Tag Archive for Los Angeles

US DOT almost adopts Vision Zero, bike writer’s horrific tale of online abuse, and LA is America’s worst bike city — again

What if the new infrastructure bill could actually save lives?

That’s the prospect being presented by the US Department of Transportation, which says it’s time to pivot to a focus on reducing traffic deaths.

And that the recently passed bill includes the focus and funding to do it.

If they actually follow through — which is always questionable, as we’ve learned the hard way — it could represent a huge change in direction for the department, from moving cars to protecting human lives.

Here’s what the New York Times had to say on the subject.

In a 38-page report being released on Thursday, the department outlined an approach heavily dependent on working with states and local governments to address things like designing safer roads and reducing alcohol-impaired driving. The department also said it would issue federal guidance and create new programs to carry out the strategy, such as initiating rulemaking to require automatic emergency braking technology in new passenger vehicles.

The report comes as the number of traffic deaths across the country has soared, reversing some of the progress made over the past few decades. Although fewer people were on the road at the beginning of the pandemic, about 38,680 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2020, an increase of about 2,500 from 2019, and deaths surged further in the first half of 2021. Officials have blamed more people speeding recklessly and using alcohol and drugs to cope with pandemic-related stress…

The report is broken down into five objectives: safer people, safer roads, safer vehicles, safer speeds and post-crash care. It calls on states and local governments to support research and develop technology to detect and prevent alcohol- and drug-impaired driving. It also directs the Federal Highway Administration to revise guidance to encourage safer speeds and the use of speed cameras.

Officials pointed to several sources of funding within the bill, including the $6 billion Safe Streets and Roads for All program, to reduce traffic fatalities.

But this may be the single most important sentence in the story.

“The big first here is committing the department to the idea that only zero roadway deaths are acceptable, and then aligning all of our resources around that,” Mr. Buttigieg said.

While that’s not a commitment to a national Vision Zero, it’s damn close.

Of course, the federal government has limited power to force changes on the streets, most of which are controlled by state and local governments.

And the report doesn’t address the design of modern motor vehicles, with much of the increase in traffic deaths appearing to stem from the increase in massive trucks and SUV, with flat grills and high clearances that almost seem designed to kill.

But it’s a start.

If nothing else, it’s a change in attitude and direction. And if it sticks, it could lead to safer and move livable streets — in every sense.

We can hope.

Read more on Wired and the Los Angeles Times.

Photo by Alexas Fotos from Pixabay

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A writer for leading British bicycling magazine Cycling Weekly shares the horrifying details of the abuse she has had to endure online, simply for being a woman in a male-dominated field.

Michele Arthurs-Brennan writes that the harassment began just four months into her job, when someone took offense to something she’d written, resulting in a daily torrent of sexually aggressive and threatening comments.

Using sexual slurs is a common tactic among a noisy minority of people who take exception to journalism produced by women. Last year, a global survey of 901 journalists found that women are experiencing unprecedented levels of violent and sexual harassment. A quarter had been threatened with sexual violence and death. This abuse, the UN concluded, was intended to “belittle, humiliate, shame, induce fear and ultimately discredit female reporters.” Similarly, Panorama’s recent documentary ‘Why do you hate me?’ uncovered the sexual and violent abuse that affects women in the public eye.

The reports tally with my experience: harassment has left me feeling physically threatened, and the instigator clearly sought to discredit my career. Very little of the abuse targeted my work directly but instead focused on my appearance, my fertility, my husband and our home. The campaign of insults and intimidation went on for close to a year.

Th abuse eventually forced her to move after photos of the home she shared with her husband started to appear online, along with other personal details.

The final onslaught  – published close to a year after the first incident – included two articles targeting not only me but also my husband. These listed our home address with photos of our house, analysis of the parking situation outside, plus screen shots showing routes I used for regular bike rides – alongside false allegations of driving offences based on pieced-together MOT records, false accusations of the use of anonymous online accounts, as well as an entirely fabricated story about my using “feminist extremism as a cover up” to hide my “infertility” and “multiple failed IVF treatments”. The giant red flag of misogyny here is the assumption that a woman would, or indeed should, cover up infertility out of shame.

This content didn’t only affect me in cyberspace. The abuse and false allegations surfaced whenever my name was searched online, alongside our home address, which had some very real repercussions for us, until we moved house.

No one should have to tell you just how wrong this is. And how no one should have to put up with this kind of crap just for doing their job.

Or for any other reason, for that matter.

I’ve with online attacks over the years, including death threats over the road diets and bike lanes in Playa del Rey and Mar Vista, from people who should have know better.

And yes, I reported them to the police.

But I’ve never had to deal with sexual harassment or attacks just for being a man; that seems to be a special online hell reserved just for women, perpetrated by men.

So if you’re tempted to comment on a woman’s body, or make crude comments or threats of any kind, just don’t.

If you wouldn’t say it to a man, don’t say it to a woman.

Or better yet, just don’t say it.

Period.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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No surprise here, as a new study once again ranks Los Angeles as the country’s least bike-friendly city, with San Bernardino and Santa Ana not far behind.

This is what the bottom ten looks like, which LA wearing the crap crown once again.

Surprisingly, tiny Colorado ski town Crested Butte, with a population under 1,400, checks in as the country’s most bike-friendly city.

You’d think that repeatedly being crowned the country’s worst bike city by multiple organizations would spur LA city officials into action.

But apparently, you would be wrong.

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PeopleForBikes will be holding its 2022 Bicycle Leadership Conference in our own backyard in March.

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Good advice for bikes, too.

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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 Missouri writer decides ebikes don’t belong on trails, after being safely and more or less politely passed by an older man riding one, which didn’t inconvenience him in the slightest.

No bias here, either. So why the hell do some drivers think killing innocent people is funny?

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

Police in Honolulu are looking for a bike-riding man who pushed over a 78-year old woman for no apparent reason, leaving her facing surgery for serious injuries.

A Florida man faces charges after allegedly stabbing another man in the neck in a dispute over a stolen bike seat before riding away on a bicycle. Repeat after me. No bicycle is worth harming another human being. Let alone a damn seat.

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Local

Streetsblog has more on Mike Bonin’s decision to retire from the LA city council.

The Kelly Clarkson Show, with Jay Leno guest hosting, honored East Side Riders founders John “Pops” Jones Jr. and John Jones III for their work in the community, ending the segment by donating $5,000 to the group.

Metro offers an update on plans for congestion pricing focusing on four areas, including Downtown Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Housing Department received a $163.3 million state grant to build seven affordable housing projects, with $54.78 million dedicated to transit-related infrastructure, including seven miles of bike and pedestrian “improvements.” Whatever that means.

The LACBC offers tips on how to report blocked bike lanes on social media, and who to tag to — hopefully — get action, including using the hashtag #BikeBlockedLA.

This is who we share the road with. An 84-year old driver tried to turn a Los Feliz restaurant into a drive-thru, slamming his car into the building and injuring two patrons, as well as himself, in the process. Once again raising the question of just how old is too old to drive, and when should driver’s keys be taken away to protect others?

South Pasadena Mayor Michael Cacciotti is one of us, as the local paper says he walks the walk when it comes to the environment, and pedals the talk.

 

State

Caltrans says Complete Streets are coming, eventually.

San Diego installs bike counters in a pair of protected bike lanes, which could dispel the harmful myth that no one uses them.

 

National

A writer for Forbes says flying cars are great, but how about allowing people to ride bikes without fear of being harassed by the cops?

Chicago Streetsblog explores how the city can rank as one of the nation’s worst for bicycling, while simultaneously being a case study for best practices.

A coalition of New York advocacy groups is pushing the state to do something to curb traffic deaths, including passing a crash victim’s bill of rights. Which sounds like a damn good idea.

New York Magazine suggests “actually comfortable, expert-recommended” bicycle saddles.

Things are going the wrong way in New York, as the city suffered the deadliest year since it adopted Vision Zero in 2014, while Brooklyn was the city’s deadliest borough.

A Maryland city ripped out a successful bike lane project after a six-month trial, despite a jump in ridership and a minimal impact on traffic — as well as a drop in crashes and injuries — because some people complained.

 

International

Bike Radar offers a beginner’s guide to shifting gears.

A Toronto columnist complains that a new bike shelter for riders waiting to board the subway is all but useless because it doesn’t include anywhere to lock their bikes.

If you build it, they will come. A new study shows European cities that installed popup bike lanes during the pandemic saw an average 48% jump in bicycling rates. Meanwhile, American cities are busy ripping their popup lanes out, while Los Angeles wasted a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by never building any to begin with.

They get it. Vice says not only should every town have a 20 mph speed limit, but roads should be redesigned so it feels dangerous to go any faster.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An English WWII vet is still riding his bike 100 miles a week, despite celebrating his 100th birthday.

