles to go; Marianne Vos won the sprint for a distant second.

Belgian cyclist Jasper Stuyven claimed the biggest win of his career by edging Caleb Ewan and defending champ Wout van Aert in the the Milan-San Remo classic, the longest single-day race on the modern cycling calendar. And it was a good day for Trek-Segafredo, with both Steven and Longo Borghini riding for the team.

Former world champ and TdF, Giro and Vuelta points winner Mark Cavendish says he has nothing left to prove, after making what he termed an amateur mistake on the cobbles of Nokere Koerse.

 

Finally…

Seriously, 18 inches does not a bike lane make.  Now you, too, can own the bike Bradley Wiggins rode to victory in the 2012 Tour de France, for the low, low price of $10,400.

Unless you’d rather own the very bike Lance rode for the Motorola team in the ’90s.

Syringe and IV bag not included.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a damn mask, already. 

Examining the carnage caused by speeding drivers, the bike boom runs on batteries, and early LA bike cops

Speed kills.

In a column for the LA Times, the paper’s Steve Lopez examines the rising carnage on our streets caused by speeding drivers.

Lopez constructs his story through the lens of the needless deaths of 68-year old Larry Brooks, killed by a driver in $280,000, 200 mph McLaren, and 32-year-old Monique Munoz, whose life was taken by a 17-year old in a $200,000-plus Lamborghini SUV.

Not that you need a high-end super car to speed. Or take an innocent life.

In fact, it seems to be a rising trend.

In the first month of the pandemic last spring, the California Highway Patrol reported that although traffic volume was down 35%, the number of citations for driving in excess of 100 miles an hour had increased by 87% over the same period a year earlier. Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, 4,851 more CHP citations were issued for speeding at 100 miles an hour or more, a 93% increase over the same period a year earlier.

And too often, the people who pay the price aren’t the ones with their foot glued to the gas pedal. Three years ago, speeding played a role in roughly a third of all crashes resulting in death or serious injury, according to the most recent stats from the CHP.

Not that more timely statistics would help prevent more deaths, or anything.

Then there’s the broken promise of Vision Zero, which was supposed to be well on its way to ending traffic deaths in the City of Angels by now.

Not making more of them.

The Vision Zero campaign, announced by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2015, set an ambitious goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and injuries and making streets safer for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists by 2025. The progress, and the reviews, have not been sterling. In the Arts District, where Larry Brooks was killed, residents have begged for more sidewalks and crosswalks. A $15-million state grant for such improvements has yet to be put to work.

Budgets, bureaucracy, politics and competing priorities have stood in the way of safety improvements such as turn lanes, crosswalks, signage and enforcement throughout the city. But (LADOT General Manager Seleta) Reynolds said progress is being made and her department has identified 450 miles of city streets where more than two-thirds of the fatal and serious collisions have occurred, with improvements there being prioritized.

Except nibbling at the edges of traffic safety wasn’t what we were promised. And won’t bring about the wholesale changes to the city’s traffic grid necessary to make a substantial dent in the rate of traffic deaths.

Let alone end them in the next four years, as the mayor committed to in announcing the plan six years ago.

Or do much to reduce the number of speeding drivers on LA’s over-engineered streets, as evidenced by the LAPD’s own stats.

(LAPD Traffic Division Cmdr. Gerald) Woodyard ran stats for the 12 pandemic months ending Feb. 28 of this year and found that fatal collisions in which speed was a factor increased from 15% to 21% of the total. Of the 253 fatalities, 117 involved pedestrians, and 48 of the victims were identified as “homeless or transient.”

Let’s hope that the state legislature gets serious about eliminating that deadly 85th Percentile Law that allows drivers to set speed limits with their right foot, and legalizing automated speed enforcement to slow them down.

And maybe Los Angeles can spend some of the $1.35 billion it will be getting in the latest Covid stimulus package to fully fund Vision Zero, and stop using that for an excuse for why nothing gets done.

Then our elected leaders will just have to grow a spine. Or at least enough of one to stand up to angry drivers who demand the right to keep going zoom zoom on our streets, unimpeded by anything that might slow them down.

Like a person, for instance.

If not, maybe we can replace them with new leaders who already have one.

Take a few minutes to read the full piece. It’s worth your time to grasp the full cost of drivers who insist on putting the pedal to the metal.

Because let’s face it, you can’t spell “carnage” without “car.”

Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR from Pexels.

………

Speed kills, part two.

Two people were killed, and four seriously injured, when a speeding driver lost control on Vineland Ave in North Hollywood, slamming into two other cars and killing a man who had just stepped out of a liquor store; a passenger in one of the cars was the other person killed.

The crash occurred just blocks from the bike lanes on Vineland.

………

More proof that much of the current bike boom runs on batteries.

………

Actually, it looks like most of those “hats” are helmets on the heads of the LAPD’s first bike cops.

………

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

It takes a real lowlife to torch a Cambridge, Massachusetts ghost bike.

People are attacking a Welsh bikeshare provider, with an average of two bikes damaged each day over a five-week period; 20 people have been arrested so far for vandalizing the bikes.

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

Jessica Jones star Krysten Ritter complains she almost channeled her rage-filled superhero alter ego when she was rudely hit on by a bike riding man while walking on a sidewalk.

British police bust a 19-year old, bike-riding serial groper accused of attacking 12 woman on a Cambridge bike path.

………

Local

Officials conclude that a proposed bike lane on Western Ave in Rancho Palos Verdes won’t have a negative effect on traffic.

 

State

Calbike says it’s time for California to legalize the Safety Stop, which would allow bike riders to legally treat stop signs as yields, as most bike riders — and many drivers — already do. Actually, it was time about 30 years ago; now it’s way past time to get it done.

Encinitas will host a free ebike seminar on the 26th.

No bias here, either. A Santa Barbara letter writer says the new bike lanes on State Street make no sense, and accuses leaders of kowtowing to “the minority bike lobby.”

Sad news from Bakersfield, where a man riding a bicycle was killed in a collision Saturday evening; he was allegedly riding the wrong way when a driver hit him head-on.

Kindhearted members of a Cal Fire crew bought a new bicycle and helmet for an eight-year old Pescadero boy after his were damaged when he was hit by a driver.

No bias here. A Chico State student investigating police bias and racial profiling in campus traffic stops unexpectedly finds himself stopped by three university police officers in a pair of squad cars as he was riding his bike, long after leaving the campus. He was told he somehow looked suspicious because he rode his bike away from the cop he didn’t see, who wasn’t trying to stop him. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

 

National

City Lab examines the irrational growth in the sheer size of pickup trucks, some of which now weigh as much as 3.5 tons, posing a dramatically increased risk to everyone on the road around them. Correction: I originally wrote the pickups weigh up to 7 tons, rather than 3.5. Thanks to Andy Stow for the correction.

Washington state is moving forward with a bill to bar sales tax for ebikes.

Bodycam video appears to show a 17-year old Arizona boy reaching for a gun after fleeing from police on foot, after what originally began as a simple traffic stop for not having a headlight on his bike; he died three weeks after the shooting — and after begging the cop not to let him die. Thanks to BGD Reporters and Rafe Husain for the tip.

