Tag Archive for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

US traffic deaths soar, LA Times picks Pynoos over O’Farrell, and Friedman fights for bike safety on Burbank bridge

If you thought our roads are getting more dangerous, you’re right.

According to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 42,915 people were killed on American streets last year — the highest total since 2005, and an increase of 10.5 percent over 2020.

Bicycling fatalities rose five percent, to 985 — an average of five deaths every two days — while pedestrian deaths jumped 13 percent to 7,342.

Not surprisingly, nearly two-thirds of US traffic fatalities occurred in urban areas, where there are more people, and more cars.

Artwork by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the heads-up.

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In political news, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer dropped out of the race for mayor, swinging his support to Karen Bass.

And the LA Times made a surprising endorsement of former Mike Biden staffer Karen Pynoos over incumbent Mitch O’Farrell in CD13 — without mentioning O’Farrell’s role in tanking the shovel-ready Temple Street lane reduction in the wake of the Playa del Rey fiasco.

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California Assembly Transportation Chair Laura Friedman jumped into the road safety fight to push for steps to improve bike and pedestrian safety on the new Burbank Blvd Bridge.

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Still more Bike to Work Week news.

Or bike anywhere, for that matter.

Tonight marks the annual Ride of Silence, with rides throughout California; a ride will be held in Los Angeles at 7 pm tonight, starting at 3554 W. First St .

Metro is celebrating tomorrow’s Bike to Work Day by offering free rides for everyone on all Metro Bus and Rail lines, as well as free half-hour Metro Bike rides.

Bike Metro is teaming with the LACBC to host a lunchtime ride through Chinatown on Thursday’s Bike to Work Day.

Culver City Bus is offering free rides for bike riders on tomorrow’s Bike to Work Day.

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition and Day One are hosting a Handlebar Happy Hour at the Dog Haus tomorrow night.

And make plans for a Spoke and Art Ride this Saturday.

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

There’s a special place in hell for the bike thieves who rammed an 81-year old British man with their car, knocking him into a ditch and stealing his new mountain bike.

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

A 35-year old ex-con will stand trial for the unprovoked murder of a San Diego man in a Pacific Beach restroom, before the killer fled on a bicycle; Martin Alvarez, Jr. has entered a not guilty plea to the fatal stabbing.

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Local

The proposed LA River Master Plan has been posted online, along with public comments about the plan.

A massive Puente Hills landfill could soon become the new Puente Hills Regional Park, including plans for a bike skills park.

 

State 

Plans for a two-way bikeway down the middle of Palo Alto’s California Street hit the skids, failing on a tie vote at the city council.

 

National

No surprise here. A new study from the Urban Institute shows that tax rebates are a better solution to soaring prices than cutting gas taxes, while policies that discourage driving — like high gas prices, for instance — would have the greatest longterm impact on inflation.

Advisory bike lanes, which give bike riders priority and force drivers to share the roadway, are coming to a pair of short Portland streets. Advisory streets have bike lanes on either side, with a single car lane shared by drivers traveling in both directions; drivers are expected to move into the bike lanes to pass one another, before returning to their lane. Let’s hope they have a better rollout than they did in San Diego

A crowdfunding account has raised over $91,000 for the family of a young Las Vegas father who was killed by a speeding driver while riding his bike on Sunday.

A Minneapolis man pulled himself out of depression and got his life on track with an apprenticeship at a nonprofit bike shop dedicated to providing mentorship and training for young people dealing with housing instability.

Miami bike riders demanded safety improvements to the city’s Rickenbacker Causeway following the death of a couple riding in the bridge’s green bike lane.

 

International

Cycling Weekly considers what makes a good beginner bicycle.

After bike riders complained about a 22 mph speed limit, organizers of the 20,000 person Ride London backed off and removed the speed cap.

Someone cut the locks off a semi-truck in the UK, and made off with 133 Merida bikes as the truck was stopped at a truck stop, while leaving 73 bikes behind.

The co-owner of the Israel Cycling Academy WorldTour cycling team has donated one million dollars to complete a bike trail in Elad.

A Kiwi driver was captured on video ramming a woman riding a bike directly in front of her car, but will only get a lousy $150 fine because she “wasn’t injured enough.” But at least the driver apologized and offered to fix her bike.

 

Competitive Cycling

History was made Tuesday when 22-year old Eritrean cyclist Biniam Girmay outsprinted Mathieu van der Poel to win stage 10 of the Giro, becoming the first Black African to win a Grand Tour stage.

Ayesha McGowan, the only Black rider on the women’s pro tour, called it a victory for all of us.

Even van der Poel showed his support for Girmay in defeat, with a thumbs up gesture as the African rider crossed the finish line.

