Tag Archive for Los Angeles Times

LA Times fans OC ebike mayhem panic, City Hall die-in this Saturday, and Slate questions efficacy of bike helmets

No bias here.

The Los Angeles Times reports on complaints about ebikes in Orange County, where they face bans and draconian speed limits on and near beach trails.

No, just the complaints.

At least until you reach the bottom of the story, by which time most Times readers have already moved on to Marmaduke.

Instead of reporting objectively, the paper settles for reprinting the long list of complaints from Orange County’s anti-ebike crowd, who seem to consider them the worst tech advance since Elon Musk bought Twitter.

Here’s how the paper frames the story, starting with a longtime Newport Beach resident who compares the local boardwalk to the 405 Freeway.

Three decades ago, Levine moved to what some refer to as the city’s “war zone,” a nickname given not because of crime but for the reputation of summertime rowdiness along the boardwalk, which now includes an abundance of electric bicycles. The strip’s 8 mph speed limit means nothing to some of these people, he said.

He’s watched people get mowed down, dogs hit and too many near misses to count, he said. City leaders for years have studied how to manage the proliferation of e-bikes along the route but have stopped short of banning them.

“What we’re witnessing on the boardwalk is mayhem,” Maureen Cotton, president of the Central Newport Beach Community Assn., told the City Council during a meeting urging officials to address e-bikes last year.

So, let me get this straight.

It’s been a war zone for decades. But ebikes have somehow ruined everything.

Sure, that makes sense.

Then the paper moves on to repeating the same tired and previously discredited stats we’ve been hearing for months from PR staffers at the local hospital trying to fan the flames of an anti-ebike pyre.

During the first 10 months of last year, staffers at Providence Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo documented 198 e-bike injuries. Doctors saw 113 injuries in 2021 and just 34 in 2020, according to data provided by the hospital.

Between January and October of last year, 78 of the 198 people who suffered an injury on an e-bike were not wearing helmets and 99 suffered some type of head injury, data show.

“My feeling about the whole situation with e-bikes is that we got a device a little bit too fast, and the culture is not completely set for it,” said Tetsuya Takeuchi, the trauma medical director at Providence Mission Hospital…

Where to begin.

Evidently, some people who got injured riding ebikes weren’t wearing bike helmets. But most were.

And half of the people who were injured riding an ebike suffered a head injury. Which may or may not have been the 40% who weren’t wearing helmets.

It may come as a shock to the kind and caring people at Providence that some people who ride regular bikes don’t wear helmets, either. And some of them get hurt, too, though not always with head injuries.

Which is just one of the great, inexplicable mysteries of bicycling, that some people who don’t wear bike helmets don’t suffer head injuries, and some who do, do.

Then there’s the exponential increase in ebike injuries. Which just happens to coincide with the exponential increase in ebikes.

That doesn’t mean ebikes are dangerous. Just that a lot of people are using them now.

In fact, I’d consider 198 injuries a relatively small amount, given the untold thousands of Orange County residents who’ve adopted them.

Lastly, let’s consider the question of speed, which has apparently gotten “a little bit too fast.”

Under California law, which has been copied in most states, Class 1 and 2 ebikes, whether ped-assist or throttle-driven, are limited to 20 mph.

Which virtually anyone could top with a decent effort on a decent road bike. Never mind today’s lightweight, technological marvels engineered for every higher speeds.

The bikes, I mean, not the riders. Though some of them have been engineered for speed, too.

Yet somehow, those bikes aren’t considered too fast. And no one has banned 27 speed carbon-fiber bikes or their spandex-clad riders from the boardwalk.

And just wait until the good doctors at Providence learn how fast cars can go, and the damage they cause.

In fact, my stats show 12 people were killed by drivers while riding bikes in Orange County last year, a drop from the obscene 17 killed in 2021.

Ebike riders killed somewhere around zero in Orange County over that same time period, to the best of my knowledge.

So which of these is actually dangerous?

Then there’s the way the paper takes about halfway through the story, after fanning the flames of ebike haters, to even mention that there are different categories of ebikes, and dozens of different types.

And even then, fails to mention that the faster Class 3 ebikes are banned from bike trails that aren’t attached to roadways, beachfront or otherwise.

Or that even people on regular bikes struggle to meet those ridiculously low 8 mph speed limits without falling over.

But once again, no one is seriously suggesting that regular should be banned.

The key, as they finally get around to mentioning just before the end of the story, is behavior.

Someone who is a jerk in a car — or on a skateboard, or with a shopping cart — is just as likely to be a jerk on an ebike.

And a kid who has never been taught to ride a bike safely — electric or otherwise — is going to ride a bike or bike like a, well, kid.

Just what they’re riding doesn’t have a damn thing to do with it.

So let’s put away the torches and pitchforks, and learn to live with all those scary ebike monsters. Because really, they’re not bad, just new and different.

And seriously, LA Times, do better.

Ebike photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels.

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We’ll let Streets For All put things in perspective with their call to participate in the Saturday’s City Hall die-in to protest traffic violence.

If you’re a pedestrian or cyclist in Los Angeles, you’re probably used to hearing about traffic fatalities in our community. But 2022 was a record-breaking year — in the worst way. Last year, there were 309 traffic fatalities in LA, breaking the 300 mark for the first time in more than twenty years. This is a staggering increase of almost 30% from 2020.

These statistics are tragedies in and of themselves, but they’re made even worse by the fact that pedestrians and cyclists are impacted the most by every measure. Cyclist fatalities alone went up 40% between 2020 and 2022.

We can’t keep living like this. Join us on the steps of City Hall on Saturday, January 21st at 9:30am for a die-in protest. It’s time for our electeds to start paying attention.

RSVP for more details

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A writer for Slate examine the limited efficacy of bike helmets, noting that “When it comes to the dangers threatening cyclists, wearing a helmet is like bringing a knife to a gunfight.”

They make the same argument I’ve been making for years — bike helmets are designed to protect against relatively low speed falls, not high impact crashes with motor vehicles.

Which is not to say you shouldn’t wear one.

The overwhelming majority of bicycling injuries result from falls, not crashes. Which is exactly what they’re made for.

I still credit my helmet with saving my grey matter, and possibly my life, during the Infamous Beachfront Bee Incident, and never ride without one.

But they should always be considered the last line of defense when everything else fails.

You’re a lot better off not getting hit by a car and its driver in the first place, rather than count on your helmet to save your life if you do.

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In a related story, the Manhattan Beach Police Department tells teenage bike riders not to be melon heads, as they gleefully smash watermelons as a metaphor for helmet-less bike riders.

Even though watermelons smash much easier that teenage skulls, and most heads aren’t filled with seeds.

And yes, I said most.

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Ted Faber finds a pothole that could be the gaping maw of the gates of Hell.

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This is who we share the road with.

An alleged drunk driver in LA’s Silver Lake neighborhood backs through a crowd of people trying to stop him from getting behind the wheel, then takes off, leaving injured bystanders strewn in his wake.

Thanks to How the West Was Woke for the heads-up. 

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This is who we share the road with, part two.

An South LA man apparently angry about his pending divorce decided to take it out on his wife’s house, and all the cars in the neighborhood.

But sure, tell us again about those OC ebikes.

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San Francisco Bay Area cyclist Nehemiah Brown is asking other people of color to join him in accepting the gift of gravel.

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More proof of our auto centric world, as Irish Tic Tok’ers are shocked to see a man transporting a new flatscreen TV on his bike.

Even if he’s just using it as a cart.

@all_about_rosalilla

Who thinks this TV is making it home in one piece? #fyp #onlyinireland #tiktokireland #irelandtiktok #fypage #nanocelltv #whatsontelly #foryoupage

♬ Crash – The Primitives

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And this video pretty well sums things up, I think.

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

No bias here. Plans for a Manhattan bike lane are being held up by judges who don’t want to give up their cushy curbside parking next to the courthouse, with one court official comparing their efforts to the French attempting to hold back Nazi Germany prior to WWII.

A road raging British driver is on trial for allegedly punching and choking a man riding a bike, after clipping the arm of the victim during a close pass; he blocked the victim’s path and got out of his car when the bike ride slapped it and called him an idiot.

Another road raging British driver gets a lesson in setting the handbrake before going off on a bike rider, who didn’t appear to be doing anything wrong.

 

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

A British runner justifiably blasts schmucks who park on the sidewalk to go mountain biking.

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Local 

Longtime KPCC and LAist reporter Frank Stolze introduces the seven candidates who have qualified so far to run in the race to replace ex-councilmember Nury Martinez in LA’s CD6.

Speaking of Streets For All, Streetsblog reports on their call to transform current-day Mid City car sewer San Vicente Blvd into a linear park.

 

State

Orange County will install a new traffic signal at Oso Parkway and Coto de Caza Drive, just outside Coto de Caza, where eight-year old Bradley Rofer was killed by a pickup driver in September. As usual, the long-needed traffic fix only comes several months after Rofer was killed.

Former NBA great Bill Walton reacts to being harassed by homeless people while riding his bike through Balboa Park by suggesting all the city’s unhoused residents should get rounded up and sent to a camp on a military base — voluntarily, of course. Because that worked so well last time, apparently.

The CHP is looking for the hit-and-run driver who ran down a 22-year old Santa Barbara man riding his bike on PCH (scroll down) north of Ventura early Friday morning; there’s no description on the driver or vehicle, and no word on the condition of the victim.

 

National

Calvin, of “and Hobbes” fame, faces up to his greatest tormenters, including his bicycle.

Scott is recalling their 2022 Speedster road and gravel bikes due to a defective fork that could break during use.

Nonprofit group Black Girls Do Bike celebrates ten years of changing what the cycling world looks like by “providing welcoming, safe and fun opportunities for women of color to ride bikes.”

The Washington Post examines where cars outnumber drivers, let alone people. Surprisingly, California ain’t one of them.

In a report that should surprise absolutely no one, the Rhodium Group concludes that transportation is the leading source for climate damaging emissions for the sixth year in a row. To which bicycles contributed just this side of zero.

Apparently, not even Congresspeople are safe from traffic violence, as Oregon Representative Suzanne Bonamici and her husband were struck by a driver as they were crossing a Portland street Friday evening. Although CNN somehow manages to get through the entire story without mentioning that there was someone behind the wheel. 

A kindhearted Boise, Idaho group donated over 50 bikes to Ukrainian refugee children in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

This is who we share the country with. Wyoming, the state where even Liz Cheney wasn’t considered conservative enough, continued its race to the bottom when state legislators proposed banning electric vehicles in a childish tantrum to protect the gas and oil industries.

The fight continues over a $12 million Houston road diet and bike lane project, as a county commissioner pushes it forward while a city councilmember works to halt it.

A pair of kindhearted Texas cops surprised a young boy with a new bike, after they fixed the chain on his old beat up bike so he could make it home from school.

Boston readers freak out over a single still photo of a woman on what looks like a bikeshare bike trying to merge onto a local highway, with her shopping bag dangling from her handlebars.

The New Yorker talks with the daredevil behind the city’s infamous bikeshare-riding stunt crew, the Citi Bike Boyz.

A DC proposal would give ebike buyers a $400 tax rebate, with an extra $500 for e-cargo bikes; low-income buyers could get up to $1,200 plus the e-cargo bike bonus.