A Utah bike rider was stabbed in the arm in a random attack, moments after an attacker robbed another person just to smash their phone on the ground.

PeopleForBikes spends a day with a bike-borne Boulder CO food rescue.

Despite their new found legal status, ebike and scooter riders find themselves banned from New York’s Hudson River Greenway.

Once again, a driver has fled after running down multiple riders; one woman was killed and another seriously injured when they were rear-ended by the heartless, cowardly driver while on a Florida bike club’s annual member appreciation ride.

 

International

A new Cannondale ad campaign is appearing at iconic sites around the world, as the bike boom pushes the company into the mainstream.

Take a single-track excursion on a Mexican mountain bike Mecca built by a Walmart heir.

We already knew Harrison Ford was one of us, as he dons his spandex for a nearly 800-mile ride from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. Although some people can’t seem to get over his “skintight outfit.”

Canada’s Liberal government is attempting to solve the country’s first mile/last mile problem by allocating a whopping $400 million for bike paths.

Thieves are feasting on bicycles from bike shed in an English housing development certified as secure by the local police department, because of ventilation holes big enough for someone to reach in and unlock the door. Evidently, the police wanted to ensure the bikes got plenty of fresh air when they weren’t in use.

A UK prosthetics experts is back on his bike after becoming his own patient when he lost his right arm in a bicycling collision with a truck driver.

Photographic proof that the British royal family are no strangers to bicycles.

When is a bicycle not a bicycle? When you strap a gasoline engine to it in Ireland.

A man was fatally shot after threatening a Paris bike cop with a knife outside a train station.

Spanish former F1 champ Fernando Alonso will now have to race with two titanium plates patching his fractured jaw after collision while riding his bike last month.

Peshawar becomes the first city in Pakistan to open a bikeshare service.

An Israeli man who once rode 41,000 miles around the world is credited with saving seven lives by donating his organs when he was hit by a bus driver while making an Everesting attempt near Haifa.

South African bike thieves are using pepper spray to knock riders off their bicycles. But at least they haven’t put a stop to the Cape Town edition of the World Naked Bike Ride.

Business is booming for Taiwanese bikemakers, with revenues up as much as 80%, even though delivery times are down.

An Aussie woman thanks a passing driver for saving her daughter’s life when the bikes failed on the girl’s borrowed bicycle, and she crashed into a parked car.

 

Competitive Cycling

Another reminder that there’s no sure thing in bike racing. Slovenian cyclist Primož Roglič lost his firm grip on the Paris-Nice podium by falling twice on the last stage and dislocating his shoulder. Germany’s Max Schachmann made up a 52-second deficit to take the win.

 

Finally…

Evidently, your body is a bicycle. Your next bike could have no crossbar, fork or seat.

And who hasn’t ridden 163 miles just to get a cup of coffee?

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a damn mask, already. 

Covid closes SoCal beaches for holiday weekend, Metro reveals recovery plans, and a visit with a bike-riding paletero

Santa Barbara became the latest SoCal county to close its beaches for the holiday weekend yesterday.

That means a nearly unbroken string of city and county beach closures stretching from north of Camp Pendleton through Santa Maria. The closures include the beachfront bike paths in LA County, but it’s not clear if it includes bike path closures in other counties, so check before you go.

State run beaches will remain open, including paths for biking and walking, but parking lots will be closed through Monday to discourage overcrowding.

All of which means San Clemente is likely to get overrun with beachgoers this weekend.

Let’s just hope they’re right about coronavirus not spreading easily outdoors.

But wherever you ride, do it safely and defensively.

I don’t want to have to write about you, or anyone one else, this weekend.

Photo by David Drexler.

………

Metro’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force is out with plans for how the LA area can move forward as the city recovers from the coronavirus, without the seemingly inevitable gridlock as people go back to their auto-centric daily routines.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton takes an in-depth look at Metro’s plans, including an increase in dedicated bus lanes, and possibly taking bikeshare in house to better meet the needs of underserved communities.

Then there’s this.

Metro’s task force recommends a “quick roll-out of more bike infrastructure.” The lack of safe, convenient places to bike has long been a limiting factor inhibiting bicycling in Southern California. What is tricky for Metro is that bikeways are largely out of Metro’s jurisdiction. Metro has roles to play, but municipalities – primarily cities – are ultimately responsible for the bike-unfriendly state of local streets. The task force says Metro should “partner with cities on strategies for rapid deployment of bike improvements.”

So let’s hope Metro can give LA a much-needed push in the right direction.

Linton also goes on to quote a certain bike website writer’s reaction to the plans.

But you’ll have to read his story to see what I had to say.

………

Moving piece from the LA Times, which spends a day with an immigrant paletero, or pushcart ice cream vendor, who begins and ends every day riding his bike to and from work.

Mauro Rios Parra is one of the countless Angelenos, immigrant and otherwise, who depend on their bikes for transportation and to earn a living. And who are too often ignored by city planners and elected officials.

According to the story, Rios Parra hasn’t seen his family in Oaxaca for 16 years. But his modest pushcart has helped put one child through med school, and two others through law school.

Which he probably couldn’t have done if he had a car instead of a bike.

………

Bicycles allow bike cops to respond quickly and quietly to rapidly changing situations. Unfortunately, that appears to include attacking seemingly peaceful Seattle protesters.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

………

Let’s see Peter Sagan pull this one off with the pro peloton if they ever get back to racing in real life.

https://twitter.com/engineeringvids/status/1278755531352662016

Thanks to Ted Faber for the tip.

………

WTF? Why would any family need an SUV that does one eighty? They should send this cat straight back to the hell it came from.

………

Local

Somehow we missed this Streetsblog piece on family-friendly bike rides accessible by Metro transit.

Police are still looking for the second bike and skateboard-riding groper who sexually assaulted a number of women in the Venice and Culver City areas; another suspect was arrested recently.

 

State

The CHP is looking for a hit-and-run driver who sideswiped a bike-riding Santa Rosa woman with a trailer; the CHP politely gave the driver a built-in alibi, saying they may not even know they hit anyone.

 

National

Forbes offers advice on how to buy a new mountain bike.

Bicycling tries out the updated 2020 edition of the 1965 Schwinn Collegiate. And likes it.

How to use your water bottle to brush debris from your tires without risking stitches.

A Portland group has created a guide to corking intersections with your bike to protect social justice protests.

Back in my hometown, a university cop is pledging to ride her bike 400 miles this month to benefit Black Lives Matter, and mark the 400-plus years African Americans have been fighting for social justice.

After recovering from testicular cancer, a Texas man who grew up with the nickname Porky got serious about bicycling, which helped him drop 167 pounds while riding up to 200 miles in a day.

A Massachusetts minister suggests taking a spiritual spin on your bike. But don’t be a bicycle Bozo.

The New York Times looks at the city’s bicycle Black Lives Matter protests that have brought thousands of bike riders to the streets to demand social justice.

An off-duty New York cop faces charges for hit-and-run and assault after crashing into a man on a bike, then pushing a bystander before fleeing the scene.

A New York writer says the city’s new e-scooter pilot program is great, but all he really wants is a safe place to park his bike.

 

International

Pink Bike turns into Bicycle Vogue, with a focus on summer mountain bike fashions for men, while Refinery 29 seems more concerned with keeping you stylish on your commuter bike.

