Tag Archive for memorials

LA to audit failed Vision Zero, memorial for Prynsess Brazzle, and guilty plea in drunken Solana Beach hit-and-run

No irony here.

Outgoing CD5 City Councilmember and city attorney candidate Paul Koretz called on Los Angeles to audit the city’s Vision Zero plan, in an effort to determine why traffic deaths continue to rise seven years after it was adopted.

And just three years before traffic deaths were supposed to be a thing of the past.

Yes, that’s the same self-proclaimed environmentalist who has blocked bike lanes and Complete Streets projects in his district, including on Westwood Blvd and Melrose Avenue, since taking office 13 years ago.

Which certainly couldn’t have anything to do with it, right?

According to the story by LAist, the city saw 186 people killed in crashes in 2015, when the plan was adopted, with a jump to 294 last year. And it’s on a pace for over 330 traffic deaths this year.

Los Angeles Walks Executive Director John Li pointed out one glaring problem with the program.

“Structurally, we have a political system that has not had a unified vision of Vision Zero — it’s 15 different approaches to Vision Zero,” Yi told LAist. “How do we give political elected officials the confidence, or the political courage… to get more bike lanes, more bus lanes, flatter sidewalks, [and] slower streets? Because right now, it’s just too politically risky for elected officials and they’re not willing to be a leader on this.”

But honestly, how do you audit something that was never more than the political equivalent of vaporware?

LA’s Vision Zero has never received more than a fraction of the funding required to implement it, let alone the support from the mayor’s office necessary to even make a dent in traffic deaths.

There was no multi-agency task force dedicated to implementing it. No dedicated staff at LADOT, or any other public agency. No one with the power to cut through the red tape and NIMBY objections to reimagine our mean streets.

And no one with the ability to overrule LA’s 15 little kings and queens, who each rule their own fiefdom from their offices at city hall. Each of whom has the power to unilaterally water down or halt any changes to the streets in their districts, just as Koretz has proudly done.

Never mind “Roadkill” Gil Cedillo in CD1, Mitch O’Farrell in CD13, or Paul Krekorian in CD2, each of whom halted major shovel-ready lane reductions and other badly needed traffic safety programs.

Or any of the other councilmembers who, with very few notable exceptions, cowardly hid behind claims of public opinion and the demands of the almighty automobile to avoid making any of the tough choices necessary to make even a modest reduction in traffic deaths.

Let alone put an end to them.

The simple fact is, LA’s Vision Zero has never been more than smoke and mirrors, with a little modest nibbling at the edges so minor no one could complain.

But that was exactly what we warned about when the plan was first adopted, questioning whether Los Angeles elected leaders had the political will and courage necessary for the plan to succeed.

In retrospect, the clear answer is no.

And 300 Angelenos, and all of their friends and loved ones, are now paying the price every year.

Mayor Garcetti signs the Vision Zero order behind his comically huge outdoor desk; photo from Streetsblog LA.

………

Speaking of Vision Zero, we live in a city where officials are willing to honor the victims of traffic violence.

But won’t lift a finger to keep them alive.

………

A 22-year old San Diego man faces 15 years behind bars for the drunken hit-and-run death of 75-year old Allen Hunter II as he rode his bike on South Coast Highway 101 in Solana Beach last year.

Beau Morgan pled guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run causing death and driving under the influence; he was over twice the legal limit when he turned himself in 45 minutes after the crash.

Once again destroying two lives with one careless act.

Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up.

………

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

No bias here. San Jose drivers call a proposal to make them change lanes to pass bike riders insane and evil. Then again, so is hiding the story behind a paywall. 

No bias here, either. A Berkeley writer complains that the city’s policies are turning bicycles into a “weapon of civic destruction…damaging neighborhoods, endangering bicyclists and undermining the legitimacy of governance while squandering millions of dollars.” Okay, so some articles would be better hidden behind a paywall. Or under a rock.

Police in Britain are looking for a road-raging driver who head-butted a bike rider after a dispute.

………

Local

The LA Times endorses Katy Young Yaroslavsky — longtime LA politician Zev’s daughter-in-law — to replace Paul Koretz in CD5, although they also like Scott Epstein, who has a much better bike safety pedigree.

Plans are in the works for new bus only lanes on Florence Ave in South LA, which would also allow bike riders to use them; however, like other LA bus lanes, they would only be in effect during peak traffic hours.

A South Pasadena website looks back fondly on Sunday’s 626 Golden Streets.

Palmdale will conduct a Complete Streets overhaul of Avenue R, including walkable sidewalks and painted bike lanes.

