Tag Archive for Michael Wagner

Morning Links: Getting crushed by car culture, safety versus convenience, and LA’s new sideways bike lane sweeper

Let’s start with today’s must read, as an editor for The Outline says he’s seen the future.

And it’s not us.

There is also the unrelenting, often murderous hostility of drivers toward pedestrians and people on bikes. No cyclist I know has not been menaced by an enraged driver — brushed past within inches, bumped at an intersection, run off the road — and most of us have been menaced more than once. No pedestrian who has to cross at a mid-block crosswalk is unfamiliar with the experience of a driver actually speeding upwhen they see you; no one who has crossed at a regular intersection is unfamiliar with a turning driver laying on the horn and waiting until the last second to jam on the breaks as you scurry out of the way.

The car is a very specifically American symbol of freedom, but like so many instruments and symbols of American freedom, it is a tool of domination and control. A car is a missile and a castle, a self-propelled, multi-ton fortress, hermetically sealed against the intrusions of weather, environment, and, of course, other people. Drivers view the world through the lenses of speed and convenience — most of the anger at cyclists, in my experience, is at having to drive at something resembling a normal urban speed limit because there’s a bike in front of them — but also through the lens of ownership. Streets belong to cars. The rest of us are interlopers, invaders, invasive species.

He goes on to blame car culture, not the internet, for the crushing disconnection and loneness rampant in out society, as we move things further and further apart, forcing us to live more and more of our lives in motor vehicles.

Seriously, take a few minutes to read it.

We’ll wait.

Then take a couple more to see just how right he is, as a new traffic congestion study is criticized for being too pro-car, while ignoring the “new realities of multi-modal transport.”

Making it all too clear that the auto-centric way of thinking won’t die easily.

Photo by John Howard from Pixabay.

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Then there’s this one from Grist, questioning whether New Orleans can keep bike riders safe, as it revamps the streets with 75 miles of bikeways surrounding the downtown area in the next few years. 

This is a life-saving effort,” De Wulf said of his krewe’s push. “Would you rather have someone die on a bicycle, versus someone being inconvenienced for five minutes of their day?

Sadly, I’ve heard the answer to that one too many times, in dozens of public meetings, and in the comments online.

Because far too many Angelenos would rather get home a couple minutes earlier, your life or mine be damned.

And that, my friends, is what we have to change.

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On the other hand, it looks like Claremont bike riders may have won that battle, at least on Foothill Blvd.

Michael Wagner’s excellent CLR Effect reports on the progress of Claremont’s nearly completed curb-protected bike lanes on Foothill Blvd, which is looking pretty damn good at this early stage.

Hopefully neighboring cities will pick up on it, and extend them beyond Claremont’s city limits.

Although, like anywhere else, some drivers are a little slow to take the hint.

One of my major regrets lately is that I don’t have time to keep up with some of my favorite blogs. Starting with Wagner’s, which does an exceptional job of keeping up with biking in the Far East. 

Of LA County, that is. 

So don’t make my mistake. Bookmark CLR Effect now, and keep checking back to see what’s new.

It’s okay if you got so caught up you miss a new BikinginLA every now and then. Just don’t let it happen too often.

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After trying out several models, Los Angeles is ordering a cute little mini-street sweeper for protected bike lanes.

Hopefully it will work upright, as well as sideways. Although it won’t get a lot of use either way unless LA builds some more protected lanes.

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A new study shows women who say they have genital pain and numbness while riding a bike are far more likely to suffer from sexual dysfunction.

So don’t grit your teeth and try to ignore it.

Get to a bike shop and buy a new seat to take the pressure off. Or get a good bike fit to change your positioning in the saddle.

Even if you have to get a friend to help and do it yourself.

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Local

A writer for City Walk talks with bike and Complete Streets supporter Sarah Kate Levy about her race to unseat David Ryu in LA’s 4th Council District; Glendale has an election coming up next year, too.

WeHo sheriff’s deputes wrote 72 tickets to e-scooter riders over an 18-month period ending in July, mostly for riding on the sidewalk, compared to 800 scooter tickets over the same period in Los Angeles.

Surprisingly, Pasadena is working on a return of the legendary ArroyoFest next year; the original 2003 event may have been the region’s first modern day open streets event, shutting down the historic Arroyo Seco Freeway, aka the Pasadena Freeway, to motor vehicles, and opening it up to all human-powered forms of transportation.

Boulder CO-based Bicycle Retailer and Industry News is looking for sponsors for an ebike tour of Long Beach, Pasadena and Santa Monica bike shops next month. Or better yet, just sponsor me and I’ll be happy to ride an ebike almost anywhere you want.