The Department of DIY struck in London once again, as climate activist group Extinction Rebellion painted their own popup bike lane through Kensington.

A Scottish program is providing the equivalent of $1.25 million to help local councils, community groups and universities buy ebikes and e-cargo bikes; a previous $2.37 million bought 875 ebikes and 41 e-cargo bikes to replace car trips. Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

The BBC examines how helmets, including bike helmets, can keep your fragile brain safe.

A new study shows France is rediscovering the bicycle, with sales up 117% in the first month since the country’s pandemic lockdown was lifted.

 

Competitive Cycling

The actual Tour de France won’t take place until late next month, but a virtual version will kick off this weekend. Maybe they’ll have virtual jostling in the peloton, with virtual falls and virtual road rash. And virtual failed dope tests, too.

Speaking of virtual racing, an Indian army colonel finished fourth in this year’s virtual RAAM, becoming the fourth Indian rider to finish the grueling race, more or less.

A New Zealand navy veteran plans to compete in cycling events in next year’s Invictus Games using a 3D-printed metal pedal spacer and cleat, after injuries from a helicopter crash left one leg shorter than the other.

 

Finally…

If your friend tries to sell your bike without your permission, maybe you need to rethink your friends. Apparently, take one, leave one applies to bike thieves, too.

And nothing like going out for a bike ride and getting stuck in traffic.

Funny how they seem more willing to share the road than LA drivers, and less likely to use their horns.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the link.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

Vehicular cycling founder John Forester has died, toxic car culture, fighting for street space, and courteous CA drivers

Sad news from San Diego.

CABO President Jim Baross writes that John Forester, author of Effective Cycling and the father of America’s vehicular cycling movement, passed away last week.

Reported to me today by his son Jeff Forester

John died April 14, 2020 at 90 years of age

He was Born Oct. 1929

I have known John primarily related to bicycling and CABO. Some things I know about him off the cuff:

Author of Effective Cycling now in a 7th edition, former League of American Bicyclists Board member (was he board chair at one time?), instrumental in the formation of CABO, certainly the Father of the concepts and trainings of vehicular cycling, an early outspoken advocate for the rights of people to use bicycles on public roads, etc. etc.

Whatever your opinion of vehicular cycling, Forester was hugely influential in the ’70s and ’80s, and throughout the past 50 years. Both in affirming the place of bicyclists on our streets, and blocking the growth of separated bikeways.

He fought for what he believed right up to the end, long after most modern advocates and planners had left his philosophies behind.

But in his day, his work was a revelation, creating the framework most road cyclists employed through the last decades of the past century.

Myself included.

Thanks to Richard Masoner for the heads-up.

Cover image from MIT Press

………

Let’s talk about a great opinion piece from today’s LA Times.

Senior digital editor Matthew Fleischer writes that the coronavirus shutdowns are making it clear just how toxic car culture really is.

The coronavirus is making it abundantly clear that cars are their own kind of plague. And, in many ways, our lives are better when we don’t have to use them.

Some city leaders have come to this realization and are refusing to allow their automotive status quos to return after the lockdowns end. In Milan, Italy — one of the hardest-hit cities in the world by coronavirus — planners have already begun preparations to permanently transform 22 miles of streets for non-automobile use after witnessing reductions in air pollution of up to 70% during lockdowns.

Then there’s this.

Frankly, the idea that we can transport ourselves sustainably en masse in toxic 4,000-pound battering rams is just as delusional, entitled and self-destructive as the “liberate” protestors who are demanding a premature end to coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders…

There is no herd immunity from the damage caused by millions of personal automobiles roaming the streets at all hours.

Seriously, this will probably be the most insightful thing you read today. If not, it’s still a damn good way to spend the next few minutes.

Let’s hope Mayor Garcetti reads it.

Because he can let coronavirus derail his ambitious plans to reimagine our streets as part of an LA Green New Deal.

Or he can use this as a rare opportunity to actually make it happen.

………

Closing or narrowing streets for cars in response to Covid-19 continues to make news here in LA, across the US and around the world.

Los Angeles political advocacy group Streets For All has forged a powerful coalition of LA-area groups to lead the call to keep Angelenos physically and mentally healthy during the COVID-19 crisis.

And expressed that call in a strongly worded letter to leaders of the City of Angels.

The road space in Los Angeles is now dramatically overbuilt for the current vehicle traffic volume, causing vehicles to travel at dangerous speeds – average speeds are up 30% on our wide open roads according to LADOT. At the same time, the average width of our sidewalks is 4.4’, too narrow to allow people to pass each other while maintaining 6’ of distance. As a result, people are forced to be in close proximity with each other, risking proliferating the virus or walking, running, scooting, or biking in the street next to speeding cars. This isn’t just a street safety issue, but a public health issue as well…

While the top priority is limiting COVID-19 spread and saving lives and livelihoods, there must be a long term plan to sustain the mental and physical well being of Angelenos. Isolation and inactivity can lead to increases in chronic health conditions like heart disease and obesity and pose other mental and physical health risks that we may pay for as a society for years to come.

Therefore, for the critical reasons of equity, mental health, safety, and the physical well-being of Angelenos, we ask you to authorize the creation of an emergency people street network – using cones or other temporary infrastructure – to create additional sidewalk and open space for people to walk, run, scoot, and bike in, while maintaining 6’ of distancing. ​On neighborhood streets, this could be as simple as a few cones and a “slow down” sign taking up some of the street, calming traffic but still allowing local and emergency vehicle access. On major arteries, this could be redistributing a parking lane and/or single vehicle traffic lane on each side of the street, while taking care not to interfere with bus stops​. These treatments may also advance the Mayor’s goals under L.A.’s Green New Deal to “Activate Streets” and “Prioritize Land Use and the Right-of-Way” in ​Executive Directive 25​. All of this can be accomplished inexpensively and without the need of distracting our police or fire departments with enforcement during this critical time.

It’s worth taking the time to read the full letter. And voice your own support.

Meanwhile, KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis talks with Curbed’s Alissa Walker about closing some roads to cars so people have more space to walk, run or bike.

Salt Lake City joins the growing movement to convert streets to bike and pedestrian use.

Berlin is the latest world capital to carve out more space on the streets for active transportation in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown.

And Paris trumps everyone by readying the equivalent of 400 miles of permanent and temporary bikeways for use when the city reawakens.

………

No surprise here.

The Governors Highway Safety Association says speeding is up around the country on streets emptied by the coronavirus crisis, which means crashes are more serious, too.

Case in point, the CHP reports that tickets for speeding in excess of 100 mph have jumped 87% over the past month.

Which can either mean that more drivers are speeding. Or that more are just getting caught.

Or maybe both.

………

New York City’s mayor demonstrates that he’s never been to California by bizarrely insisting that California drivers are so courteous, they stop on every block — even when they don’t have to.

https://twitter.com/laura_nelson/status/1252979892846645248?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1252979892846645248&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fnyc.streetsblog.org%2F2020%2F04%2F22%2Fstill-defiant-now-mayor-de-blasio-wrongly-claims-california-can-have-open-space-because-its-drivers-are-better%2F

………

The LACBC and Sunset For All are teaming up tomorrow to show that bikes mean business.