 

State 

Social media users are understandably up in arms after video of San Diego workers destroying bicycles during a homeless sweep went viral.

A homeless man already on probation for another crime is back behind bars after shoplifting merchandise and stealing a bicycle from an El Cajon Target, then forcibly taking another bicycle in a strong arm robbery.

The Los Osos woman who got out of prison after just two years of her seven-year sentence for the drunken death of a bike-riding San Luis Obispo college student was released early thanks to pre-sentencing credits and a re-entry program; she’s now back behind bars after crashing into several parked cars with a BAC four times the legal limit.

A new bill in the state Assembly would mandate secure bike parking in new residential buildings; AB 2863 would also require the California Building Standards Commission to update its bike parking standards for commercial buildings. Although they should also require building owners to allow tenants and workers to take their bikes inside to their homes and offices.

Calbike is once again asking for your support for the Bicycle Safety Stop Bill, aka Stop As Yield, aka the stop sign portion of the Idaho Stop Law, somehow assuming Gavin Newsom will sign the bill after vetoing it last year.

Streetsblog talks with a San Francisco ER doctor, who says preventable injuries dropped when JFK Drive was closed to drivers, and pleaded with city officials to keep it that way.

 

National

America Walks takes a deeper look at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s call for public comments on how to make motor vehicles safer for pedestrians — and for people on bicycles. You have until Monday to get your comments in.

A writer for Popsugar replaces her car and reduces her carbon footprint with an ebike from women-owned Bluejay.

Seriously? A Utah paper asks if it’s time to get serious about road safety after three pedestrians were killed in a single hour, with four bike riders killed in the state in recent weeks — wait, make that five. The time to get serious was before anyone got killed.

More proof that NIMBYs are the same everywhere, as Houston residents decry plans for a 1.5-mile lane reduction and bike lanes, calling it a disaster that will cause traffic congestion and force drivers into neighborhoods.

Surprisingly, Minnesota has the nation’s longest paved bike trail, running 800 miles along the Mississippi River, as well as a 315-mile path through two national parks and nine state parks.

 

International

A Welsh police official is “hugely supportive” of bike cams, saying police can’t be everywhere but the public can.

That’s more like it. British drivers complain that they could be fined the equivalent of $6,250 for distracted eating behind the wheel, calling it nonsense and daylight robbery. Although everyone else on the road likely likes the idea.

A Melbourne, Australia city councilor says a proposal to remove bike lanes would be economic vandalism.

A Perth, Australia e-scooter rider was killed in a collision with a bike rider when the two crashed on a blind bend; the bike rider was treated for minor injuries.

An Aussie op-ed complains that Sydney’s new bike plan completely ignores half the city.

 

Competitive Cycling

Mark Cavendish insists there’s no rivalry between him and Fabio Jakobsen for a spot on the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team in this year’s Tour de France.

Women’s cycling continues to grow, with plans for a women’s Milan-San Remo next year.

  

Finally…

Your next bike could be the two-wheeled offspring of Formula 1. We may have to put up with angry LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to deal with road-hogging grizzlies.

And that feeling when a bike path is named after a creepy clown, or maybe the other way around.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Morning Links: LA approves memorial signs instead of fixing streets, BAC agenda, and Yerba Buena Road closed

I honestly don’t know what to think about this one.

The LA City Council has approved a plan to replace ghost bikes with semi-permanent memorials to fallen bike riders.

The signs can be requested by the families of fallen bicyclists, memorializing the victim while offering a general nod to bike safety.

They’ll stay in place for five to seven years, after which families can pay to have them replaced.

However, a maximum of just 20 signs will be installed each year, which will barely keep up with the number of riders killed on an annual basis in Los Angeles.

According to LAist,

In an interview withKPCC’s Take Two, (Councilmember Bob) Blumenfield explained how the idea for the signs was borne out of a tragedy in Woodland Hills last April. On Easter Sunday, 15-year-old Sebastian Montero was struck by a car and killedwhile riding his bike on Burbank Boulevard.

Blumenfield was in contact with the boy’s family, as well as local police officers— together, they discussed ways to prevent future tragedies. 

“I’ve been to too many of those ghost bike ceremonies, and they’re heartbreaking,” Blumenfield said.

After one officer, Duke Dao, suggested the idea for the memorial signs, Blumenfield ran with it.

I’m told be someone who worked closely with Blumenfield on the proposal that he’s absolutely sincere in wanting to do something to both remember the victims of traffic violence, and keep it from happening again.

But a simple sign’s not going to do that.