At least 80 bike riders turned out to honor a pair of Baton Rouge, Louisiana high school cheerleaders who were killed in a collision with a cop at the end of a high speed chase; the cop was arrested and could face charges.

Young Miami bike riders conducted their annual MLK Day Wheels Up Guns Down ride. But somehow, all the local press could focus on was the usual heavy-handed police response, and the 58 felony and 11 misdemeanor arrests — not the hundreds, if not thousands, of peaceful riders and their message of hope. 

 

International

Havana, Cuba is installing their first public bikeshare dock, part of what promises to be a 300 bike fleet.

The former boyfriend of a Welsh woman killed while watching a mountain bike race in 2014 calls for more protection for bike race fans; she had come to see him compete.

Young “demon” ebike riders are accused of turning Amsterdam’s once angelic streets into a living hell, as they ride their souped-up ebikes at the unholdy speed of…24 mph. Which would make them relatively tame by Orange County standards.

India’s bike industry threatens a series of hunger strikes over a new requirement to install reflectors on bicycles; industry officials say the problem isn’t the mandate, but the penalties that would be imposed for failing to comply.

An Indian man was tied to a pole and viciously beaten and stomped after he was accused of stealing a bicycle. Look, I dislike bike thieves as much as anyone, but that’s going too damn far.

The bike boom continues, as Taiwan’s exports of bicycles and bike parts rose 23.11 percent annually to $6.15 billion. Or it could just means that more production is shifting to Taiwan from mainland China.

Gizmodo Australia misses the mark, insisting safety bikes came into widespread use about the same time cars did, and that bikes only enjoyed a few months as king of the roads before they were shoved aside by motor vehicles. Meanwhile, Adventure Journal marvels that bicycles were invented after the much more complex locomotives wereBut as Carlton Reid makes clear in Roads Weren’t Built For Cars, bicycles were widely adopted around the world long before cars ruled the earth. And if you haven’t read it yet, what the hell are you waiting for?

 

Competitive Cycling

Australia’s Grace Brown kicked off the women’s cycling season by out-sprinting Amanda Spratt to win the Santos Tour Down Under, after Alex Manly led following the first two stages.

Sad news from the Netherlands, where 40-year old retired Dutch pro Lieuwe Westra was found dead, after suffering from depression for several years; nicknamed The Beast, Westra won stages at Paris-Nice, the Tour of California and Critérium du Dauphiné, as well as winning the Tour of Denmark and Driedaagse De Panne.

UCI is telling team cars to back off, instead of giving their riders an extra boost during time trials by changing the airflow behind the rider.

Former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman has formally lost his medical license as a result of his involvement in a doping scandal, when he was caught ordering testosterone gel for an unnamed male cyclist.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you try a 30-foot jump on an ebike — and nail it. Maybe it’s time to put this “slightly used” VanMoof out of its misery.

And if you’re going to ride a kid’s Barbie bike across an entire country, always choose a small one.

Country, that is.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

PR plug for killer socialite, transportation ideas for CD13, and ex-Tour de France champ discussed in racist recording

Forget Black Friday. It’s just three more days to the official start of the 8th Annual BikinginLA holiday fund drive!

Thanks to our longtime friend Jim L for getting us off to an early start with his generous donation!

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The pre-trial PR campaign is kicking into high gear.

Wealthy socialite Rebecca Grossman, co-founder of the prestigious Grossman Burn Center, wants us to know that she is just so very misunderstood, and isolated from all her rich friends.

Just because she killed two innocent little kids while speeding along on surface streets at what police investigators have estimated as up to 80 mph in a 45 mph zone.

No, she says, she wasn’t drunk or street racing with her friend, former Dodger Scott Erickson, even though they were reportedly zig zagging and leap frogging one another’s cars.

And no, I don’t remember him, either.

I do, however, recall her victims, 11-year old Mark Iskander and his 8-year old brother Jacob, who were violently run down as they were crossing the street with their family.

She faces 34 to life if she’s convicted on both murder counts, and is walking free on $2 million bail pending a March trial.

Hopefully she’ll show up for that one, unlike five previous hearings.

Seriously, LA Magazine should be ashamed for allowing themselves to be used like this.

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Today’s must-read comes from Streets For All founder Michael Schneider, who has 11 transportation suggestions for newly elected CD13 Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez.

The ideas range from implementing the Sunset4All Complete Streets project, and the Temple Street lane reduction and bike lanes blocked by outgoing Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, to capping the 101 Freeway with a public park.

It’s more than worth the eight minutes it will take to read.

Let alone turning all the ideas into action.

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The LA Times has compiled an annotated transcript of the racist and otherwise offensive recording that lead to the resignation of former City Council president Nury Martinez and LA County Federation of Labor chief Ron Herrera.

The recording has also lead to repeated calls for councilmembers Kevin de León and “Roadkill” Gil Cedillo to resign, although the latter will be leaving next month anyway, after losing his bid for re-election, while the former refuses to do the right thing.

The conversation also bizarrely featured disgraced ex-Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

Kevin de León
Over the weekend, I called a buddy of mine who is a former U.S. attorney.

Nury Martinez
I have one of those, too. It’s good to have one of those.

Kevin de León
Cool. We’re very close. And he, he had the Lance Armstrong case too, when they were going to indict Lance Armstrong.

Nury Martinez
The cyclist?

Kevin de León
The cyclist. Yeah.

Nury Martinez
What did he do? Doping. Is it doping

Kevin de León
Yeah. And the case was coming out of the L.A. office of the U.S. attorney’s office here…

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Enter this number in your phone. And take it with you when you ride.

Meanwhile, Ann Arbor, Michigan, is considering following New York’s lead by offering a bounty on drivers who block bike lanes.

Maybe our new councilmembers could consider something like that here.

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This is who we share the internet with.

That was followed by this comment, from someone who apparently fails to grasp the concept of a protected bike lane.
Car drivers have to move over in the lane for obstructions all the time (mail trucks, trash trucks, etc.). How hard is it for a biker to move over? What happening to sharing the road?

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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 regional transportation group has put a Des Moines, Iowa model bike safety on hold, somehow fearing a backlash over the common sense reforms.

A British driver was caught on video speeding down a protected bike lane, either oblivious to or not caring about the oncoming bike riders who were forced out of the lane.

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

A 20-year old man in the UK was sentenced to six-months time served for rebelling against his parents attempt to have him committed by brandishing a machete while riding with a group of other bike riders, even though the only injury anyone suffered was a dog bite after the group was chased by a small pack.

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Local

Babe star James Cromwell added his voice to a campaign to halt plans to restore the ecologically degraded Los Angeles Ballona Wetland Ecological Reserve, which includes plans for a ten-mile bike and pedestrian path; no word on what the pig had to say.

Ride hailing and micromobility provider Lyft has pulled all of their bikeshare bikes and e-scooters out of Los Angeles and Santa Monica, after failing to secure a longterm contract from city officials.

Glendale has received a $6 million state grant for the Verdugo Wash Visioning Project, which will create a 9.4-mile-long linear park and nature trail for walking and cycling, courtesy of Assemblymember Laura Friedman.

 

State 

A mountain biker used his bike as a shield when he was charged by a mountain lion on a San Luis Obispo trail, leading to a brief standoff before the big cat retreated. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

The $20 million bike and pedestrian path on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge is entering the final year of its four-year pilot program, as impatient motorists chomp at the bit to get it back.

The CHP has released a photo of the suspect vehicle in the hit-and-run that killed a man riding a bike in North Highlands earlier this month.

 

National

Fortune says the four-year old e-scooter industry is finally getting around to being as green and sustainable as they claimed, after quietly polluting for years.

No irony here. A Portland bike rider was lucky to escape serious injury when he was run down by a red light-running hit-and-run driver in a crash caught on video, while he was riding to an event to mark the World Day of Remembrance for victims of traffic violence.

A Kansas City business owner says his business is suffering because Missouri drivers are apparently incapable of figuring out a parking-protected bike lane.

A decades old Fayetteville, Arkansas bicycle charity is shutting down after giving away tens of thousands of bikes to kids in need; the 76-year old wife of the man known locally as the Bicycle Man continued the program for nine years after his death, and hopes to give away another 1,000 bicycles before shutting down after the holidays.

‘Tis the season. A Louisville country music station has collected over 1,500 bicycles, as well as monetary donations for Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army, to ensure that every local kid has a gift for the holidays.

The rich get richer, as New York announced plans to expand the city’s bike lane network next year.

A 60-year old New Jersey man is on his 14th bike trip across the US; he’s covered over 39,000 miles since he first hit the road on his ‘bent five years ago, after recovering from getting hit by a drunk driver.

‘Tis the season, too. A kindhearted Baton Rouge, Louisiana lawyer is giving away over 450 new bikes to local kids.

 

International

In honor of the World Cup, Road.cc creates their own all-star team of bike-riding soccer stars.

British residents say they want a bike with an ABS anti-lock braking system.

An Irish paper is up in arms after local officials “wasted” the equivalent of nearly $12,000 building a 600-foot separated bike lane, complaining it’s an “embarrassment” that even bike riders don’t want.

Pink Bike features seven weird and wonderful bikes currently for sale on the platform.

Hanoi, Vietnam is considering establishing a public bikeshare service to to reduce traffic congestion and environmental pollution, with 1,000 bikes at 94 stations.

 

Finally…

Your new fixie could be a Wu-Tang Clan bike. That feeling when the kids are riding on thin ice. No, literally.

And bike riding while blind and blind drunk.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Deputies kill knife-wielding Cabazon salmon bicyclist, a call for banning right on red, and Metro fare meeting tonight

Riverside County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a knife-wielding parolee after spotting the man riding salmon in Cabazon Saturday afternoon.

The victim was killed when he pulled a knife, which was found at the scene, while attempting to flee from the cops.

However, if the description is accurate, it’s questionable whether the victim actually posed a risk to the officers as he tried to escape.

Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up.

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She gets it.

Los Angeles Times columnist Robin Abcarian calls for following Berkeley’s lead in banning right turns on red lights to protect pedestrians and people on bicycles.

“Permitting right turns on red has always been a dangerous idea, which is why, when the first traffic lights and traffic laws rolled out, it was not allowed,” Jessie Singer told me in an email Thursday. Singer literally wrote the book on how “accidents” happen in America. “It is no coincidence,” she continued, “that in New York City, the most pedestrian-dense city in the U.S., right on red has long and largely been disallowed.”

The practice is inherently dangerous to pedestrians because, as Singer puts it, it “leaves the sanctity of the crosswalk and the life of a pedestrian in the hands of a fallible driver.”

Drivers can wait a few extra seconds to make their turn. Even if they’d likely think its the end of the world.

Read it on Yahoo if the paper blocks you.

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A reminder that Metro is hosting a virtual open meeting this evening to discuss a new “simplified” fare structure that could result in a dramatic increase for many users.

The new fare structure would eliminate weekly and monthly passes, instead charging a flat $2 per ride — a 25¢ increase over the current $1.75 fare.

It would also eliminate the current free transfers by charging the full fare for every ride, with a daily cap of $6.

So if your typical roundtrip involves a single transfer in each direction, you’d pay $2 for each outbound leg, for a total of $4, and $2 for both return legs after hitting the daily cap.

That compares to the current $1.75 each way with free transfers, for a total of $3.50 a day — an increase of $2.50, which would represent a steep jump for many users.

It would also have a weekly cap of $20, which would only benefit daily riders with at least one transfer.