………

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

A “furious” English man demands that bike riders be banned from a multi-use path along the coast for the alleged crime of failing to maintain social distancing.

………

Local

Khloé Kardashian’s two-year old daughter is one of us.

 

State

A San Diego columnist questions whether it’s time to reopen parts of the city, arguing that the fitness of residents helped it avoid the worst of the coronavirus.

I want to be like them when I grow up. A group of San Diego men up to 80 years old are still taking long rides along the SoCal coast. And the coast of Normandy.

After losing his job in a San Francisco restaurant, a Venezuelan chef turns to his native cuisine, and starts a new business delivering homemade arepas by bike. Which is literally what he named it.

Once again, a Bay Area bicyclist posts a nearly one-hour video of a ride through Oakland and San Leandro. And once again, an Oakland News blogger freaks out over his scofflaw behavior.

They get it. A pair of Sacramento mayors agree this is no time to back down on climate change, coronavirus or not.

 

National

PeopleForBikes aims to support bike shops by encouraging responsible riding during the Covid-19 crisis, along with virtual cycling.

How to turn your kid into a mini mountain bike shredder.

A pair of Idaho bike commuters are credited with helping the environment by trading gas pedals for bike pedals; one was inspired to get on her bike by attending CicLAvia when she was a student at USC.

Evidently, Texas trail users don’t like being told which way to go.

Wisconsin wrenches are raising old bikes from the dead at a record pace.

Security cam video shows a St. Louis hit-and-run driver plowing into a bike rider, hurling him into the air before flooring it and fleeing the scene; despite the head-on crash, the victim only suffered minor injuries. This video is just as disturbing as it sounds, so be sure you really want to see it before you click on the link.

Three friends from Maine end up driving 2,000 miles home when their fundraising cross-country bike trip ground to a halt in Texas after the coronavirus shut down much of the country.

After an MIT researcher blamed New York’s transit system for spreading Covid-19, a researcher from George Mason University reminds him that correlation isn’t causation, noting that restaurants and bikeshare showed the same curve — and points the finger for spreading the disease at motor vehicle use, instead.

Streetsblog says the empty streets have turned New York’s Third Ave into a dangerous speedway.

A writer for Rolling Stone takes a desolate and desultory ride through the city, feeling anger towards people flaunting social distancing rules and mourning places that may not return.

A Philly radio station says bicycle couriers have had to change their strategies to avoid spreading Covid-19. Or getting exposed to it.

 

International

She gets it. A writer for Forbes says our planet needs cities to prioritize people over cars, and this is the perfect time to do it.

The Pinkbike Podcast discusses why every new bike now seems to be a trail bike.

Cycling News says you can save time and money by learning to fit your own bike chain. Meanwhile, Bike Radar offers a beginner’s guide to road bike shifting.

Bike-riding British Columbia mounties stop a man for riding without a helmet, which is against the law there. And end up busting him for stealing the bike he was riding.

Dutch model Lilly Becker is one of us, too, going for a socially distant ride through London’s Wimbledon neighborhood.

Tragic news from the Netherlands, where an 18-year old man was stabbed to death in an apparent random attack while riding his bike; police arrested a “known troublemaker” immigrant with mental health problems.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews talks with five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault about his 50-mile solo breakaway through a brutal snowstorm to win the 1980 Liège-Bastogne-Liège

 

Finally…

Who needs a BMX track when you’ve got a Tribeca apartment with an awesome view of the waterfront? Why move over when you’ve got a six-foot social distancing stick?

And no, bikes aren’t “the new toilet paper.

You can actually get a bicycle.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

LA Times tells state to speed up slowing drivers down, Streets For All goes all in on ads, and 5 riders run down Down Under

I seem to be apologizing a lot this week.

Sorry for the downtime on this site yesterday morning, and thank you to everyone who notified me about the 502 error; unfortunately, I wasn’t able to access the backside of this site, either.

It turned out to be a large scale glitch that took down a number of sites across the internet. But everything’s back to normal now.

Hopefully, it will stay that way.

And let me apologize to everyone who sent me links the past few days. I’ve lost track of most of them, and I’m way too tired to track them all down now.

So allow me to just offer a general and generic thank you to everyone who contributed something for your help, which I genuinely appreciate.

………

They get it.

In recent years, the LA Times editorial board has taken strong stands in favor of safer streets and alternative transportation.

Yesterday was no exception, as the paper complained about the state slow-walking efforts to slow motor vehicle traffic. And called on California to finally get rid of the deadly 85th percentile state speed limit law, calling it “outdated, absurd and downright dangerous.”

The problem stems from a decades-old state law that essentially requires cities to set speed limits based on how fast people are already driving on that stretch of road, regardless of whether that speed is safe or whether the street has a history of wrecks. It was adopted more than 60 years agoto prevent cities from setting speed traps, or arbitrarily low speed limits aimed at sticking drivers with pricey tickets…

The more common and unintended consequence of the 85th percentile rule is what’s known as speed creep. Higher speed limits encourage motorists to drive faster, which in turn prompts higher speed limits. That’s what happened on Zelzah Avenue in L.A.

It’s not surprising, then, that the task force has recommended giving cities more flexibility to set lower speed limits, particularly on streets with lots of injury crashes or an abundance of pedestrians and cyclists. Research shows that speed limits do affect drivers’ behavior, and even modest reductions in speed can save lives. A pedestrian or cyclist hit by a vehicle traveling 35 miles per hour has a 68% chance of survival. A person hit by vehicle traveling at 40 mph — just 5 mph faster — has only a 35% chance of survival.

They conclude this way.

None of these steps will be easy; Californians have fiercely resisted safety-promoting reforms that might slow their commutes. But at the very least, lawmakers should get rid of a system that forces cities to give in to speeders before cracking down on them.

Amen, brothers and sisters.

………

Here’s something that’s been missing from Los Angeles for far too long.

LA nonprofit Streets For All has produced YouTube ads supporting safe streets candidates in the upcoming March 3rd election.

The short ads endorse CD4’s Sarah Kate Levy and Loraine Lundquist in CD12, while taking well-deserved shots at incumbents David Ryu and John Lee.

While there’s an argument to be made against independent groups getting involved in local political races, until campaign finance laws are reformed to remove outside influence and expenditures, it’s vital to get our side out there, too.

And yes, I’ll be casting my vote for Sarah Kate Levy during the early voting period next week.

Meanwhile, Bike the Vote LA lists their endorsements in the coming election, including Levy and Lundquist, as well as Calbike’s endorsements for the state legislature.

………

Horrible news from Australia, where five bicyclists have been injured, two critically, when they were run down from behind by a hit-and-run driver while riding in a clearly marked bike lane.

A 28-year old man has been arrested for the crime after police discovered his blood-splattered SUV.

He faces numerous charges, including multiple counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing grievous bodily harm; dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and adversely affected by an intoxicating substance; and failing to remain at the scene and render assistance.

The question is whether he was just too drunk and/or stoned to control his damn vehicle, or if this was a deliberate attempt to run down as many riders as he could.