 

Finally…

Your next e-cargo bike could be self-charging with solar panels. And Giro podium today, followed by a Prosecco cork in the eye.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

California traffic deaths jump 17% last year, Metro proposes erasing NoHo bike lane, and register your bike already

No, you’re not just being paranoid.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released their latest count of US traffic deaths for the first nine months of last year, showing an estimated 31,720 people died in motor vehicle crashes through the end of September.

That’s a 12% increase over the previous year, and the most traffic deaths in 15 years.

Not to mention the biggest one-year jump since they’ve been keeping score.

Things are even worse here in California, which saw a 17.2% increase in traffic deaths for the first nine months of 2021.

Unfortunately, they don’t break out figures for bicycling and pedestrian deaths, so we’ll have to wait to learn just how bad it’s been for those of us who aren’t wrapped in a couple tons of steel and glass, and protected by seat belts and air bags instead of a little plastic hat.

But if you thought it was getting worse out there, you’re right.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.

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Unbelievable.

The world may be burning, but Metro is busy erasing bike lanes.

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Yet another reminder to register your bike.

Now.

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I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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

Life is cheap in South Africa, where a prominent triathlete was killed and another injured by an alleged drunken hit-and-run driver, who was released on bail due to “lack of evidence;” the driver couldn’t get away because his Porsche was too damaged to drive. Which sounds like pretty solid evidence to me, but what the hell do I know?

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

Police in London’s Hackney district busted 18 people on bicycles for jumping red lights in just 90 minutes, fining them the equivalent of around $68.

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Local

Los Angeles is hosting tire recycling events in Baldwin Park at the end of this month, East LA next month and the Antelope Valley in April. And yes, they’ll take bike tires and tubes.

Once again, an Apple Watch has called for help to rescue an injured bike rider, this time when a man somehow came off his ebike while riding in Hermosa Beach.

 

State

A man known as the scraper bike king of East Oakland is working with kids to carry on the tradition of colorful, highly customized bikes, hoping it will help keep them out of trouble like it did him.

 

National

A new study from the Urban Institute shows that pressuring city officials to build bikeways works.

This is who we’ll soon have to share the road with. Even an automotive site calls for banning the new 840 horsepower Dodge Demon from public roads, calling it a nominally street-legal dragster.

Dockless e-scooter provider Superpedestrian is rolling out a new safety system designed to detect and correct unsafe rider behavior in real time, preventing things like riding on the sidewalk or riding salmon.

Triathlete credits a bike safety campaign featuring triathletes for the White House’s shift to prioritizing bicycle safety.

220 Triathlon considers whether you’d be better off with a women’s bike.

Reno bike riders get a new nearly half-mile multi-use path near the airport. Although it looks like whoever striped it needs to cut back on the weed.

A Denver bike advocate laments the death of what would have been a perfect bike lane, thanks to a whole 17 complaints during the public comment period.

An Ohio letter writer complains about the angry drivers who feel the need to ruin a good bike ride because they don’t understand the law. Or just having a bad day.

The Boston Globe marks Black History Month by remembering Kittie Knox, who integrated the League of American Wheelmen — now the League of American Bicyclists, aka Bike League — in 1893, a year before the organization banned Black members to keep her out.

A writer for Jalopnik totals up what it cost, in dollars and swearing, to rebuild a titanium Litespeed bike abandoned for two years on a Brooklyn street.

A New York photographer documents Gotham bike messengers of the 1990s.

 

International

More proof bike riders face the same problems everywhere, as bicyclists in Antigua and Barbuda renewed calls for greater consideration on the roads after a 16-year old boy was while killed riding his bike.

Something tells me there will be no shortage of volunteers to become the UK’s first bike lane inspector.

America’s Got Talent star Simon Cowell is still one of us, despite suffering a broken arm and suspected concussion when he pulled an endo hitting a wet patch while riding his ebike in London; he fractured his back in 2020 crashing an electric motorcycle.

That’s more like it. A drunk hit-and-run driver got seven years behind bars for killing a British man riding a bicycle; he was captured when police spotted him from a helicopter trying to sleep it off in a field.

A Scottish transport and health professor explains the changes to Britain’s Highway Code, while stressing that it’s probably not enough to change anyone’s behavior. Meanwhile, a British bike rider says forget the Highway Code, he just wants to get home in one piece.

A Santa Fe man offers advice on what to consider before exploring Germany by bicycle. Pro tip: Stop the page from loading before the paywall pops up.

As if careless drivers weren’t enough to worry about, a Spanish bike rider was seriously injured when he was shot by a hunter, who apparently mistook him for some sort of game animal riding a bicycle.

A European travel site explores Dubai’s 52-mile Al Qudra cycle track, which connects to other bikeways to form a 124-mile route.