The UK is considering switching from gas taxes and excise duties for motor vehicles, which aren’t paid by drivers of electric vehicles, to a road pricing program that would charge all drivers according to miles driven, in an attempt to improve fairness while reducing traffic congestion.

A British man thanked a jury for acquitting him of using excessive force for killing a suspected burglar by pulling him off his bicycle, then kneeling on the man’s back with his head awkwardly twisted to the side for nine minutes.

They get it, too. New Zealand has seen a 700% increase in ebike use over the past five years, along with an 800% jump in ebike injuries, but officials blame the higher injury rates on increased usage, rather than claiming ebikes are dangerous, as too many others have done.

 

Competitive Cycling

Good news about two-time Grand Tour winner Egan Bernal, who is reportedly alert and in good spirits after suffering critical injuries when he slammed into a bus parked partially in the traffic lane, while training near his Colombian hometown.

The news isn’t as good for Dutch cyclist Amy Pieters, who remains in a coma a month after she was critically injured in a training crash, although she’s breathing on her own and showing increased consciousness.

Still more bad news from the training front, as Irish pro cyclist Imogen Cotter says she’s lucky to be alive after she was struck head-on by a high speed driver who was passing a bicyclist on the other side of the road; she’s hospitalized with a broken arm and leg, along with other injuries.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you’ve got a flat and out of tubes, and Peter Sagan rides to your rescue. The good, the bad and the ugly of this year’s pro team kits.

And if this clip doesn’t make your day, nothing will.

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

Transportation chair Mike Bonin to step down in CD11, and LADOT officer permits parking in DTLA protected bike lane

If it looks like I lost my best friend, it’s because I have.

Or rather, we have.

Embattled CD11 Councilmember Mike Bonin, the best friend the bicycling community currently has on the LA City Council, announced yesterday that he won’t seek a third and final term, and will leave the council when his current term expires next year.

Which will put the leadership of the city council’s Transportation Committee in play, as well as his coastal Los Angeles district, which encompasses Venice, Mar Vista and Playa del Rey.

Bonin has received an incredible amount of abuse in recent years from drivers angered by lane reductions in Playa and Mar Vista, and wealthy NIMBY gentrifiers angered by homeless encampments while actively blocking efforts to build housing and shelters to get them off the streets.

Not to mention dealing with at least three failed recall attempts in recent years, as opponents attempted to undo his overwhelming victory in the general election.

And apparently, it’s taken a toll.

He vows to remain active and keep fighting the good fight in his final year in office, as well as after he leaves.

The problem now is that anyone who isn’t already campaigning to replace him now have just 16 days to file their candidacy with the city clerk’s office. Which could leave the race to the handful of less progressive, decidedly un-bike-friendly candidates who had lined up to challenge Bonin.

They would likely have had little chance of beating Bonin. But now they face a wide open race where anything could happen, and anyone could win.

And not necessarily someone who will support safer streets.

So let’s all give our thanks to Mike Bonin, and offer our best wishes for healing for him and his family as they recover from the challenges of holding office in today’s abusive environment.

And hope we can find someone to take his place who will continue his fight, and have the courage to stand up to angry drivers and reactionary local residents and business owners.

I’ll leave you with this final thought from Alissa Walker.

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That feeling when even the people responsible for enforcing the law seem to have no idea what it actually is.

Not only are drivers not permitted to park in bike lanes, it’s a violation of the California Vehicle Code 21211(b), which specifically prohibits parking in any bikeway.

(b) No person may place or park any bicycle, vehicle, or any other object upon any bikeway or bicycle path or trail, as specified in subdivision (a), which impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist unless the placement or parking is necessary for safe operation or is otherwise in compliance with the law.

And yes, LADOT agrees.

Maybe something like this would finally get drivers to stop parking there.

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Nice to see bike-riding Lakers fans turn out to remember Kobe Bryant, on the second anniversary of the helicopter crash that took his life, as well as eight other people, including his daughter Gianna.

Speaking of Kobe, he drove a hard bargain from a young age, demanding a red bicycle in exchange for his first endorsement deal.

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

A UK county council admits it acted illegally by ruthlessly ripping out a temporary bike lane installed on an emergency basis during the pandemic, before it could even be finished.

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

A Black Milwaukee bike rider was convicted of first-degree reckless homicide for the road rage shooting that killed a White immigration lawyer; the shooter alleged the victim had called him a racial slur.

A Spanish bike rider got the equivalent of a $1,120 fine for his drunken crash into a pedestrian, which was captured on security cam.

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Local

LADOT will host the rescheduled Central LA Neighborhood Design Lab and Tree Adoption on Saturday, February 12th, after the original date was scrubbed due to the Omicron surge.

Streets For All will host their next virtual happy hour on Wednesday, February 9th, with special guest Stephanie Wiggins, the new CEO of LA Metro.

 

State

Gravel Bike California talks with former BMX pro Andrew Jackson about his jump into gravel, as well as his family’s efforts building a pump track in Inglewood.

A longtime Santa Barbara bike rider says he crossed over to the Dark Side by buying an ebike, and doesn’t regret it a bit. Although it’s hard to imagine anything that gets people out of their cars as part of the Dark Side.

Steroids may have kept Barry bonds out of the Baseball Hall of Fame, but that doesn’t stop him from living an idyllic life riding his bicycle in Marin County. Besides, performance-enhancing drugs have a long tradition in bicycling, anyway.

Sacramento will now require people using dockless e-scooters or bicycles to leave them in drop zones or lock them up to bike racks, or face a whopping $15 fine.

 

National

The Bike League has released a new benchmarking report examining five bike-friendly cities to show the importance of safe bicycle infrastructure and connected bicycle networks, while noting that the US is 40 years behind European cities in developing bike networks for people of all ages; City Lab offers an easy to digest summary of the report.

A former Uber driver had bid farewell to fares, and is riding his bike across the US to visit all 50 state capitals; so far he’s just over the halfway point, riding through 25 state capitals and Washington DC.

Michigan finally gets around to banning distracted driving.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever keeps breaking into a Louisiana bike co-op, stealing 15 bicycles worth $4,000 in a series of burglaries.

Florida’s Seminole County is planning to add a pair of bike tunnels to help riders get past the busy intersection of two highways. While bike tunnels may seem like a good safety solution, they’re also prone to collecting debris and can be subject to flooding, as well as providing a home for the homeless. And anything that removes bike riders from public view increases the risk of violent crime, particularly for women. 

 

International

A pilot project will encourage physicians in Bristol, England to prescribe bicycling and walking to address health issues such as obesity, inactivity and loneliness.

A new British study shows more people ride bikes when they feel comfortable on the roads. And aside from a lack of hills, nothing makes bike riders feel more comfortable than speed limits under 20 mph.

The UK’s Transport Minister has proposed law change that would treat deadly bike riders just like deadly drivers, by creating a new charge of death by dangerous cycling. Although wouldn’t treating killer bicyclists like deadly drivers mean just giving them a slap on the wrist, anyway?

Over two-thirds of French people support mandatory bike helmet use, even though only 30% of bike riders currently wear them. Or maybe because only 30% wear them.

 

Competitive Cycling

USA Cycling has announced the ten-race schedule for the 2022 National Criterium Series. Although we Californians will have to travel to Salt Lake City to see the nearest one.

Next year’s Tour de France will kick off in Northern Spain’s Basque Country.

The British cycling organizer behind the Women’s Tour and the Tour of Britain calls for UCI to get off its collective ass and do something to prevent serious crashes, accusing the organization of allowing dangerous crashes to happen.

Egan Bernal’s teammate Tom Pidcock says cyclists need safer ways to train for time trials in the wake of the training crash that left Bernal in intensive care.

Biography profiles legendary American cyclist Major Taylor, the fastest man on two wheels and the world’s first Black international athletic superstar.

 

Finally…

Let’s all wish a happy belated 126th birthday to the ebike. That feeling when certain drivers can’t spot the bikes in a Captcha.

And have a thought for all those poor thieves Van Moof is trying to put out of business.

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

KCRW fails to confront LA Vision Zero fail, volunteers needed for ballot measure, and El Monte Vision Zero meeting

Someone in the media finally paid attention to LA’s failing and forgotten Vision Zero program.

Unfortunately, the story hits about as hard as I do these days. Which is more of a polite tap than a solid gut punch.

KCRW’s Greater LA took a look at the program, using the tragic death of fallen bicyclist Branden Findley — killed a hit-and-run driver in a stolen vehicle while on his way to the Ride for Black Lives — as an entry point.

The station notes that 294 people needless lost their lives on the mean streets of Los Angeles last year, a 20% increase over the year before. And that traffic deaths have gone up nearly every year since Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the program in 2015.

“Every single one of those numbers is a tragedy,” says LA Department of Transportation General Manager Seleta Reynolds. “If we cannot get people from A to B and guarantee that they are safe, and that when somebody leaves in the morning, they’ll come home safely at night, then we haven’t fulfilled sort of a basic responsibility.”