………

A meeting will be held in NoHo this afternoon to discuss the ill-advised widening of Magnolia Blvd, which contradicts LA’s Vision Zero and climate action plans, and all that is holy.

………

A UK website questions whether police have given up on bike thefts, saying many riders are putting off buying expensive bikes for fear of having them stolen.

Case in point, a bike thief uses an axle grinder to slice through a lock, stealing a bike on a crowded street in broad daylight.

Then threatens a bystander with it when he objects.

………

The source of those nonstandard, and likely legally unenforceable, Dismount Bikes signs in the construction zones on Wilshire Blvd has been revealed.

In case you want to order some of your own. Maybe someone could convert them to Drivers Dismount, instead.

………

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

A road raging Miami-area driver was caught on video brake checking a bike-riding couple and trying to run them off the road, screaming that they aren’t allowed on the street; naturally, the local police don’t seem to care.

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

A Washington burglar was busted just five minutes after raiding a restaurant freezer while making his getaway by bike. Although it does make you wonder if maybe he was just hungry.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton says just eight days into the mayor’s “Decade of Action” on climate change, the closure of the Jefferson Blvd bike lanes has left the city’s bike infrastructure worse off than it was last week.

Pasadena News Now allows the four candidates for the city’s mayor to make their case; all but one ignore transportation, except to complain about traffic. The fourth, Major Williams, gets points for wanting to get cars off the street — but what the hell are “motorized walkway paths?”

 

State

Bicycling says NBA Hall of Famer — and UCLA legend — Bill Walton is a huge cyclist, riding the streets of San Diego when he’s not broadcasting basketball games or engaged in multi-day tours.

Santa Barbara sheriff’s investigators are asking anyone with information or video regarding the allegedly drunken hit-and-run that took the lives of Mary Jane Becerra Corral and Adolfo Corral on a Goleta bike path to contact them; their accused killer, Eric Mauricio Ramirez-Aguilar, remains in custody on $1 million bond.

San Francisco’s mayor proposes congestion pricing and charging for metered parking on nights and weekends to reduce traffic in the congested downtown area.

An architecture and design site talks with the urban planner behind San Francisco’s newly carfree Market Street. Meanwhile, a San Jose columnist says closing streets there would have major benefits.

 

National

Seventy-seven-year old Harrison Ford is one of us. And wants you to know he doesn’t ride an ebike.

Peloton wants to swap your Flywheel in-home cycling bike for a “like new” Peloton, after the former lost a patent infringement suit to the latter. You might want to think twice about an Echelon stationary bike, too.

A Golden, Colorado bike thief made off from a bike shop with an $8,000 bicycle after leaving a stolen ID and credit card as security to take it on a test ride, and never came back.

After kids bike was stolen, a Colorado cop followed tracks in the snow to find it, along with another stolen kids bike, as well as the homeless addict who admitted taking them.

A Buffalo, Wyoming website tells the convoluted tale of why there were bike tire tracks in the snow one recent morning, after a rancher remembered he left his pickup in town following a late night visit to a “parts store.”

Nice piece from VeloNews, as a Marine lieutenant colonel describes how he started bicycling to recover after he was shot by a sniper in Afghanistan, and fell in love with the Dirty Kanza gravel race.

A Texas county commissioner pledged $7.4 million to build 3,000 acres of greenspace along Houston’s bayous, along with 150 miles of connected hiking and bicycling trails.

Cincinnati is moving forward with plans to create an additional 176 miles of bike lanes.

New York’s ped-assist bikeshare ebikes are back, after a redesign to prevent the brakes from locking and tossing riders over the handlebars.

New York City met its goal of 20 miles of protected bike lanes last year, and commits to 30 miles this year. That compares to LA’s firm commitment to maybe build a mile or two if it doesn’t, you know, inconvenience anyone.

Former New York DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan says car crashes are an epidemic, but one we can solve. But autonomous cars aren’t the answer.

This is who we share the road with. A West Virginia woman admits to distracted driving after killing a man riding a bike, saying she never saw the victim until she heard the thud because she was too busy looking at her phone.

An 88-year old DC crossing guard is a hero, holding his ground against a speeding driver and sacrificing his own life to save two children. Thanks to Orange House for the heads-up.

Kindhearted Virginia firefighters started a crowdfunding page for a man with Down syndrome after the custom three-wheeled bike he relies on for transportation was stolen; the site has raised over $1,600 in two days.

The Department of DIY strikes in the Big Easy, as a carnival krewe posts their own handmade signs urging drivers to watch out for bike riders during the upcoming Mardi Gras season.

Over 500 people are expected to turn out for a 51-mile bike ride commemorating the 55th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March of 1965.

 

International

A new report says e-scooters are just as safe as bicycles, and drivers are the real problem. But better regulation is necessary.

Cycling News considers the counterintuitive benefits of slapping wider tires on your skinny tire bike.

Now you, too, can own your very own badly named online bicycle accessory site.

A group of bicyclists ride 285 miles across Nicaragua in three days.

A proposal to require licenses and insurance for bicyclists in British Columbia is met with decidedly mixed reviews.

Despite the overwhelming success of London’s bicycling superhighways, merchants in the city’s Holland Park district fear it will cost them business — once again mistaking passing cars for paying customers.

This is who we share the roads with, too. A 75-year old London rabbi offered to help a woman park her Jag, and somehow confused the brake and gas pedals, crashing into two pedestrians before plowing into a pharmacy. Yes, the news is two years old; British privacy rules prevent releasing details on cases like this before they go to trial.

A man in the UK was driving at twice the legal alcohol limit when he hit a traffic island. So naturally, he blamed a bike rider for the crash.

British rock group Glass Animals makes a comeback 18 months after drummer Joe Seaward suffered a serious head injury when he was hit by a truck driver while riding his bike in Dublin.

A South African “adventure enthusiast, businesswoman and entrepreneur” describes how taking up bicycling twelve years ago has opened up her world.

Now that’s a beautiful bike. A Japanese student designed and built a handcrafted bespoke bike, melding traditional kitsuregoshi woodwork with a modern bicycle.

A Christian group has kicked off a campaign to provide 2,500 bicycles to pastors in Asia at a cost of $110 apiece.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews talks with American cycling legend Davis Phinney.

🎶 Hello muddah, hello faddah, busted for burglary, in Granada. 🎶 Former TdF stage winner Juan Miguel Mercado was arrested on suspicion of leading a violent burglary gang in Granada, Spain. Scroll way down, or read the original story en español. And anyone too young to get the musical reference can catch up here

 

Finally…

When you’re skipping school to ride your bike and carrying a little weed and a gun in your pants, make sure you have something in there to keep it in place. Your next ride could be on car tires.

And when you’re bunny hopping a canal, don’t miss.

Morning Links: LA Times Op-Ed objects to O’Farrell tweet and compares traffic safety denying drivers to the NRA

Evidently, I may have started something.

A few weeks ago, I responded to Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell’s tweet about gun control by suggesting he focus on street safety instead, which he could actually do something about.

Especially since he had just announced he was killing plans for the long-planned Temple Street road diet.

I was surprised when O’Farrell responded.

And shocked when that response turned out to be “Nice try.”

And I wasn’t the only one, as dozens of people responded with varying degrees of disappointment and outrage at the cavalier attitude reflected in O’Farrell’s dismissive two-word answer.