To make matters worse, it would also automatically adjust for inflation every four years, further increasing the already too-high fares.

In other words, the “simplified” fare structure is little more than a dramatic fare increase — exactly the wrong decision at a time when we need to encourage more transit use to get people out of their cars.

Let alone the opposite of the free fare system they promised to study.

Streets For All says Metro should reconsider the proposed fare structure, while it’s also opposed by the Alliance for Community Transit, aka ACT-LA, and Strategic Actions for a Just Economy.

I couldn’t agree more.

You can email Metro through this link. And click here to attend the Public Hearing at 5pm today.

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Walk Bike Glendale sends an alert that a highly flawed plan for a bike and walk path along the Verdugo Wash is headed to the city council for approval tomorrow.

The organization reports the current proposal doesn’t include plans to connect to Crescenta Valley Park north of the basin, because of a “small but loud group of opponents who don’t want to see ‘others’ coming into their neighborhood.”

Nope, nothing offensive about that.

The knee-jerk NIMBY reaction is reminiscent of the Trousdale Gap in the Expo Line bike path, which skipped the section along the railway behind the Cheviot Hills neighborhood after residents expressed fears ne’er-do-wells would ride their bikes up to peer in their windows and make off with their flatscreen TVs.

Because people in cars never, ever just drive up and burgle homes, apparently.

Now the gap is finally scheduled to be closed in 2025, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars more than if it had been built along with the rest of the pathway.

The same thing is likely to happen with the Verdugo Wash, as city leaders slowly discover the mistake they’re about to make.

And the highcost to fix it.

The group recommends attending the meeting if possible, or if not, emailing anajarian@glendaleca.gov, pdevine@glendaleca.gov, dbrotman@glendaleca.gov, easatryan@glendaleca.gov, akassakhian@glendaleca.gov.

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The Ballona Creek bike path was closed at Sepulveda following last week’s rains.

Hopefully it’s dried out and open again now.

………

‘Tis the season.

An Aurora, Colorado man’s family plans to continue his life’s mission to fix up and donate used bikes after he passed away unexpectedly last week; the nonprofit Second Chance Bicycle Shop has donated over 4,500 bicycles to disadvantaged youth, veterans and people experiencing homelessness.

A Pittsburgh PA father is teaming with his two young kids to collect and refurbish unwanted bikes, and donate them to children in need.

A youth development program in Pennsylvania gave 40 bicycles to kids in need, with hopes of giving a similar number in the spring.

A kindhearted Alabama brother and sister gave their $3,000 ebike to a 51-year old Applebees worker with Asperger’s syndrome, after reading that he had to ride his bicycle two hours each way to get to and from work.

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Maybe this remote controlled bike-riding skeleton and his ghostly canine companion would have gotten your attention on Halloween.

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A “real-life Mowgli” who fled his Sudanese village to live in the jungle after being bullied over his microcephaly can now ride a bicycle for the first time, after a documentary about him went viral.

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It only makes sense that Aaron Copeland, the dean of American composers and the author of Appalachian Spring and Fanfare for the Common Man, was one one of us.

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Too bad we can’t actually ride on clouds, where all we’d have to duck is birds, planes and alien spaceships.

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

No bias here, as a New York councilmember says the best way to encourage bike commuting is to discourage it by taxing, licensing and regulating riders.

No bias here, either. British bicyclists are urged to stop riding two-abreast and let drivers overtake them because nearly two-thirds of drivers don’t understand recent bike safety changes to the country’s Highway Code. Once again putting all the responsibility for safety solely on the people on two wheels, because of the ignorance of motorists.

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Local

The New York Times takes a deep dive into plans to remake the concrete-lined Los Angeles River, including starchitect Frank Gehry’s misguided plan to cap the river and hide it under a series of overhead parks, rather than return the channel to it’s natural state.

This is who we share the road with. Six people were hospitalized when a man trying to escape from police drove through a street carnival in South LA before fleeing the scene; a 23-year old man was arrested on Sunday.

Congratulations to Santa Monica College on being renamed a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly University by the Bike League.

 

State 

A San Diego program that has provided 400 low-income residents with a free ebike is now going statewide; participants need to provide their own bike insurance, and will own their bikes after just two years.

Once again, parking protected bike lanes confuse easily disoriented drivers, this time in downtown San Luis Obispo.

Visalia plans to improve safety by upgrading existing bike lanes to Class IV buffered lanes, as well as improving intersections.

UC Davis students are calling for improvements after a massive 46% increase in bicycling crashes on campus this year — a problem UC grad student Megan Lynch has repeatedly called to our attention.

 

National

Your next ebike could have a sidecar.

Cycling Savvy offers a tutorial on how to choose the right bicycle lights.

Singletrack says these are the gifts mountain bikers really want; the magazine also posts a gallery of “drool worthy” custom bikes.

A new study concludes over 11,000 Americans were injured riding their bikes under the influence of drugs over a two-year period, with 36.4% on meth, 30.7% on weed and 18.5% using opioids, while close to a quarter also had alcohol in their system. Although that’s less than 5% of the estimated 260,000 bicycling injuries over the same period, never mind that drunk and stoned drivers are a much bigger problem

USA Today says ebikes are affordable, practical and good for the planet, even if America may not be ready for them.

The man and woman killed by a driver in a drunken, serial hit-and-run while riding mountain bikes in Las Vegas were a couple from Kansas, who had just moved to Vegas four months earlier after ten years together.

Kansas City celebrates its commitment to build a relatively modest 15 miles of bike lanes in each of the next two years. Which is still more than Los Angeles has built in some years.

A small Vermont company has introduced a plastic-free stainless steel water bottle, which they insist will deliver an adequate flow of water even if you can’t squeeze it.

The New York Times examines the problem of bike theft by focusing on the sometimes violent thieves of Burlington, Vermont.

 

International

Momentum considers some of the world’s worst bike lanes. Remarkably, without stopping in Los Angeles.

Who enforces the law against dooring a bike rider, when the offending driver is a cop? A Victoria, British Columbia police officer in a marked patrol car apparently opened his door without looking, sending a passing bicyclist to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Bicycling continues to be a risky activity in Trinidad and Tobago, where pleas for safer infrastructure go unanswered.

An Israeli man on an around-the-world bike tour became just the latest long-distance rider to have their bike stolen in the UK.

Dublin, Ireland’s oldest bike shop is shutting down due to rising costs after 105 years.

Yanko Design says the app-controlled Keyless O-Lock from Copenhagen-based LAAS is the smartest and easiest way to keep your bike safe. Even though it only disables the rear wheel, but does nothing to keep someone from carrying your bike off.

The AP recommends adding the Col de la Colombière in the French Alps to your bike bucket list, saying the picturesque towns and stunning scenery make it worth the effort.

A Munich museum is displaying 70 stand-out bicycle designs from two centuries of bicycling.

A 72-year old woman rode her bike from Sweden to Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt to protest climate change at the COP27 climate conference underway now.

Women on bicycles are “greasing the wheels of change” on the streets of Khartoum, where women riding bikes violate the norms of the Sudanese city.

Australia will require sensors on large trucks to detect bike riders and pedestrians starting next year, eight years after a coroner investigating the death of a woman riding a bike recommended their use.

 

Competitive Cycling

A sports site ranks the world’s top professional men’s cyclists, with Tadej Pogačar unsurprisingly taking the top spot.

 

Finally…

Tossing a bicycle onto train tracks is not among the recommended uses for it. That feeling when a car fares worse than the bike it hit.

And you know you’re a NIMBY when a “giant ugly” bike hanger is more distressing than the big, ugly cars it replaced.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

No Steve, it’s not a bike lane to nowhere; drivers yell at LA bike rider; and big Transportation Comm meeting tomorrow

No bias here.

The LA Times’ Steve Lopez writes about a $2 million bike lane to nowhere that the Los Angeles LGBT Center was forced to build by the city’s dysfunctional rules.

Except the short curb cut isn’t a bike lane, and probably never will be.

A short half-block long, it took about 18 months to complete and cost roughly $2 million, and yet it is not marked as a bike lane and does not connect to one.

“It’s a bike lane to nowhere,” said Stephen Burn, general manager of building services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, which was required to complete and pay for the project as a condition of approval.

Burn apologized for calling it a stupid waste of time and money that delayed the opening of badly needed supportive housing and social services, but no apology was necessary. He said he honestly wanted to pull his hair out at times when dealing with various government agencies, and after he shared the details, I wanted to pull my hair out.

And needless to say, the story is already being used by bike lane opponents.

But longtime advocate Alissa Walker clarifies that, regardless of what Burn was told, the added space was created for cars as the result of a longstanding city policy.

So yes, as Lopez points out, it’s a perfect example of LA’s dysfunctional government in action. But seriously, it’s not our fault this time.

If only Lopez had looked at the lack of safe bike lanes leading up to the new 6th Street Bridge, instead.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

………

A Redditor complains about the dangers of riding on LA streets. And the anger they experience every time they ride.

I’ve been biking more to get out of the house, exercise, and just enjoy the city. But literally each time I’ve gone into the street a driver has yelled at me!

I try to avoid riding in the streets, but the bike lanes are few and far in between and aren’t that much better. You often have trash cans in the bike lanes, people leaving their car doors open, random debris, and when you don’t have to deal with that you still have cars speeding past you with the closest thing protecting you being a thin line of paint that couldn’t even stop an ant from crossing it! I don’t even have to get into how bumpy and packed the sidewalks can be.

So when I do get in the streets it’s because that is unfortunately the best route. Yet no matter how much I ride on the shoulder, check behind, in front, on the sides, above me, etc… I always have a driver either honking or yelling at me for going too slow.

I’m worried that someone might get really angry with me one day and try and run me off the road…

I’m just frustrated and wish biking in this city was safer. We have the perfect weather to bike in. Why isn’t L.A a bikeable city?

Why, indeed?

Thanks to HowTheWestWS for the heads-up.

………

Streets For All is asking you to support for several proposals at Tuesday’s meeting of the LA City Council Transportation Committee.

  • Sunset4All’s efforts to build a 2-way protected bike lane on Sunset Blvd;
  • A protected bike lane on Riverside Drive and Stadium Way;
  • Encouraging the newly-legal installation of cameras on Metro buses;
  • Expanding LADOT’s budget and staffing for the Slow Streets program.

Sunset4All explains how to participate in the meeting.

The Sunset4All item is back on the transportation agenda for this Tuesday (11/1) at 3 PM. If you haven’t voiced your support please write in and or attend the virtual meeting.

Item #3 (22-1072) – Sunset4All To call dial 669-254-5252, meeting code 161 750 5079, #, #, and then hit *9 to raise your hand. Here are Talking PointsIf you’re not able to call in, then use the links below to make public comment on the council file in advance at the buttons below.

Make Public Comment on the Council File

Send an Email to CD 13 to Support the Motion

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the tip.

………

When you cast your vote in CD5, maybe consider who actually cares enough to show up.

………

Horrible news from Ohio, where a popular local bicyclist lost a leg when she was mauled by dogs.

A reminder that you could end up with more than just a simple bite on the leg from that dog that chases you whenever you ride by.

………

A new amphibious ebike claims to be the future. Although I’m not sure how much latent demand there is for a combination ebike, boat and built-in camper.

………

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

Someone sabotaged a Seattle bike path by spreading screws across it. Although someone else came up with a brilliant way to clean up the mess.