It’s Reynolds’ responsibility to reduce traffic deaths and injuries in LA, and her most important tool to do that is a program called Vision Zero.

Unfortunately, while the station notes the existence of critics who think the city isn’t moving fast enough, they apparently couldn’t find a single one to put on the air.

I must have been busy that day.

But then they pivot back to marshmallow journalism, allowing LADOT head Seleta Reynolds to wiggle out of the city’s responsibility for the program’s continued failure.

But Seleta Reyolds of LA’s Department of Transportation says Vision Zero is only part of the solution to reducing traffic deaths.

She points to things beyond traffic planners’ control, like America’s continuing love affair with big, heavy vehicles that make it harder for pedestrians and cyclists to survive collisions.

Then there’s the challenge of distracted driving and the development of increasingly sophisticated car infotainment systems that keep motorists’ attention focused on screens instead of the streets.

And that’s the problem.

Despite the pleading of advocates in a series of public meetings, back when public meetings could actually take place in person, the city never really adopted Vision Zero.

Instead, the city launched a toothless facsimile of the program, relying on the Four Es — engineering, education, enforcement, and evaluation — to reduce traffic deaths.

Except Vision Zero is actually predicated on one simple realization — that people will make mistakes, and it is up to government to design our streets so that those mistakes don’t have to become fatal.

They acknowledge as much on the city’s Vision Zero page, if you can find it on LADOT’s Livable Streets website.

Our Guiding Principles

  1. People will make mistakes on the road.
  2. The consequences of these mistakes should not be death or severe injury.
  3. Reducing vehicle speed is fundamental to safer streets.

Nothing there calls for education or enforcement.

That’s because Vision Zero is based on reimagining the physical reality of our streets to protect vulnerable road users, and tame aggressive and careless drivers.

But that costs money, which hasn’t been budgeted — at least not in sufficient amounts to actually make a difference.

And it requires civic leaders who possess the political courage to make the hard choices necessary to save lives. Even if it means inconveniencing drivers by removing traffic lanes or parking spots, which our currant crop of cowards clearly isn’t willing to do.

So we have to be content with excuses, and moving the goal posts.

Of course, these challenges existed when LA launched Vision Zero seven years ago. Although Reynolds acknowledges the city probably won’t meet the program’s goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2025, she says setting a goal with Vision Zero is still worth it.

“We’ve set a milestone. We’ve set a year. And if we don’t get there, then I hope it will invite a lot of accountability and dialogue and discussion,” says Reynolds.

But once again, Vision Zero isn’t about accountability and dialogue and discussion. It’s about ending traffic deaths.

That, we have failed to do.

And we will continue to fail until Vision Zero finally becomes the city’s one overarching priority for our streets, rather than just one program among many.

Future Indian ambassador Eric Garcetti signs Vision Zero proclamation at his massive outdoor desk. Photo from Streetsblog.

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Streets For All is looking for volunteers to circulate a petition to qualify a ballot measure calling for safe streets everywhere in LA.

Click here to volunteer.

Speaking of Streets For All, the safe streets Political Action Committee forwarded a few key findings from a recent poll in support of the ballot measure.

51.8% of people surveyed in Los Angeles would be more likely to ride a bike if there was a network of safe bike lanes

53.5% would consider taking the bus more often if it came more frequently and had its own bus-only lane

75% agree we can and should make changes to how we use street space that would improve our city

And a whopping 84% think it’s the responsibility of LA’s mayor and city council to reduce car traffic, clean the air and make our streets and sidewalks safer.

I would have liked to see more specific questions, like whether people would support removing parking spaces or traffic lanes to improve traffic safety and make room for bike lanes.

But it’s a damn good start.

And we’ll look forward to seeing the ballot measure once its released.

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Vision Zero could soon be making its way to El Monte, starting with tomorrow’s online workshop.

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This is who we share the road with.

A USC student “did everything right” in crossing the street in a crosswalk, and was run down by a pickup driver anyway, who stepped on the gas and fled like the heartless coward they are.

Just remember that the next time someone tries to tell you bike riders would be safe on the streets if we just obeyed traffic laws.

Because you can clearly obey the letter of the law and do everything right, and still get your ass run over by some jerk.

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We’ve seen this New Zealand ad before. But it’s definitely worth watching again.

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Local

No news is good news, right?

 

State

A homeless parolee has been busted for breaking out a window at a Santa Ana bike shop, and making off with a $2,000 bicycle.

Now this is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. After two people were killed while using the bike lanes on San Diego’s Pershing Drive last year, the city responds by speeding up construction of a two-way buffered bike lane and pedestrian walkway to improve safety.

Oakland announces the coming closure of the city’s Covid-inspired Slow Streets program, even though the pandemic isn’t over. And neither is the need for safe neighborhood streets.

 

National

Arch Daily offers a guide to becoming a more bicycle-dependent city.

Singletracks recommends mountain bike tools that pay for themselves in a few uses.

Great idea. Des Moines, Iowa is holding a competition to select artworks to be displayed along the city’s bike paths.

A Minnesota writer refutes the mistaken perception that winter bicyclists are all as white as the snow they ride on.

New York’s popular Five Boro Bike Ride is back on this spring as Covid cases decline.

Curbed reports that ebike batteries are catching fire way too often, while Gotham delivery riders need safe places to recharge them so they don’t.

A North Carolina man will face the death penalty for 1st degree murder for fatally shooting a five-year old boy as he rode his bicycle outside his father’s house; the alleged killer still hasn’t said why.

South Carolina belatedly gets around to considering a bill banning handheld cellphone use while driving. Then again, it’s not like bans in other states have actually stopped drivers from using them.

 

International

Trek’s holiday fundraising efforts for World Bicycle Relief may become an annual tradition for the company, as its low-maintenance Buffalo Bike built for the nonprofit is named Bike of the Year.

Yanko Design looks forward to the bicycle accessory trends of 2022, from airless bike tires and ebike workstations, to a bike helmet with a built-in air filter. Although I’m not sure “trend” is exactly the right word.

The Week recommends their picks for the best ebikes for “effortless engineering,” ranging from the equivalent of $1,343 to $5,804.

An Indian man became an overnight success after seven years of effort when he received the equivalent of $13,000 for 40% of his company on the country’s version of Shark Tank, for modifying and adult tricycle into a low-fi pesticide sprayer for crops.

 

Competitive Cycling

Two-time Grand Tour winner Egan Bernal remains in intensive care recovering from leg and spinal surgeries after suffering extensive injuries when he crashed into a bus that was parked partially blocking the roadway, while he was training in his native Colombia.

 

Finally…

If you’re already a fugitive from justice, maybe it’s not the best idea to ride your bike on the freeway. Jenny from the Block looks pretty in pink on her BMX — even if it is just an ad shoot.

And the next time it feels like you’re about to be run down by the Apocalypse, you may just be right.

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

New bikeways coming to LA’s CD4, murder trial in DUI death of 12-year old boy, and civilizing British streets — or not

At least one LA councilmember is living up to campaign promises when it comes to safe streets.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton is reporting that CD4 Councilmember Nithya Raman is moving forward with plans for seven new bikeways, though her efforts are hampered by short staffing at LADOT.

Linton blames the staffing shortages on the feared budget shortfalls due to the pandemic, which failed to materialize thanks to federal COVID recovery funds.

However, the department has been understaffed for years, particularly in regards to bicycling and walking infrastructure, which has severely hampered the department’s ability to make much-needed changes to our streets.

The bikeways are currently being planned or implemented in Los Feliz and the San Fernando Valley, including —

  • Replacing sharrows on Riverside Drive south of Griffith Park with a lane removal and parking protected bike lane, the first in the 4th Council District, due to be complete in the next few months.
  • Adding protected bike lanes on Riverside Drive north of Griffith Park, in cooperation with Glendale and Burbank.
  • New bike lanes on Hyperion Blvd from Griffith Park Blvd to Rowena Ave to connect current bike lanes on Rowena and Griffith Park Blvd, as well as bike lanes promised for the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge.
  • Closing an existing half-mile gap in the bike lanes on Burbank Blvd between Hazeltine Ave and Van Nuys Blvd, part of the city’s Vision Zero High Injury Network.
  • Adding protected bike lanes leading from the G Line — nee Orange Line — bike path to the North Hollywood Metro Station and the Chandler bike path.

Raman is also assuming shared responsibility for portions of projects already underway in what was formerly other council districts, which were moved into her district under the recently redistricting.

  • A new three-mile long segment of L.A. River Greenway from Vanalden Ave to Balboa Blvd, which will nearly complete the river path west of the Sepulveda Basin, shared with 3rd District Councilmember Bob Blumenfield
  • The 3-mile long Reseda Boulevard Complete Streets Project currently  under construction from Victory Boulevard to Parthenia Street, shared with Blumenfield and CD12’s John Lee.