Long Beachize’s Brian Addison reports that 20 people have been killed in motor vehicle collisions in the city this year, including ten pedestrians and three people on bicycles. Yet no one there is calling for a ban on cars, unlike bikes or scooters if their users dare ride on the sidewalk or collide with someone.

Simon Cowell is one of us. And so is his son, as the TV talent show judge hopped on his bigass ebike to take the five-year old boy for a ride through the ‘Bu.

 

State

A former San Diego County sheriff’s deputy has pled guilty to sexually assaulting 16 women while on duty, including a woman he groped while she was riding her bike; he faces a well-deserved five years behind bars, and will have to register as a sex offender.

 

National

A new app promises to let you use bikeshare, scooters and transit systems across the US, including Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus.

Outside profiles a 57-year old African-American grandmother who rode her bike across the US just five years after suffering a stroke, learning about gears along the way. And she plans to do it again.

A Milwaukee convenience store owner says he’s fed up with getting robbed by roving gangs of bike riding kids, saying he’s losing $5,000 to $6,000 worth of merchandise a day.

After retiring, a kindhearted Michigan man spends his days fixing up bicycles to donate to kids in need.

A Connecticut Bikes for Kids program gave out 36 bicycles and helmets to underprivileged kids over the weekend, a small part of the 500 bikes they give out each year.

A writer for the New York Daily News says a new bike lane will endanger children because they might get run down by speeding bike riders. Or maybe because emergency vehicles might get stuck in traffic. Or, something.

The NYPD continues to blame the victim, saying an ebike rider was at fault for the crash with a garbage truck that left him critically injured; not surprisingly, Steetsblog sees things differently.

Maybe they could have a chat with the CHP. After a South Carolina high school guidance counselor was killed in a rear-end collision, state troopers charged the driver with driving too fast for conditions. The same law is on the books in California, but the CHP doesn’t seem familiar with that section of the vehicle code. Then again, LA County Sheriffs could use a brush up, too.

 

International

A British woman is planning to swim the English Channel, five years after losing a leg when she was run over by a truck driver while riding her bike; she’ll be joined by a pair of air ambulance paramedics on her swim, including the one who saved her life.

Just heartbreaking. Moments after finishing a 45-mile Scottish charity ride, a man learned his father had collapsed and died while taking part in the same bike ride.

The family of a fallen Irish bike rider calls for safer infrastructure and a ban on dangerous passing to protect bicyclists on the Emerald Isle.

Your next Dutch bike could be very strange, heavy, uncomfortable-looking and 3D-printed.

A new study suggests Barcelona’s plan to limit car use and reserve 70% of street space for bicyclists and pedestrians could save 667 lives a year. Which seems like an oddly specific number.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews explains why Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic finds himself in the Vuelta’s red jersey instead of competing in the Tour de France earlier this year. And looks at former mountain biker Sepp Kuss’ rapid rise to a stage victory in the Vuelta.

The next time someone tells you ebikes are cheating, point them to Belgian pro cyclist Wout Van Aert, who’s using one to rehab a severely torn muscle suffered during the Tour de France.

London’s Independent looks back on legendary 1960s Italian cyclist Felice Gimondi, one of just seven riders to win all three Grand Tours, including his first Tour de France when he was just 22. Even in his best dope-fueled days, Lance never even tried to win any of the other Grand Tours. 

If James Joyce was a mediocre bike racer. Or writer, for that matter.

 

Finally…

Until you get eyes in the back of your head, a new bike helmet could be the next best thing. If you’re going to break out of prison, at least try to change clothes before getting on a stolen mountain bike the next day.

And we may have to deal with f’ed-up LA drivers, but at least we don’t have cope with schtupping copperheads.

Or toxic plants, for that matter.

 

Morning Links: Vision Zero Action Plan released, bike riders behaving badly, and why our streets stay dangerous

Through the end of this month, BikinginLA is supporting local bike shops and other small businesses in the bike industry by offering deep discounts on our usual advertising rates. For more information, or to find out if your business qualifies, email the address on the Support and Advertising page.

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It was a surprise announcement.

And both heartening, and a little disappointing.

Word broke Thursday morning that LA’s Vision Zero Alliance had finally released its long-awaited Action Plan, explaining how the plan to reduce traffic fatalities by 20% by the end of this year, and eliminate them entirely by 2025.

While the report hits all the appropriate notes, it’s a little short on specifics.