Fifty people had to be evacuated from a Singapore housing block when a ped-assist ebike battery caught fire; authorities advised not using third-party batteries or charging them overnight to avoid fires.

 

Competitive Cycling

Egan Bernal remains in serious but stable condition, as his doctors shift to a focus on pain management to deal with his multiple injuries; Bernal suffered a fractured femur, kneecap, vertebrae and ribs, as well as a punctured lung and chest trauma when he slammed into a poorly parked bus while training in Colombia.

 

Finally…

When you’re trying to escape the cops with an outstanding warrant, try not to ride head-on into a patrol car. Why ride on dry, dusty mountain bike trails when you could have your very own dust Zamboni — which is exactly what it sounds like?

And shades of the Super Bowl Shuffle.

https://twitter.com/AstanaQazTeam/status/1488479125589442561?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1488479125589442561%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cyclingweekly.com%2Fnews%2Fastana-release-new-rap-video-starring-vincenzo-nibali-and-alexander-vinokourov

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

DTLA hit-and-run driver abandoned stolen car, US traffic deaths spike in 2021, and $1,500 federal ebike tax credit back in bill

More information on yesterday’s hit-and-run in Downtown Los Angeles.

The victim was riding an e-scooter against traffic when she was struck by the driver of a Chevy Spark; the impact threw her onto the sidewalk where she landed head-first.

She was hospitalized in the intensive care unit with severe head trauma, but is expected to survive.

And confirming yesterday’s speculation, the LAPD reports the car was stolen, which explains why the hit-and-run driver fled on foot while leaving the car behind.

An LAPD press release offered this description of the suspect.

The driver who fled was described as a 20- to 25-year-old man, 5 feet, 6 inches to 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing between 150 and 175 pounds with a tattoo of unknown writing on the right side of his chest. He was last seen wearing gray pants with a possible camouflage pattern.

Anyone with information is urged to contact LAPD Central Traffic Investigator Diaz at 213/833-3713, or email 36160@lapd.online. Calls made during non-business hours or on weekends can be made to 877/527-3247.

As always, there is a standing $25,000 reward for any hit-and-run resulting in serious injury in the City of Los Angeles.

Suspect photo from LAPD press release.

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Is anyone really surprised that US traffic deaths are up nearly 20% in the first six months of this year?

According to the press release below, that’s the largest six-month increase ever recorded, and the most deaths in the first six months of any year since 2006.

Meanwhile, a new AAA study shows fewer American drivers are running red lights or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, contradicting fears that stoned driving would spike as more states legalize cannabis.

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At last, there’s a little good news out of Washington, as the latest version of the federal infrastructure bill restores the original $1,500 ebike tax credit, which had been cut to just $750 in a House committee.

The credit would cover 30% of the purchase price of ebikes costing up to $5,000, with a declining percentage above that for bikes up to eight grand.

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The East Side Riders are combining a little Halloween fun with Vision Zero advocacy this Sunday.

There’s also an unrelated ride later in the day for nighttime Halloween partiers.

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Speaking of the East Side Riders, if anyone wonders why I’m such a longtime fan of the bike club, and founder John Jones III, all you have to do is watch this.

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Nice to see the L39ion of Los Angeles cycling team looking beyond bike racing to give back to the community, as they attempt to raise $200,000 to get more kids on bikes, and more bikes in schools.

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Fun video from Phil Gaimon, as he goes riding where the deer and the antelope — and moose and bear — play in Wyoming’s Grand Tetons National Park, which remains one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

And yes, I’ve gone swimming in that lake he finds.

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Now we have to worry about getting buzzed from above, too.

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

No bias here. An Encinitas paper continues attempting to blame the victim in the city’s largest legal settlement, as someone who didn’t see the crash insists she was invisible to the driver who hit her bike because of her alleged lack of lights and dark clothing.

Kansas City bike lanes are facing a governmental bikelash, as a city councilmember wants control over what lanes get built — or possibly removed — in her district, despite the city’s previously passed Complete Streets policy.

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

A man on the British Island of Jersey demands action after an ebike rider knocked his 14-year old grandson off his bicycle while passing on a narrow bike path, then left him lying there with a broken wrist while insisting he was too busy to stop.

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Local

Metro’s Regional Connector is expected to open next summer, along with a 700-foot esplanade compete with 40-foot wide walkway and bidirectional bike path.

Shockingly, Los Angeles is among the 25 American cities on track to surpass climate goals set in the 2015 Paris Agreement by 2025, even without doing anything to reduce motor vehicle traffic.

 

State

Streetsblog reports the common theme in the recent California Active Transportation Symposium was the need for planners to actually listen to the bike riders and pedestrians their project will affect. Let’s hope they heard that, because they too often don’t hear us. 