Unfortunately, she no longer has responsibility for much of Hollywood, Mid-City and Hancock Park, so any hope for changes there will depend on who replaces Paul Koretz in CD5, and whether Mitch O’Farrell remains in office in CD13.

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Suspected stoned driver Richard David Lavalle is set to go on trial this week for killing a 12-year old boy near a Costa Mesa park.

The 59-year old Long Beach resident faces a single murder count for running down Noel Bascon as he was riding a bike with his father near Tewinkle Park a little over a year ago.

Lavalle was driving a rented moving truck when he allegedly ran a stop sign, and slammed into the boy as he rode in a crosswalk on Arlington Drive.

He was previously convicted of DUI in San Diego County in 2013, which justifies the murder count for a second violation under California law, and was on parole at the time of the crash.

He faces up to 30 years behind bars if he’s convicted.

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He gets it.

A columnist for The Spectator says the UK’s updated Traffic Code will civilize the streets entitled motorists have ruled for far too long.

Without digging into the details, the main point of the changes is to give greater priority to vulnerable road users. Or put another way, unlike 007, they’re taking away drivers licenses to kill.

One they apparently issued themselves.

No one set out to turn our towns, cities, villages and rural roads into dangerous hellholes. It just happened as motorists assumed the right to highways which were never designed for motor traffic. It was the exercise of raw power: drivers of motor vehicles lording it over the rest of us because they could.

It’s worth a few minutes to give it a read.

On the other hand, there are people who don’t get it at all. Take this gasoline-addled automotive troglodyte.

Please.

Under cover of Covid, they have turned our city centres into crazy golf courses, intended to frustrate freedom of movement by giving priority to Lycra-clad lunatics on racing bikes and suicide jockeys on e-scooters.

Transport policy has been captured by single-issue, anti-car fanatics, hell-bent on bankrupting businesses and causing the maximum possible inconvenience to the traveling public…

Our other major cities have suffered from pollution-spewing traffic jams created by Town Hall Guardianista polar-bear huggers in thrall to the cult of the great god cycling.

Maybe that should read ‘Cyclops’, since the pushbike lobby are terminally myopic when it comes to seeing any point of view other than their own warped ideology.

Nope.

No bias there.

………

When is a Culver City protected bike lane not a bike lane?

When it’s a parking spot.

………

Good question.

What does Rancho Palos Verdes have against kids riding bikes at the park?

………

It looks like San Gabriel Valley state Senator Anthony Portantino is one of us.

………

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

Someone is sabotaging a pilot bike lane on a Boston bridge installed to test plans for a more permanent lane, tossing orange cones marking the lane into the Charles River, not just once, but twice over the last weekend.

………

Local

LADOT will host a virtual community meeting at 7 pm today to discuss the Lincoln Fast Forward project, which includes pedestrians improvements and rush hour bus lanes, but no bike lanes; however, bike riders are allowed to use the bus lanes, as long as you don’t mind an impatient bus driver running up your ass. You can register here.

A man was shot in a driveby while riding his bike at Whites Canyon Road and Delight Street in Santa Clarita; there’s no word on his condition, or if the shooting was gang-related or a road rage attack.

 

State

Singletracks looks at the California Mountain Biking Coalition, calling it a “squeaky wheel for trail advocacy.”

The Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at UC Berkeley, aka SafeTREC, is opening applications for the next round of its Community Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Training program.

Oakland completes a previously missing bikeway gap on Telegraph Avenue, albeit with just painted bike lanes, rather than the protected lanes found on other segments.

 

National

Peloton is forced to explain once again that their indoor cycling bikes really aren’t dangerous, after a character on Billions suffers a heart-attack following a session on the bike; needless to say, the company was none too pleased.

Here’s your chance to break into the glamorous bike biz, as PinkBike lists 19 open jobs available right now.

Home improvement guy Bob Vila has a seven-point plan to change a bike tire for you.

New York’s Daily News says the city’s new mayor is right to prioritize safe streets, after mixed Vision Zero results under the previous mayor.

Miami reopens iconic Ocean Drive to cars after two years, but with a new two-way bike lane facing the beach.

 

International

Road.cc looks forward to eleven big bike launches expected to be unveiled in the coming year.

Unbelievable. A sheriff’s deputy found a British Columbia driver smoking heroin shortly after he ran down a 67-year old man riding a bike and kept going, even though he knew he hit something but was too scared to stop.

Bicycle holding company Pon.Bike announced plans to return bikemaking to Europe with a Lithuanian production facility capable of building up to 600,000 bicycles a year; they are the parent company of Gazelle, Cervélo, FOCUS, Santa Cruz and other bike brands.

Your next Japanese foldie ebike could come with just 57 low-maintenance parts.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bad news from Colombia, where former Tour de France and current Giro champ Egan Bernal was seriously injured in a collision with a parked bus while training with teammates in his hometown of Zipaquira; Bernal suffered a broken femur and kneecap, requiring surgery to reconstruct his right leg, as well as to stabilize a spinal fracture and traumatic disc herniation.

Former national and Pan-American ‘cross champ Stephen Hyde is calling it a career after ten years on the pro circuit.

 

Finally…

Crashing bicycles, houseflies and infinite series mathematics. Why waste energy pedaling when you could just power your bike with an electric drill?

And seriously, who hasn’t jumped a bike off a hovering helicopter?

………

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

Bravo to face trial on fatal Indio hit-and-run, Schrödinger’s Taylor Yard bridge, and Firecracker bike ride goes virtual

It’s taken almost a year.

But there may be justice for fallen bicyclist Anthony Duran after all.

My News LA is reporting that 29-year old Indio resident Mark Christian Bravo will stand trial for felony hit-and-run involving injury or death, with a sentencing-enhancement of committing the crime while on bail.

The convicted drug dealer was out on bail on an assault charge when he ran down Duran as he was walking his bicycle across an Indio street last February. Bravo kept going without stopping, leaving his victim to die alone in the street.

There’s no indication how long Duran’s body lay there before he was discovered.

Bravo is currently free on $75,000 bail, as well as $85,000 bail for the previous assault case.

If there was any real justice, Mark Bravo would face a 2nd degree murder charge for making a conscious decision to let his victim die, rather that a mere four years for the fatal hit-and-run.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

………

The new Taylor Yard bike and pedestrian bridge over the LA River is finally open.

Or not.

Like Schrödinger’s cat, it seems to depend on the observer.

………

Disappointing, but probably predictable, news, as Chinatown’s annual Firecracker 10k celebration has gone virtual once again.

A press release from the organization says the event, which also includes a 20 or 40 mile bike ride, was changed due to the recent surge in Covid cases due to the Omicron variant.

The 2022 L.A. Chinatown Firecracker events will now take place virtually only with extended participation from now through February 27, 2022. Participants will be able to complete their event(s) by downloading and activating the RaceJoy app on their mobile device. The app will track the participants’ events as they run/walk/ride and record their results. The RaceJoy app provides live GPS progress alerts, tracking, Send-a-Cheer (where participants may receive supportive audio cheers from remote friends and family) and virtual results. Participants may also submit their results manually on the L.A. Chinatown Firecracker registration site.

L.A. Chinatown Firecracker will continue to prioritize the health and safety of all participants and volunteers, including a focus on adherence to public health guidelines. Each registered participant receives a commemorative 2022 Firecracker race bib, exclusive-collectible finisher’s medal, limited edition t-shirt and goody bag.

………

Clearly, you can carry anything on a bicycle.

No, really.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

………

Today’s mountain bike break takes us on hand built trails carved into the Welsh countryside.

Although you may have to click through to see it if the video below isn’t visible.

………

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

No bias here. London’s Daily Mail predicts chaos and road rage as a new British traffic code takes effect requiring drivers to yield to more vulnerable road users, and allowing bike riders to use the full lane to increase visibility under some circumstances.

On a related subject, Road.cc accuses major newspapers of misrepresenting the new rules, including mistakenly telling drivers they can be fined if they don’t use the Dutch reach.

………

Local

Metro wants you to make a commitment to ride more next month.

Today is the last day to offer your input on how Metro should spend their money. Or rather, our money.

Maybe Arnold should stick to riding his ebike, after a woman was nearly killed when his massive Yukon SUV rolled on top of her car after they collided.

Former BMX pro and current road and gravel rider Andrew Jackson offers a guide to the best rides in Los Angeles. And more importantly, where to get the best tacos.

The Arts District in DTLA now has an LGBTQ-centered bicycle cafe.

 

State

Truly appalling news from Coachella, where a pair of 13-year old boys were arrested for stealing a bicycle from another boy at gunpoint; one of the boys was also arrested for attempting to stab another boy walking home from school. The gun turned out to be a prop gun designed to fire blanks, although the victim had no way of knowing that.

 

National

Surprisingly, Popular Science wants to tell you how to turn your bike into a DIY ebike. No, the surprise is that the magazine is still a thing.