Blumenfield is one of the city’s better councilmembers on traffic issues, and is working to get a bike lane installed where Montero was killed.

But many of his peers have taken active steps to block desperately needed, potentially life-saving bikeways.

Despite the unanimous vote to establish the memorial program, we have to wonder how many of the councilmembers voted for memorials to fallen bicyclists instead of taking active steps to prevent their deaths.

Because it’s a lot easier to put up a small memorial sign than to fix the roads to avoid the need for them.

Among those voting yes,

All voted to approve the memorials, while helping create — or at least not alleviate — conditions likely to require them.

Meanwhile, there’s a reasonable fear that the memorial signs will just blend into the streetscape, no more noticeable than the street signs indicating where police officers have been killed.

And if you haven’t seen those, that’s exactly my point.

Ghost bikes are intrusive and evocative. Granted, many drivers don’t know what they are. But once they do, they notice them every time they pass, and that drives the meaning home.

I’m not sure that will happen with these.

Especially if the limit of just 20 a year stays in place. It should be expanded to include not just those riders killed in the future, but the many riders who have needlessly lost their lives in the past.

And it should include pedestrians, as well, since they die in much greater numbers on LA’s mean streets than we do.

Maybe if hundreds of these memorial signs started to appear every year, blanketing every part of the city, people might finally get it. And realize that too damn many people are getting killed just because they rode a bike or went for a walk.

Then the council might finally do more than put up a sign.

Maybe.

Thanks to everyone who sent me links to this story.

Note: I’ve been reminded that today is the one year anniversary of Sebastian Montero’s death.

No word on whether the alleged speeding driver who killed him was ever charged.

Photo by Steve S

………

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee will hold its bimonthly meeting this Tuesday. As always, the meetings are open to the public, and you are encouraged to attend.

………

Don’t plan on riding Yerba Buena Road anytime soon.

………

Fed up with people driving under the influence, Taiwan is considering instituting the death penalty for killing someone while driving drunk or stoned.

I’d like to think that might actually make someone think twice before getting behind the wheel after drinking, smoking or downing pills.

But the threat of the death penalty hasn’t seemed to stop anyone from murdering other people.

So there’s that.

Thanks to Evan Burbridge for the link.

………

Local

LAist notes the problems with LA’s troubled Vision Zero program, including a lack of social media presence for the past seven months. What the city doesn’t seem to get is that most of us really, really want to support Vision Zero LA — if they ever get their shit together.

Famed bike rider LeBron James has gone Hollywood, building a production company on the Warner Bros. lot that has made him a major player in the industry. Word has it he also plays a little basketball.

This is who we share the roads with. A 17-year old boy will likely face a vehicular homicide charge — or worse — for killing one person and injuring three others in a violent crash while apparently street racing in Woodland Hills.

Good for him. A chef at the Long Beach Gladstones will be joining this year’s edition of the 300-mile No Kid Hungry ride. You can donate to support his goal of raising $7,500 by next month’s ride, and help ensure every child has enough to eat.

State

What the hell is wrong with some people? An Irvine man will spend the next 50 years behind bars for killing the person he accused of stealing his bicycle, after vowing to do exactly that.

San Diego police are looking for a man who approached a nine-year old girl as she rode her bicycle and offered to take her to a game; fortunately, she knew to ride home and her parents called the police.

The San Francisco Chronicle complains about the mythical war on cars, exemplified by a discussion of congestion pricing. Never mind that congestion pricing is intended to help improve traffic flow, which is hardly anti-driver. Or that nearly 100% of the roads are already dedicated to motorists, and the rest of us are just hoping for a few crumbs.

Sad news from Selma, where a man was shot and killed while riding his bike Saturday night; police believe he was targeted by the killers.

An Oakland man was busted for trying to break into a secured bike storage area.

An Irish writer takes a ride through California’s wine country.

Even in bike-friendly Davis, local residents break out the torches and pitchforks following a road diet to improve traffic safety.

National

ABC New has caught up with what most of us already know — killer hit-and-run drivers seldom face jail time.

Small towns can have bikeshare too, thanks to a startup dedicated to bringing bikeshare to towns the larger providers pass by.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says Trek’s WaveCel claims aside, it’s better to get more asses on bikes than get more heads in helmets. Meanwhile, Bicycling lists the 16 best helmets you can buy right now.

NPR hops on the e-scooter injury and blocked sidewalks bandwagon.

A Tucson writer says a bike resort is a great idea, just not across the street from Saguaro National Park.

A Grand Junction CO shelter is helping to house homeless youths on Colorado’s Western Slope, while a local bike shop is reconditioning unwanted bikes to get them onto two wheels.