Now Michael MacDonald, who you may be more familiar with as topomodesto, has written a hard-hitting Op-Ed for the LA Times, inspired by that exchange.

When it comes to standing up to the gun lobby, Los Angeles’ leaders are rightly all-in. Our city has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, and a recent bill by L.A. City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell would boycott companies that do business with the National Rifle Association. As the United States coalesces around the courageous teenage survivors of gun violence in Parkland, Chicago and Ferguson to challenge the NRA’s political clout, L.A.’s elected officials are uniting our city in solidarity.

When it comes to fighting traffic violence, however, these same leaders can’t seem to find the same political moxie.

He goes on to compare the actions of the small group of traffic safety deniers, which seem to have too many on the city council cowed in fear, with the actions of the NRA.

In both gun-violence and traffic-violence policy, the battleground is science and data. The NRA and its supporters oppose any efforts to study gun violence in a way that would inform policy making, blocking federal funding for gun violence research for over 20 years.

L.A.’s anti-traffic-safety lobby, meanwhile, vocally questions the accuracy of data collected on traffic injuries and deaths. One federally classified “proven safety countermeasure” in particular has become a target for their obfuscation: the street safety reconfigurations known as “road diets.”…

And yet — invoking a distinctly Trump-like paranoia and embrace of alternative facts — anti-safety activists routinely contend that these national studies are wrong: that road diets make streets more dangerous and are part of a nefarious plot of social engineering “meant to force citizens of L.A. into public transit under the guise of safety,” as one Playa del Rey resident declared on Twitter.

It’s well worth taking a few minutes to read, because MacDonald couldn’t have done a better job of identifying the problem. Or the solution.

And because Mitch O’Farrell is just the latest in what’s becoming a long list of LA councilmembers putting angry drivers ahead of human lives and livability.

You can find a more legible version of that tweet exchange at LA Streetsblog.

………

Toronto removes speed signs intended slow drivers down after getting complaints that they slow drivers down.

Proof that Los Angeles isn’t the only city that tosses both logic and Vision Zero out the window when drivers object.

………

Local

Now you, too, can become an LAPD bike cop.

Turmoil on the Westchester Neighborhood Council, as six members quit in a dispute over whether to boot two other members, including an opponent of the Playa del Rey road diets who hasn’t bothered to attend a meeting in the last six months.

You still have time to weigh in with your thoughts on how LA County should remake Rosemead Blvd into a complete street.

 

State

San Diego’s mayor drops plans for nine miles of curb-protected bike lanes, which would have caused years of delay and more than doubled the cost compared to using plastic bollards and parking-protected lanes.

Life is cheap in Bakersfield, where a wealthy vintner from a prominent family was sentenced to just 90 days in jail for killing a bike-riding mother of five while driving at over twice the legal alcohol limit. Prosecutors blamed the victim for having drugs in her system, and not wearing bright clothing or riding in a crosswalk — neither of which are required for bicyclists. Thanks to Jefferey Fylling for the heads-up.

 

National

Somehow we missed this one earlier this year, as an Oregon man is the only person in the state with a disabled parking permit for a bicycle. Thanks to Eric Rogers for the link.

Outside asks what’s going on with Niner, which was recently acquired in bankruptcy by the owner of Huffy; the mountain bikes will continue to be made in my hometown, at least for now.

A Colorado legal expert examines the question of just how far to the right you should ride. Most of which applies here in California, although we still have the outdated requirement to ride as far to the right as practicable, rather than Colorado’s more progressive statute.

It takes a major lowlife to steal the bicycles residents of a San Antonio TX rehab center use to get to work; fortunately, kindhearted locals helped replace them.

A new study from the University of Arkansas confirms what you’ve already been told dozens of times — you need to drink before you’re thirsty when you ride.

This is why people keep dying on our streets: Illinois police arrest a drunk driver who passed out at a gas station with an open bottle of Crown Royal after trying to fill her car with kerosene; she has six previous DUIs in six states, and was driving without a license. Some people will never stop driving until we start taking cars from drunk and stoned drivers, instead of just their licenses. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.

A Massachusetts Op-Ed says a cyclist killed in a collision with a truck was a safe and careful rider, and wouldn’t have swerved in front of a massive truck without signaling, despite what the local victim-blaming DA claims.

Toyota teams with New York’s Priority Bicycles to build what they call the world’s safest bicycle by incorporating safety sensors and other features found on a Camry.

As usual, a plan to improve safety on a Philadelphia bike lane brings out people who say it doesn’t go far enough, and others who think it goes too far.

This is the cost of traffic violence: Pro wrestling Hall of Famer “Luscious” Johnny Valiant was killed in a collision with a truck driver while crossing a Pennsylvania street.

The bike-riding woman who gained worldwide fame for flipping off President Trump’s motorcade explains why she’s suing after getting fired for doing it.

A Charleston SC newspaper wonders why it’s so hard to get a bike lane on the bridge across the Ashley River, a debate that’s gone on since at least 1933.

A local newspaper remembers the black bike shop owner who prospered in a small Alabama town in the first half of the last century, despite being the son of former slaves.

 

International

A group of Calgary students have developed a bizarre new triangular bike gearing system to keep your drive chain from freezing and corroding during winter riding.

Bicyclists in Quebec argue that a proposed dramatic increase in fines for bicycling violations will simply keep people from riding.

A London website wonders why there are so few black and Asian bike riders in the city.

Even in the Netherlands, kids need more practice riding their bikes to avoid being clumsy, unsafe cyclists.

Italian bike riders are fighting to reclaim their space on the street in a country with almost no infrastructure for bicycles.

Horrifying news from Majorca, Spain, as a Porsche driver plowed into a group of nine cyclists, critically injuring one rider; the driver failed a roadside drug test.

The Evening Standard says the booming growth of Chinese dockless bikeshare is emblematic of the rapidly changing Chinese economy.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay says you can have Tiger Woods and the Masters; he’ll be watching Paris-Roubaix this weekend, aka the Hell of the North.

Cycling Tips relates the sad tale of two-time Paris-Roubaix champ Charles Crupelandt, which reads like a Greek tragedy.

The LA Times profiles next month’s Amgen Tour of California, which starts in Long Beach May 13th — for the men, that is; the women have to settle for three stages in Central California.

Eleven things not to do on your first crit.

 

Finally…

Who needs a bike cam when you can just have your drone follow you everywhere? It may look like a bike, but you probably wouldn’t want to ride it.

And introducing five-time Tour de France champ Bernard Renault, the greatest cyclist you’ve never heard of.

……….

A special thanks to John H and an anonymous donor for their generous contributions to the unofficial BikinginLA dead computer replacement campaign

 

Morning Links: Justice for Deborah Gresham, bike settlements soar due to bad LA streets, and BAC meets tomorrow

Finally, there’s justice for a fallen bike rider.

It’s been 16 months since Walking Dead fan page author Deborah Gresham was hit by a driver while riding her bike in Stanton.

And left to die in the street, literally within site of her own home.

The driver, Ricardo Hernandez Sandoval, was arrested less than an hour later after horrified witnesses followed him to his home. He was booked on charges of felony hit and run, felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter.