The best-selling electric vehicles aren’t cars, with bicycles outselling motor vehicles in the US by nearly 140,000 last year.

 

International

Off-Road.cc offers tips on how to make your mountain bike faster. Without, you know, buying a new one.

Cycling Weekly gives Cannondale a chance to respond after a review of the company’s SmartSense technology embedded in the new Synapse ebike drew an unusual amount of hostile comments.

A Montreal bike messenger considers the challenge of keeping warm on the job in the Canadian winter.

Riding cross-country is nothing new. Unless maybe the country is Iceland, in subfreezing weather with snow coming.

The Daily Mail profiles London bike cam vigilante Mike van Erp, who’s recorded over 2,000 distracted drivers and reported them to the police for prosecution, earning the undying enmity the driving public. We desperately need the law updated to allow prosecution of drivers based on photographic and video evidence on this side of the Atlantic.

British track cycling hero and bike advocate Chris Boardman has been appointed as the UK’s first bicycling and walking commissioner. And no, there is no comparable position here in the US, even though there should be.

A judge in the UK notes that some bicycles are more expensive than many cars, as he sentences a pair of high-end bike thieves to 40 and 66 months, respectively. Now the courts just need to accept that some people need their bikes just as much as others need their cars, if not more.

Tyler the Creator is sort of one us, writing the score for the final Louis Vuitton fashion show designed by the late Virgil Abloh in Paris, and finishing the show by walking a bicycle down the catwalk and riding across the stage.

 

Competitive Cycling

French pro Alexandre Geniez could be racing under a cloud this spring, with a possible six-month sentence for domestic violence against his ex-wife hanging over his head.

Sad to see that retired American pro Andrew Talansky has become a raving Covid denier.

 

Finally…

That feeling when fictional Peloton users keep dropping dead. When you’re already on probation and riding your bike with an outstanding arrest warrant, put a damn light on it, already.

And only Snoop D O Double G could pull off a lowrider bicycle with a microwave on the back.

………

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

Best and worst of California biking, confusing Metro 710 bike mess, and you don’t have to bike inside after all

Today’s must read belatedly came to my attention, after a week lost in my spam folder.

Calbike took a look back at best and worst of California biking last year, from Glendora’s low-cost quick-build Complete Streets demo, to proof that traffic jams improve safety, as bike and pedestrian deaths went up even as traffic levels decreased during the pandemic.

A few other highlights —

  • A pair of San Diego area bikeway prove persistence pays off
  • The Eastside’s Roadkill Gil gets a nod for worst abuse of political power
  • The failed anti0bike recall of Nithya Raman
  • Calbike’s big win on California’s new ebike subsidy program
  • The LA Times investigation of biased bike stops by sheriff’s deputies

Take a few minutes to read the whole thing. It may the most entertaining and informative thing you’ll read all day.

Aside from what you’re reading now, anyway.

Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels.

………

Sometimes I don’t know what the hell to make of something.

Especially when it involves widening a freeway in a soon-to-be-failed attempt at relieving traffic congestion, as if induced demand isn’t even a thing.

Not to mention make a complete mess of things when it comes to bicycling.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton reports that’s the case with Metro’s recent presentation on the proposed widening of the 710 Freeway — excuse me, the multimodal transformation of the 710 corridor.

The $6 billion project was put on pause after decades of community complaints, cancellation by the EPA, pausing by Caltrans and suspension by the Metro board.

Which is one hell of a losing streak, if you ask me.

Now the project is once again rearing its ugly head, this time accompanied with references to rail and NextGen bus service.

And bike lanes. Well, sort of.

Or maybe not.

We’ll let Linton take it from here.

Metro’s video states that there is a “protected bike lane” along the L.A. River, when the river facility is actually a bike path. The presentation emphasizes that there is “a lack of designated bike routes,” though cyclists know that bike routes are typically meaningless. Metro’s “Bike Routes [sic]” map labels many bike paths as protected bikeways, and maps numerous protected bikeways in lots of places where they don’t exist: East L.A., Vernon, Carson, etc. (Hint for Metro’s intern: the only protected bikeways in the study area are in the city of Long Beach.)

I hesitated writing about this for over a week, thinking my feeble diabetes and drug addled brain just couldn’t make sense of it.

Then I finally realized it didn’t make sense to me because it just doesn’t make sense.

Like Metro somehow not knowing the difference between an imaginary protected bike lane and an actual riverfront bike path, albeit one with an eight-mile gap through DTLA.

Or that they would somehow invent a network of nonexistent protected bike lanes that would make vaporware look good.

I’d suggest Metro needs to get their shit together, but it looks like they already put their #2 staffer on it.

Pun intended.

………

Let’s all shed a tear for Peloton’s CEO, who is no longer a billionaire after the company’s stock has dropped 85% since its pandemic peak.

Meanwhile, Alissa Walker reminds us that you don’t have to settle for riding a bike indoors.

………

We may have to worry about aggressive LA drivers. But at least we don’t have to dodge angry wild turkeys just to get a ride in.

Frequent contributor Megan Lynch can give thanks she had a much milder encounter with some skinnier and less aggressive toms.

………

What could possibly go wrong with this?

Unless maybe you’re the bike rider waiting patiently for a little old lady to make it all the way to the other side, while an impatient driver runs up on your ass, horn blaring.

………

No wonder they called it the Great War.

Sure, they may have had to fight on an unforgiving front in a brutal war, but at least they got to ride bikes.

………

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

No bias here. English police don’t bother to do anything about a driver’s dangerously close pass on a blind curve, but give a warning for the bike rider’s bad language in response.

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

A Brit man on a mountain bike more than lived up to this section’s theme by punching a delivery driver in the eye after claiming he cut him off.

………

Local

This is who we share the road with. The LAPD is looking for a trio of hit-and-run drivers who injured one pedestrian and a person riding an e-scooter, and killed another pedestrian in three separate crashes the Jefferson Park neighborhood this month.

Riders on the LA River bike path may eventually have something besides a concrete river channel to look at when the path is finally extended from Elysian Park through DTLA to Maywood; the new infrastructure bill contains $28 million to restore 11 miles of the river to some semblance of a more natural state from Glendale to Downtown Los Angeles.

Get ready to rumble in Palmdale, where Caltrans is proposing removing street parking along a section of State Route 138 to make room for bike lanes, as well as pedestrian improvements to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is sure to rile up the local citizenry and businesses.

 

State

Sad news from San Jose, where a man who had survived getting struck by a driver while riding a motorized bike last October died due to complications stemming from his injuries.

 

National

Bike Hacks offers a clickbait-friendly seven reasons why every college student should have a bicycle.

The driver who killed the wife of one of Tesla’s co-founders as she rode a bike outside of Reno is facing six years after pleading guilty to felony reckless driving.

Streetsblog considers whether Chicago speed cams are racist because they disproportionately ticket people of color, or if the real problem is racist road design in low-income neighborhoods that encourage people to speed.

The trial of a Black Illinois bike rider accused of fatally shooting a car passenger who he says called him a racial slur was nearly derailed when a witness said a defense paralegal had posed as a police officer to interrogate him at work.

Seriously? A Massachusetts letter writer complains that a new bike lane is dangerous and will get someone killed because drivers have to cross it to make a right turn, and have to watch out for people on bikes when leaving a parking space. You know, pretty much like virtually every other bike lane on the face of the earth, aside from Denmark and the Netherlands, of course.

A pair of Brown University students have created what they describe as “Waze for bikes” to help overcome the woes we usually face.

 

International

Brompton is introducing its first Ti frame, sub-17 pound foldie.

Britain’s biggest bicycle retailer is offering commuters free use of an ebike if their train is cancelled due to the ongoing disruptions caused by the Omicron variant.

Speaking of Denmark, it’s the bike-friendly country’s Year of the Bike, with the Tour de France scheduled to start in Copenhagen, and a commitment to spend $64 million on bike lanes this year — part of a whopping $458 million bicycling infrastructure plan. Then again, every year is the year of the bike for Danish residents.

Dutch bikemaker Van Moof introduces a twin engine “hyperbike” ebike — even though its 31 mph top speed makes it illegal in Europe and much of the US, including California.

Jerusalem residents are demanding bike lanes on congested Hebron Road, and getting the cold shoulder from city hall.

An Aussie urban designer explains how the country could become a world leader in bicycle friendly cities, starting with prioritizing bikes and pedestrians over cars. Which should be the starting point for all traffic laws everywhere. Especially right here in Los Angeles.

 

Competitive Cycling

A Colorado hedge fund is taking a new approach to pro cycling’s failing business model by earmarking a percentage of their management proceeds to support USA Cycling and other cycling organizations.

 

Finally…

Remember to unplug your ebike before it explodes. Now you, too can look like your heroes from L39ion of Los Angeles.

And “If you’re in a four wheel drive, you can f**k off.”

Now that’s a lyric we can all relate to.