A writer for Daily Kos complains “dumbasses working in public health and espousing concern for future generations fired me over bringing a bicycle into their national meeting” at a Tacoma, Washington convention center.

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

A rideout of up to a couple hundred teens on bikes took over the streets of Boston, before allegedly stealing $350 of merchandise from a 7-11.

Toronto police are looking for a bike-riding suspect who followed a young woman and sexually assaulted her twice after she got off a bus.

If you’re going to rudely shove a wheelie-popping bike rider out of your way, try not to follow the move with a faceplant.

………

Local

Save this one for future reference. Streets For All founder Michael Schneider lists the common complaints we’ve all heard from people opposed to bike lanes, and details effective arguments to overcome them.

Patch reports a bike rider was rushed to a trauma center after they were struck by the driver of an RV at PCH and Coastline Drive in Malibu Sunday afternoon.

This is who we share the courtrooms with. A woman received a more than $4 million judgement after she was struck by a driver while walking in a Santa Monica crosswalk four years ago, suffering permanent injuries; the defense shamefully argued she threw herself in front of the car in a suicide attempt — which might have been more credible if the driver was doing more than 25 mph. Thanks to Andrew Goldstein for the link.

 

State 

Carlsbad is focusing on schools and collision hotspots to improve safety for standard bicycle and ebike riders after declaring a local emergency.

This is who we share the road with. A 68-year old woman is fighting for her life after she was run down by a hit-and-run driver while pushing her three-year old grandson in a San Jose crosswalk; the boy is recovering from his injuries. Thanks again to Victor Bale.

Sentencing was postponed for a Fairfield man who was convicted of second-degree murder and hit-and-run in the death of a 52-year-old man riding a bicycle last October; he faces 15 to life on the murder count, and two to four years for fleeing the scene.

Sonoma County is investing half a million in climate resilience funds in building new bikes.

Sad news from Sacramento County, where a woman riding a bike was killed in a collision in North Highlands early Sunday afternoon.

 

National

NBC News reports on the spreading use of speed cams, and the rise of road raging drivers who don’t like getting caught breaking the law.

A diabetic journalist says he lost 40 pounds and brought his blood sugar down to a sub-diabetic level within eight months after taking up bicycling — and has kept it off and under control for the four years since. If only it was that easy for all of us.

A Portland woman says stop telling her to be safe when she rides a bike, and learn how to drive safely around bike riders, instead.

A 68-year old Utah woman could face multiple charges after she ignored a flagger and crashed into two people competing in the cycling portion of the St. George Ironman triathlon, resulting in serious injuries to both; she failed a roadside drug test, and admitted using marijuana before the crash.

The new advisory bike lanes are now open in my bike-friendly Colorado hometown.

Sounds familiar. Oklahoma bike and walking advocates say the city isn’t doing enough to improve safety. Sort of like a certain megalopolis we could name.

A nine-year old Michigan boy is raising the alarm and warning his neighbors after his dream bike was stolen.

That’s more like it. A 65-year old Ohio man was sentenced to a mandatory 14 years behind bars, with the possibility of another four years, for the hit-and-run death of a 13-year old boy; he claimed the damage to his truck was from hitting a mailbox, and that he only ran over the boy’s bike after someone else knocked the kid off it.

NPR looks at the rising rate of ebike battery fires in New York, blaming the problem on the use of refurbished batteries and mismatched chargers.

Philly bike riders turned out for a Día de los Muertos, while calling for safer streets.

HuffPost says Pennsylvania Republicans are taking a bill to permit safer bike lanes hostage in an effort to strip Philadelphia’s progressive DA of his powers.

A Birmingham, Alabama man faces multiple charges for a one-man crime spree that included a fatal shooting, carjacking and a hit-and-run that killed someone on a bicycle — all in just one hour.

 

International

The bike boom isn’t over, even if it’s lost a little steam, as Shimano says demand is still above pre-pandemic levels despite signs things are cooling down.

Vancouver bike riders are calling on the city to reverse plans to remove a bike lane from a park and return the roadway to pass-through commuters, although a planned protest ride was called off due to an atmospheric river.

A London man was somehow able to get his bike back after it was stolen by three muggers in a London park, despite suffering head and face injuries in the attack.

A British cop who co-founded a program to place undercover cops on bikes to catch careless drivers who pass people on bikes too closely now rides to relieve arthritis pain that threatened his career.

A UK safety expect calls it “a bit daft” for bicyclists to ride in the middle of the traffic lane, despite recently changes to the country’s Highway Code allowing them to do just that, when there’s a perfectly good bike lane they could be using. Of course, the problem is that the “perfectly good” bike lane usually isn’t.

Paris may be making great strides in becoming a biking city, but someone should tell the local cops, who are stopping bike riders and insisting they should wear reflective clothing in anticipation of the fall time change.

Writing for Travel + Leisure, a woman suggests that biking through Sicily is the best way to discover small towns, delicious food and local culture.

The rise of bicycle taxis in eastern Zambia is creating business opportunities for young people, while allowing passengers to ride for a fraction of the cost of a regular taxi.

There’s a special place in hell for a Philippine man who faces a charge of “frustrated homicide,” after repeatedly stabbing a neighbor using a knife disguised as a ballpoint pen in a dispute that began with a bicycle blocking his path.

Melbourne, Australia bike riders were left feeling deflated when the local government passed a one-year pause on building bike lanes; The Guardian asks if it’s a bikelash, or just plain old NIMBYism.

 

Competitive Cycling

Danish cyclist Jonas Vingegaard won his second Tour de France of the year, outsprinting his competitors to win the Tour de France Singapore Criterium on Sunday, after winning the three-week Grand Tour earlier this year.

French magazine Vélo lists the finalists for the prestigious 2022 Vélo d’Or award, including, for the first time, a separate category for women cyclists. And no Americans made the short list, of course.

Former Paris-Roubaix champ Sonny Colbrelli is reluctantly calling it a career after he collapsed with a heart attack moments after finishing the opening stage of March’s Volta a Catalunya.

Cycling Tips looks back on the legacy of Brian Robinson, whose Tour de France stage wins set the stage for decades of British cycling success.

Dan Martin, the only Irish cyclist to win a stage in all three of Grand Tours, reflects on “crashing for a living, doping, retirement and writing a book through 100 hours of Whatsapp voicenotes.”

 

Finally…

Your next bike could have ABS brakes, for the low, low price of just eleven grand. When witches ride bikes instead of brooms.

And I think I’ve found my next bike.

Or at least the bikemaker, anyway.

Thanks to Norm Bradwell for the tip. 

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

LA Times columnist takes on dangerous drivers and politicians, and transportation bills advance in the state legislature

Trust the Los Angeles Times’ Steve Lopez to take on LA’s dangerous drivers, and the streets that encourage that behavior.

He says that Angelenos — or at least his readers — have had it with speeding drivers in the wake of last week’s crash that killed five people, as well as an unborn baby just two weeks from full term.

They want more enforcement, stiffer penalties for offenders and better street design, and they want to know why — even as we move toward electric vehicles to save the planet — the auto industry produces gas-guzzling behemoths that easily go twice the highest speed limits, and why the media culture celebrates velocity.

While he addresses safety concerns throughout the city, what especially stands out is a group of Angelino Heights residents who are fighting to stop filming for the latest movie in the Fast & Furious franchise, over fears it will encourage still more dangerously aggressive drivers to seek out the neighborhood.

“We will not stand for them filming here,” says a letter that was emailed to City Hall, arguing that the moviemakers “do nothing to dissuade their macho fans from endangering people’s lives on public streets in Los Angeles…”

“I am sick and tired of these knucklehead street racers speeding and doing doughnuts in our neighborhood,” said Echo Park resident Alan Lee, who lives near a market featured in one of the “Fast & Furious” movies. The market draws speeders and stunt drivers, Lee said, and he saw one lose control and plow into a neighbor’s car.

Michele McKinnon said tenants in her Echo Park apartment building complain of stunt driving and the smell of burned rubber, a familiar scent on weekend evenings. The “Fast & Furious” franchise has made billions glorifying “deadly street racing,” McKinnon said in an email to city officials, promising to disrupt filming “all day and night” in honor of those who have lost their lives to reckless driving.

Speed Racer wannabe see, Speed Racer wanna be do.

Lopez also isn’t afraid to take state legislators to task for failing to earn their pay.

Some legislators have tried to do something, but several bills to control speeding have failed. And I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that whereas national Republican lawmakers have failed to support sensible gun control proposals despite the ongoing firearm carnage, the Democrats who dominate the California Legislature have been missing in action when it comes to cracking down on drivers who use vehicles as weapons.

Amen, brother.

Still, there’s good news on the legislative front, as we’ll see in the next section.

Artwork by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.

………

It was a good day from transportation bills in the state legislature yesterday.

First up, Assembly Member Laura Friedman’s bill to tie state transpiration projects to California’s Climate Action Plan passed out of committee.

Streets For All notes that several transportation bills passed out of the Appropriations Committee, where good bills too often go to die.

………

GCN examines five descent positions so dangerous their were banned.

………

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

A dermatologist and self-annointed expert on urbanism honors the founder of City Watch after Ken Draper’s death, yet devolves into complaining about “bike nazis” while adding “you know who you are.”

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

A San Francisco man will avoid anti-Asian hate crime charges after he was arrested for jumping off his bike and attacking former San Francisco commissioner-at-large Greg Chew.

A 44-year-old New York man was critically injured by a hit-and-run bike rider, who was part of a larger group of bicyclists riding through Manhattan.

………

Local

LA Times readers weigh in on whether kids should be riding ebikes, after the parents of a Pacific Palisades girl files suit against Rad Power Bikes for her death.

Anne Heche was reportedly high on coke at the time of her fiery crash into a Mar Vista home; the actress suffered a catastrophic brain injury, and isn’t expected to survive.

StreetsLA has partnered with CAKE electric motorcycles to inspect 1,100 miles of bike lanes in the city.

 

State 

The San Diego community mourns Christine Hawk Embree, the mother killed riding her ebike in Carlsbad on Sunday.

East San Jose has received a $10 million grant to improve safety around Senter Road, including new street lights, bike lanes and other protective measures.

A San Francisco music club threatens that they’ll have to close if a new bike lane running in front of the venue goes in, apparently thinking their survival depends on a handful of free parking spaces, rather than happy customers.

 

National

The Biden administration released the first round of funding for federal RAISE grants — Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity — which were formerly known as BUILD grants, which were themselves formerly known as TIGER grants, releasing roughly $2.2 billion to fund 166 initiatives in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

California Representative Mike Thompson has sent a letter to the USPS urging the Postal Service to use more ebikes.

Mother Jones talks with author Jessie Singer, who says when drivers kill — not cars, thank you — it’s not an accident.

A group of volunteers is building a 5,000-mile mountain bike trail stretching from Washington state to Baja California.

Strong Towns Program Director Rachel Quednau discusses opening an ebike shop with her husband.

Bicycling considers all the best bike locks — or at least the best bike locks you can get on Amazon. Meanwhile, ZDNet says you need two locks to secure your ebike, recommending a pair of Kryptonite’s.

Check the bikeability of your next neighborhood on Zillow before you move.

Police in Vail, Colorado busted a suspected serial bike thief.

A writer for Lonely Planet explains how he rode 468 miles across Iowa for RAGBRAI with 18,000 close friends.