Two Kansas men were killed when a driver slammed into their bicycles from behind. No word on why the driver apparently didn’t see a couple grown men on bikes directly in front of him, but I’m sure we could all take a pretty reasonable guess.

An Oklahoma man learned the hard way not to wear a skull mask while carrying meth and weed on his bike. Although his lawyer might want to argue that simply wearing a mask, scary or otherwise, on a public street is not probable cause for a traffic stop. Which makes everything that followed moot.

Slate tells the tale of a bike-riding Ohio teenager who scandalized the nation by wearing bloomers to church.

An Ohio college student discovers you’re never too old to learn how to fall off a bike.

A ti bike from a Schenectady NY builder was the first place winner at the recent National Handmade Bicycle Show in Sacramento.

The upstate New York jerk who wrote a ten-year old boy a letter of non-apology after a judge let him off easy for sideswiping the boy’s bike will now have to perform community service.

A Bronx councilmember loses his perfect ranking from a conservation voters’ group for not supporting ebikes and scooters.

A New York cop resigned after getting caught writing a ticket to a nonexistent bike rider when he was actually still in the precinct. Then billing the city for the overtime he didn’t work.

Taking a cue from LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s playbook, Baltimore’s mayor decides to rip out a protected bike lane, and says no way to a planned road diet. Although to be fair, she’s replacing the protected lane with a painted green lane. And she gave it four years, while Garcetti removed the non-protected bike lanes and road diets in Playa del Rey after just one month of driver complaints.

New Orleans is slowly building a bicycle culture, though in typical Big Easy style.

International

A Vancouver radio station asks if bicyclists and drivers will ever see eye-to-eye. Short answer, not until people are required to ride a bicycle in city traffic before getting a driver’s license.

Vancouver’s former chief planner writes in praise of slow cycling and upright bikes.

Only after he passed away at the ripe old age of 93 on Saturday was it revealed that a Montreal man was the secret “Mr. Bike Man” who gave away over 1,700 bikes, helmets and locks to children in the Montreal area for the past 34 years.

This one’s hard to watch. A Brit bike rider gets hit head-on by a driver cutting a corner at an intersection, despite stopping at a stop sign and using daytime lights.

Britain’s anti-bike Lord Winston is back at it, renewing his call for all bike riders to be licensed and insured after claiming he was attacked by a woman when he reprimanded her for riding on the sidewalk. Except he never bothered to report it to the police and no one can seem to verify his claim.

French drivers are apparently vandalizing speed cameras, costing the country the equivalent of nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars. And it may have contributed to a jump in traffic deaths.

An automotive writer rides a borrowed Peugeot racing bike up France’s legendary Alpe d’Huez, and finds it a lot easier to do in a borrowed car.

Amsterdam plans to reduce driving by turning 1,500 parking spaces into trees and bike parking each year for the next six years.

Vitaliy Klitschko, former world heavyweight champ and current mayor of Kyiv — or Kiev, to most non-Ukrainians — is one of us, riding his bike to cast his ballot in this year’s presidential election.

American cycling legend and newly married Indian resident Alexi Grewal says bicycling is seen as a poor person’s vehicle, and that needs to change.

Sydney, Australia residents rise up against what they term a “nonsensical” bicycle superhighway, fearing it would somehow jeopardize pedestrians more than all those cars zooming past. Seriously, why is it that people continue to fight bike lanes that have repeatedly proven to be a net benefit to the surrounding community, regardless of any loss of parking?

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling Australia looks at the all-Type 1 diabetic Team Novo Nordisk, and how they overcome diabetes to ride competitively.

Chris Froome proved he’s comfortable in his domestique role, giving Team Sky leader Egan Bernal a ride back to the bus on his handlebars, after a mechanical forced Bernal to walk across the finish line.

The Australian press is suitably scandalized that Lance was paid $1.5 million in taxpayer funds to compete in the 2009 Tour Down Under, an agreement that was under seal for ten years.

Evidently, it’s considered bad form to toss another racer’s bike off the course after you crash with her, as Italian cyclist Elisa Longo Borghini learned the hard way on Thursday.

Finally…

Next time time you get attacked by a gang of kids, all you really need is a Good Samaritan armed with a bicycle seat. When the bike stencil doesn’t fit in the new bike lanes, it may be just a tad too small.

And taking a cue from Kafka, that angry driver may see you as a cockroach.

………

Thanks to Matthew R for his generous monthly donation to support this site, and keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day.

%d bloggers like this: