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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.