Chicago is installing a trio of speed cameras to calm dangerous intersections near where two bike riders were recently killed. Yet they bizarrely remain illegal here in California, where speeding evidently isn’t a problem.

An Ohio grand jury indicted a driver who fled on foot after crashing into a family riding their bicycles, killing a three-year old girl.

New York is backsliding on open streets, as residents lost 63 miles of open streets over the past year.

A Florida state attorney — the equivalent of a DA — has rescinded a policy put in place by her predecessor to address the problem of police stops that disproportionately targeted Black people, aka Biking While Black.

 

International

F1 great Lewis Hamilton expands on his recent statement that he finds driving outside of the track very stressful. Thanks to Ralph Durham for the heads-up.

Cycling Weekly examines whether expensive sunglasses perform any better than the cheap ones.

Um, no. A British bike delivery startup prohibits its workers from wearing bike helmets, fearing helmet use will somehow make them more aggressive.

A bike rider in the UK complains the the country’s legal system “is not fit for purpose,” recounting his struggle for justice after he was hit by a driver 18 months earlier.

Police in Graz, Austria are cracking down on drunk bicyclists, after residents respond to drunk driving laws by taking to their bikes. I still say that’s counterproductive; I’d much rather see a drunk on a bike than in a car, where they could do far more harm.

 

Competitive Cycling

Marianne Vos has made it three for three in the Tour of Scandinavia, notching stage wins in the first three stages to build a modest 22 second lead going into today’s stage.

Twenty-six-year old Flanders pro Laurens De Plus tells drivers to think twice or wait five seconds after he was knocked off his bike in a collision on a training ride.

Maybe the era of doping isn’t really over, after all, as weekend crit warrior Jackson ‘Huntley’ Nash received a lifetime ban for multiple anti-doping violations, while 23-year-old Italian pro Michele Gazzoli got a one-year ban for using a prohibited stimulant.

 

Finally…

A Portland bike rider explains how to make your next move by bike. Yes, you can get a new sofa home by bike.

And now we know what inspired Far from the Madding Crowd.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

More high-speed carnage on dangerous LA streets, Streets For All tallies LA traffic violence, and Rivendell reparations fail

This is the cost of traffic violence, as the carnage continues on Los Angeles streets.

Just one day after a driver traveling at an estimated 80 to 100 miles per hour ran a red light and plowed into cars crossing the busy intersection of La Brea and Slauson, killing six innocent people, a well-known actress apparently copied the act.

Except Anne Heche plowed into a home in a fiery Mar Vista crash.

According to TMZ, Heche had apparently crashed into a pair of apartment building garages in the area, doing relatively minor damage to each, and may have been fleeing paparazzi and people trying to halt her as she sped up Walgrove Ave.

Security video shows her traveling at an extreme rate of speed.

Any bike rider or pedestrian unfortunate enough to be in her way would have been killed instantly.

Instead, she apparently lost control and slammed into a home less than a block from an elementary school, narrowly missing the homeowner inside.

The home and its contents were a total loss.

Heche herself somehow survived, despite suffering critical burns; as in the Windsor Hills crash, she was reportedly too badly injured and treated with too many medications to conduct a valid test for drug or alcohol use.

Although a sharp-eyed person points out what appears to be an open pint of alcohol next to the gear shift in one of the TMZ photos.

Heche reportedly faces a long and painful recovery from her injuries.

We’re only lucky that she didn’t take anyone else with her.

And once again, the crash points out the abject failure of LA’s chronically underfunded — and under-cared about — Vision Zero program, as well as the failure of the city to carry through with the transportation reforms promised in the mobility plan, in the seven years since either was approved.

Simply put, speeds like those in either crash should not be possible on surface streets. And the city should make every effort to ensure things like this can’t happen.

Let alone don’t.

Clearly, though, not everyone agrees. Take this comment in response to Friday’s post about the Windsor Hills crash.

Please.

Wow, this is one of the worst articles on this subject ever written. The ideas are without merit and the ignorance is almost frightening. I’d recommend not quitting your day job.

Never mind that this is my day job. But that, too, is who we share the road with.

Photo by Artyom Kulakov from Pexels.

………

There’s no question that LA Times columnist Steve Lopez gets it, as he examines the horrifying carnage on our streets.

“People have their necks broken, they burn to death and suffer unrecoverable injuries. The onus for care drops into the laps of firefighters and paramedics … and even those guys, with all their equipment and training, can’t do anything,” (UCLA ER physician Dr. Mark) Morocco said…

It’s terrifyingly common in Los Angeles, and getting behind the wheel, or going for a walk or a bike ride, is a game of roulette.

Meanwhile, letter writers to the Times say the crash shows the city is desperate for safer streets.

………

Important Twitter thread from Streets For All examining the full cost of traffic violence throughout Los Angeles, and in each individual council district, since Vision Zero and the mobility plan were adopted in 2015.

The charts also include the amount of mobility plan implementation, miles of bus and bike lanes, and how many people in the district signed the Healthy Streets LA petition to require implementation of the mobility plan when streets are resurfaced, which the organization accurately describes as massive citywide support.

https://twitter.com/streetsforall/status/1556068900584173573?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1556068900584173573%7Ctwgr%5Ee095348799edebb4e575fd8dded0c55af291669a%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fbikinginla.com%2Fwp-admin%2Fpost.php%3Fpost%3D50133action%3Dedit

You can find a downloadable pdf of the full report for each council district here.

Take a moment to check out your own district, then look at some of the others, like the 55 bike riders and pedestrians killed in Mitch O’Farrell’s CD13 in Hollywood, the 82 killed in Curren Price’s CD9, or the horrifying 105 dead in Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s CD8 in South LA.

Never mind that just one traffic death is one too many.

………

Great piece from Outside, about custom bikemaker Rivendell Bicycle Works’ well intentioned, but ultimately doomed, effort to offer a 45% discount to Black customers as a form of reparations for the long history of racism in a the bike industry.

“The American bicycle industry has been racist, often overtly racist, since 1878,” the company wrote in the release. “Rivendell has been obliviously—not ‘obviously’—racist most of the time since 1994. We say this not to scold the industry, not to be publicly humble, not to scold other bicycle businesses, and not to be uncharacteristically on trend. It’s just true.”

Rivendell’s nine staff members were on board to launch the Black Reparations Pricing, or BRP. The company would not increase prices on other frames and would dedicate 10 percent of its inventory to BRP for customers who identified as Black. “We’re committed to it, and will not cave at the first heat,” said the company statement. “As for how it’ll affect business, we’ll just see. If we go broke because those who use the flag or God as an invisibility cloak for their white nationalism stop patronizing us we’ll…move on…”

The inequality started in the first bike boom of the 1890s, when cycling lessons and clubs were only available to white people, and bikes were priced out of reach for all but the most elite. The exclusion continued through the next century in ways that had a chilling effect on who rides and where—like a 1971 law in Washington, DC, that required costly bike licenses, which stopped many impoverished Black people from riding as commuters, or a 1987 bike ban in Midtown Manhattan, through which Wall Street executives sought to bar mostly Black and brown bike messengers from their lobbies and avenues, even while those same executives flocked to the mountain bike trails around their summer cabins upstate. A recent Los Angeles Times investigation reviewed 44,000 bike stops by police and found that they disproportionately targeted poorer communities with large nonwhite populations.

Unfortunately, the backlash was swift and severe.

Once Rivendell’s program hit the national media, Petersen began to receive threats by phone and email. Worried about his safety, he installed video cameras around the store. The company’s phones rang repeatedly with calls from alt-right podcasters, and their Yelp, Google, and social media sites were flooded with negative comments and one-star reviews. “Quit the political commentary BS & focus on bikes,” wrote one commenter on Instagram. “Those people, the majority of them, had never bought anything from us. They probably don’t even ride bikes,” says Will Keating, Rivendell’s general manager. “It’s like they just saw something that infuriated them on the internet and had to take the next step.” The program was shut down on the advice of Rivendell’s lawyers. “The whole thing—it was a grand plan that fizzled out,” says Petersen. “We were afraid for our physical well-being. It was really ugly around here. We were all miserable.”

“From a strictly legal perspective, we’ve been handcuffed,” Petersen wrote in a blog announcing the end of the reparations program.

It’s a good piece, and well worth taking a few minutes to read the whole thing.

Because it clearly demonstrates the difficulty in trying to do the right thing, in a country so sharply divided along political and racial lines.

And it raises questions of how much more we could and should be doing to right historical wrongs that continue to manifest in the present.

………

A rally will take place at Los Angeles City Hall this morning to protest the new ordinance criminalizing open air bike chop shops.

………

Turns out that one of the most common aggressive maneuvers practiced by California drivers is against the law.

………

On a happier note, it looks like Charlize Theron is one of us.

………

Of course Marge Simpson is one of us.

………

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

A Pennsylvania man faces charges for getting out of his pickup to beat and strangle a man riding a bicycle, after crashing into the victim and knocking him into a pole.

Sometimes you turn to the cops for help after a road rage attack, only to discover it was a cop who did it; meanwhile, another Toronto cop crashed into a bike rider in a bike lane, later claiming the sun was in his eyes.

Police in the UK initially refused to take action after a woman deliberately drove her Range Rover into a bike rider, who called their response “victim-blaming twaddle.”

No bias here. A London writer proclaims the war on cars is a war on women. Which it wouldn’t be, even if it was real.

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

Great Britain’s transport minister is proposing a bill to reign in a “selfish minority of bike riders” by creating a bicycling equivalent to the country’s death by dangerous driving law, with a penalty up to life in prison.

A man on a bicycle is blamed for stealing a New Zealand statue of Ernest Rutherford, known as the father of nuclear physics, by rocking the statue back and forth for half an hour until it snapped off its base.

………

Local

The LA Times reports on the parents of a 12-year old Pacific Palisades girl who are suing Rad Power Bikes alleging a defective design caused their daughter’s death.

The LACBC is giving donated bikes away to people in need through its Bike Match program.

 

State 

Streetsblog reports on a recent webinar explaining how to fight for bike lanes where you live.

Seriously? A Coronado newspaper says ebikes may be the future, but questions whether they’re a hazard on the island’s roadways.

Camarillo letter writers say the city needs to make itself bike-friendly now, not five years from now when a new bike path is scheduled to open.

A pair of 14-year old Camarillo boys were injured, one seriously, when they were run down on their bikes by a 68-year old driver at the Camarillo outlet mall.

The LA Times says the best SoCal bike trail is the Ojai Valley Trail, describing it as an “incredibly scenic path (running) 15 miles from the Ventura shoreline to the charming town of Ojai.”

Kindhearted cops in Arroyo Grande got a new bike for a 15-year old boy after the one he rode to his summer job was stolen.

A 23-year old man was arrested for robbing a Palo Alto bike shop near Stanford University, after the shop’s workers refused to buy an ebike he’d brought in.

A rideout took over the eastbound lanes of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge on Saturday, as the CHP did their best to herd them onto a bike path.

A San Francisco bike hater belatedly becomes the Bike Guy after rediscovering riding in middle age.

 

National

A new study explains why most people never forget how to ride a bike, no matter how long it has been.

Bikeshare can play a role in helping older Americans age in place.

US Weekly considers the best ebikes for women of any height.

Still more traffic violence in New Mexico, where an alleged drunk driver without a valid license barreled through a Gallup parade celebrating Native American culture, injuring at least 15 people, including two cops who tried to stop him.

He gets it. A columnist for the Minnesota Post explains why driving is bad for America, saying other than extending our ability to move at high speed, it comes at the cost of almost every other kind of action.

More mass carnage, as five Minnesota bike riders were injured when they were run down from behind by a driver, who plowed into the group of seven bike-riding kids led by one adult; fortunately, none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

Sad news from Ohio, where an Ohio State University student died of a “heart-related medical issue” just two miles from the end of a 102-mile fundraising ride.

Good news from Nashville, where Gospel singer Amy Grant is reportedly improving every day, after she was knocked unconscious for over ten minutes in a fall off her bicycle.

A New York ebike rider was the victim of a strong-arm robbery when he was punched in the head by a stranger who stole his bike in Central Park Saturday afternoon.

New York Magazine reports on their picks for the best bike helmets, while the New York Times picks the best handlebar bags.

The Washington Post examines the inevitable ebike bikelash, saying everyone loves ebikes, except for some who share the road, or the bike lane, or the sidewalk, with them.

Over 100 South Florida kids rode their bikes to call for an end to gun violence.

Life is cheap in Florida, where a man walked without a single day behind bars — or even being charged with a crime — for killing a bike-riding man when he somehow veered off the road last year.

 

International

We Love Cycling offers tips on how to go the beach with your bike.

A Calgary, Alberta man is back to gravel racing, ‘cross and mountain biking, using an adaptive bike he built himself, 20 years after he broke his back snowboarding.

An Ottawa, Canada organization is giving mom’s a taste of freedom by teaching women to ride a bike

Life is cheap in the UK, where a speeding, stoned and distracted driver gets less than two years for killing a newly married man riding a bicycle.

After he was pulled off his bicycle and beaten by men shouting anti-gay slurs, an Amsterdam man is angered by the lack of resource to mount a police response.

A writer learns the hard way not to joke about unhinged bicyclists in Amsterdam, especially if you weren’t born in the Netherlands.

Ukraine’s elderly bicyclists defy the military violence surrounding them, refusing to flee or give in to the chaos.

 

Competitive Cycling

Shades of a two-wheeled Eddie the Eagle. A 48-year old man representing Ghana in the Commonwealth Games finished 47th out of 54 competitors in the time trial, which was won by Australia’s Rohan Dennis; Chris Symonds keeps in shape by riding a hybrid bike to his job as a doorkeeper at Britain’s Houses of Parliament, where he keeps his bike safe by parking it at the House of Lords. Thanks to Jon for the heads-up.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your bike tire turns invisible. Or when the road symbols suggest it’s a bike lane for dogs.

And maybe it’s just me, but it looks like he could use a larger frame.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

LA Times says prioritize people not cars, hit-and-run cop hits bike-riding teen, and racial profiling getting worse in traffic stops

They get it.

The Los Angeles Times says it’s time for California to prioritize people, not cars, by eliminating parking requirements in new developments near transit.

Or maybe they could just eliminate parking requirements, period.

Most cities require new residential and commercial developments to be built with lots of on-site parking, no matter if the spots are needed or desired. Typically, cities mandate one to two parking spaces per unit in a residential development. It can cost $55,000 per parking spot in a midsize apartment project in Los Angeles, according to one analysis. That drives up the cost of construction and makes it difficult for smaller or less pricey projects to pencil out. The expense of building parking is passed along to tenants and buyers, whether they want the spots or not…

Is all that parking really necessary? Oftentimes, no. A 2019 review of parking requirements examined 10 developments in Southern California built with just the minimum number of spots required by local laws and found that peak parking utilization was 56% to 72% at each development. Localities were demanding more parking than needed.

A pair of bills in the state legislature, AB 2097 and SB 1067 take different approaches to problem, one significantly stronger than the other.

But either one could provide a necessary first step in decoupling parking from housing, and reducing the stranglehold cars have on our streets.

And our wallets.

………

It’s hard enough to get the cops to take hit-and-run seriously.

But what do you do when the driver is a cop?

Police use car to knock over a teenage bicyclist in Chicago from chibike

These three Chicago kids might have an attitude when it comes to cops, not unlike a lot kids these days.

But in this case, it seems to be well deserved.

The incident starts with a police SUV following three teens as they ride their bikes, before pulling up next to them to challenge one of the boys for using his phone while he rides.

They then hit one of the boys with their police cruiser before backing off, and fleeing the scene without stopping.

There’s little argument that the officers screwed up, and should have stopped their vehicle and called in a supervisor.

But they didn’t.

Which makes them no better than any other hit-and-run driver.

………

Naturally, the Chronicle hides the story behind their draconian paywall, which blocks even casual readers.

But the problem of biased police stops appears to just be getting worse. And recent history tells us it’s just as bad, if not worse, for people on bikes.

………

San Diego had an impressive turnout for this year’s Pride Ride.

………

It looks like Premier League soccer team Newcastle United is one of us.

Okay, maybe just three of them.

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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 writer for the Robb Report says keep your Lycra bikewear on the bike, and out of cafes and the office.

A Michigan driver got out of his pickup and pushed a woman into traffic, apparently for the crime of accidentally hitting his truck bed with her handlebar after he blocked the crosswalk and forced her to go around him.

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

An 82-year old San Diego pedestrian and an ebike rider in his 50s both suffered serous brain injuries when the lightless bicyclist slammed into the older man at a high rate of speed; fortunately, neither injury was considered life-threatening.

A Houston man was arrested by sheriff’s deputies after shooting another man multiple times following an argument at a gas station, despite trying to make his getaway on a bicycle.

New York police are looking for an ebike-riding man who sexually assaulted two women about an hour apart, threatening both with a knife.

………

Local

The daughter of actress Gabrielle Union and former NBA star Dwayne Wade is one of us, as Union teaches the three-year old how to ride a bike with training wheels.

Kylie Jenner showed off her new $24,000 Louis Vuitton bicycle. The perfect bike for anyone with too many dollars and not enough sense.

 

State 

San Diego continues to pay for broken sidewalks and dilapidated bike lanes, forking out a total of over $333,000 in legal settlements in just 30 days.

Fresno police are looking for a hit-and-run driver who left a bike-riding man bleeding in the street; the victim was hospitalized in stable condition.

Two hundred volunteers turned out to help build bicycles with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, with a goal of giving away 500 bikes to kids in the community (scroll down, if you can get past the paywall). Thanks to Robert Leone for the heads-up.

One more example of officials keeping dangerous drivers on the road until it’s too late, as a 78-year old Berkeley driver crashed into a couple in their 70s walking in a crosswalk — just four days after he crashed his car into an 83-year-old woman in another crosswalk; one of his victims remains in the ICU.

Contra Costa County’s Mount Diablo State Park will have 30 bike turnouts installed today to allow drivers to safely pass bicyclists, who make up 60% of all vehicular traffic on the roadway.

 

National

Newsweek considers the best ebikes to buy and ride this year, ranging from a $899 SWFT commuter to a $3,100 Cannondale.

She gets it. An op-ed from a Honolulu writer says Hawaii has a flat tire when it comes to bikeways, making little progress since the 1980s; this comes after several students filed suit against the state for operating a transportation system that harms the climate, prioritizing highways over more environmentally friendly modes of transportation.

Speaking of Hawaii, the island state is now offering rebates up to $500 on the purchase of an ebike; however, the program is limited to students, non-car owners and low-income buyers.

A Japanese man who recently moved to California with his family writes about the racist assault where a Portland man attacked him and his daughter while yelling anti-Japanese slurs; his five-year old daughter now wants to leave the US.

Around 5,500 people completed a 206-mile ride from Seattle to Portland, with roughly 1,000 finishing the ride in a single day, and the rest riding in the next day.

A Phoenix man is recovering in the hospital after he was shot by a gunman who stole his bike; no word on whether he was riding it at the time.

Missouri residents are honoring the 125th anniversary of the famed Buffalo Soldiers 1897 bike ride covering 1,900 miles from Missoula, Montana to St. Louis.

A Chicago columnist says he didn’t take wearing a bike helmet seriously, until he was hit by a 70-something, possibly distracted, driver who said she just didn’t see him.

A Louisville KY TV station asks if things are getting worse for pedestrians and bike riders on the city’s streets. You can probably guess the answer without ever riding there.

Pittsburgh Magazine credits local advocacy group BikePGH with a successful 20-year battle to make the city more bike friendly.

Yes, please. New York will now require new drivers to take a bike and pedestrian safety course before getting a license. Thanks to Victor Bale for the link.

Hundreds of Atlanta bike riders turned out to honor Congressman and civil right icon John Lewis, on the two-year anniversary of his death.

A Florida lawyer won an $8.2 million settlement over the death of a 79-year old woman who fell off a drawbridge when the operator opened it as she was walking her bike across.

 

International

Big news in the race for mayor of Toronto, as famed international urbanist Gil Penalosa tossed his chapeau into the ring.

A Toronto writer explores the proper way to make a left turn on your bike. Actually, the best way to make a left is whatever you feel comfortable with that won’t get you killed.

Devon, England’s 18-year old Piano Bike Girl has become one of the most recognizable buskers in the coastal city, performing on a piano mounted on a three-wheeled bike.

Good news for Welsh bicyclists. The country’s new 20 mph speed applies to cars but not bicycles. So feel free to blithely ride past puttering drivers, nose-thumbing optional.

An ebike conversion kit from the UK’s Swytch now comes with a battery that can fit in a large pocket.

British bikewear maker Fat Lad at the Back unveils an attention getting outdoor ad campaign reading Fat C*n’t, and continuing on the next line, Actually Fat Can, suggesting it’s actually an “a” that’s missing.

Pink Bike looks at the most exciting new products from this year’s Eurobike trade show in Frankfurt, Germany, while Cyclist shares five weird and wonderful things for the show. I could totally rock that mirrored disco ball bike helmet, myself.

More proof of the everyday utility of bicycles, as Ukrainian refugees flee to the southern village of Zelenodolsk, most arriving by bikes or wheelchairs.

PETA, aka People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, hired bike riders to tow anti-wool billboards in front of an Aussie wool and sheep trade show.

 

Competitive Cycling

Australia’s Michael Matthews soloed to victory in Saturday’s 14th stage of the Tour de France, as Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar continued their battle for the yellow jersey.

Belgium’s Jasper Philipsen won the sprint for Sunday’s stage 15, while Vingegaard held onto the lead by a 2 minute 22 second margin, despite crashing 36 miles from the finish, in 100° temperatures.

L39ion of Los Angeles founder Justin Williams was DQ’d, along with Best Buddies’ Michael Hernandez, following a dust-up on the final lap of the Salt Lake Criterium; L39ion swept the podium in both the men’s and women’s races.

 

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to try to sell a bike back to the person you stole it from. Now you, too, can own your very own wooden bicycle for the low, low price of just — wait for it — nearly 24 grand.

And how else would you transport a tree?

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

LA Times supports city’s adoption of Healthy Streets LA initiative, and another DIY crosswalk in Hollywood

They get it.

The Los Angeles Times says the city could finally be getting serious about safer streets, following a city council proposal to copy the Healthy Streets LA ballot initiative.

The proposed ballot measure would require the city to build out the already approved mobility plan whenever a street gets resurfaced, noting that only 3% of the plan has currently been built out.

