Tag Archive for Mar Vista

Study shows bicycling got safer last year, new Beverly Hills protected bike lane, and cops bust Mar Vista bike chop shop

Maybe things have gotten safer.

Or maybe not.

A new study published in the Journal of Transport & Health found that collisions involving bicyclists decreased during the pandemic last year, as bike riders shifted from rush hour commutes to more midday rides, and from crowded roadways to offroad trails.

However, other reports suggest that bicycling collisions increased last year as the bike boom encouraged more riders to take to the roadways, with greater lethality as less crowded streets allowed motorists to drive more aggressively.

Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until statistics for 2020 come out next year to know what really happened in the last one; right now, 2019 is the most recent year available.

And it remains to be seen whether things have reverted to previous levels as more traditional traffic patterns have resumed as businesses reopened this year.

But I’d put my money on things being worse, not better.

Graphic by tomexploresla.

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For any of us who remember the bad old days of the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills before it unexpectedly got bike friendly, hell has officially frozen over.

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After entirely justified criticism for failing to investigate a bike chop shop being openly operated on a Mar Vista Street, the LAPD discovers it can, in fact, do something about it.

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Once again a bike rider is a hero to man and beast.

https://twitter.com/haverkamp_wiebe/status/1461587023379283969

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

This is who share the road with.

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

A British man was knocked out by a pair of men who’d been following him on their own bikes, and when he woke u, they’d stolen his.

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Local

CleanTechnica doesn’t pull its punches, accusing LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva of leveraging poor bicycle infrastructure to deprive people of color of their human rights, and hacking the Fourth Amendment to allow questionable, if not illegal, searches of bike riders.

Metro’s universal basic mobility pilot program starting in South LA next summer will allow users to ride a bike, scooter, car, bus or train with a single low cost transit pass.

 

State

A chance meeting with an elementary school principal led to a donation of 24 balance bikes for Huntington Beach kindergarten students courtesy of BMX pro Mike Clark, as part of the All Kids Bike program.

Nonprofit advocacy group BikeVentura is opening their second Bike HUB co-op, in downtown Oxnard.

Palo Alto is opening the city’s long-planned new $23 million bike bridge tomorrow.

LA’s Metro Bike isn’t the only California bikeshare system facing change, as San Francisco’s Bay Wheels faces an uncertain future.

 

National

Spy considers the best cycling caps. I’ll take the Bianchi cap in the classic celeste, thank you.

Men’s Health looks forward to the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on bikes.

The U.S. Departments of the Interior and Transportation announced a plan to draw on funds in the new infrastructure bill to refocus transportation in National Parks on greener options, including expanded bike trails and shared micromobility programs.

A bighearted crew of Austin, Texas BMX and stunt riders dug into their own pockets to buy a new custom-made bike for an 11-year old boy after his bicycle was stolen, and made him their guest of honor on their weekly 16-mile joyride through the city.

A pair of Indiana radio personalities are living atop a scissor lift for five days to encourage donations to the station’s bike drive, which has distributed over 11,000 bicycles to kids in need in the past five years.

A New York writer hires a bike whisperer, after a crash into the metal bollards on the Hudson River Bikeway led to a fear of bike paths.

New York takes a big step towards secure bike parking with the first Oonee curbside bike lockers, capable of holding up to ten bicycles each in a single parking spot, and fully insured against theft.

The New York Post offers a video “biker’s guide to not dying” on the city’s streets.

Seriously? Virginia considers a wrong-headed plan to ban bikes from in front of the state capitol, forcing crosstown riders to dismount and walk for several blocks, all because a state official has “occasionally seen near-collisions” between people walking and riding bikes in the area. It’s like every collision or near miss inevitably gets blamed on the people on bicycles, as if pedestrians never step out without looking. 

A Florida weekly examines the weekend biker boys of the Bikes Up, Guns Down movement.

 

International

A Toronto website offers the reasons why they love ebikes — and hate them at the same time.

Brompton introduces a new lightweight line of foldies that checks in at less than 22 pounds.

London’s mayor warns of major transportation cuts, including cutting back on bike lanes and pausing the city’s Vision Zero program, as the city’s transportation department faces a budget hole equivalent to $1.7 billion.

Spanish bikemaker Orbea addresses the bike shortage with a new online tool allowing you to check the availability of their bikes, and reserve the one you want.

A Pakistani woman is teaching girls how to ride a bike so they don’t have to rely on others to get to school, despite the country’s long-held conservative attitudes.

An Australian stroke survivor was struck by a driver while on a 5,600-mile recumbent ride across the continent to raise money for stroke support services, leaving him with a shattered pelvis and broken leg.

 

Competitive Cycling

Forbes rides with former pro cyclist Ian Boswell, who traded the pro peloton for Vermont’s gravel roads after a bad crash left him with a lingering brain injury.

 

Finally…

Turn your bike into a two-wheeled Demogorgon. Confronting the mythical ninja cyclist.

And we may have to deal with angry LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about wannabe TikTok stars.

Right?

https://www.tiktok.com/@lucasmcmillan1/video/7031737239692381445?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2F&referer_video_id=7031737239692381445&refer=embed&is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1

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

$32.1 million award in Metro crash, LA Times calls for bike lanes and sheriff’s oversight, and Mar Vista bike chop shops

Thank you all for your support and kind words last week.

I’m not even close to a hundred percent yet, but at least I can write again without tossing my cookies. Not that I should be having cookies, anyway.

Now buckle in, ’cause we have a lot to catch up on. 

And please forgive me for not crediting people who sent me links this time; it was just too hard to keep up with while I was under the weather.

But thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who did. 

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A jury awarded $21.6 million to the parents of Ciara Smith, the 13-year old girl killed by a Metro bus operated by a subcontractor four years ago when she rode her bike off a Redondo Beach sidewalk.

Combined with earlier settlements from Caltrans and Redondo Beach, they’ve now been awarded a total of $32.1 million, though the latest judgement will undoubtedly be appealed.

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The Los Angeles Times responds to their recent investigative report that uncovered bias in traffic stops of Latino bike riders by sheriff deputies in LA County, by calling for legalizing sidewalk riding and building desperately needed infrastructure.

Instead of finding support for their carbon-free travel, cyclists in some communities face unsafe and unjust conditions. In East Los Angeles, only 1% of streets have bike lanes, meaning cyclists are expected to navigate crowded and often poorly maintained streets. Of course people are going to ride on the sidewalk, even if it’s prohibited, because it’s safer.

Yet that rational decision makes cyclists a target for law enforcement. Nearly a quarter of bike stops in East L.A. were for sidewalk violations, The Times reported. In Lynwood, where there are no bike lanes at all, sidewalk violations account for 16% of stops. In West Hollywood, which is predominantly white, more streets have bike lanes and the city allows bicyclists to ride on the sidewalk in areas with no bike lanes. Less than 1% of bike stops were initiated because of sidewalk violations.

The paper also said the biased traffic stops and searches of bike riders call for stronger oversight of the sheriff’s department, which so far has attempted to avoid virtually any oversight.

Meanwhile, Streets For All urges your support for a motion at tomorrow’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting to legalize sidewalk riding in unincorporated Los Angeles County.

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As long as we’re talking about the Times, opinion columnist Robin Abcarian joins a Mar Vista man searching local homeless camps and outdoor bicycle chop shops for his stolen bicycles.

And somehow managed, against all odds, to get them all back.

Never mind that the LAPD told her they don’t bother to look for stolen bikes.

Or the Catch-22 clownshow below when he tried to report the theft to the cops.

Weitz had tried to file a police report online. Because his garage was broken into, he was told, he would have to file in person. But his local LAPD outpost in West Los Angeles is not allowing walk-ins because of COVID-19. So he went to the Pacific Division station on Culver Boulevard but was told he had to file it in West L.A.

“My local lead officer said he would get in touch after I file my police report,” said Weitz, “but I can’t file my police report, so he can’t call.”

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The teenaged pickup driver who mowed down a half dozen Texas bike riders while attempting to roll coal has been identified in court papers.

The well-connected son of prominent local sheep and goat breeders faces six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, after initially being allowed to walk free when mommy and daddy reportedly showed up at the crash site.

Meanwhile, the Santa Rosa woman injured in the other recent Texas crash, where a pickup driver ran down three people on a cross-country bike tour and killed a Massachusetts man, is still waiting to fly home.

Doctors says she’s too fragile to leave the Houston hospital where she’s being treated for a collapsed lung, facial fracture, broken back, five broken ribs and a broken arm.

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Streets For All will talk mobility with the candidates for CD13 this Wednesday, presumably including incumbent Mitch O’Farrell.

The street safety PAC also calls for supporting a 5.9-mile peak hour bus lane on La Brea Blvd from Sunset to Coliseum at or before tomorrow’s public meeting.

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Metro announced the top-scoring picks for open streets events throughout the county over the next two years, including likely funding for CicLAvia and 626 Golden Streets.

https://twitter.com/ActiveSGV/status/1459484455362457605

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One more reason to love the East Side Riders, as they continue to support, and feed, the Compton community.

And to contribute if you can, financially or otherwise.

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If you’re reading this early enough, you may still have time to join a Twitter town hall calling for zero traffic deaths, in advance of this Sunday’s World Day of Remembrance.