………

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

Conservative Culver City recall effort fizzles, corgi-toting bike rider for LA City Controller, and Atwater Village hit-and-run

Mike Bonin isn’t the only one who survived a failed recall attempt this week.

Streetsblog reports opponents failed in their efforts to recall bike-friendly Culver City mayor and congressional candidate Daniel Lee, as well as Councilmember Alex Fisch, over housing policy and the new Move Culver City street project.

Meanwhile, Lee is running for congress as a progressive Democrat in District 37, where incumbent Congresswoman Karen Bass is retiring to run for mayor of Los Angeles.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels.

………

At least one candidate for LA City Controller rides a bike.

And with a corgi, no less.

https://twitter.com/kennethmejiaLA/status/1483991223958343680

I’ve been talking with Mejia for a few months now, and have been more than impressed with the way he already digs into city finances looking for waste and opportunities to make our money work for everyone.

So consider this an endorsement for the upcoming June primary, though I still want to hear what our old friend David Vahedi has to say.

And no, it wasn’t the corgi that pushed me over the top. Or the bike.

But it didn’t hurt.

Then again, the simple fact that he’s not Paul Koretz didn’t hurt, either.

………

An Atwater Village Nextdoor user was the victim of a hit-and-run while riding his bike on Glendale Blvd this past Sunday.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to embed the dashcam video that captured the crash. But as you can see from these screen grabs, it looks pretty damn harrowing.

But at least he was able to end up on his feet afterwards.

I’m not posting the victim’s name to protect his privacy. But if you have any information about the crash or the heartless coward behind the wheel, let me know and I’ll pass it along.

Thanks to Steve Messer for the heads-up.

………

Preliminary markings for long-awaited bike lanes hit the street on Yosemite Drive in Eagle Rock.

………

Call it car culture in a nutshell.

A West Virginia reporter gets knocked on her ass by an SUV driver on live TV. And just bounces back up, assuring the driver and her news anchor it’s all good.

………

The latest video from GCN discuses the biggest mistakes you can make on a bike ride.

Actually, the biggest mistake is not going for one in the first place.

………

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

Ebikes have officially gotten the heave-ho from San Clemente’s popular beachfront trail, even though most ped-assist bikes probably wouldn’t bother anyone.

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

Neighbors claim to have seen the suspect in the Colleyville, Texas synagogue hostage standoff riding a bicycle in the area the day before the attack; police recovered a beat-up mountain bike they say he was riding.

………

Local

This is who we share the road with. A Gardena driver faces vehicular homicide charges for the deaths of two people when his Tesla ran a red light while in Autopilot mode, as the LA Times considers whether the driver or the carmaker should be held accountable.

 

State

Streetsblog’s Melanie Curry talks with Emeryville mayor and newly minted social media star John Bauters about his love of bicycling and support for safe, equitable streets.

 

National

WaPo recommends trying an ebike tour on your next trip overseas. Or right here at home, for that matter.

The Maui County Council is trying to rein in bike tours and solo bicyclists bombing down the Haleakalā volcano. Even though one bike advocate pointed out that it’s the people on bicycles who observe the speed limit, while speeding drivers routinely violate Hawaii’s three-foot passing law.

A Salt Lake City couple discovered the hard way that their custom three-seat bike had been stolen when they got off a train and spotted the thief walking it down the street, but couldn’t catch him; they had it made so their 36-year old son with Down’s syndrome could ride with them.

A planned Oregon to Virginia cross-country bike route would pass through Wyoming’s Teton County, home to the spectacular Teton National Park and a big chunk of Yellowstone.

New York’s new mayor announces what he calls Vision Zero on steroids, while bicycle advocates fear it could lead to a crackdown on bike riders at unsignalized intersections.

 

International

Cargo bikes could be the future of green home delivery.

The We Love Cycling website considers five bike-related jobs you may not have considered, like delivering furniture or laundry, and towing an advertising trailer in your wake.

Road.cc looks into their crystal ball and predicts the big bike trends for the coming year, including brake-by-wire and ebikes that recharge while you ride; thankfully, they also see a trend towards more affordable road bikes. Unfortunately, the also predict the pandemic-induced bike shortage will still have legs, thanks to China’s Omicron lockdowns and ongoing shipping imbalances.

A British bike rider complains about the “dreadful” conditions on the local streets, after he was lucky to avoid getting run over when he was sideswiped by a careless van driver.

New traffic rules creating a hierarchy of road users take effect in the UK next weekend, requiring drivers to be more careful around bike riders and pedestrians.

Israel is making plans to cut car use in half, while conceding that the 2040 target date isn’t likely to happen.

Over 500 bicycles donated by kindhearted people in Washington and British Columbia were delivered to help people in Rwanda, while the shipping container they travelled in was converted to a locally operated bike distribution and repair shop.

The World Bank consider’s how the Philippines built 310 miles of bike lanes in a single year to take advantage of the pandemic bike boom. Then again, they probably didn’t subject the plans to countless public meetings, while giving homeowners and drivers veto power before paint hits the streets.

 

Finally…

When you’re a movie star, you can ignore Harry and Megan’s Private Road signs. That feeling when you ride almost a mile to daycare on your own balance bike.

And German bikemaker Canyon suggests maybe LA doesn’t suck for bike riders after all.

At least not on the trails outside the city.

………

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

Invalid signatures sink Bonin recall, Koretz nixes expanded hours for La Brea bus lanes, and Ride4Love Super Bowl Sunday

So much for that big anti-Bonin uprising in his coastal council district.

Wealthy and conservative activists have been gunning for CD11 Councilmember Mike Bonin almost since he first took office in 2013.

Especially following his bold, but poorly rolled out, attempt at installing much needed road diets in Playa del Rey in 2017, which were removed after Mayor Eric Garcetti cut the legs out from under him following an angry outcry from drivers used to using the roadways as a deadly surface-street alternative to the 405.

Numerous attempts recall him have been announced, despite the overwhelming support Bonin has enjoyed at the ballot box.

And all have fizzled.

The latest attempt got the furthest, as recall supporters actually made it to city hall this time, submitting over 39,000 signatures to the city clerk’s office, far more than needed to qualify the recall for the ballot.

Except, as it turned out, over 13,000 of those signatures were rejected as invalid. Leaving them around 1,350 short.

Now the bike-friendly and bike-riding councilmember can turn his attention to running for a third and final term in office this year, which will most likely return him to his position as chair of the city council’s Transportation Committee.

And avoid the awkward possibility that he could be removed from office amid the typically low turnout of a recall election this spring, then returned when the larger voting public turns out for the June primary election.

As the LA Times points, out, this is the third council recall attempt to fizzle out this year, after earlier failed attempts to oust Nithya Raman and Kevin de León.

Photo taken from Bonin website.

………

Once again, outgoing CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz shows his true stripes, standing in the way of a much-needed bus lane on La Brea, if it happens to inconvenience anyone even a tiny bit.

Thankfully, Koretz will be termed out this September, when hopefully, someone who actually supports improving transit service to get Angelenos out of their cars can take his place.

So maybe just hold off on printing those Bus Lane No Parking signs for a few more months.

………

Mark your calendar for February’s biggest outdoor event.

Wait, there’s a football game, too?

………

I’m not one to talk about my religious beliefs.

But I confess to saying a prayer to the Madonna del Ghisallo every night, asking that everyone who rides a bike the next day may return home safely.

Sadly, sometimes the answer is no.

So I also pray for all those who have been injured or killed riding a bicycle, and all of their loved ones, that they may be comforted and at peace.

Because what’s the point of having our own patron saint if we don’t ask for her help?

https://twitter.com/CoolBikeArt1/status/1483552308126437376

………

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

No bias here. Yet another lengthy screed from a self-proclaimed San Luis Obispo “pedestrian, bicyclist and…commercial driver” complaining that bicycling and walking safety improvements in the city are doing just the opposite — including a new two-way protected bike lane he claims is just teaching children to ride on the wrong side of the road.

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

Riverside police are looking for a bicyclist who repeatedly whacked a 60-something man over the head with a piece of wood in an apparent road rage attack on New Year’s Eve, resulting in head injuries that kept the victim hospitalized until now. Never resort to violence, as tempting as it may be — especially with a weapon, improvised or otherwise. Regardless of what the driver may have done to piss you off.

An alleged road raging bike rider pled guilty to a pair of bail jumping charges on the eve of his trial for fatally shooting a Milwaukee immigration attorney in front of his wife; the defense accuses the driver of directing a racial slur at the Black bicyclist. Which, horrible though it may be, does not justify killing the victim with a gun the shooter was not legally allowed to possess.

………

Local

Streetsblog encourages you to weigh in on Metro’s budget for the upcoming year.

 

State

The HIV/AIDS fundraiser AIDS LifeCycle ride is back this year after a two-year pandemic hiatus, and looking for volunteers to help out.

Spectrum News 1 considers the soaring popularity of ebikes in San Diego.