Earlier this year, transportation and environmental activists frustrated by the slow pace of progress decided to take the matter into their own hands. The groups began collecting signatures for the Healthy Streets LAballot measure that would require the city to add the promised bus, bike and pedestrian improvements whenever streets are repaved. They expect to have enough signatures to qualify the measure for the 2024 ballot.

But Angelenos may not have to wait that long. City Council President Nury Martinez recently called for an ordinance that would do the same thing as the Healthy Streets LA measure. Martinez said with traffic deaths increasing, Angelenos shouldn’t have to wait. Her motion, backed by four council colleagues, would direct the city attorney to write an ordinance based on the ballot measure that would require that city departments add mobility plan improvements when streets are resurfaced.

Martinez’ motion goes further than the ballot initiative by establishing a unified project coordinator to ensure infrastructure projects incorporate crosswalks, bus shelters, streetlights, stormwater infrastructure, sidewalk repairs and street trees, as well as elements contained in the mobility plan.

But just as important is ensuring that the work gets funded, including hiring sufficient staff at LADOT to carry it out.

And, the paper warns, it could still come undone, depending on what approach the city takes.

Yes, it’s frustrating that residents had to organize a ballot measure campaign to prod city leaders to carry out their own mobility plan. And it’s not a done deal yet. The City Council has a choice — it can adopt its own ordinance, which could be watered down or undone by future city councils. Or, under the city’s initiative law, it could adopt the language of the Healthy Streets LA measure when it qualifies, most likely this summer, rather than send it to the ballot. That would mean any future amendments would have to go to voters.

Let’s hope they take the latter direction, which would achieve all the goals of the ballot measure without the expense and inherent risk that comes with taking it to the voters.

And let’s all keep on top of it to make sure the council follows through without watering it down.

Because we’ve already seen the city won’t keep their commitment to safer streets unless we make them.

……….

LA’s guerilla Crosswalk Collective has struck again, this time in my own neighborhood.

It really shouldn’t have taken do it yourself action to stripe much needed crosswalks in front of a school used by hundreds of little kids every day.

But sadly, that’s exactly where we are in Los Angeles these days.

Now let’s see the city try to explain it to their parents when they try to rip it out.

………

A Palm Springs man is being held on one million dollars bail on charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and vandalism.

Twenty-seven-year old Juaquin Mercer Moraga allegedly rammed his car into several vehicles, assaulted a driver and deliberately tried to run over a bike rider.

Thankfully, he missed.

………

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

No bias here. An Illinois Republican Congressional candidate accused his opponent of pork barrel spending for supporting a bike trail in their district, rather than focusing on high gas prices. Never mind that safe bikeways help their constituents avoid buying gas.

No bias here, either. An English town councilor calls a new two-way protected bike lane the biggest waste of money he’s ever seen, insisting no one asked for it or wanted it.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton says LA’s permanent slow streets program seems to be doing just enough to look busy, “while avoiding any features that would actually prevent cars from speeding down neighborhood streets.” (Scroll down.)

Spectrum News 1 says street safety is on the ballot in LA’s CD1, where “Roadkill” Gil Cedillo faces a challenge from newcomer Eunisses Hernandez; initial results had Cedillo leading with 53.8% of the vote, compared to Hernandez 46.2%.

Mel Gibson navigates the mean streets of Los Angeles on a bicycle in his new film Last Looks, a comedy crime-thriller opening Friday.

 

State 

The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition is calling for area bike riders to support San Diego’s Quick-Build Bikeways Program, in advance of Monday’s city council meeting. Thanks to Robert Leone for the heads-up.

An Imperial Beach mother says she just wants to see her kids, after she barely survived after getting run over by a stop sign-running driver in a massive pickup, while riding with her children two weeks ago.

A Davis bike advocate recommends exploring beautiful Yolo County by bicycle. After all, you only live…well, you know.

 

National

Planetizen examines the weaponization of bike racks to displace homeless people.

Bicycling deaths in Washington State have remained steady over the past three years, even while bicycle crashes dropped 30%. But an insurance spokesperson said the repeal of Seattle’s bike helmet law was one factor contributing to the deaths — even though it wasn’t repealed until this year, and only applied to the county surrounding Seattle.

A Colorado man was sentenced to eight years behind bars for the meth and booze-fueled death of popular 45-49 age-group national road race champ Gwen Inglis, who was run down while riding in a Denver-area bike lane with her husband.

A kindhearted Texas neighborhood watch group bought a new bicycle for a 63-year old Dairy Queen worker, after the bike he relied on to get to work was stolen.

Several witnesses chased down an alleged stoned hit-and-run driver who killed a bike rider, boxing in her car and holding her until police arrived.

Kalamazoo, Michigan bike riders held a Ride of Silence last night to honor the five victims killed by a driver stoned on prescription pain killers when he slammed into members of a cycling club six years ago, and injured another four people; Charles Pickett Jr. was sentenced to serve a minimum of 45 years behind bars for the deaths.

Talk about missing the point. A Kentucky news channel says a local bike shop owner rides his bike to avoid high gas prices. Even though he’s been doing it for 34 years, starting when gas was a hell of a lot cheaper.

 

International

What to consider before your next bikepacking trip to Costa Rica.

He gets it, too. A 14-year old British Columbia bike rider says the only reason he rides on the sidewalk is because of the city’s horrible bike infrastructure.

This is why people keep dying on the streets. A Welsh driver got a lousy 12 weeks behind bars, and lost his license for a year, for the hit-and-run crash that left a. bike-riding man fighting for his life.

British drivers are reminded to look out for bike riders and give them more space when passing, following changes to the country’s Highway Code to protect vulnerable road users. Good advice anywhere, regardless of any changes to the law.

Dubliners consider how pedestrians and bicyclists can best share a road after it was permanently closed to cars.

A Danish music producer and DJ is collecting the sounds of Copenhagen from her cargo bike.

An Indian newspaper describes Delhi roads as a death trap for bicyclists, as bicycling deaths jump 36% over last year.

 

Competitive Cycling

Dutch cyclist Lorena Wiebes won the second stage of the women’s Tour of Britain after out sprinting a pair of cyclists to win by several lengths.

Mark Cavendish and son were in the audience for the race.

Wout van Aert, who should know better, became the latest victim of premature celebration after assuming too soon he won Tuesday’s stage three of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

British transgender cyclist Emily Bridges revealed she suffered a vicious barrage of violent threats after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “biological males” shouldn’t compete in women’s sports.

 

Finally…

Forget foldies. Your next bike could transform into a chair and table. Your next roadie could be made from bamboo, and sell for less than $1,400.

And if you can afford to drop over 18 grand on an “Italian lifestyle” bike, chances are, you’re already doing pretty good.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Vehicular homicide arrest in fatal Griffith Park crash, and man missing riding bike in Long Beach found dead of natural causes

Let’s start with Saturday’s senseless death of 77-year old Andrew Jelmert.

According to a story by the LA Times’ Rachel Uranga, Jelmert was killed by a speeding, possibly drunk, driver as he rode on Griffith Park’s Crystal Springs Drive.

Jelmert was run down from behind as he neared the finish line of a training ride for this year’s AIDS/LifeCycle Ride, which would have been his seventh time completing the weeklong San Francisco to Los Angeles fundraising ride.

He had already raised over $20,000 for the ride, which could now be lost along with his life.

Thirty-seven-year old Jairo Martinez was attempting to pass another car when he slammed into Martinez with enough force to shatter the windshield of his BMW, as well as Jelmert’s bike. The impact scattered bits of the bike across the hillside, where they were later found by Jelmert’s husband.

The only blessing is that in all probability, Jelmert literally never knew what hit him.

Martinez was arrested by sheriff’s deputies shortly after the crash, after he attempted to run away on foot. At last report, he was being held on suspicion of vehicular homicide, with more charges likely to follow pending results of his blood tests.

Meanwhile, KNBC-4 reports on the installation of Jelmert’s ghost bike Monday night.

Uranga succinctly captures the problem bike riders face riding in the park/freeway bypass.

Griffith Park, which occupies more than 4,000 acres of rolling hills, is popular with cyclists who whiz down its tree-lined roads, often crossing over from the nearby L.A. River bike path.

But the few bike lanes that exist do not have barriers separating riders from cars, according to the L.A. Department of Transportation.

Crystal Springs Drive parallels the 5 Freeway and is sometimes used as a cut-through during traffic jams. The posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour, but many drivers go significantly faster.

Too often, drivers come off the 5 and 134 Freeways, and continue through the park at freeway speeds.

I’ve had the crap scared out of me by speeding drivers using the wide shoulder to pass slower cars on the right, while I was riding on it.

It’s also not far from where Damien Kevitt was infamously run down by a hit-and-run driver while riding on Zoo Drive, and dragged underneath the driver’s van onto the 5 Freeway, losing his leg in the process. And nearly his life.

The simple fact is, cars don’t belong in parks.

We should all demand — not ask — that city leaders move immediately to block the offramp leading into the park, as the first step in banning cars entirely from Griffith Park.

Let the park flourish as just that — a park, not a high-speed sewer for overly aggressive drivers.

Because the simple fact is, parks are for people, not cars.

And tragedies like this will inevitably keep happening if we don’t.

Photo from the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Facebook page.

………

Sad news from Long Beach, where Manuel Abotye was found dead at a local hospital after disappearing while riding his bike last month.

The 73-year old man from a small village in Mexico’s Sinaloa state was in Long Beach visiting his sister when he suffered shortness of breath, and died 30 minutes after being transported to the emergency room.

However, he went unidentified for weeks because he had left his ID at home, and was considered missing until his body was discovered on Saturday.

Yet another reminder to always carry ID when you ride.

………

Jim Lyle forwards a Nextdoor notice about a Palos Verdes resident targeting people on bicycles.

The male owner of this green truck has been accelerating towards people riding bikes on the street as though he’s intending to hit them with his car. And, I don’t mean the part of the street where cars belong. I mean the parking area near the gutter not in the way of vehicle traffic. He’s done this to me twice, once so close I was sure he was going to hit me. He swerves away before contact. Be aware of this truck if you ride…I don’t know his name or or know him personally. I learned from a neighbor who saw him accerlerate towards me this morning that he’s known for unsafe, aggressive behavior (I wasn’t given other examples). This info has been given to the sherrif’s department as well.

………

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from longtime bike advocate, neighborhood council member and Bicycle Advisory Committee member Glenn Bailey, who forwards photos of Waste Management trash bins illegally blocking the heavily used bike lane on Reseda Blvd in Northridge.

He’s filed a complaint with the city’s Bureau of Sanitation, so hopefully he’ll get a response soon.

Or better yet, actually get action to keep it from happening again.

………

Curses, Spectrum!

Because their service outage knocked me offline yesterday, we missed marking Bicycle Day, commemorating the 79th anniversary of the day LSD inventor Albert Hoffman discovered its psychedelic effects for the time.

Hoffman famously dropped a few tabs and attempted to ride his bike home, experiencing the first trip on a bike trip.

And inspiring both the best and worst music of the 60s.

Read the first link on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you. 

………

She gets it.

………

Catch up on the latest Bike Talk, as they catch up on Calbike’s recent Bike Summit.

………

Join Sunset For All and the LACBC as they explore the corridor while promoting local businesses and plans for protected bike lanes on Sunset Blvd.