Meanwhile, Finish the Ride will host a march for safer roads on Saturday, in an early observance of the World Day of Remembrance.

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More proof that bike lanes are more efficient than regular traffic lanes. Regardless of drivers who claim no one ever uses them.

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Taking a tiny approach to urban density in Denver.

And yes, there’s an itty bitty bike involved.

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It’s a pity everyone seemed to forget the hard-earned lessons learned in the first major gas crisis back in the ’70s.

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

Late is better than never, apparently, as Bicycling belatedly catches up with the story of the white Texas man who severely beat a Black man who paused while riding a bicycle through the neighborhood they both share last month. As usual, you can read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you. 

DC drivers are using a new buffered bike lane for free parking.

An Orlando, Florida bike shop owner sounds the alarm on drivers using the bike path in front of his shop as a traffic bypass.

A London man suffered a broken collarbone when a driver deliberately ran him off his bike in the city’s Richmond Park — then fled the scene afterwards, of course.

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

Police in San Antonio, Texas released video of the fatal shooting of a man who fled when officers tried to stop him on his bike; he allegedly tried to pull a gun out of his waistband after one of the cops doored him and wrestled with him on the ground.

A British Columbia man faces charges for whacking a 65-year old woman with his bicycle, causing her to hit her head on the pavement, after she apparently confronted him for riding his bike on the sidewalk.

The award for the world’s biggest jerk — okay, one of many — goes to the Belgium bike rider who crashed into a five-year old girl last Christmas, and is suing the girl’s father for posting the viral video of it.

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Local

A man was shot in the chest earlier this month while riding on a Culver City bike path, then was kicked in the face and punched by two or more men, for no apparent reason. Or at least, no reason the police have mentioned.

There’s still time to take a survey on how to transform deadly Western Ave between MLK to Century Blvd in South LA. Hint: fewer traffic lanes and more protected bike lanes.

A San Fernando group has called for the removal of CD12 Councilmember John Lee from the Los Angeles City Council Planning Committee; Lee was implicated in the Mitch Englander bribery scandal.

Streetsblog looks at the new raised, protected bike lanes on Burbank’s Hollywood Way.

A Claremont nonprofit is looking donations of usable bicycles in good condition, as well as “helmets, padding and locks” to help recent Afghan refugees. And no, I have no idea what padding means, either.

AARP hosts a virtual chat with CicLAvia this Thursday, including 65-year old longboarder and CicLAvia icon Swee (Ool) Woo.

 

State

Santa Ana will host a meeting tonight to discuss a proposed protected bike lane and bicycle boulevard on McFadden Avenue.

Orange County hikers complained about “hard-charging” mountain bikers at last week’s meeting of the Coastal Greenbelt Authority.

The San Diego Union-Tribune says the city needs to focus on the action part of its climate action plan, rather than patting itself on the back based on outdated statistics.

Streetsblog credits the San Diego Association of Governments, aka SANDAG, with having a lot to like in their draft 2021 transportation plan, despite questionable funding plans.

Santa Barbara County is loaning local residents free ebikes for up to five days to experience an alternative to driving.

It takes a major schmuck to steal a bike from a ten-year old Santa Cruz girl in a strong-arm robbery.

 

National

Do we really need to be told yet again that more highways mean more cars, more congestion and more environment and climate harming emissions?

One more reason to do your riding outside, as a 23-year old woman nearly lost her leg after developing a potentially fatal breakdown of muscle tissue following a high-intensity spin class.

Seriously? What kind of cash flow does this Oregon bike shop have when the theft of $100,000 worth of bicycles isn’t a major setback?

The Nevada state stoppers who investigated the crash that killed five bike riders outside Las Vegas eleven months ago never suspected semi-truck driver Jordan Alexander Barson was under the influence, even though he tested positive for meth hours later — an oversight that led to a plea bargain on reduced charges.

Congratulations to Austin, Texas, on being named home to the worst bike lane in the world.

Sad news from Iowa, where John Karras, the former newspaper man who co-founded RAGBRAI with another reporter, passed away last week at 91; the popular ride across Iowa was founded by the Des Moines Register nearly 50 years ago.

Hats off to a six-year old Ohio boy, who set a new record as the youngest rider to complete a backflip during a California BMX competition.

Once again, the death of a bike rider is no big deal, as a US postal worker faces just a misdemeanor charge and a traffic ticket for killing a 71-year old New York man riding a bike.

Curbed offers a detailed primer on perfecting New York streets, while embracing public spaces. All of which would apply here in Los Angeles, too.

A fallen bicyclist’s mother will finish the last 1,900 miles of his planned New Hampshire to San Diego bike tour, three years after he was run down by a driver shortly after leaving Hattiesburg, Mississippi; a crowdfunding page has raised just $330 of the $10,000 he was trying to collect for a children’s hospital.

A 22-year old Florida man has been charged with manslaughter after he failed to swerve his e-scooter out of the way of a woman riding a bicycle; the victim died of her injuries several days later.

 

International

No surprise here, as climate experts say electric cars won’t save the planet. But more active transportation will help.

Virgin founder Richard Branson showed off his injuries after his bike’s brakes failed and he crashed into another bicyclist while riding in the Virgin Islands; he credits his helmet with saving his life from the “colossal” crash. Seriously, I’ve had worse.

Glasgow, Scotland is joining the international trend of banning cars from urban centers.

The Smithsonian talks with the teenage girl who rode her bike 570 miles from her English home to Glasgow, Scotland for the COP26 climate conference.

London’s iconic Westminster Bridge is getting bollard-protected cycle tracks, which might have helped prevent the 2017 vehicular terrorism attack.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a 61-year old business exec walked with a suspended sentence for killing two men on bikes when he plowed his car into both as they rode together last year; adding insult to injury, he was fined a whole £475 — the equivalent of just $637 — in court costs.

A 21-year old British man was sentenced to life behind bars for strangling his 17-year old “friend” and leaving him to drown in a dispute over a bicycle. Seriously, if someone bullies you for months, let alone tries to kill you, maybe he’s not really your friend.

A new sensor developed by a Dutch company allows you to monitor the air quality as you rides. But do you really want to know what kind of crap you’re sucking into your lungs?

Cycling Tips alleges bullying and blackmail in the convoy that carried members of the Afghan cycling team to freedom.

Heartbreaking story from India, where an Indian soldier was one of seven people gunned down by ethnic rebels, just two days after promising his eight-year old daughter he’d bring her a bicycle as a belated birthday gift when he came home in February.

 

Competitive Cycling

Tragic news from Eritrea, where rising 21-year old cyclist Desiet Kidane was killed by a driver while training in the country; she was part of UCI’s World Cycling Center training program.

Apparently, even winning the Tour de France isn’t enough to protect against bike thieves, as Geraint Thomas learned the hard way when he popped into a coffee shop while training on the French Riviera.

A new book claims to be the first written by a Black bike racer about Black bike racers in one hundred years.

The EF Education-Nippo cycling team fired Columbian cyclist Sergio Higuita for riding a Specialized bike instead of team sponsor Cannondale, but quickly took him back after he apologized. His American teammate Lawson Craddock got fired and quickly unfired, for the same reason.

It takes some serious bike skills to get back in your shoe while it’s still clipped in the pedal.

https://twitter.com/VelonCC/status/1458483340537962496?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1458483340537962496%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.essentiallysports.com%2Fwatch-french-cyclist-pulls-off-insane-bike-adjustment-while-cycling-to-prevent-crash-us-sports-news-cycling%2F

 

Finally…

The top 10 reasons drivers don’t like us. Now they aren’t even waiting until the bikes leave the shop to run them over.

And SNL has good news and bad news on the ebike front.

 

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

High speed Silver Lake crash kills scooter rider, LAPD seeks sexual assault suspects, and parking in DTLA bike lanes

This is who we share the roads with.

A scooter rider was killed by a speeding driver in Silver Lake yesterday, just before the driver lost control of his SUV and slammed into a restaurant.

Fortunately, it hadn’t opened yet.

The driver was reportedly traveling at least 75 mph — over twice the legal speed limit — while swerving around cars and onto the wrong side of the roadway in the moments leading up to the crash, and just missing a woman riding her bike.

The scooter rider, who has not been publicly identified, wasn’t so lucky; two other people were hospitalized with serious injuries.

Fortunately, the newly reopened restaurant hadn’t begun its lunch service yet, or the situation could have been much worse.

This is exactly the problem many people have been warning against for weeks, myself included, as Los Angeles has failed to take any significant action to slow traffic on streets lightened by the coronavirus pandemic.

While traffic has seen a significant uptick in recent weeks, there still aren’t enough vehicles on the streets to slow people who can’t seem to keep their foot off the gas pedal.

Other cities around the world have taken advantage of the lighter traffic to reduce road capacity, carving out additional space to walk or ride bikes in an effort to slow traffic and provide safe alternatives to driving.

Yet LA has done nothing more significant than change the timing of some traffic lights.

Now an innocent person is dead because of it.

Thanks to John Damman for the heads-up.

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Speaking of who we share the roads with, an Eagle Rock driver can’t seem to grasp the concept of Slow Streets.

Or maybe just that they don’t belong to people in cars.

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The LAPD is on the lookout for a pair of serial gropers who have been sexually assaulting women walking or jogging alone in Venice and Mar Vista, sometimes making their escape by bicycle.

They may be responsible for similar attacks in Culver City and Marina del Rey.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Sexual Assault Section at LAPD’s Operation West Bureau, 213/473-0447.

Because no one should have to put up with this crap.

Period.

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Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Patrick Pascal forwards a series of photos showing that the more things change, the more they stay the same on DTLA’s 7th Street, where the newly protected and buffered bike lanes are still nothing more than parking lanes for Downtown’s entitled drivers.

Photos by Patrick Pascal.

 

He also notes that the cop shown here spends a lot of time on the street. But never seems to ticket anyone on four wheels.

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A new video prepared for the NACTO’s Bike Share and Cities for Cycling Roundtable talks with disabled people to show they ride bikes, too — and need to be taken into account when infrastructure plans are considered.

Frequent BikinginLA contributor Megan Lynch is one of the riders they talk with; you’ll find her around the three-minute mark.

She stresses that, in addition to her comments in the video, bike parking needs to accommodate less traditional bicycle designs used by handicapped riders, including recumbents, ebikes and adaptive bikes.

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Gravel Bike California offers a video guide to one of the best climbs in Los Angeles.

Thanks to CiclaValley’s Zachary Rynew for the link.

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There will be a bike ride celebrating tomorrow’s Juneteenth starting in DLTA Friday evening.

The unofficial holiday marks the date the last remaining slaves in Texas learned about the Emancipation Proclamation and their newfound freedom.

In light of this year’s protests over police killings and the fight for racial justice, the celebration should be bigger than ever.

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

A Florida man faces charges for pulling his truck up next to a bike rider, and shooting him in the head with a crossbow for no apparent reason; fortunately, the victim was not seriously injured.

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Local

The Santa Monica Daily Press talks with a pickup driver who had his wallet stolen and his truck damaged when he came to the aid of a bike-riding woman who was being attacked by looters, armed with just a hockey stick.

A Santa Monica letter writer really doesn’t like plans for expanded outdoor dining on Main Street, concerned that a passing bicyclist could sneeze on his guacamole.

E-cargo bikes could play a significant role, as Santa Monica looks to create the first zero-emission delivery zone in the US.

Santa Monica-based Bird is teaming with an Israeli company to provide turn-by-turn navigation to guide scooter riders through bike lane networks; the app will launch in Paris and Tel Aviv. Which makes sense, since we don’t even have a bike lane network in Los Angeles.

KABC-7 looks at how Long Beach ebike shop Propel Bikes is fairing during the coronavirus bike boom.

Stranger Things actor Joe Keery is one of us, going for a semi-casual ride through LA in a t-shirt and bibs.

 

State

Would someone please tell the Fountain Valley Fire Department that a bike helmet isn’t the best way to prevent head injuries and death? It’s a lot better to ride safely and defensively, and avoid crashes in the first place; helmets should always been seen as the last resort when all else fails. Not the first.

Ventura is closing down a five block stretch of Main Street in the downtown area for the next month to encourage people to get out to shop or dine while maintaining social distancing; meanwhile, the LA Times describes a similar street closure in Santa Barbara as “so popular it’s scary.”

Seriously, it takes a major schmuck to steal $20,000 worth of bikes from a San Jose bike co-op. Again.

 

National

Bicycling looks at the role of bicycles in the fight against racism.

Newsy examines the risk of catching Covid-19 while on a bike ride with friends, and concludes you don’t have much to worry about. Although it’s still best to limit it to a small group.

This is who we share the roads with, part two. A Portland man faces charges after driving into a group of protesters early Wednesday morning, injuring three people, then attempting to flee while driving recklessly at a high rate of speed.

A disabled Las Vegas vet turns to a ‘bent to help get his life back on track.

A coalition of Connecticut organizations, businesses and individuals have called the state’s electric car rebate program inequitable because it only applies to electric cars, arguing it should offer rebates on more affordable ebikes, as well.

A regional planning group is calling for a 425-mile bicycle network connecting all of New York’s five boroughs. Which might be the only thing that could prevent crippling gridlock due to a surge in post-coronavirus driving.

Police in New Jersey’s Long Beach remind residents and visitors that traffic safety is a shared responsibility. Which is true, unfortunately, since no one can seem to get the people in the big, deadly machines to behave.

A Florida woman got her stolen $8,000 racing bike back after a sheriff’s deputy spotted a homeless man with it. But then somehow had to search for the owner, even though she’d filed a police report.

 

International

Good advice from Road.cc on eight things on your bike you should check before every ride.

Bike Radar suggests Father’s Day gifts for your bike riding dad. Or just buy them for yourself, and pretend they’re from your kids.

The CBC looks at Calgary through the eyes of bicycle riders newly minted by the coronavirus bike boom.

A London TV presenter is encouraged by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s proclamation of a golden age of cycling and decides to give it a try, but finds the experience terrifying.

London’s Independent says the pandemic has shown that a green urban utopia is within our grasp.

The Guardian examines one of the UK’s toughest bike rides, the 79-year old Cape Wrath Challenge, on eleven miles of single track through Scotland’s windswept moors to a craggy Victorian lighthouse.

 

Competitive Cycling

You can get Major Taylor’s autobiography The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World for less than twenty bucks on Amazon. The legendary cyclist had to fight racism and prejudice throughout his short life and career, making it surprisingly appropriate for our time, too.

The Ventura County Star profiles 27-year old Kendal Ryan, who recently made the long list for the US women’s track cycling team for the 2020 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

A German website looks back at the Cannibal, as the legendary Eddy Merckx turns 75.

Peter Sagan announces he’ll skip the rescheduled classics to race back-to-back in the Tour de France and the Giro this summer on just two weeks rest.

 

Finally…

If you’re already on parole for theft, it’s probably not the best idea to make off with a kid’s bike because you’re tired of walking. How to ride across the US without leaving your car dealership.

And it turns out riding topless is perfectly legal in Minnesota.

Even for women.

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

Morning Links: Mar Vista dermatologist reads minds, cool surfaces make people hot, and Film LA blocks DTLA bike lane

A Mar Vista dermatologist and self-appointed traffic planning expert is back, suggesting that anyone who supports road diets spins and distorts the facts to support their hidden agenda.

And that we only want those poor motorists to suffer.

Right.

Somehow, he professes to know that anyone who complains about “white, rich, noncaring (sic) motorists” are themselves very rich and use their cars more than most. And are white, though he says that shouldn’t matter.

Which begs the question of how he managed to check the bank accounts of everyone on the other side of the debate. Let alone their odometers.

Or why he brought up race if it doesn’t matter.

On the other hand, he does get a few things right.

1) Transportation isn’t social engineering, but rather a search for a better way (or ways) to get from Point A to Point B.

2) Ideology and wishful thinking have no business being prioritized over engineering when it comes to the laws of physics, environmental science, and safety.

Which, oddly, is exactly the opposite of the approach he’s previously taken in criticizing city engineers and planners who he disagree with, based on his extensive knowledge of, uh, dermatology.

He’s also right about this.

3) Being pro-train, pro-bus, pro-van/carpool, pro-bicycle or pro-pedestrian is NOT the same as being anti-motorist…and vice versa. We should all have reasonable access to all forms of transportation.

This from someone who’s fought for two years to have the protected bike lanes on Venice Blvd through Mar Vista removed, and the street restored to six lanes.

Apparently, reasonable access means drivers get as much space as they want, and people on bikes get whatever’s left. And anyone on foot would have to return to scrambling to cross a raging six lane river of cars — including the elderly who formerly struggled to get across.

He goes on to complain about road diets affecting emergency response times. Yet average response times for the Mar Vista fire station, which is right next to the road diet on Venice Blvd, averages just 30 seconds more than the citywide average.

Granted, every second counts. But that hardly seems like the emergency apocalypse opponents make it out to be

Finally, there’s this odd statement.

5) We didn’t, as a community, fight and pay for the Expo Line and other lines only to have service drop–we’ve proudly paid a heap of money for better rail transit, and we deserve nothing but the best for our blood, sweat, tears, and money). And we definitely didn’t pay for bike lanes to be implemented OVER bus and rail projects and service, only as a nice and necessary supplement.

Can anyone seriously make the claim that bike lanes, in Mar Vista or anywhere else, had anything to do with the highly unpopular service cut on the Expo Line, which have affected train users with bicycles as much as anyone else?

And to the best of my knowledge, there were never any plans for bus lanes on Venice — or anywhere else where bike lanes took precedence over bus lanes. Which the NIMBYs and entitled drivers would probably fight just like they’ve fought bike lanes.

All this leads up to tomrrow’s “National Conference” sponsored by traffic safety denier pressure group Keep LA Moving at the Mar Vista cafe, which must be the only national transportation conference small enough to fit in a local restaurant.

Apparently, it’s open to anyone.

So it would be a real shame if some road diet and bike lane supporters decided to show up.

Photo of Venice Blvd in Mar Vista by Joni Yung.

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LA’s experiment with cool road surfaces may be failing, after researchers discovered an unexpected effect.

While the light colored street toppings succeeded in cooling the street, it made everyone around them hotter as the sun’s heat was reflected back into the surrounding air.