A Corona man is ordered to stand trial for attempting to sexually assault a schoolgirl, then fleeing naked on his bicycle. Seriously, there’s not a pit in hell deep enough.

Oakland is pulling the plug on their Slow Streets program, rather than making them permanent like some other cities have done.

 

National

Cannondale’s new Synapse is one of the first road bikes from a major manufacturer to incorporate integrated daytime running lights and a rear-facing radar to alert the rider to any approaching motor vehicles, based on Garmin’s Varia bicycle-mounted radar.

You’ve got to be kidding. South Dakota’s Supreme Court tossed a lawsuit from a woman who was paralyzed when her bike wheel got caught in a Rapid City storm grate, after the city destroyed the evidence by removing nearly 100 similar grates — including the one that left her a quadriplegic, making it impossible to prove her case.

Santa Fe bike riders call for an end to automotive supremacy in advance of a redesign of a deadly thoroughfare that was once part of the famed Route 66.

A handful of Good Samaritans pitched in to buy a new racing bike for a Colorado triathlete who lost everything in the recent Boulder County fire, including her carbon fiber Cervelo, which was turned to ash by the flames.

Your old car tires could have a new life as armadillos marking a Memphis protected bike lane. Now if they’d just recycle the rest of the cars.

The NYPD tells moped riders to stay the hell out of the bicycle/pedestrian lane on the Queensboro Bridge. Now if they could just stop their own cops from parking in bike lanes.

Nice move. New York will provide free two-month bikeshare memberships for hospital workers at the front lines in the battle against the Covid-19 Omicron surge.

A new Penn State study shows that even Bike Friendly University’s are failing to encourage members of underserved racial, gender, low-income and disabled groups to bicycle to and on college campuses.

Bicyclist and pedestrian deaths nearly doubled last year in Florida’s Pinellas County, home to Clearwater and St. Petersburg, jumping from 49 in 2020 to 85 in 2021.

 

International

Local residents are delighted that plans to segregate an English bike lane have been scrapped, so they can keep parking in it.

The Vatican now has its very own cycling team, in honor of the bike-loving pope.

A new German study shows that the country’s increase in bicycling is largely driven by highly educated urban residents, who are riding twice as much as they did when the study began in 1996. Although the study only goes through 2018, so it doesn’t include the effects of the pandemic bike boom. Thanks to Ralph Durham for the heads-up.

A New Zealand tour boat skipper spent the pandemic building a new 35-mile mountain bike track, opening up backcountry areas that have never been open to the public before.

Life is cheap in Adelaide, Australia, where police unexpectedly dropped all charges against a 25-year old man accused of deliberately ramming three separate bike riders while driving a stolen car.

 

Competitive Cycling

Sad news from Brazil, where elite mountain biker Mariano Merlo died after a sudden illness; she was just 27 years old.

Russian cyclist and former world junior time trial champ Aigul Gareeva has been suspended after skipping not one, not two, but three doping tests over the past year, which could lead to up to a two year ban. Nope, nothing at all suspicious about blowing off three dope tests. Especially now that the Era of Doping is over, right?

Continental-level developmental team Israel Cycling Academy was victimized by bike thieves on Monday, losing 17 team bikes from a truck at the team’s Catalonia, Spain training camp.

Argentine cyclists discover the hard way that maybe they should slow down just a tad when the road is flooded out in front of the peloton.

https://twitter.com/SC_ESPN/status/1483113665188569089?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1483113665188569089%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2Fcycling-live-blog-18-january-2022-289579

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could be haute couture. Don’t stab your companion in an argument over who owns a bike — especially when you’re already on bail for a meth bust.

And it looks like LA tall bike king Richie Trimble’s 20 feet 2.5 inches Stoopid Taller is now just the world’s second tallest bike.

………

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

Irish driver says bike riders are always right, crowdfund campaign for 13-year old crash victim, and help set policy in CD4

She gets it.

Today’s must read comes from an Irish columnist who says bike riders are always right, even though she’s a driver.

Well, maybe not always.

She describes being chased off her bike, first by catching a tire in a Dublin rail track, then by a cab driver who leaned on his horn and called her a “stupid bitch,” for the crime of being on the road ahead of him.

And hasn’t ridden it since.

But still, there’s this —

But we are sharing the road. We don’t own the road, we drivers. Paying motor tax doesn’t entitle us to everything from kerb to kerb and baying that “cyclists don’t pay” is childish. Cycling is a sustainable, relatively inexpensive, and health-promoting mode of transport. Do we really want to tax that? What next, pedestrians paying footpath tax?

She sums it up this way.

Back in my spot on the devil’s lap, I must acknowledge that just as there are bad drivers, there are bad cyclists. The weavers, the light-breakers (even though this is often the safest option), the all-in-blacks. Of course they exist, but they can’t be a reason to scapegoat an entire community of cyclists. I guarantee if you see one “bad cyclist” on your journey, a cyclist sees 10 dangerous drivers, two of which unwittingly tried to kill them.

It’s worth a few minutes of your day to give it a read.

If only to see that there really are people who don’g ride a bike, but get what it’s like for us, anyway.

………

A crowdfunding campaign has been set up to help pay funeral expenses for Edward Vazquez Jr, the 13-year old boy killed by a driver while riding his bike in Corona last week.

As of this writing, it’s raised just $1925 of the $15,000 goal.

………

Here’s your chance to help direct policy for my councilmember.

Which is why I want someone who rides bikes to get the job.

………

If your bike was stolen stolen in the Rancho Cucamonga area recently, the local PD may have good news for you. Or not.

https://twitter.com/IrvinePolice/status/1482169425402941445

Thanks to David Huntsman for the link.

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Why would anyone in Ontario, Canada, give a damn about distracted driving when the premier of the province clearly doesn’t?

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A new Quebec ad campaign takes aim at jaywalkers.

Literally.

https://twitter.com/delanightmares/status/1482845798673313792?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1483026563578880002%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es3_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2Fcycling-live-blog-17-january-2022-289555

Maybe instead of wasting money telling people not to jaywalk, they could improve streets with better crossings so it’s not necessary. And safer if they do, anyway.

………

Of course there’s a bicycle superhero. Because why wouldn’t there be?

https://twitter.com/CoolBikeArt1/status/1483187849411313670

Then again, this is the real superpower.

………

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

File this one under be careful what you wish for. A bill in the Vermont legislature would require everyone on a bicycle to ride single file on any roadway without bike lanes. Which would increase the danger for people on bikes by encouraging unsafe passing, while increasing the time, distance and risk involved to pass a large group of riders.

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

An off-duty cop working as a security guard engaged in a shootout inside an Oklahoma  Walmart with a man who tried to pay for a few items while walking out without paying for a new bike.

Police in Queens, NY are looking for the rider of a throttle-controlled ebike who pulled out a gun, and shot out a speed camera.

A conservation group is accusing bike riders of damaging the UK’s New Forest national park, after a six-week study showed 550 people on bicycles riding off designated trails. Seriously, show some respect for the land.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton remembers longtime transit advocate and Streetsblog contributor Dana Gabbord, whose big heart gave out just shy of his 60th birthday.

The Eastsider says county workers want to know what keeps people in East LA from walking and being more active. Hint: They usually have four wheels

WeHoVille talks crime and ebikes with West Hollywood Public Safety Commissioner Danny Roman, owner of Bikes & Hikes LA.

 

State

Sonoma votes for a road diet on a major street, while still forcing bike riders to contend with drivers parking their cars.

 

National

It’s been a big couple years for women’s bicycling, as nearly 56% of women who currently ride bikes either started during the pandemic, or came back to bicycling after a layoff.

A writer for Jalopnik tries to track down the provenance of a bike someone apparently won off the side of a Hi-C drink box.

Some Portland residents responded to calls to use MLK Jr. Day as a day of service by sweeping out bike lanes, while an Idaho group used the day to distribute 50 bikes to people in need.

Seattle may not have repealed its mandatory bike helmet law yet, but the local police have decided they won’t stop riders just for not wearing one anymore, as well as downplaying a number of other minor traffic violations since they don’t have a direct connection to the safety of others.

A Vermont website remembers the bike-riding former state house leader, whose passion for bicycling was matched only by his passion for public service; Willem Jewett was just 56 years old when he died via the medical-aid-in-dying law he helped pass, after struggling for years with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

New York’s new mayor plans to cut the city’s vehicle fleet down to the bare minimum, and encourage employees to ride the subway or take buses instead. Or better yet, just improve the city’s bike network and tell ’em to ride bicycles, instead. 

NBA star Jimmy Butler is one of us, buying a new bicycle so his two-year old daughter can ride in a child’s seat on the back.

Hundreds of Florida teens turned out for the annual, unsanctioned Wheels Up, Guns Down rideout to mark Dr. Martin Luther King’s call for nonviolent protest, including one group that took over the right side of a freeway.

 

International

Vogue Business considers the fashion industry’s recent inroads into the world of bicycling.

If you build it, they will come. Despite cries that London’s new bike network is blocking traffic, it is traffic, as bike riders now outnumber motorists in some areas of the city.

An English serial bike thief will spend the next 21 months behind bars for stealing six bikes worth more than $6,000 after gaining access to three apartment buildings.

A British man tells his harrowing tale of suffering a debilitating stroke at just 39 years old, and how he fought his way back to full mobility with determination and a bicycle.

Good Samaritans kept an alleged stoned driver from fleeing the scene after running down a UK bike rider, punching him in the face and dragging him out of the car he was trying to jack after abandoning his own heavily damaged car.

A retired Irish schoolteacher has become the oldest person to ride a bike around the world, completing the challenge at the ripe old age of…56? Seriously? That’s a ridiculously young age to be the oldest to do damn near anything, let alone anything to do with riding a bicycle.

You know a city is serious about getting people out of their cars when bikeshare is free, like it is in Prague, where a pilot program allowing transit pass holders 15 minutes of free bikeshare, up to four times a day, is going to be made permanent. Especially since rental bikes are a gateway drug for bicycling.

A delivery rider for Uber Eats faces a charge of professional negligence resulting in death after running down a 78-year old man crossing a Tokyo intersection; police blame the speed required by the company for causing the crash.

A new Kiwi study shows that the benefits of walking and bicycling outweighs the costs of building better facilities and educational campaigns by a whopping ten to one, especially in terms of better health and fewer cars on the road.

 

Competitive Cycling

Irish cyclist Sam Bennett says pro cycling has gotten so scientific and technical, it doesn’t even feel like he’s riding a bike anymore.

A new self-supported bikepacking race will take riders on over 1,000 miles of new trails through Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

 

Finally…

How to give your bike an extreme wooden makeover. If you’re planning to pawn a stolen bike, don’t give them all your personal information.

And we’ll know it works when it becomes the latest time trial technique.

………

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

A bike rider’s rant about bad drivers, rethinking traffic enforcement, and Bonin signs on to LA’s 25×25

Let’s start with an email I received earlier this week, which succinctly  captures what too many of us are feeling these days.

Here’s what Steven had to say.

Pardon my rant, but it’s just infuriating out there! While I agree with you that being seen is VITALLY important. Every “encounter” I have had with a car or truck has been with someone that definitely saw me or had no excuse for not seeing me! I am paranoidedly cautious doing my best to anticipate possible situations. I have lights, steady and blinking, I wear bright, colorful clothes, I ride the bike lane where I can and fully take the lane when there is no bike lane.  I have been ‘right hooked’ so many times I can’t count! So far the worst result of a right hook has been some minor scrapes to my bike and some minor ‘road rash’. (However, I did dent the passenger door of a car once!)  There have been a few that I have yelled at and they responded — the most common was “You were going faster than I thought” or just “Sorry” and one woman unbelievably said “Didn’t you see my turn indicator?” The only time I got sent to the hospital was when I was clipped by a side mirror and thanks be to God, released the same day with some major hematoma! The guy, to his credit, did stop. But he did say that “I thought I had enough room” AND THAT IS ON THE POLICE REPORT!!!! It’s getting to the point that I feel like I should start randomly swing a baseball bat and justify it by saying “Well, I didn’t hit anybody”

And just for completeness, I have been left hooked, brake checked, purposely cut off (both from the left and the right!), and have had things thrown at me. The urge to physically fight back is almost overwhelming!

I know that feeling all too well, when the urge to smash someone’s windshield — if not their face — becomes overwhelming.

It’s a natural, and perfectly understandable, reaction to having your life needlessly threatened.

But not exactly helpful.

I have a mantra I save for such situations, repeating over and over The world will not conform to my expectations, until the rage finally passes.

Because, too often, it won’t.

People will continue drive dangerously, despite my expectations that they should drive in a safe and responsible manner. Yet they will somehow blame me for almost getting killed. Or just for being on the road.

Or maybe the planet.

Meanwhile, bad street designs and poor maintenance can be aggravating at best, life threatening at worst. And too often the latter.

And I can’t do a damn thing about any of that.

All I can do is try to control my own reaction to it, and not let the jerks of the world ruin a good ride.

………

Cal Berkeley grad student Ethan Ebinger was honored by the university for his paper on rethinking traffic enforcement, offering a number of interesting proposals challenging current orthodoxy, including —

  • Decriminalize violations unrelated to traffic safety
  • Ban stops of non-vehicular road users
  • Rely on automated technologies
  • Improve data collection of crashes and stops, test for disparities
  • Balance downstream effects
  • Reframe traffic enforcement within Vision Zero
  • Move traffic enforcement operations to the transportation department

Whether or not you agree with him, it’s worth taking a few minutes to read the full paper to challenge your own beliefs, and maybe even start to see it in a whole new way.

https://twitter.com/BerkeleyITS/status/1481730718321446915

………

Two down, 13 to go.

Although you can probably add whoever gets elected in CD5, where all of the announced candidates have endorsed the LA 25×25 plan.

LA 25×25 is an “aspirational yet actionable vision” to return 25% of LA’s street space to human uses, rather than motor vehicles, by 2025, and endorsed by a wide range of advocacy and public service groups .

Not surprisingly, while many progressive challengers have signed on to support it, most of the sitting councilmembers up for re-election this year have failed to respond, as have most of the leading candidates for mayor.

CD3’s Bob Blumenfield is a no, as is current city attorney and mayoral candidate Michael Feuer.

………

Bike lanes are coming to Yosemite Drive in Eagle Rock.

https://twitter.com/walkeaglerock/status/1479694058087870468

………

It looks like the host of SiriusXM’s The Stephanie Miller Show is one of us.

………

That feeling when riding a bike is a bad idea because of all the other people out there who don’t.

………

Local

Leah Shahum, the founder and executive director of the Vision Zero Network, writes to the LA Times to say Los Angeles, and the entire nation, needs to move past the outdated “Five E’s” approach to Vision Zero, and have the political will to create an effective and equitable Vision Zero effort built on proactive strategies such as designing streets and managing speeds for safety. Let’s hope the mayor reads it while he’s packing for India. Or the new interim mayor, anyway. 

The good news is, Metro Bike is expanding their docked bikeshare system in North Hollywood. The bad, they’ll be shutting NoHo Metro Bike locations down during the upgrade work, starting Monday.

Santa Monica has unveiled new bollard-protected bike lanes on 23rd Street. And for a change, they’re the kind of substantial bollards that might actually keep someone out, as opposed to the flimsy, car-tickler plastic bendy posts usually used in LA.

 

State

This is the cost of traffic violence. The Fresno Bee remembers the much-loved, 61-year old retired high school English teacher who was killed by a truck driver while riding his recumbent Wednesday afternoon.

A San Francisco paper says the debate over the city’s Slow Streets and street closures have become a political minefield.

 

National

Denver demonstrates what a city can do with a little commitment, as they reach the halfway point in a five year, 125-mile bike lane building program, with 73% of city residents now within a quarter mile of a protected bike lane.

A writer for D Magazine applauds the new Vision Zero plan for Dallas, Texas, but questions whether it will actually save lives. Only if the city’s leaders have the political courage to make substantial changes to the streets, unlike the spineless wonders in charge of a certain Left Coast megalopolis we could name.

Northwest Arkansas is upping their offer to recruit tech workers to move to the area, providing recruits with a new bicycle and $10,000 in Bitcoin. Which will probably be $6,000 before you can get around to spending it.

What the hell is wrong with some people? A pair of Chicago gang members face murder charges for fatally shooting a mentally disabled man as he rode his bicycle last May, for no apparent reason; a third man was allegedly involved, but not charged.

 

International

Strava will now show points of interest within the app, including local landmarks, bike shops, cafes, start points and photo spots, as well as to get fresh water or a toilet break.

Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter discusses how to dress for winter ebike rides. You know, for people who live in places where that matters.

Good question. Cycling Weekly writes that 1,100 bicycles are stolen in the UK every day, so why isn’t bike theft a higher priority? I’d like to hear an answer to that one here, as well.

On a related note, a new bike sculpture was installed outside a London train station, made with parts from 45 different bicycles — the average number of bikes stolen in the country every hour.

A judge told a 76-year old Scottish driver to expect a “substantial” prison sentence next month, after he was convicted of killing a popular primary school teacher while attempting to pass two large vehicles at once, hitting the teacher’s bike head-on. Let’s just hope the judge meant what he said.

A news site names a 29-year old woman as the best mountain bike mechanic Lesotho, in case you find your self in need in the mountainous South African country.

 

Finally…

Now we’ll have to worry about getting buzzed by drivers from above, too. More evidence ‘cross is really hard.

And that feeling when your bicycle apparently goes out into the street of its own volition, and gets struck by a car that doesn’t seem to have a driver.

………

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

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