For instance, it talks about the need to reduce speeds to drive down LA’s worst in the nation traffic death rate, but doesn’t actually commit to reducing speed limits to 20 or 25 mph, as other major cities have done. And it discusses working to change laws at the state level, without stating whether they will fight to remove the deadly 85th percentile law that drives up speeds and destroys livability — not to mention survivability — on city streets.

However, there are a few specific actions we can follow to verify that the plan is on track:

Vision Zero means designing a street network that is safe for all modes. The City will:

Install live-saving improvements on the priority corridors and intersections along the High-Injury Network, such as optimizing four-hundred traffic signals and redesigning at least twelve miles of City streets every year to accommodate safe transportation for all.

Update 100 percent of the expired speed surveys on the priority corridors by the end of 2017.

Update all City street-design standards used by the Bureau of Public Works, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of City Planning to be consistent with the National Association of City

Unanswered is whether the city will address the chronic understaffing problems at LADOT so they actually have the capability to work on Vision Zero, without throwing the hard-fought Mobility Plan out the window.

Some of those bicycling deaths could be prevented simply by building out the low-stress network of Bicycle Friendly Streets called for in the plan, giving riders a safer and more comfortable alternative to riding busier streets.

Also unanswered is how they will solve the problem of recalcitrant councilmembers who attempt to block desperately needed safety improvements in their districts, as Gil Cedillo and Paul Koretz have already done.

Not to mention LA’s rampant NIMBYism, which rises up to oppose virtually any changes on our streets, especially if there’s the slightest suspicion it might slow traffic down.

Which is pretty much the point.

Here’s what LA Curbed’s Alissa Walker and Streetsblog’s Joe Linton have to say on the subject.

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Today’s common theme, bike riders behaving badly.

Probably not the best idea to park your bike in front of a Palo Alto police station with a can of Colt 45 instead of a water bottle.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo police are looking for a butt-slapping bike rider who assaulted two women on campus in less than a week. Chances are, it’s not the same jerk who’s been assaulting English women in the same fashion for the last month.

Canadian police are looking for a bike-riding man who tried, and failed, to break into a business with a rock.

The Austrian man who was busted for trying to ride naked into a hotel in eight degree weather says he was trying to impress a girl. Although getting fired from his job as a pastry chef at the hotel probably isn’t the way to do it. And someone should explain to him about shrinkage.

A Pennsylvania bike rider was apparently under the influence when he was killed by a 17-year old driver; the victim had a water bottle filled with booze, and a dope pipe in his pocket.

University of Florida students are unnerved by a man riding his bike around campus wearing a swastika. Sometimes bike riders are the bad guys. And sometimes they’re just assholes. But even assholes have a constitutional right to be one.

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Life is cheap in North Carolina, where a distracted driver gets a whole 75 days in jail for killing a cyclist while apparently checking his email.

But not as cheap as Illinois, where a drunk driver cops a plea for killing a man who was riding his bike home from work, in exchange for a whopping ten days behind bars. Ten effing days. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.

And a three-time Brit traffic serial killer gets his suspended license back three years early because it’s an inconvenience to his family. It was probably pretty inconvenient for the families of his victims, too.

And then we wonder why nothing ever seems to stop the carnage on our streets.

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Nice to hear from Michael Wagner of CLR Effect, who offers news from LA County’s too often neglected Eastside.

Even if the news isn’t exactly what we want to hear.

Like the bad news that yet another local bike shop is going out of business, as the popular Coates Cyclery is closing is doors. And this time, it’s his LBS. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the first link.

He also sends word that there will be a clean-up day on Glendora Mountain Road Sunday, February 5th to pick up the trash left behind by the people who travel it. Not all of whom are in cars.

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The 3rd annual Night on Broadway will take place this Saturday, with over 60,000 people expected to celebrate with free events and music on DTLA’s main street; there will be a bike valet, so you can leave your car at home.

Santa Monica Planning is hosting a ride with SaMo’s mayor this Sunday. LA mayor Eric Garcetti agreed to ride with bicyclists when he was running for office four years ago, but to the best of my knowledge, no one has bothered to ask him to do it. Which should be a big hint to the LACBC, the BAC, LADOT…

Also on Sunday, community coalition Si Se Mueve is holding a free community bike ride through Northeast LA.

Yet another Sunday event, as Walk Bike Glendale is sponsoring their first Women’s Ride of 2017.

Finishing up a very busy Sunday, Black Kids on Bikes is holding a free bike tune-up session, followed by a freedom ride.

And one last reminder about the LACBC’s rescheduled Ask An Officer panel discussion on Monday in DTLA. Thanks to Kent Strumpell for the link.