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A bike rider in DTLA encounters an apparent film shoot without any of the required warning or safety cones.

But while it may look like a guerrilla shoot, the video shows what appears to be couple of hi-viz vested cops standing around.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

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A Maine company has developed a three-wheeled, pedal-less “bike” that enables people with mobility issues and disabilities to walk around recreationally.

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Local

The Metro Bike bikeshare has expanded into Thai Town and East Hollywood. Hopefully, that means Hollywood itself won’t be far behind.

The Los Feliz Ledger looks at the new bike and pedestrian bridge nearing completion over the Los Angeles River, saying it’s changing the face of Atwater Village.

The Beib is one of us, riding the streets of Los Angeles on a fat tire ebike and learning to ride a unicycle.

SoCal Cycling looks forward to this Sunday’s Heart of LA CicLAvia celebrating the 100th birthday of UCLA.

 

State

This is who we share the roads with. A 29-year old Orange County woman could be 80 by the time she gets out of prison, after being convicted of three counts of 2nd degree murder for the drunken crash that killed three teenagers and seriously injured a fourth; she was over three times the legal alcohol limit an hour after the crash.

New Anaheim Ducks coach Dallas Eakins is one of us. And tougher than most, competing in the grueling, high altitude Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race ten times.

A Leucadia columnist decries the ruination of her fair city, in part by a planned Complete Streets project that would add (gasp!) bike lanes to the Coast Highway.

A San Diego grand jury blames the city for how it handled the e-scooter rollout.

Salinas will hold a ciclovía this weekend, too.

Work is finally beginning on installing a barrier-protected bicycle and pedestrian lane on the Bay Area’s Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, even as a study continues to turn it into an additional traffic lane, instead.

Bighearted Modesto teachers dug into their own pockets to buy a new bike for a student after his was stolen.

 

National

The Guardian takes a deep dive into why American streets are deadlier than ever for people on foot, even as cars continue to get safer for the people in them. And they’re not that that great for people on bicycles, either.

A writer for Popular Science explains how she went from barely riding a bicycle to finishing a 545-mile AIDS/LifeCycle ride in one year. And the stuff she recommends to do it.

Hunters are worried that ebikes will give too many people too much access to the wilderness. Ebike riders should be worried that hunters might mistake them for a deer.

Your next ebike could tell you when speeding drivers coming up from behind get too close.

Streetsblog takes issue with the $90 ticket issued to an Idaho bike rider by a windshield-biased cop for running a red light, even though she was hit from behind by a driver who admitted not even seeing her. She said she stopped at the light before proceeding through the intersection, which is legal in Idaho.

Fargo, North Dakota’s 75-year old Bike Man has died, after fixing and giving away thousands of bicycles to children and families.

A Denver woman is getting used to walking after she had two bicycles stolen within one month of moving to the city.

One of Denver’s best bike mechanics is a 33-year old woman.

A Dallas man admits to fatally shooting a 59-year old man in a shopping center parking lot and stealing his bicycle.

Streetsblog Chicago reads Peter Flax’s recent interview with Effective Cycling author John Forester, and calls him a dinosaur still pushing a discredited anti-bikeway credo.

The man whose dogs killed a nine-year old Detroit girl as she rode her bicycle near her home will face a 2nd degree murder charge, as well as charges of involuntary manslaughter and having dangerous animals causing death.

Good question. A student newspaper at Boston’s Northeastern University asks whether bike theft is avoidable, or if it’s just inevitable.

An Alexandria VA letter writer takes issue with the stereotype of supporters of a planned road diet as a secret cabal of spandex-clad liberals from outside the city. Which should be very familiar to anyone who’s attended a public traffic safety meeting in Los Angeles.

A New Orleans man continues to ride his bike, 24-years after receiving a double lung transplant to treat his cystic fibrosis.

 

International

Road.cc ranks the best rear tail lights, not all of which will be available on the side of the Atlantic. And the best bicycling movies, most of which should be.

Members of the Canadian ski team are stunned by the mountain biking death of ski cross racer Mikayla Martin.

Canadian Cycling Magazine offers tips on how to give your bike a fast clean up after a messy ride.

A European bike biz site says Trump’s tariffs are causing chaos in the North American bike market.

A British rider discovers things have changed since he last rode a bike in the ’80s, after he takes delivery of a new ebike.

Amsterdam is trying to reduce car usage by eliminating 10,000 parking spaces, and encouraging people to use bicycles or transit instead.

Belgian officials are concerned about a “worrying” trend, after setting a new record for bicycling fatalities in the first half of the year.

 

Competitive Cycling

The oldest continually held mountain bike race started as a contest to see whether horses or mountain bikes were faster.

A former bike racer rode Zwift indoors to ride her way back to competition after five years of motherhood.

A Belgian cyclist is really, really sorry he punched another rider following a crash near the finish of a German bike race. Although it was really just a slap to the helmet; I’ve seen kittens hit harder than that.

Slovenian cyclist Matej Mohoric suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung when some idiot decided to run with — and in — the peloton as it neared the finish line in the Tour of Croatia.

 

Finally…

Who needs two wheels when you can ride eight feet over one? Before you try to reclaim your stolen bike, make sure the thief doesn’t have a machete.

And if you’re going to confront a driver in a road rage dispute, make sure to take the orange tip off your toy gun before threatening anyone with it.

Or better yet, just don’t.

Period.

Vision Zero is not a fad — and it’s not making our streets more deadly

A traffic safety denying op-ed in the Wall Street Journal claims both. And couldn’t be more wrong.

………

No Morning Links today.

I had planned to take Martin Luther King Jr. Day off, and post some inspirational words to remind us all to treat everyone like our own brothers and sisters, especially in these turbulent times.

But I felt it was necessary to address an op-ed that was inexplicably published in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, without the apparent benefit of senior editors or fact checkers.

We’ll be back tomorrow with a massive four days worth of links to the latest bike news stories from over the weekend.

Today we’re going to discuss Vision Zero, road diets and traffic safety deniers.

Because sometimes, these people just piss me off.

………

Awhile back, I coined the term traffic safety deniers to describe people who reject the well-established science of traffic safety.

Just like climate change deniers reject the established science behind climate change, for no other reason than they choose not to believe it, or the experts in the field, evidence be damned.

Like lawyer and writer Christopher D. LeGras, who penned a virtually fact free, alternative universe op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, claiming that Vision Zero is nothing but a “road diet fad.” And that it’s having the opposite effect of what is intended, by somehow magically increasing the death toll on our streets.

Or I should say former lawyer, since he apparently gave up his membership in the bar to write full time, resulting in a collection of short fiction published by the small LA-based imprint Rare Bird Books.

Unfortunately, his op-ed reads like a work of fiction, as well.

He starts innocently enough, telling the tale of a 65-year old woman who broke her leg falling on the sidewalk in Mar Vista, suffering a compound fracture. And says it took the fire department paramedics ten minutes to get there, even though the station was just five blocks away.

But in which direction, he doesn’t say.

Yet somehow extrapolates that to blame the road diet on Venice Blvd — and every road diet everywhere else — and Vision Zero in general.

Los Angeles, like cities nationwide, is transforming its streets. In July 2017 the city installed a “road diet” on a 0.8-mile stretch of Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista, reducing four lanes to two and adding bike lanes separated from traffic by parking buffers. The project is part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities in the city by 2025. Launched in 2015, Vision Zero is the most radical transformation of how people move through Los Angeles since the dawn of the freeway era 75 years ago.

By almost any metric it’s been a disaster. Pedestrian deaths have nearly doubled, from 74 in 2015 to 135 in 2017, the last year for which data are available. After years of improvement, Los Angeles again has the world’s worst traffic, according to the transportation research firm Inrix. Miles of vehicles idling in gridlock have reduced air quality to 1980s levels.

Well, it ain’t necessarily so

Problem is, the road diet on Venice was part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets program. A community driven project that had been in the works since 2015, and had nothing to do with LA’s Vision Zero, which was only announced in August of the same year.

In fact, Vision Zero in Los Angeles was just vaporware until the Vision Zero Action Plan was released in January, 2017 — two years after community groups began work on a Complete Streets makeover of Venice Blvd, and the same year the Mar Vista Great Streets project was installed.

Never mind that the road diet on Venice reduced it from a massive six lanes to a more manageable four, to reduce crossing distances to improve safety for pedestrians and increase livability.

Not two lanes, as LeGras inexplicably claimed.

Then there’s the claim that pedestrian deaths spiked in 2017, two years after Mayor Garcetti announced the Vision Zero program.

But somehow, before any significant work had been done on Vision Zero, because the action plan, and the High Injury Network it’s based upon, weren’t even released until that year.

Not to mention that none of those pedestrians were killed on streets where Vision Zero improvements had already been installed. So rather than being the fault of Vision Zero in some vague, unidentified way, they can be blamed on the dangerous, deadly LA streets that Vision Zero is intended to fix.

Which is about like blaming the vet because your cat got pregnant after he fixed your dog.

And don’t get me started on LeGras’ laughable implication that Vision Zero is somehow responsible for LA’s worsening traffic and air pollution.

Traffic is bad on streets throughout the LA area, including the other 85 or so other cities in LA County that don’t have Vision Zero programs. Let alone on the streets that haven’t seen any Vision Zero improvements at all. Which is most of them.

Oddly, traffic also sucks on most, if not all, LA-area freeways, which have yet to see a single bike lane or road diet.

The reason LA traffic is getting worse is a population that’s growing by an estimated 50,000 a year, with most of the new arrivals bringing cars with them, or buying one as soon as they get here.

Along with countless kids who receive or buy a car as soon as they’re old enough to drive, resulting in four or five cars cramming the driveways of many family homes. When they’re not out helping to cram the streets.

Combine all that with a record number of miles driven in the US last year, as lower gas prices encouraged more people to drive more. Something that’s reflected in dropping ridership on LA Metro, as more people switch from buses and trains to private vehicles — adding to the traffic LeGras complains about.

And no, LA air quality is nowhere near 1980 levels.

Then again, he also seems to confuse normal traffic congestion with gridlock — defined as a situation in which drivers are unable to move in any direction.

If you can get through a traffic light in two or three cycles, or turn in any direction to get out of it, it ain’t gridlock.

It’s traffic.

By my count, that’s six false statements in just two paragraphs. Unfortunately, he didn’t stop there.

Nothing succeeds like the successes of Vision Zero

Like the next paragraph, where he somehow concludes that light rail lines have anything to do with Vision Zero. (Hint: they don’t.)

Or the following one, where he implies that Vision Zero projects in the Big Apple have failed to make significant improvements. Even though, after five years of Vision Zero, and countless road diets and other safety projects, New York traffic fatalities are at their lowest level since motor vehicles took over the streets. And pedestrian deaths are at their lowest level since 1910.

While bicycling fatalities have gone up in New York, that’s more reflective of a massive 150% increase in ridership as more people feel safer on the streets.

And rather than leading to increased traffic congestion, the changes have actually improved traffic flow.

While individual firefighters may complain that bike lanes delay response in emergencies, as LaGras claims, the facts don’t bear that out.

In fact, more fire departments are realizing that safety improvements on the streets reduce the need for dangerous emergency responses. Which means fewer people they have to scrape up off the streets and try to patch back together.

Meanwhile, more enlightened cities are deciding that is better to build fire engines that fit the streets, rather than widen streets to fit the fire engines.

The myth of the Foothill Blvd evacuation disaster

Then there’s this.

During the 2017 La Tuna Fire, the biggest in Los Angeles in half a century, a road diet on Foothill Boulevard the in Sunland-Tujunga neighborhood bottlenecked evacuations. After the fire a neighborhood association voted to go off the road diet. The city ignored the request and instead added another one to La Tuna Canyon Road.

That’s a myth that has been circulating in the anti-road diet, traffic safety denier community for some time.

While the road diet on Foothill has unfairly gotten the blame, the real problem stemmed from the closure of the 210 Freeway further up the road. Traffic backed up from that closure down to, and through, Foothill Blvd — not from Foothill back.

Officials never considered it a serious enough problem to remove the bollards protecting the bike lanes, or to introduce other emergency measures, including contraflow lanes, on Foothill.

I’m told that an engineer involved in the evacuations said that people on Foothill were never in danger. And fire officials said they had no problem getting through.

With or without a road diet, relying on private motor vehicles to evacuate any population center will always be problematic, as cars break down and run out of gas, and fallible human drivers try to squeeze in and turn around without sufficient space to do so.

LeGras is correct, however, that a road diet was implemented on deadly La Tuna Canyon, following the near fatal crash that left Keith Jackson in a coma for three weeks.

One of the few things he got right.

But rather than reducing road space, it merely reduced the amount of traffic lanes in places — leaving exactly the same amount of space available in the event of an emergency as there was before.

He closes this way,

It’s noble to want to make America’s streets as safe as they can be. But government officials shouldn’t impose projects on communities that don’t work, inconvenience residents, hurt businesses and impede emergency responders in the process.

Had he bothered to do the slighted bit of research, he might have discovered that most people like the Complete Streets that result from the implementation of road diets and bike lanes.

And that road diets and bike lanes have proven good for businesses across the US. And Canada, too.

Emergency response times tell the real tale

As for impeding emergency responders, let’s go back to that 65-year old Mar Vista woman with the broken leg.

A ten minute response time in any emergency should be unacceptable. But countless things can take place to delay emergency responders that have nothing to do with road diets.

It took far longer than that for paramedics to arrive when my father-in-law suffered a fatal heart attack. And that was in a residential neighborhood, in the afternoon, before Vision Zero and road diets were a gleam in Eric Garcetti’s eye.

Responders can be delayed by the same sort of traffic congestion you’ll find on any other major street in Los Angeles, with or without road diets or any other form of traffic calming or safety improvements.

Never mind motorists who don’t have the sense to pull to the right like the law requires. Which seems to be the majority of LA drivers these days.

But if there was a significant problem, it would show up in the fire department’s response times. Yet the average response for Mar Vista’s Station 62 is just four seconds slower than the average EMS response for the city as a whole.

Four seconds.

I sincerely hope Renee Khoury’s mother Rebecca recovers completely from her broken leg.

As for Mr. LeGras, it’s probably a good thing he’s not practicing law anymore, if he built his cases on such flimsy, easily disproven evidence.

But I do hope he continues to write.

Judging from this op-ed, he should have a fine future in fiction.

Thanks to Alissa Walker and Felicia G for their help in researching this piece.

Morning Links: Bonin declares Mar Vista a Great Streets success, and LAPD gets it wrong with hi-viz for jaywalkers

It’s the last three days of the 4th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Just three more days to support SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy. It’s easy to donate via PayPal, or through Zelle with the banking app that’s already on your phone, using the email address you’ll find on this link.

Any amount will help, and is truly and deeply appreciated, no matter how large or small. 

We’ll even take the change under your sofa cushions. Or whatever you have left once your holiday shopping is over.

So what are you waiting for, already?

………

It looks like the traffic safety deniers were wrong. And the Mar Vista Great Streets project is here to stay.

Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin released a four-minute video yesterday touting the success of the lane reductions and bike lanes on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista.

Despite the claims of opponents, who seemed to be operating from their own set of alternative facts, the newly configured road has resulted in far fewer serious crashes, while carrying just as much traffic, just as quickly, as it did prior to the new design.

In fact, peak travel times are only 30 seconds slower than before.

But while bicycle counts dropped 16 percent, the number of people walking on the street jumped by a full third over the year before. And Mar Vista business is booming.

So much for the specious claim that no one goes there anymore.

This is what one reader, who forwarded the video to me, had to say.

I’m sure you saw this, but Bonin just sent out a pretty encouraging video on Mar Vista Great Streets.

The 1-year LADOT report is apparently favorable on safety, bike/ped/scooter volumes, and (even) car travel times. (Not sure if the report is out yet.) Seleta Reynolds is recommending that the street configuration (i.e., bike lanes, I think) be made permanent, with Bonin recommending that as well.

They had some big numbers about business activity & business openings being *way* up year-on-year. (My take is this probably has more to do with the macroeconomy than the bike lanes, but it at least proves that bike lanes haven’t “killed” Mar Vista)…

Bonin also announced a bunch of traffic changes to reduce cut-through traffic on the side streets around Venice/Centinela, including some protected left turns and longer right-turn pockets on the arterials, as well as more stop signs on Victoria & Charnock.

I was hoping it’d be an announcement about more protected bike lanes, but after the last couple years, anything that’s not moving backward feels (alas) like a victory.

Unfortunately, the report hasn’t been released, and no word yet on when it will come out. Correction: The report was released the same day as the video; you can read it here. Thanks to Eric B for the heads-up.

And I’m sure whenever it does, opponents will once again deny virtually everything in it, just as they’ve done for the last year since the project was installed. Note: The traffic safety deniers are already hard at work in the comments to the YouTube video.

But maybe, just maybe, we can finally get city officials to start making decisions based on actual facts and real world experience, instead of just listening to whoever screams the loudest.

………

An op-ed in the LA Times ridicules the LAPD’s program to give jaywalkers a reflective vest and clip-on lights in lieu of a ticket.

And justifiably so.

It goes on to say defensive walking is not the antidote for the city’s high rate of pedestrian deaths.

Or bike deaths, for that matter. 

Because, while we all need to take practical steps to protect ourselves, the real problem is cars, and the distracted and overly aggressive people in them.

And dressing up like a glow-in-the-dark clown isn’t the answer.

It should also be pointed out that every corner has crosswalk in every direction, painted or not, unless crossing is specifically prohibited with posted signage.

And jaywalking isn’t against the law unless there’s a signalized intersection on both ends of the block.

Too bad the LAPD doesn’t seem to think any of that is worth mentioning.

………

Don’t make her beg. Support the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive today.

Local

Mashable promotes sale prices on a pair of bikes from Burbank-based Pure Cycles.

The LA Times examines the practicality of Elon’s Folly, the underground tunnel system he promises will whisk cars at high speeds underneath Los Angeles. Although I’m in favor of anything that would get more cars off the streets, even if that means sending them down into the bowels of the earth.

State

No more $2 bus tours of Camp Pendleton any more, but you can still visit the Marine base by bike — if you plan ahead and apply for a permit in person, in advance.

San Francisco debunks the common argument that protected bike lanes will interfere with fire trucks. And moves forward with another protected lane as a result.

It’s been a deadly year in San Jose.

A Marin newspaper says Mill Valley’s new designation as a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community is well-deserved.

National

The Seattle Times asks if Seattle’s new transportation director can build detente with the the city’s sparing drivers, bike riders, pedestrians and transit users, like he did in DC.

The former sex change capital of the world — and the halfway point by rail between Los Angeles and Chicago — will host the first Southwest Chief Bicycle and Comedy Festival next May, combining a “love of the outdoors, bicycle fetishism and the obligatory live entertainment-and-partying.”

In a battle of letter writers, a Colorado Springs CO bike rider says he doesn’t want the bike lanes the city is forcing on residents, while another rider correctly notes that people on bikes are subsidizing the people in cars (2nd and 3rd letters).

‘Tis the season. A Chicago nonprofit refurbished 50 bicycles for kids in Gary, Indiana, part of the 1,400 bikes they donate in the Chicago area, and up to 8,000 bicycles they send to Latin America and Africa.

Condolences to bicyclists in Adrian MI, who are getting new sharrows and being told it’s infrastructure instead of what they really are, arrows designed to help drivers improve their aim.

Honda is testing a smart intersection system in an Ohio city that warns drivers if a pedestrian or bicyclist — or a red light running driver — is about to cross their path. But only if they have the connected car system installed.

Gothamist says New York bicycling deaths have plunged to a record low as the city built nearly 21 miles of protected bike lanes this year. But Streetsblog says no they didn’t, unless you count five miles of lanes without protection as protected.

Frightening and inspiring story from New Jersey, as the long-time lawyer for the state’s governing body for high school sports makes a miraculous recovery from the nearly fatal bike crash that left him paralyzed, after the riders ahead of him went down on a high-speed group ride.

International

Cycling Weekly presents nine Christmas experiences every cyclist will recognize. Unless, of course, like me, you don’t.

Cycling Tips shares their favorite bikes of 2018, sans price tags, unfortunately. On the other hand, you can get a new and improved Oi bike bell for just $36.

No bias here. A British Columbia letter writer says new bike lanes in downtown Victoria have given bike riders a lawbreaking sense of entitlement.

The Evening Standard asks if soaring ebike sales could help London clean the air.

Yes, please. British police plan to use virtual reality to teach dangerous drivers what it feels like to be passed too closely.

BikeBiz says it will take a fresh approach to make the roads safer, as six UK bike and pedestrian advocacy groups band together to get more people riding.

A pair of bike riders are raising funds for charity by biking from London to Tokyo for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, riding over 12,000 miles through 26 countries.

Bikes are being stolen from an English train station because the bike racks are merely bolted to the ground, allowing thieves to simply remove the bolts and walk off with the still-locked bicycle. Which is why you should never use a rack unless it’s embedded in the concrete.

A police union official says separate rules for bikes, ebikes, scooters, mini electric cars and hoverboards are turning bike lanes in the Netherlands into a living hell. Raise your hand if you’d gladly trade the streets you ride for Dutch bikeways, hell or otherwise.

The rich get richer. The Netherlands is investing the equivalent of $390 million to build 15 bicycle freeways and an additional 25,000 bicycle parking spaces to get another 200,000 commuters on two wheels — and paying bike commuters 22¢ a mile to ride to work.

A Palestinian writer calls on the UK to cut ties with what he calls Israel’s oppressive regime, saying he’s being sent to prison for riding a bike during a protest.

No bias here. A Hong Kong letter writer asks who needs bicycles when you can use the city’s speedy, efficient transit system — especially when they annoy people like him.

Competitive Cycling

Forget doping. The way to get a real — and legal — edge in bike racing is supercomputing.

Finally…

Is that a bikeable alley, or an overly realistic trompe l’oeil painting? When your annual bike ride is like a “naked Christmas episode of Doctor Who.”

And if you haven’t signed a pro cycling contract by the time you’re 11-years old, you’re already falling behind.

………

Thanks to John C for his generous donation to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive to keep this site coming to your favorite screen every morning! 


Morning Links: Lawsuit filed over Venice Blvd road diet, and road raging drivers around the world

Traffic safety deniers Restore Venice Boulevard has become just the latest group to abuse California’s CEQA laws in an effort to keep our streets dangerous and unlivable.

The organization has filed suit under the banner of a newly formed nonprofit group, Westside Los Angeles Neighbors Network.

The group is attempting to halt expansion of the Venice Blvd Great Streets project to Lincoln Blvd, as well as what it says are similar projects on Pico Blvd, Motor Ave and Centinela Ave adopted under the Livable Boulevards Streetscapes Plan recently passed by the city council.

The Venice lawsuit, and others like it that were filed in response to the since reversed road diets in Playa del Rey, point out the desperate need for CEQA reform, which was never intended to block non-polluting bikeway projects, or other efforts to cut smog-belching automobile traffic.

They may like Venice Blvd just the way it used to be.

But the city will never survive if we don’t take steps to provide viable alternatives to driving now.

As well as undoing the damage done to our neighborhoods by decades of auto-centric policies on Venice, and countless other streets through LA.

………

Today’s common theme is road raging drivers.

Or more precisely, road raging drivers attacking people on bicycles.

In a five-part Twitter story, a Sacramento cyclist records a driver who buzzed him, then pulled over to threaten to cut his throat. Only to discover that the CHP didn’t really care.

But to her credit, Burbank state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman does.

Witnesses report that a North Carolina driver appeared to accelerate as he drifted off the roadway and slammed into a bike rider, before fleeing the scene.

A British Columbia bike rider was followed by a horn-blaring driver who pulled over and attempted to intentionally door her.

It’s hard to catch at first, but the rider of a possibly stolen motorcycle swerved onto the wrong side of the road to attempt to kick a British man off his bicycle.

………

Jerry Seinfeld is one of us, as he goes bike shopping with Zach Galifianakisz.

………

CicLAvia’s Tafari Bayne demonstrates how to get to the California African American Museum by bike and train.

………

Local

A group of Ukrainian military vets set out from Los Angeles last month on a 6,200-mile ride across North America to call attention to the ongoing conflict.

Apparently not grasping the concept, Pasadena residents call for more free parking, fewer e-scooters and moving bike lanes to a side street at a meeting to update the General Plan for the town’s central business district, conflicting with requirements for sustainability and improved carfree circulation.

Good piece by Curbed’s Alissa Walker, who says people are not defined by what they use to get around, and that transportation stereotypes can make the streets more dangerous.

CiclaValley makes an escape to Mount Baldy.

 

State

Sure, tell us again about those entitled cyclists. California voters appear poised to repeal the state’s recent gas tax increase, imperiling plans to repair the states roads and bridges, as well as funding alternative forms of transportation. Seriously, anyone who votes against the gas tax should be permanently prohibited from ever complaining about bad roads or traffic.

San Diego’s mayor, former police chief and a radio host will team together for a 760-mile bike ride down the California coast to raise money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

More proof there are still good people in the world. A triathlete competing in the Big Bear Triathlon dropped out of the race to perform CPR on a runner who had stopped breathing, even though he was in second place in the race.

An extreme athlete known as the Bionic Woman stopped in Apple Valley on her attempt to become the first woman with a prosthetic leg to ride unsupported across the US.

Folsom is working to complete the city’s first Class IV protected bike lane, which will be colored red to call drivers’ attention to it.

San Francisco discusses how to bring the Bay Area’s docked bikeshare system to the Bayview/Hunter’s Point neighborhood.

Sad news from Eureka, where a bike rider died a week after he was struck by the driver of a truck. Note to CHP: If the victim was struck by the rear wheels of a timber truck doing up to 35 mph, it really doesn’t matter if he was wearing a helmet. Seriously.

 

National

A writer for VeloNews says ebikes can be life-changing for bicyclists with a medical condition.

Bicycling talks with famed stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill, and learns the secret to learning backflips.

Writing for Cycling Savvy, a bike rider says it’s safer to get off your bike and walk for a few minutes when drivers are blinded by the sun’s glare.

The rich get richer. Portland bicyclists will get new protected corners and bike lanes at a complicated multi-angle intersection.

A Colorado town is conducting a trial project to determine the effectiveness of sharrows, as well as buffered and separated bike lanes. Because they can’t just look at the results of projects just like those already in use around the world.

Drivers are convinced that plastic bollards along a bike lane in Jackson Hole WY have narrowed the nearly 11-foot traffic lanes and made it impossible to move wide loads, even though officials insist the lanes haven’t been narrowed an inch. A local columnist doesn’t like them one bit.

An Iowa bike rider is dead, and his wife and four-year old son injured, because an 83-year old driver picked the wrong time to adjust his mirror.

An Irish man visits a crash site to call for safe streets, five years after he was nearly killed when a driver hit his bike while riding to work in Cape Cod, leaving him confined to a wheel chair; his father called the police investigation biased after they concluded his son turned in front of the truck. Which is what police investigations usually conclude when they don’t — or can’t — talk to the victim first.

For once, a fallen New York bike rider gets justice, as a drunk driver gets 15 years for slamming into a group of riders participating in a bike tour, killing one and injuring three others; he was fleeing at a high rate of speed after crashing into a car while trying to park.

 

International

Vancouver bike rental shops are complaining about unfair competition from a Chinese dockless bikeshare system. Which is something SoCal bike rental companies are starting to complain about, as well.

He gets it. A Vancouver writer says there are no winners in the inevitable social media fights over bicycles, but bicyclists are the losers when it spills onto the streets.

An Ottawa news story describes shoaling as sexism in the bike lane. Which is probably true in many cases, even though it happens to men, as well.

Quebec bike riders are now prohibited from wearing earbuds or using an electronic device while riding, while drivers face an automatic license suspension for a second offense within a two-year period for even handling any electronic device.

A Toronto columnist says good intersection design makes it easier for everyone to navigate, whether by two wheels or four. Meanwhile, a Toronto councilor wants the city to investigate using cargo bikes instead of trucks to ship freight.

Unbelievable. An English police chief apologizes to the widow of a fallen bike rider for bungling the investigation into his death; officers never examined the car of the person who claimed to have found him, even though he could be heard over the phone arguing with a woman over whether their car had struck the victim.

An English Premier League referee and his friend rode their bikes 1,700 miles through seven countries to watch England play in the World Cup.

Lime is bringing its e-scooters to Paris with the blessing of city officials.

A new study shows 30% of the people who took part in an Indian ciclovía bought bicycles afterwards.

A South African official warns bike riders to stay off freeways and toll roads that have seen a “dangerous influx of bicycles.” However, given the country’s high rate of violent crime and reports of bike riders being attacked for their bikes and other belongings, it’s understandable that some might prefer to take their chances with high-speed drivers, legally or otherwise.

Kiwi cyclists are applauding $1.1 billion in funding for bike and pedestrian projects.

 

Competitive Cycling

A new book about America’s only remaining Tour de France winner includes his role in the divorce between Lance and Nike.

 

Finally…

LA bike riders were lucky to score CLIF Bars; Denver bicyclists get fresh pancakes and breakfast burritos. If you can’t ban cars, just remove their parking spaces.

And where to turn when you feel the need for $5,000 bike socks spun by a rare olden silk orb weaver spider.

Morning Links: Driver arrested in South LA hit-and-run, and fake news from Venice Blvd traffic safety denier

Before we start, don’t miss Doug Moore’s open letter to the LA city council if you didn’t read it yesterday.

You’ll also find instructions at the end on how to submit your own letter to the council if you can’t join us to #CrashCityHall this Friday.

Or even if you can.

These are the gifts we’ll have for the mayor and city councilmembers on Friday. Think they’ll get the message?

………

You can run, but you can’t always hide.

The Chief Lunes bike ride reports that the hit-and-run driver who killed Frederick “Woon” Frazier in South LA last month has finally been arrested.

In addition, charges are pending for her two passengers, who encouraged her to flee and helped in the coverup that followed.

We’ll let them tell the story.

Let’s hope his family gets the justice they deserve.

Thanks to Sean Meredith for the heads-up.

………

No bias here.

Writing on City Watch, where facts go to die, Selena Inouye, the “chief grassroots organizer” for Restore Venice Blvd, calls the Mar Vista Great Streets project an “epic fail.”

She demands that Mayor Eric Garcetti and Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin keep their promise to remove the road diet if the data shows it’s not working after a year.

Even though that year won’t be up for another week. And the data for that full year probably hasn’t even been compiled, let alone released yet.

Not that any decent traffic safety denier would let an inconvenient little fact like that get in the way.

Instead, she relies on — and distorts — the stats released at the six-month point to make her case, noting that collisions and injury collisions both went up.

Although what she presents as a dramatic increase, the city says was statistically insignificant.

In fact, there were just two — yes, two — more minor injury collisions during the first six months of the trial period than in the same six months the year before.

And let’s not forget that the purpose of the often misconstrued Vision Zero is not to prevent collisions, but to keep those collisions from resulting in serious injuries or death.

Which, based strictly on the data she’s using, the Venice road diet seems have done pretty well.

Or that any major change, to any street, is likely to result in an increase in collisions until drivers get used to it.

Then there’s her bizarre — and demonstrably false — statement that the $91 million devoted to street safety improvements in the mayor’s budget will be spent on road diets.

While Garcetti had initially stated that the budget for Vision Zero would increase to $91 million, he later corrected himself to say that figure referred to the city’s entire street safety improvement program.

Improvements to Vision Zero’s High Injury Network would only get a boost to a relatively paltry $37 million. With none of that specifically budgeted for road diets.

And with the way the city council has been cowed by the angry drivers Restore Venice Blvd and Keep LA Moving purport to represent, there’s not much chance of any many road diets getting installed in the near future.

Then there’s her claim that reducing the number of traffic lanes by one-third on Venice has resulted in gridlock, reflected by a nearly one-third drop in vehicles per day.

Yes, according to her, a substantial drop in vehicle in vehicle usage somehow managed to cause the entire street to become so congested that movement in any direction is impossible.

Or maybe she just doesn’t understand what gridlock means.

Never mind that those same six month figures show that average driver speeds remained unchanged from before the road diet. Yet miraculously, drivers still managed to exceed the speed limit, despite being unable to move at all.

But why let a little thing like facts get in the way?

Although I’d seriously like to know what kind of a person quotes herself in her own opinion piece.

Clearly, when you want to get the quote right, you go right to the source.

Unless you are the source, then you can write whatever the hell you want.

………

Caltrans is looking for applicants for its new California Walk and Bike Technical Advisory Committee to help guide staff decisions about walking and biking design and policies.

Thanks to Marvin Davis for the tip.

………

Metro offers their take on Bike Week activities.

MetroLink is hosting a Twitter party in honor of Bike Week tonight.

Tomorrow night is the worldwide observance of the Ride of Silence, with local RoS rides in the San Fernando Valley, the Rose Bowl, the Conejo Valley, and Orange County. My goal is to one day have a Ride of Silence that goes straight down Wilshire Blvd from Santa Monica to DTLA.

And it turns out that this isn’t just Bike Week, it’s also Infrastructure Week. Or as Treehugger suggests, let’s make it Bike Infrastructure Week.

Please.

………

Local

Los Angeles finally broke ground on the long-promised bike, foot and equestrian bridge over the LA River, connecting Atwater Village to Griffith Park and the LA River bike path.

Mar Vista bike co-op Bikerowave is hosting a bicycle travel meet-up on June 17th, along with bike maintenance workshops this Saturday and May 27th.

When marketing your lightweight German ebike, always include a photo from the Santa Monica Expo Line station.

Best wishes to Santa Monica Next editor Jason Islas, who is scooting off to work for Bird.

 

State

Two guided bike rides will be held Sunday in honor of Grossmont College political science professor Brian Jennings, who was killed in a collision with a sleeping driver last month.

A bicyclist was seriously injured in a collision in Palm Desert yesterday morning; as usual, no information is available.

VeloNews looks at how the Montecito cycling community is coping with loss following the recent fires and mudslides.

A local paper offers ten reasons why you should ride your bike in Sonoma.

 

National

Bicycling says hill yes!

Life is cheap in Oregon, where the local DA determines that a FedEx driver didn’t commit a crime when he killed a bike rider by failing to yield, because he wasn’t drunk or distracted at the time. So go ahead and turn in front of that person on the bike; the worst you’ll get is a traffic ticket.

The local paper says Spokane WA has come a long way in the last decade, but still has a long way to go to be safe and inviting for people on bikes.

Sadly, bike theft is nothing new, as this Arkansas story shows.

An Indiana endurance cyclist talks about how her riding season ended when an aggressive driver tried to pass her on the left as she and a riding companion were trying to make a left turn, after already claiming the left turn lane.

More proof bike riders just can’t win. A Massachusetts bus driver calls the police because a bike rider was tying up traffic trying to save a turtle in the roadway.

A Brooklyn driver gets three to nine years for the drunken, high-speed crash that killed a teenager riding his bike; the driver was at twice the legal limit after drinking all day, and doing 80 miles an hour on a surface street when he hit the victim head on. You have to really fuck up to get nine years behind bars, and make it seem like it’s not enough.

A viral video shows a Philadelphia driver appearing to run down a cyclist from behind in a bike lane, apparently on purpose. Although the police question the validity of the video, in part because the rider doesn’t seem to have any hands.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A Florida woman calls for an end to distracted driving after the March crash that killed her husband; remarkably, she asked that the driver not be prosecuted, because living with what he did was punishment enough.

The head of a Florida rehab facility calls for Complete Streets so his clinic will get fewer customers.

Continuing our Florida traffic safety trifecta, a woman wins her decade-plus fight for red light cameras in the state. Los Angeles cancelled its red light camera program, caving to drivers who claimed it increased the risk of collisions when drivers jammed on their brakes to stop. Because they couldn’t, you know, just drive at a safe speed that would allow them to stop for red lights, or anything.

 

International

The CBC offers six reasons to ride a bike.

Bicyclists hope that the century-old traffic laws in Nova Scotia, Canada, will be rewritten with them in mind, for once.

The BBC, with its keen grasp of the obvious, says cheap dockless bikeshare bikes are flooding the world. Although that’s not exactly how they say it, being British and all.