………

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

Texas authorities are looking for the driver of a white jeep caught on camera swearing at a bike rider, who responds by flipping the bird; the driver then makes a U-turn and veers onto the wrong side of the road to threaten the rider, nearly sideswiping him.

Also from Texas, the owner of a car customization business is catching well-deserved flack after posting video of a pickup driver rolling coal at an unsuspecting bike rider, then claiming to be just “vaguely aware” of the video he himself posted, while suggesting that someone’s personal actions shouldn’t reflect on the business they work for. Or own, evidently.

A British bus driver avoided a fine for a punishment pass because the cops didn’t use the right form for their prosecution notice.

………

Local

Metro and Metrolink will both offer free rides on Friday for Earth Day, including free Metro Bike rides.

A new poll shows Los Angeles voters want real action to address air pollution and extreme heat caused by climate change. Let’s hope our elected officials are listening, and actually do something for a change. Like building out the mobility plan and the transportation portion of the mayor’s Green New Deal. 

Los Angeles received a $5 million grant from Congress to build a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge at the Pacoima Wash to provide safer access to the planned El Dorado Park.

Streets For All calls on everyone to reach out to the Metro Board today and next Thursday to help get Eagle Rock’s Beautiful Boulevard plan for the NoHo to Pasadena bus rapid transit line over the finish line.

Pomona has opened a beautiful new two-way curb-protected bike lane on Valley Boulevard.

The popular 626 Golden Streets open streets event returns to South Pasadena, San Gabriel and Alhambra on May 1st.

 

State 

Something doesn’t add up. Just days after we learned that California is the nation’s sixth most dangerous state for bicycle riders on a per-capita basis, the Bike League ranks the late, great Golden State as the 4th most bicycle-friendly state in the US. Evidently, to paraphrase Mark Twain, it’s a great place to ride. If you live.

The CHP and Santa Barbara sheriff’s deputies are looking for the driver of a purple Toyota Scion, who fled the scene after running down a 20-year old man riding his bike near Santa Maria, leaving the victim with major injuries.

 

National

No, bicycles don’t cause traffic congestion or slow down your commute.

Consumer Reports offers advice on how to shop for a new kid’s bike.

A Utah woman is suing Seattle ebike maker Rad Power Bikes, claiming a loose stem on the bike she assembled caused her to crash, since the instructions didn’t tell her to check the tightness of the stem.

Speaking of Utah, a cute video captures an eight-year old Utah boy teaching his four-year old little sister how to ride a bike for the first time.

A Colorado judge dropped the murder case against Barry Morphew, whose wife disappeared without a trace after leaving for a Mother’s Day bike ride two years ago. However, it was dismissed without prejudice, allowing prosecutors to refile when and if they have a better case.

New York commits $11 million to sweeping streets and bike lanes.

 

International

Lebanese commuters are taking to their bikes in increasing numbers, driven — so to speak — by the a fuel crisis aggravated by the war in Ukraine.

More proof that bike lanes increase property values, as rental units close to London’s cycle superhighways draw a 20% premium over similar units elsewhere.

Five-time British Olympic champ Bradley Wiggins revealed that his struggles with depression stem, at least in part, from being sexually groomed by his cycling coach when he was just 13 years old.

Justice delayed, as a Malaysian appeals court has stayed the six-year prison sentence given to the woman who killed eight teenage bike riders after plowing through the group of kids riding modified bikes.

 

Competitive Cycling

Italian world champ Elisa Balsamo was disqualified from Saturday’s Paris-Roubaix Femme, after getting a little too much assistance from the team car in returning to the peloton after suffering a flat.

VeloNews offers a photo essay from last weekend’s Paris-Roubaix, aka The Hell of the North; Cycling Tips does, too.

Once again, a bike race spectator has taken down a competitor, as a fan applauding on the side of the roadway caught the handlebars of Belgian pro Yves Lampaert during Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix.

 

Finally…

Maybe that jersey pocket isn’t necessary after all. That feeling when your 1950’s style ebike offers a very illegal 40 mph.

And maybe put the helmet on before you try riding off on the bike you just stole.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

LA Times editorial calls for supporting Healthy Streets LA initiative, and Oxnard man arraigned in drunken bike death

Nice to see a writer for the LA Times get behind a ballot measure safer, healthier streets.

Times Editorial Board member Kerry Cavanaugh penned an editorial published Tuesday in support of the Healthy Streets LA initiative, which we discussed here last week.

The measure would require Los Angeles to implement the ambitious, but long-forgotten, Mobility Plan 2035, building out bus and bike lanes, as well as pedestrian improvements, when city streets are repaved.

Here’s what Cavanaugh had to say about the plan, which advocates fought for years to create and pass.

But, as is so often the case in L.A., the implementation of the Mobility Plan has not matched its ambition.

Since its adoption, the city has only made bike, bus and pedestrian upgrades to 95 miles out of 3,137 miles identified in the plan — or 3% in a little more than six years. Time and again, city leaders have ignored or torpedoed bike and bus lanes outlined in the Mobility Plan. At this rate, it will take nearly 200 years — not 20 — to fulfill the plan’s vision.

As Cavanaugh points out, it’s crazy that it takes a ballot measure to force the city to do what it already agreed to do.

But that’s the city we live and ride in these days, where fear of angering anyone leads to paralysis among city leaders. Along with more and more community meetings, where the people who scream the loudest usually carry the day.

And it’s usually the people who fear and fight any kind of change who scream the loudest.

Again, here’s Cavanaugh.

The need for community engagement can’t be an excuse for doing nothing. There’s too much at stake. Last year nearly 300 people were killed in traffic collisions in Los Angeles, a roughly 20% increase over the two prior years. Nearly half of the people killed were pedestrians. Some 52% of Angelenos said that crossing the street in their neighborhood is dangerous, according to polling conducted for the Healthy Streets LA initiative.

As part of his Green New Deal sustainability plan — another aspirational document — Garcetti called for 50% of all trips in the city by 2035 to be made by walking, biking and taking transit. But that goal will be unreachable without the political will to prioritize the infrastructure and transit improvements that make it easier, safer and more pleasant for people to get around.

It’s ridiculous that we’re in this position.

But it’s sadly become clear over the last decade that we can’t count on city leaders to do what they already know has to be done. Yet clearly lack the courage and political will to do.

So we have to do it for them.

Click here to make arrangements to sign the petition, or volunteer to support the measure

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Prosecutors have thrown the book at the accused drunk driver who killed a BMX rider in Oxnard Sunday night.

Twenty-seven year old Andres Morales pled not guilty yesterday to killing the victim, who has still not been publicly identified.

He faces charges of DUI causing injury or death, and driving with a blood-alcohol level over .08 percent, along with a single count of felony vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, combined with special enhancements for a serious felony and a crime involving great violence.

He remains in jail on $50,000 bond, which will be reviewed tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a Homeland man is expected to be arraigned today for killing 62-year old Hemet resident Glen Hysom as he rode a bike in unincorporated Winchester, just west of Hemet.

Thirty-eight-year old Carlos Arturo Acosta is expected to be charged with hit-and-run resulting in death, and driving on a suspended license.

He’s being held on $75,000 bail.

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There’s always a shortage of bike lockers, even at the Metro stations that actually have them. And high demand for them at the stations that don’t.

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You probably didn’t have this one on your 2022 bingo card — an Orlando, Florida bike cop in hot, but polite, pursuit of a very drunk woman riding a motorized suitcase.

Yes, a suitcase.

She faces up to ten years for spitting at the cops arresting her, damaging their patrol car, and taking a dump on the seat.

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

You’ve got to be kidding. An English driver walked with a suspended sentence and a lousy 250 pound fine — the equivalent of just $339 — for intentionally ramming a bike rider who may have accidentally brushed the car’s wing mirror.

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You might want to avoid the area around USC and the Coliseum this morning, unless you want to get caught up in the Ram’s victory parade.

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Local

Streets For All reminds us about the virtual public meeting tomorrow to consider plans to convert the peak hour lanes on Santa Monica Blvd west of the 405 into bus and bike lanes.

Walk Bike Glendale alerts us to public meetings this week to fight a plan to settle for sharrows on La Crescenta Ave tomorrow, and on Saturday to create a 9.4-mile linear park along the Verdugo Wash.

The Monterey Park City Council will discuss an induced demand-inducing plan at today’s meeting to widen Garvey Ave from four lanes to a ridiculous six lanes. Exactly the opposite of what should be done to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians, and reduce motor vehicle use while California is literally burning. Thanks to Active SGV for the heads-up. 

Calabasas is nearing completion of a road widening project on Mulholland Highway, which appears to include a separated bikeway.

Shaun White is one of us, riding shirtless through the streets of Los Angeles after a fourth place finish in the Beijing Olympics.

 

State 

Four-time world mountain bike world champ Brian Lopes donated 50 Strider balance bikes and helmets to a Santa Ana elementary school through the All Kids Bike Kindergarten PE program, and worked with a couple dozen sixth graders to put them together.

Coronado cops are using bait bikes to bust bike thieves. But LA cops still don’t, and won’t for the foreseeable future over fears of being accused of entrapment.

Rialto police are accused of roughing up a 16-year old girl who was riding an illegal motorized bike; one cop was accused of grabbing her by the throat.

A man in his 20s was lucky to survive when his bike was clipped by a moving train as he rode across the tracks in Oxnard.

 

National

Bicycling says the fixation on bike helmets just shifts the blame to bike riders, and lets killer drivers off the hook. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t appear to be available through Yahoo, so if the magazine blocks you, you’re on your own.

Forget a cycling computer. What you really need is contact lenses with a heads-up display.

Bike Portland’s podcast talks with Bike Index founder Bryan Hance about his work to bust a Mexican mountain bike theft ring operating out of Colorado.

A Nashville site says the city has a long way to go to get to zero traffic deaths. Which should sound familiar to anyone in Los Angeles. And most other American cities, for that matter.

New York’s new DOT commissioner is working to fortify half of the city’s bike lanes in his first 100 days, which are currently protected in name only by the usual flimsy white plastic, car-tickler bendy posts.

Just a year after revising Virginia law to require drivers to change lanes to pass bike riders, and remove the limitation on riding two abreast, the state senate is going backwards by approving a measure that would require people on bicycles to ride single file when being overtaken by someone in a car. The bill’s sponsor appeared to make up an incident to support it.

Dozens of Virginia runners turned out to honor a fellow runner who was killed in a collision while riding her bicycle last week.

 

International

A University of Toronto study confirms what you already knew. Over half of all drivers never look for bicyclists or pedestrians before making a right turn. Then again, some of them never look for us when we’re right in front of them, either.

You’ve got to be kidding, part two. An Aussie man wants permission to drive while he is accused of a hit-and-run that took the life of a 62-year old bike rider, despite having already shown he won’t stick around after a crash.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews looks forward to the “48th edition of the much-anticipated Volta ao Algarve;” the five-stage race starts today in Portugal.

Cycling News looks at memorable cases of pro cyclists getting spanked for breaking the rules.

A bike lawyer says it could be gross negligence to route an offroad bike race across a field with an ill-tempered bull, but it doesn’t help that the four Rock Cobbler riders who ended up on the wrong end of the horns had signed a waiver.

 

Finally…

As if cars blocking bike lanes isn’t bad enough, now we have to deal with robots. Meet Sigrid, the fixie-riding cat.

And meet a parrot who can ride a bike and poop on command.

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

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