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A Welsh Olympic gold medalist says there’s still a lot of sexism in cycling, but it’s not blatantly obvious. And the fluffy music played at women’s races doesn’t help.

NPR talks with the filmmaker behind Icarus, an amateur cyclist who filmed himself doping, only to accidently uncover the Russian doping scandal.

US Cycling membership now includes legal benefits, including a free consultation, reduced legal fees, and priority consideration for pro bono legal representation. Although virtually any bike lawyer will offer a free consultation.

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Local

The LA Times looks at bike trends for 2017, from comfort bikes and ebikes to lighted helmets and ultra bright headlights.

Speaking of the Times, they make the bizarre claim that ebikes may be the greenest form of transportation in human history. They’re a great alternative to driving, but it’s ridiculous to claim ebikes are greener than bicycling or walking.

If Elon Musk is building a tunnel in LA, can we ask him to put in a bike lane?

An editorial in USC’s Daily Trojan calls California’s ban on headphones for bike riders a new, overbearing law. Except the law only prohibits wearing headphones in or on both ears, rather than one. And it’s not new. Wearing headphones in both ears has been illegal for years, just as it is for drivers; all that changed with the new law was to eliminate loopholes to include any form of headphones or earpieces.

This Wednesday is the deadline for Santa Clarita high school seniors to apply for a college scholarship in honor of fallen cyclist, musician and teacher Rod Bennett.

Long Beach is looking for a Mobility and Healthy Living Programs Officer. They had me right up to the healthy living part.

Let’s face it. CiclaValley is probably having more fun than the rest of us these days.

 

State

Momentum Magazine previews April’s Sea Otter Classic at the famed Laguna Seca raceway in Monterey, calling the world’s premier cycling festival.

San Jose’s Good Karma Bikes helps teens learn how to keep their bikes in good working order while teaching job skills.

Fresno puts off a vote on the city’s new Active Transportation Plan that would add 950 miles of bike lanes, routes and trails.

 

National

The founder of Justin’s nut butters is one of us, too.

Bicycling reviews the warmest clothes for winter riding. And they list six epic bike events you probably don’t know about, including two in California.

Heartbreaking story from Texas, as cyclists react to the hit-and-run death of a 19-year old racer; his own mother found his body and mangled bike after he didn’t come home from a ride. Thanks to Shannon for the tip.

A recent Rutgers University study concludes that concerns about racial profiling are a barrier to bicycling in communities of color. It’s not just their imagination; blacks are more likely to be stopped and ticketed by police in northern cities, as well as in the deep south. And from what I’ve heard, that goes for black and Latino riders in SoCal, too.

A New Jersey paper recommends renting a bike when you travel to Europe, rather than trying to take yours with you.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A Chattanooga national masters champ is doing back-to-back 75-mile rides to celebrate his 75th birthday.

 

International

Cycling Weekly lists eight reasons you should talk your friends into bicycling. They also list six “essential” tips for losing weight by bicycling, all of which you could figure out on your own.

Seventy-one percent of people responding to an online poll in one Canadian town think winter bicycling should be banned; one bighearted driver thinks running over a cyclist could provide extra traction on icy streets.

Toronto ups the ante for the combination of a coffee shop and bike shop by throwing in an art gallery, too.

London’s police department is going to put undercover cops on bikes to bust drivers making dangerous passes; they want to send the message that anyone on a bike could be a cop. We’ve been trying to talk the LAPD into trying that for years, but without success so far.

Britain sets aside £300 million — the equivalent of $376 million — for bicycling, then spends it on other things.

An Irish cyclist tries to reassure local businesses that bike lanes and parking can coexist, and that bike riders shop, too.

In a truly bizarre case, Dutch police have filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice against a UN lawyer from Jamaica who claimed she had been brutalized by cops who arrested her when she got off her bike and walked it across a busy street.

Who needs a mountain when you’ve got a parking garage? Adelaide, Australia cyclists compete in their own indoor hill climb. Thanks to Adam Ginsberg for the news.

Bangladeshi bicyclists set a new world record for the longest single-file line of moving bicycle traveling together, with 1,186 riders. Even that’s probably not enough to convince some drivers it’s better to let cyclists ride abreast.

 

Finally…

If you have to ask a Tostitos bag if you’re too drunk to drive, you’re too drunk to drive. Better stick to IPAs; the beer you drink could say you’re likely to have your bike stolen.

And this is what happens when a town gets serious about promoting bicycling, without getting too serious.

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Thanks to Todd Rowell for his generous donation to support this site. Donations are always welcome to help us bring you the best, freshest and most accurate bike news in this post-truth era of alternate facts and fake news.

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