A Chinese website asks if the country’s polluted cities can leave the car behind.

 

Competitive Cycling

No bias here, either. A writer for the Press-Telegram says the Long Beach start of the Amgen Tour of California on Sunday ruined Mother’s Day business for local restaurants. Or maybe some local restaurants. Or maybe having the race there was good for business after all. Seriously, there may be a good story about the effect the race had on local businesses, for better or worse, but this wasn’t it.

Cycling Weekly features highlights from stage one of the AToC, while the Long Beach Post offers photos of Sunday’s race. But sadly, none showing the countless mothers staying away from empty restaurants in droves.

Thousands turned out to see the riders off on yesterday’s Ventura start, which was won by a rookie rider on the WorldTour who may be destined for great things.

Now you, too, can own a bike ridden by the Rally Cycling team in the Tour of California, while you raise funds for the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation.

And yes, there is still another race going on over in Italy.

 

Finally…

What kind of grownup attitude is saying if you break the law, I will too? So there. No, seriously, if you want safer streets, just stick a seat post up your ass.

And sometimes you just need the right motivation to set an even faster record.

Like making it to the royal wedding on time.

Morning Links: More bike & community events, mixed results for Venice Great Street, and Mariposa bike ban trial

Let’s start by catching up on a few events we haven’t mentioned yet.

The LACBC is hosting a pre-St. Patrick’s Day ride through DTLA at noon today.

Pure Cycles is sponsoring a happy hour ride this evening through Griffith Park and ending with beer.

LA Streetsblog is celebrating their 10th Anniversary at the El Paseo Inn on Olvera Street this Wednesday.

LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis is hosting a Rosemead Blvd Complete Street Community Tour on April 7th to explore the changes coming to the boulevard.

………

Speaking of events, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton attended Wednesday’s Open House for the Venice Blvd Great Streets project, and reported that results are inconclusive at the six month mark.

The project removed a single lane of traffic in each direction, while implementing parking-protected bike lanes and other safety improvements. And resulted in the expected howls of complaints from the Westside’s entitled drivers and traffic safety deniers.

The results so far show that while it hasn’t been the disaster the opponents have claimed, it hasn’t been a rousing success, either. According to Linton, “Overall crashes, injuries, travel times, and even speeding show very little change.”

However, it’s just halfway through the one-year pilot project, so things may continue to improve as people get used to the changes.

Meanwhile, a video from Los Angeles Forward suggests the project may be succeeding in its original goal of creating a small town downtown atmosphere in the long-neglected community.

………

The case against the Burbank man charged with violating the ban on bicycles on the Mariposa Bridge comes to trial at the Burbank Courthouse on March 28th.

He accuses the equestrians who pushed through the ban of being bullies, while insisting there has never been a case of a bike involved in an accident with a horse in the bridge’s 80-year history.

………

Local

Glendale/Burbank state Assemblymember Laura Friedman explains the reasoning behind her bill AB2363, which would give cities more control over how they set speed limits.

Curbed looks at Pasadena’s threat to pull out of the Metro Bike bike share program.

Long Beach is expanding their own bikeshare program into the northern part of the city, approving the purchase of 500 more bikes.

 

State

A San Diego Op-Ed says adjusting to dockless bikeshare is a necessary step to increasing transportation options in the city.

A Del Mar street project will improve access and safety for bike riders and pedestrians in the southern part of the city.

 

National

Honolulu plans to sacrifice 70 parking spaces to build protected bike lanes. Unlike Los Angeles, no one appears to be going berserk over the lost car storage.

Bullhead City AZ is running a billboard campaign to call attention to the state’s three-foot passing law.

Unlike Honolulu, Aspen CO city leaders caved on plans to remove just 15 parking spaces to make room for bike lanes.

Fort Worth TX bike riders are getting physically protected bike lanes. Those planters prove you can beautify the street and improve safety at the same time.

A New Jersey cop is facing multiple charges for hitting a bicyclist with his patrol car while on duty, then trying to cover it up by giving the victim cash and buying him a new bike.

A New York man is creating a new data point by using traffic cameras and his computer to track how often bike lanes are blocked.

A solution to bike theft and expensive bike hubs could be in the offing, as a New Yorker has designed a modular bike-storage kiosk that can be placed anywhere at minimal expense.

This is why people continue to die on our streets. Fifty New Yorkers have amassed over 45 speeding and red light camera violations each, yet continue to drive, and pay just $50 per ticket. One driver received 65 tickets in just 19 months.

Plans for a bike and pedestrian bridge over a Charleston SC river were derailed when the application for a federal grant was denied; the local paper says demand for the bridge is high, so the city should find the money and build it anyway.

Atlanta has doubled its bikeway mileage in six years.

An ebike allows a Georgia man to keep riding after he suffered a heart attack.

 

International

Forbes discusses how to use Apple Maps’ new bikeshare data to find a bike to rent in countries around the world.

He gets it. An Edmonton, Canada city councilor says bike lanes are as much about economic development as they are transportation.

Nearly 10,000 people have complained about plans to ban bikes from a busy British highway.

Caught on video: A bike rider in the UK was seriously injured when a driver fell asleep at the wheel and slammed into him head-on; the dozing driver was sentenced to a year behind bars. Before you click on the link, make sure you really want to see something like that, because you can’t unsee it.

Caught on video too: A truck driver left the country to avoid justice for clipping a British bike rider.

South African police have recovered the bicycle and cellphone of a man who was stabbed to death in a robbery attempt while riding earlier this week; three men have been arrested for the crime.

An Aussie researcher says cities have to improve safety for slow cyclists who have to ride bikes for their jobs.

 

 

Finally…

Your next bike seat could be more hole than seat. And learning how to ride a bike is hard if you faint during your first class.

Morning Links: Venice Blvd open house tomorrow night, and study shows daytime running lights and hi-viz work

Tomorrow night we’ll find out how great the Venice Blvd Great Streets project really is.

And how far the traffic safety deniers are willing to go to fight it.

LADOT is holding an open house Wednesday night to discuss the project, which is intended to improve safety and create a small town downtown atmosphere in Mar Vista.

If you live, work or ride in the area, you owe it to yourself to attend, and get the real facts on how the project on Venice Blvd is working.

Because if the past is any indication, the people fighting to keep Venice Blvd an auto-centric nightmare will be quick with their own set of “facts” to deny it’s working. And demand the restoration of the traffic lanes that were removed to improve safety and livability on one of the Westside’s key corridors.

Photo of Venice Blvd protected bike lane by Joni Yung.

………

Evidently, visibility works.

A new study shows that daytime running lights cut your risk of a collision by nearly half, while wearing hi-viz lowers it by more than a third.

Mark Goodley took a deep dive into the question of daytime lights in a series of popular guest posts over the past several years.

………

Local

Neel Sodha reports that buffered bike lanes are now going in on Figueroa next to LA Live as part of the My Figueroa project.

A new bike shop has opened in the North Hollywood Arts District.

The next Metro BEST Ride will visit the Pasadena Arts Center on March 24th.

 

State

A state appellate court rules that the new law allowing you to cross the street while the walk signal is counting down applies retroactively, which means you might be able to get a refund if you got a ticket for crossing after the countdown began. Thanks to Henry Fung for the heads-up.

San Francisco is re-envisioning iconic Market Street as a complete street.

Interbike will team with the Northstar California Resort in Truckee for a massive bike festival preceding the annual bike trade show this September.

 

National

Apple Maps now shows bike share locations for 179 cities in 36 countries.

Dockless shared e-scooters looks to be the next mobility trend spreading across the US, including scooters from LimeBike and Santa Monica’s Bird scooters.

A new app allows you to find travel options across most cities, including participating bikeshare systems, ride-sharing and transit.

Colorado Public Radio looks at the debate over allowing ebikes on trails.

An Arkansas paper discovers gravel bikes.

After struggling through his first century ride, a Connecticut man decides he’s going to ride his age until he’s 100.

 

International

Business Insider looks at the movement to reduce the reliance on cars — or even ban them entirely — in cities around the world. Meanwhile, an Aussie Op-Ed calls for banning car ads, like cigarette ads.

Scandinavian countries are successfully building a bicycling future, despite long distances, cold winters and a lack of infrastructure. And yet, they tell us no one will ever commute by bike in sunny Los Angeles.

A German man is 20,000 miles into an around the world bike tour, after surviving skin cancer and a brain tumor, and realizing he could ride a bike easier than he could walk.

A third person has died during this year’s snake-bit Cape Town Cycle Tour in South Africa, with the death of a ride marshal; two of the deaths, including that one, are being investigated as culpable homicide, similar to a manslaughter charge in the US.

Kiwi bicyclists are planning a protest ride to demand the repeal of the country’s mandatory bike helmet law and allow adult riders to choose whether or not to wear one; clearly, not everyone agrees. A New Zealand mother is credited with the law, after her 12-year old son was paralyzed after being hit by a car.

Adelaide, Australia’s free public bikeshare system could come to an end, the victim of spreading dockless bikeshare systems, despite its remarkably low $60,000 annual cost.

Protected bike lanes have come to the Philippines. If you consider plastic posts protection.

 

Finally…

Is it the future of public transportation, or just street litter? And no, those aren’t bicycles those squirrels are riding.

 

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