Now I’ve been informed that he was sentenced on Friday to four years for vehicular manslaughter under the influence, and five years for the fatal hit-and-run, to be served consecutively.

In other words, nine years total, along with fines and restitution.

I’m also told the assistant DA had to wipe tears from his eyes when Gresham’s children gave their witness statements.

It won’t bring Deborah Gresham back. But for once, a fallen SoCal cyclist got justice from the courts.

If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes to read Peter Flax’s moving, must-read story about this tragedy. Photo from Ghost Bikes LA.

………

Great story in the LA Times about the soaring cost of settlements involving bike riders who were injured due to the city’s failing streets.

According to the story, the City of Los Angeles settled with 17 bicyclists last year for a total of $19 million, over four times more than in any previous year.

That’s $19 million that could have gone to fixing the streets before anyone got hurt, rather than waiting until it was too late.

It was those settlements that inspired Councilmember Mitch Englander’s misguided proposal to ban the striping of bike lanes on any streets with less than an A pavement grade, and removing any existing ones from streets with a B or less.

Which would leave few, if any, bike lanes anywhere in Los Angeles.

And only serve to increase the city’s liability when bike riders continue to get injured on streets that used to have bikeways.

The story quotes me on that, as well as talking with BikinginLA sponsor and Calbike board member Josh Cohen.

………

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee will meet tomorrow night in Hollywood; the BAC is the only official voice for bike riders in the City of LA.

………

The LACBC has unveiled a new video explaining who they are and what they do as part of their 20th Anniversary Celebration.

………

Local

It shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s ridden a bike through there to learn that the intersection of Devonshire Street and Reseda Blvd is the most dangerous one in the state.

LA2050 is offering a total of $1 million in grants to five organizations for projects designed to make Los Angeles, “the best place to learn, create, play, connect and live.” Applications will start being accepted on March 1st.

A bike rider was hit by a car in Pacific Palisades last Wednesday; no word on how the victim is doing. The driver somehow claimed to be driving just 15 mph in a 45 mph zone at the time of the crash.

Tomorrow the UCLA Bicycle Academy intends to confront the members of the Regents Health Services Committee to demand that the statewide UC Health system lose its automotive bias and recognize the health benefits of bicycling.

LA celebrated the official opening of a one-block long Green Street in the Del Rey neighborhood, connecting Westlawn Ave with the Ballona Creek bike path.

 

State

Sad news from Hesperia, where a father drowned rescuing his nine-year old son from the California Aqueduct, after the boy slipped in as they rode their bicycles along the canal.

Caltrans is warning about construction delays on the the coastal bike path north of Ventura through the month of February, though the path will remain open.

A decision could be made this week on the proposed San Luis Obispo bike boulevard that has brought the anti-bikeway NIMBYs out of the woodwork.

For the first time, you won’t need a vintage bicycle to participate in the Eroica California in Paso Robles.

More sad news, this time from Oakland, where a man on a bike was killed in a collision with a big rig truck.

 

National

Slate says requiring bicyclists to wear sensors so self-driving cars don’t crash into them is cheating, and autonomous vehicles should be able to spot people riding bicycles on their own, without outside help.

Details have been released for this year’s Ride the Rockies bike tour through the Colorado high country; it will cover 418 miles and nearly 26,000 feet of vertical climbing in six days. And it will visit the tiny lakefront town where my mother worked as a waitress when she was just 18.

Seriously? The death of a Kansas cyclist competing in the state time trial in 2015 was the catalyst for a proposed state law prohibiting negligent driving. Except the penalty would be a whopping $45, which isn’t likely to change anyone’s driving habits.

Michigan is doubling the width of a four-foot bike lane and adding other safety improvements, after two women were killed there two years ago. Maybe they could try making improvements like that before someone gets killed. Which goes for Los Angeles, and everywhere else, as well.

New York news media goes berserk after mobs of “crazed, angry cyclists” swarm drivers, smashing a car window and punching a driver. Although it turns out it was really just 16 teenagers on bicycles, and the cop who was injured was hit by a car making a U-turn to go after them.

 

International

Canadian cross-country ski clubs are slowly opening their trails to fat bikes.

Ofo dockless bikeshare comes to London, as the Guardian says it will be to cycling what Uber is to taxis.

LA bike riders aren’t the only ones who have to deal with crappy pavement.

The economic impact of bicycling adds the equivalent of nearly $1 billion to the Scottish economy.

 

Competitive Cycling

The incomparable Katie Compton had to settle for second place in the women’s world cyclocross championships, finishing behind Belgian Sanne Cant.

Belgium’s Wout van Aert won the men’s world cyclocross title for the third consecutive year.

 

Finally…

Buy a bike, bore your dinner companions. UFC champ Connor McGregor is one of us.

And yes, you just got dropped by a priest on a folding bike.

No doubt staged, but still fun.

Morning Links: Bike rider mugged on Ballona Creek; LA Times criticizes selfish drivers fighting traffic safety

Cars aren’t the only threats people on bikes have to face.

One of the constant themes repeated by the people fighting bike lanes in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey is that, in their humble opinion, bike riders would be better off riding away from traffic on the Ballona Creek bike path than risking getting hit by cars on the streets.

Never mind that Ballona Creek bypasses all the shopping and employment centers between Culver City and the beach. Or that limited access points makes it harder for people to get where they need to go.

Which makes it more practical for recreational riding than for people who need to get somewhere, in most cases.

But there’s another recurring problem with the Ballona Creek bike path.

The isolation the path, below public view, makes it an ideal hunting ground for criminals. Which has been a problem on the path since at least 1990.

Every few years, there seems to be another rider attacked on Ballona Creek. And every few years, calls go out for police patrols on the pathway.

But nothing ever happens. And no government agency ever seems to want to take responsibility for the path.

Which leads up to what happened two weeks ago, when Jesus David Orozco was riding home after attending to Mar Vista Community Council meeting to discuss the Venice Blvd Great Streets project.

Something has to be done to ensure safety for everyone on the Ballona Creek bike path.

And done quickly.

Because just like on the streets, people won’t use it if they don’t feel safe there.

Especially if they actually aren’t.

Update: I’m told that Orozco posted on Facebook that he has returned to work today, and that, thanks to the physicians that treated him, is feeling good and looking like himself again. 

I’m not sharing the post, since I haven’t requested his permission to use it.

But the only things that would make this news any better is if the police caught the people who did this, and the county and cities along the trail committed to improving safety so it doesn’t happen again.

Thanks to Jonathan Weiss for the heads-up.

………

The LA Times really nails it this time.

In a surprising editorial, the paper calls on LA leaders to find the courage to fight back against “selfish” motorists opposed to street safety projects.

And let’s be clear. This is the official editorial voice of the publisher and paper, not merely an Op-Ed.

The paper complains about the callousness of too many commuters, and the risk that kneejerk opposition to change will override good policy. And possibly even reverse the city’s Vision Zero plan.

Vista del Mar wasn’t an official Vision Zero project – it didn’t go through the standard community outreach and input process that is an essential part of any road reconfiguration. Still, it quickly became the rallying cry for opponents of road diets and other projects that might slow traffic. It’s worth noting that some of the loudest critics of the Vista del Mar reconfiguration and another nearby Vision Zero project in Playa del Rey don’t live in the community; they commute through it to avoid 405 traffic.

The paper goes on to criticize Roadkill Gil Cedillo’s cynical effort to gain veto power over any road diet or lane reconfiguration in CD1, as well as Paul Krekorian’s backtracking on the Great Streets project proposed for Lankershim Blvd.

Typical City Hall. It’s easy for Garcetti and council members to tout their progressive credentials and sign off on ambitious policies to transform L.A. It’s much harder to implement those plans. Too often city leaders fold in the face of opposition. We’ve seen this with the city’s Bicycle Plan. We’ve seen it with homeless housing. And that’s why so many ambitious plans remain unfulfilled.

City leaders, and Garcetti in particular, have to continually make the case that Vision Zero is about making the streets safer for walkers, bike riders, motorcyclists and, yes, even drivers. The mayor has been far too quiet in defending his program and council members who face blowback when they support road safety efforts. Projects downtown and in Silver Lake have demonstrated that road diets can help reduce injuries without significant traffic delays. There is a learning curve, and over time as more Vision Zero projects are completed, residents will likely see that the benefits of safer streets outweigh the lane losses and any effect on traffic flow.

Not to mention the attitude they attribute to motorists at the start of the piece is no exaggeration. It’s exactly what I’ve been dealing with on social media and in the comments on this site.

………

In Orange County, they’re not actually attacking bike riders, just pretending to.

And likely, scaring the crap out of innocent people in the process, for the sake of a stupid prank.

An OC law firm reports that people in cars are zooming in close to bicyclists, then making a gun with their hands and yelling “Butt dart!” at the rider.

It’s just pure luck that someone hasn’t been startled or frightened into falling or crashing, with potentially serious consequences.

Thanks to F Lehnerz for the heads-up.

………

Someone needs to explain the meaning of sharrows to the driver of a San Diego pickup. And remind him that brake checking a pair of cyclists was what got Dr. Christopher Thompson five years behind bars.

………

LA’s own Coryn Rivera topped the women’s field to win the 2017 RideLondon Classique. More on the RideLondon festival in the International section below.

More proof that motor doping is a real thing, as an Italian masters rider was busted for having a concealed electric engine hidden in his bike.

More bad news on the ultra-endurance front, as endurance cyclist Frank Simons has been killed near the start of the European Transcontinental race, just 51 miles into the 2,500-mile race; he’s the third rider killed competing in an ultra-endurance race this year.

……….

Local

LA County is offering a $10,000 reward for the capture of the bike-riding jackass who sexually assaulted a woman in the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department’s Altadena Station rescued a mountain biker in Arroyo Canyon early Saturday. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

The Easy Reader posts great photos of kids participating in Sunday’s Manhattan Beach Grand Prix.

The Press-Telegram provides a full construction schedule for the new bike boulevard being built on 6th Street in Long Beach

 

State

Meet the Huntington Beach man who invented the beach cruiser in the 1970s.

Mazda helped build and donate 120 bicycles for foster families in Orange County.

No bias here. The San Diego Union-Tribune wants to hear from readers about the city’s mythical war on cars.

A Fresno letter writer calls for greater enforcement of “maniac” drivers who put bicyclists at risk.

Sad news from San Jose, where a bike rider was killed in a collision with a train.

Chico proposes a dramatic new bike and pedestrian bridge over a wide, busy street.

 

National

No surprise here. A new federal study shows speed was a factor in 31% of all traffic fatalities; the study recommends making the penalty for speeding equal to the penalties for drunk driving.

The Colorado legislator who called for an annual registration fee for bicyclists, then backed off after a massive backlash, now says maybe there needs to be a crackdown on scofflaw cyclists. And suggests it’s not fair if owners of ATVs, boats and snowmobiles to have to buy registration stickers, and bicyclists don’t. Never mind that all of those have motors; if they’re going to tax cyclists, maybe they should make hikers, skiers and pedestrians pay a fee, as well.

Someone is sabotaging ebikes in Aspen CO.

Touching story from Texas, where an entire family is wearing bike helmets in solidarity with their new baby, who has to wear a helmet to treat flat head syndrome.

Nebraska’s governor is riding 150 miles with a group of mental health professional to help end the stigma surrounding children’s mental health. It’s a kickoff event for Break the Cycle, a 5,000 mile ride from Seattle to DC to raise funds for child and adolescent mental health initiatives.

More victim blaming. Minnesota police say a cyclist ran a stop sign before she was hit by a van; her GPS shows she actually slowed to 1.1 mph before accelerating again.

Kindhearted Duluth MN cops pitch in to buy a new mountain bike for a man when his was destroyed in a crash, after they discovered he lived in an assisted living home and it was his only means of transportation.

Just two weeks after launching in South Bend, Indiana, bikes from the new LimeBike dockless bikeshare are already ending up in a local river.

Off-duty police officers will patrol multi-use trails in an Ohio town, as residents say they’d be more likely to use them if there was a police presence, even though there hasn’t been a crime problem. Which might be an answer for Ballona Creek, and other off-road paths in the LA area.

A Tennessee hit-and driver caught on bike cam ramming a bicyclist on the Natchez Trace Parkway has been indicted on federal charges of reckless aggravated assault, lying to a federal agent, and obstruction of justice; he could face a total of up to 37 years in federal prison. Apparently, they didn’t buy his excuse that someone on the side of the road had thrown a bicycle at his Volvo. Thanks to Allyson Vought for the link.

The New York Times says bicycling has become part of the city’s culture, with over 450,000 bike trips every day; the city has committed to building an additional 50 miles of bike lanes every year — including ten miles of protected lanes — after more than doubling the number of bike lanes over the past ten years. Thanks to Victor Bank for the tip.

 

International

The massive annual RideLondon cycling event was expected to draw 100,000 participants this past weekend, with 24,000 riders taking part in the century ride, a decrease of 3,000 riders over last year to improve safety.

Caught on video: An Aussie bicyclist pulls an endo and just barely avoids falling in front of an oncoming car. Note to Daily Mail: Going over the handlebars isn’t caused by going too fast, but by squeezing the front brake hard before the back one, causing the front wheel to lock before halting the bike’s momentum.

Apparently “hordes” of Brit runners are taking up bicycling to protect their knees, including an Olympic 1,500 meters star.

The Guardian says swapping cars for bicycles will make a bigger difference in the fight against pollution than switching from diesel engines to electric.

Israel’s railway authority will be installing automated bike parking garages at heavily used stations across the country.

The Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai is one of us, as Sheikh Mohammed stops to rescue a woman rider with a twisted chain.

The authoritarian president of Turkmenistan is one of us too, as he leads 7,700 riders, including government officials, on a nine-mile route through the nation’s capital; cars were banned from most major Turkmen cities for the day.

The war on bikes continues, as someone has been pouring oil on bike paths in Melbourne, Australia, in an attempt to make riders slip and fall, which could result in serious injuries.

 

Finally…

Who needs a water bottle when you can weld a cup holder into your top tube. How to explain why you never forget how to ride a bike without really explaining anything.

And someone please tell the LA Times we have a Critical Mass down here, too.

 

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