Redlands installs sharrows on a narrow street, even though studies show they’re actually worse than doing nothing.

A 19-year old Davis woman was critically injured when a driver allegedly ran a red light and slammed into her bicycle.

 

National

Consumer Reports offers tips on getting a good bike fit.

An automotive website says Trek’s new 28 mph Domain+ is more like a motorcycle with pedals than an ebike.

Singletracks says you’ve got to stop and smell the ancient ferns along your way.

Seattle’s Rad Power is now the $329 million behemoth of the ebike world, after the company’s latest round of financing brought in an additional $154 million, passing VanMoof as the best-funded ebike brand.

Zion National Park opened a new 10-mile mountain bike trail developed through a public-private partnership in an effort to spread the impact on the popular park.

It takes a special kind of schmuck to run down an eight-year old Utah kid on a bicycle, then leave him lying in the street without calling for help; fortunately, he wasn’t seriously injured.

The family of a six-year old Michigan boy have filed a $4 million lawsuit against their neighbors, alleging that one of the men shot him when he went to get his bike off the neighbor’s lawn earlier this year.

Harlem World Magazine looks back at the New York neighborhood’s 1896 Bicycle Parade, which was sponsored by the Evening Telegram newspaper.

The NYPD reported closing nearly half of complaints about cars illegally parked in bike lanes in less than 15 minutes, and a quarter of the complaints in less that five minutes — an “implausibly fast” rate that critics say is proof they’re closing the files without responding. In other words, they just don’t care about blocked bike lanes, or the safety of people who use them. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

New York has a long way to go to encourage multimodal commutes, with a decided lack of safe bike parking near transit stations. You know they have a problem when the city is compared unfavorably to Los Angeles.

Streetsblog asks why every street doesn’t have a bike lane, after a new report from the New York Department of Transportation shows that painted bike lanes improve safety by 32%, while protected bike lanes cut the risk of injury up to 60%.

The body discovered at the New Jersey HQ of Jamis Bikes we mentioned yesterday belonged to a 43-year old mother who had worked for the company for 20 years; she was allegedly murdered in a hammer attack by a 24-year old coworker who stole her credits cards, then later turned himself into the police.

Atlanta bike cops busted a murder suspect who had been on the run for eight days after he was spotted on a local pathway.

 

International

The BBC looks back at Major Taylor, bicycling’s first Black superstar, and questions why he’s still largely unknown outside of the bike community.

London police are asking anyone who lost a bike recently to contact them after they recovered 20 hot bikes and frames when they busted an alleged bicycle fence. I’ll be happy to take one of the Bromptons if nobody claims ’em.

A Welsh government minister says the country needs to stop the “us vs them” mentality on the streets to improve safety for people on bicycles, astutely adding that some drivers have behavior problems.

Pink Bike explores France’s secret bike parks.

 

Competitive Cycling

The first ever Into The Lion’s Den bike race founded by L39ion of LA’s Williams brothers will roll through the streets of Sacramento tomorrow, with a unique format where teams will represent their home cities.

Italian cyclist Nicola Bagioli is retiring at the ripe old age of 26 to devote his time to making soapstone pottery.

 

Finally…

That feeling when there’s nowhere to park your bike at the world climate conference. Now you, too, can own your very own bespoke bamboo bicycle for the equivalent of just $668.

And why just wear headphones when you can take your piano with you?

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

Morning Links: Marin driver arrested for swerving into 4 cyclists, and traffic deaths up in US, including bicyclists

Call it attempted murder.

In just the latest horrifying attack on the streets, four cyclists participating in the Jensie Gran Fondo of Marin were injured when a driver allegedly swerved his truck into them.

The pickup driver fled the scene after smashing into them from behind, in an attack that witnesses described as intentional.

One of the riders is in stable condition after suffering major injuries; the other three were not seriously injured.

It’s probably not what any of them expected when they signed up to ride with cycling legend Jens Voigt.

Police later arrested 21-year old Novato resident Aaron Michael Paff, an off-duty maintenance worker for the Marin Municipal Water District.

He was taken into custody roughly 12 hours after the attack, and released on $50,000 bond. There was no word on possible charges as of Sunday night.

However, this should be a case of assault with a deadly weapon, at the bare minimum.

Dr. Christopher Thompson got five years in state prison for a similar assault, in which he intentionally brake-checked a pair of riders on Mandeville Canyon Road in 2008.

Photo of suspect vehicle from CHP. Thanks to everyone who let me know about this case.

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It shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that our streets are getting even deadlier.

In the latest report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic fatalities shot up another 5.6% in the US last year, coming on the heels of an 8.4% increase the year before.

According to the report, there was an increase in almost every category, from pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists, to DUIs and day versus night crashes.

A total of 37,461 people were killed on American streets last year, up from 35,485 the year before.

Four hundred ninety-two pedestrians lost their lives, the highest figure since 1990. And 840 bicyclists were killed, a 1.3% increase and the most since 1991.

It’s worth noting, especially in light of the next item, that an average of over 102 people died in crashes in the US every day — dwarfing the 58 killed in Las Vegas last week.

But no one is holding vigils. No one is sending thoughts and prayers.

And hardly anyone even seems to notice.

Or care.

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Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson has written a hard-hitting piece comparing gun violence with the violence on our streets.

In the first instance, Americans have decided that mass shootings are a reasonable and acceptable cost of being able to easily and legally obtain weapons of virtually any kind. In the second, Californians have decided that individual killings of cyclists are a reasonable and acceptable cost for being able to drive as fast as possible to get where they want to go.

Whether or not you agree with his premise, it’s worth the read. Because this is a conversation our country will have to have sooner or later.

And it’s already a lot later than it should be.

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A Belgian cyclist is lucky to walk away after flipping over a barrier at the Giro di Lombardia, as Vincenzo Nibali takes his 50th career win.

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Local

An LA company presents its vision for a four-mile section of the LA River, calling it the LA River Gateway.

One letter writer in the LA Times asks if drivers who object to bike lanes have a better solution, while another says traffic has always been bad in Playa del Rey, and it’s not the bike lanes’ fault.

 

State

New bicycle wayfinding signs go up in Highland.

The Southern California Association of Governments has approved nearly $10 million in funding for active transportation projects in the Coachella Valley.

Ventura County approves construction of bike lanes along Potrero Road near Lake Sherwood.

Sad news from Arroyo Grande, where a woman was killed while riding her bike on the popular Corbett Canyon Road; the driver played a variation of the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, claiming he couldn’t see her because the sun was in his eyes. Even though admitting something like that should be a confession, not an alibi. Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling for the heads-up.

A drunk San Francisco salmon cyclist was responsible for one of the 13 crashes involving GM’s driverless cars when he crashed into the car’s bumper after its human operator had stopped the vehicle.

 

National

A Spokane WA woman is considering a civil suit after a bike rider plowed into her on a multi-use trial; the rider yelled “hot pizza” as a warning, somehow thinking that would make her get out of his way. Pedestrians are unpredictable. So slow the f*** down around them and pass carefully. It’s not that hard.

Dozens of wounded vets joined 71-year old former president George W. Bush on his annual Warrior 100K mountain bike ride.

A driver in Austin TX says he only drove drunk, ran down a cyclist and fled the scene because there was a two-hour wait for a cab.

A Montana man is working to send bikes to Central America to be converted to pedal-powered machines.

An Indiana man rode 2,800 miles from Portland, Oregon to his home state, despite suffering from epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

Facing 35 years in prison for the drunken hit-and-run death of a bicyclist, a Kentucky driver tries to withdraw his guilty plea, saying it wasn’t fair because the crash wasn’t intentional. And the drinking — and getting behind the wheel afterwards — was probably an accident, too.

Over one thousand bicyclists turned out to ride with actor Patrick Dempsey at his annual fundraiser ride in Maine.

A New York man died a week after he was attacked with a hammer by five teenagers who were trying to steal his bike. We’ve said it many times before — no bicycle is worth your life, so just let it go.

A New York woman has died a month after she was struck by a drunk, unlicensed driver who plowed into several bicyclists who were on a fundraising ride. As I recall, there were allegation that this crash may have been intentional, as well.

A homeless man in Florida has been ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial in the stabbing death of a man who was riding his bike from Connecticut to Miami to propose to his girlfriend.

 

International

A Toronto columnist asks if there’s a war on cars in the city, why are drivers the only ones racking up a body count? It’s a question we should be asking here, and every city where drivers claim ownership of the streets. Which is pretty much everywhere. Thanks to Norm Bradwell for the link.

No bias here. Britain’s Daily Mail offers a breathless headline saying two pedestrians are killed or maimed by bicyclists every week. Then in smaller type mentions that there’s no information on who was at fault, and that it still amounts to less than 1% of pedestrian injuries each year on British roads.

Caught on video: A road raging London driver loses it because a bike rider had the audacity to be in front of him.

A London priest is urging his parishioners to pray to stop a bikeway from being installed in front of the church, claiming it would do more harm that the German Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain.

Caught on video too: A British man learns why you don’t ride under crossing gates.

A man in the UK rode his bike 450 miles through France and Great Britain to deliver a petition to the prime minister’s office to cancel Brexit.

A new Scottish study shows riding a bike on bad roads for as little as 16 minutes is enough to cause nerve damage in the hands and arms. Which means that most LA bike riders could have trouble just picking up a pencil.

An Australian state supreme court justice is one of us, too.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could be a boat. Any band can travel by bike between gigs, but how many perform along the way?

And if you’re going to suffer a heart attack while riding, do it in front of a restaurant full of medical professionals.

 

Morning Links: Traffic fatalities up nationwide, bike deaths reach 1990s levels; an NFL analyst says he’s sorry

It’s not your imagination.

Newly released government stats show America’s roads really are getting more dangerous.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic fatalities shot up 7.2% nationwide last year, the largest increase since Lyndon Johnson was president.

The total of 35,092 is still significantly lower than 2006, when 42,708 people died on American streets; however, this is the first year to defy the downward trend that has followed ever since.

Authorities say the increase is due at least in part to a 3.5% increase in vehicle miles traveled, which represents the largest increase in VMT in 25 years, spurred by lower gas prices and increased employment.

One in three fatalities involved drug driving or speeding, while one in ten involved distracted drivers.

Meanwhile, pedestrian deaths were up 9.5%, while bicycling fatalities increased a whopping 12.2% — both at the highest levels since the ‘90s, erasing two decades of safety gains.

That works out to an average of 96 people killed in traffic collisions every single day — more than two of whom were traveling by bicycle.

A genuine commitment to implement Vision Zero can’t come soon enough.

Or strongly enough.

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Today’s common theme is follow-ups to a number of recent news stories.

Cycling in the South Bay writes about the NFL Network’s Heath Evans, one of several recent anti-bike tweeters, who actually had the courage to show up and apologize. And turned out to be a pretty decent guy.

Mountain bikers call BS on a Forest Service investigation that a bike pedal scraping a rock caused a forest fire near Mammoth Lakes.

A Toronto bike advocate concludes the Canadian senator who complained bike lanes were turning the city into a third world country is out of touch. To say the least.

 

Twitter users respond brilliantly to a recent misleading article suggesting London bicyclists are ignoring the city’s new bike superhighways.

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Another day, another new leader in the Vuelta, and this time, by a wide margin.

America’s last remaining Tour de France winner claims to have developed a new process to dramatically cut the cost of carbon fiber. Let’s hope that means cheaper bike frames down the road.

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Local

Richard Risemberg says the new Expo Line bike path isn’t just fragmented, it’s demented.

LAist hears from Angelenos who live carfree; most cite less stress as the primary benefit to traveling the city without the seemingly requisite cars; Kimpton Hotels tackles the same subject for travelers visiting California.

Bike Walk Burbank will hold their annual meeting on Sept. 7th.

 

State

The Newport Beach Police Department warns about an increase in bike thefts.

Evidently, drivers break the law, too; San Diego police list the leading offense drivers are ticketed for as speeding, followed by disobeying traffic signals and driving without a license. So evidently, bike riders aren’t the only ones who roll stops and red lights. Despite what this commenter has to say.

San Diego bicyclists take a moonlight ride in their undies.

Rancho Santa Fe announces plans to move and elevate El Camino Real, while converting it a complete street with bike lanes and sidewalks.

Moreno Valley police blame the victim after a teenage bike rider is left lying in the road by a hit-and-run driver, saying he rode through a red light.

Talk about burying the lede. A Thousand Oaks cyclist was apparently chased down and struck by a road raging driver, in a case the police are investigating as an assault with a deadly weapon, although the Ventura County Star insists on treating it as a hit-and-run.

A San Francisco man is under arrest for stabbing two strangers in the head with a screwdriver on a BART train, then making his escape by stealing a bicycling at knifepoint.

Sacramento is planning to make major changes to downtown streets to improve safety for bike riders and provide transportation alternatives in anticipation of a boost in population.

 

National

A conservation writer looks at the science behind cycling’s enormous gender discrepancy. Which you could probably have figured out on your own.

Alta Planning’s Mia Burk says the biggest change over the last 20 years is that active transportation has become mainstream.

Police in Anchorage AK are looking for a bike rider who has pepper sprayed at least four people.

Win your third consecutive gold medal, and maybe Boise ID will name a park after you, too.

More anti-bike sabotage, as someone tossed tacks on the route of an Illinois crit; eight riders luckily escaped serious injury in a pileup caused by flats.

A Minnesota letter writer says that despite complaints from some people, a busy street that recently underwent a road diet has never been safer, and the bike lanes are used year round.

In a strange case from Minnesota, a man on an motorized-assist bicycle was the victim of a fatal hit-and-run; a similar bike was found at the same location the next morning, but police suggest it’s just a coincidence. Evidently, people in Minnesota just happen to leave bicycles like that lying around for no apparent reason all the time.

Cincinnati’s Red Bike may be the country’s most profitable bikeshare system.

Players from ten states converge on Memphis for a laid-back bike polo tournament.

 

International

Officials in Matamoros, Mexico, and Brownsville, Texas are planning to link the cities with a cross-border bike path. Maybe they can build a tunnel through Trump’s wall if he gets elected.

A new Canadian study shows having bikeshare stations nearby boosts property values up to 3%.

An English city belatedly realizes that they didn’t actually ban bikes from eleven streets, but only restricted the hours bicyclists could ride in pedestrianized areas. And can’t decide on who’s supposed to enforce it.

Paris ups the ante on open streets, banning cars from the entire city for one glorious day next month.

A New Zealand website says e-bikes aren’t cheating.

Caught on video: After an Aussie cyclist flipped off the truck driver who nearly ran him off the road, the driver got out of his cab to repeatedly threaten the rider.

Now that’s more like it. Japan is considering requiring car makers to include safety features to protect bike riders in crashes, including possible changes to the upper parts of vehicles. That’s because bike riders sit higher than pedestrians, and tend to strike the hood and windshield of cars in a crash. Although the better solution is not to hit them in the first place.

A Malaysian cyclist offers the fine points of using a bicycle to solve the first mile/last mile transit connections. Most of which would apply here, as well.

 

Finally…

Regardless of how annoying it is when drivers honk at you, please try to keep your pants on. Now that’s what I call a fat bike.

And your helmet may not protect you from a speeding car, but it could save you from a leaping stag.

 

Traffic deaths up nationwide in 2012, while US bike deaths increase 6.5%; plus lots of fresh bike links

The news is out, and it’s not good.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic fatalities are up for the first time in the last seven years, with 33,561 deaths in 2012, compared to 32,479 the year before.

That total includes 726 bike riders who lost their lives in 2012 — a 6.5% increase — and 49,000 injured. Pedestrians and cyclists represented 17% of traffic deaths, compared to just 13% in 2003.

Of course, it’s possible, even likely, that the increase in cycling deaths and injuries is a result of an increase in ridership, though we have no idea whether the increase is proportionate to the rise in cycling rates.

However, the increase may call into question the much-cited safety in numbers effect.

………

Just Ride LA has scheduled a bike race to benefit the Philippines on the 21st. Time is running out to save the Riverside-Figueroa bridge. Gary Kavanagh discusses mainstreaming bicycle lessons learned from bike-friendly Davis CA. Manhattan Beach approves sharrows, but not on Pacific. Women on Bikes’ Pedal Love project is raising funds to inspire women and girls to ride as part of their daily lives. Calabasas gets a new bike and pedestrian plan. While bike haters claim we don’t pay our fair share for the roads, Rick Risemberg points out it’s drivers who need to dig a little deeper.

The case of fallen Newport Beach cyclist Debra Deem has been referred to the Orange County DA’s office. A Corona del Mar cyclist is slightly injured in a collision on the Coast Highway, while another rider is injured in San Clemente. A San Diego driver parks his car in a bike lane, and the press blames a cyclist for running into it. Santa Barbara bike rider is injured in a train collision when he doesn’t bother to look before crossing the tracks; thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link. A road raging San Francisco driver is under arrest for intentionally running down a bike rider. San Francisco 49er players build bikes to give to kids. Chico paper says two recent fallen cyclists did everything right — then tells cyclists to obey the letter of the law to improve safety.

In a shocking display of bipartisanship, Congress members from both parties introduce the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act to set separate safety targets for motorized and non-motorized transportation. Stoplights made for cars leave cyclists stuck on red. Portland infographic clearly shows bikes aren’t getting a free ride. A Utah cyclist is injured because a teenage driver couldn’t take her eyes off the pretty foliage. Driver ticketed for a fatal left cross in my hometown. The Boulder CO driver whose carelessness left ‘70s cycling legend Dale Stetina with life-threatening injuries faces charges, as well; Stetina could be out of the hospital next month. Eighty-five year old Iowa doctor still rides 100 miles a week, on skinny tires, no less. Getting it wrong: Time Magazine says Boston has finally solved bike sharing’s bike safety problem, which oddly hasn’t been a problem anywhere else. Glenn Beck, among others, urges New York’s new mayor to lose the bike lanes; better yet, let’s lose Glenn Beck and make the world a better place. Going to war over bike lanes and parking spaces in Alexandria VA.

A rash of fatalities strikes British cycling, with six dead in the last nine days — five in London alone. London’s mayor Boris is urged to take action, but shamefully chooses to blame the victims instead. How to stay safe on UK streets. Londonist considers how it would sound if we talked about all road users the way some people talk about cyclists, while a rider says, despite comments to the contrary, respect does not have to be earned. The Evening Standard says London can be a cycling city to rival any in Europe with a different approach. Authorities conclude that a bike-riding British spy died after somehow locking himself into a sports bag; yeah, that’s credible. Bike riding is up in Edinburgh as driving rates drop. Copenhagen design firm creates Lego-like snap-together tiles that can be assembled to create temporary cycle tracks; I like it. A UAE editorial calls for better protection for Emirates riders. Egyptian women are riding bikes in a fight for equality. Cyclists are dying at a faster rate on Australian roads. Thankfully, an Aussie cyclist suffers a massive heart attack while riding, but lives to ride another day. The husband of a fallen New Zealand cyclist calls for an attitude change on the country’s streets. Road raging Kiwi driver faces charges for pushing a rider off his bike, resulting in serious injuries.

Finally, Ireland gets tough on hit-and-run as a proposed law would increase penalties to up to 10 years, which sounds about right to me. And Bikeyface says your lights don’t work if no one can see them.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for bike friendly CA Assemblymember Mike Gatto, whose father was murdered in a home invasion robbery Thursday morning.

Traffic deaths are down, unless you’re on two wheels. Or two feet. Or driving a big ass truck.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released their latest figures for traffic fatalities in 2011.

And the news is not good for bicyclists.

While the overall traffic fatalities showed a nearly 2% decline, bicycle deaths shot up 8.7%, to 677 throughout the U.S. So much for the safety in numbers theory, as the increase is attributed to the higher number of riders on the road.

The news isn’t much better for pedestrians, as bipedalist deaths rose 3% to over 4,400. Then again, either one is better than drivers of large trucks, who saw an amazing 20% increase in fatalities in a single year.

Yet even with increases in virtually every category other than car and light truck drivers and passengers, the total number of traffic fatalities dipped to just over 32,000, the lowest level since 1949.

The Times quotes me as saying in response that bicycle fatalities are a largely urban phenomenon. What I meant by that is that there are more cyclists, and more traffic collisions, in cities, which explains the relatively high number of deaths here in Southern California, while more rural areas may only suffer a handful of deaths each year.

Which is not to say their experience is any less tragic or heartbreaking.

Or unnecessary.

It’s also unclear if the NHTSA figures includes bicycling deaths from various causes, or is limited to fatalities due to collisions.

My counts of 70 SoCal cycling fatalities last year, and 71 so far this year, include deaths due to all causes except for shootings — including solo falls, collisions with trains, and deaths due to natural causes while riding, which may not be included in the NHTSA figures.

We’ll have to wait until statistics for individual states are released to see if their totals are anywhere close to the numbers I’ve counted, which showed a significant increase over the NHTSA’s figures for 2010.

Or if it will be closer to the 49 deaths registered in 2010, before I started tracking them on my own.

Meanwhile, a Sacramento writer says to take those numbers with a grain of salt.

………

Los Angeles’ newfound commitment to bicycling helps make us smarter than our neighbor to the south; sorry San Diego. Women on Bikes SoCal interviews new Bike Nation bike share head April Economides. Long Beach releases ten years of data on the causes of local bike crashes; cyclists are to blame for the top three, which makes me wonder who compiled the figures and how. More on the Long Beach cyclist being named the city’s person of the year. An Orange County man is under arrest for stealing a five year old’s bike; the victim drew his own wanted poster. Fontana cyclist fights off would-be robbers on his way to work. A Marin writer says when police crack down on cyclists, it makes the road a more dangerous place. Sonoma County votes to screw cyclists and pedestrians. A Vacaville woman is looking for the good Samaritan cyclist who helped save the life of her bike riding husband.

Even Goldfish crackers are riding bikes these days — with a helmet, no less. Sometimes, the real victory is just not quitting; I’ve learned many times over that it’s always too soon to quit, whether on a bike or in life. Portland reaches double digits when it comes to kids bicycling to school; kind of sad that such a low number is such a big achievement. My Colorado hometown celebrates a winter Bike to Work Day; if they can do that on a chilly December day, why can’t we do it here in sunny SoCal? A Rochester NY cyclist is hit by a police cruiser; needless to say, it took little time to find the rider at fault. Pedestrians call for bike-only traffic signals in New York’s Central Park to address red light-running bike riders. Making the public health case for bicycling.

A Toronto writer explains why we mourn fallen cyclists. Alex Moulton, developer of the iconic small-wheeled Moulton bicycle, passed away at 92. A British driver who fatally doored a cyclist may not have seen his victim, after recently having his windows tinted to allow only 17% transparency. If there’s a war on Britain’s roads, only a small minority of drivers and cyclists are taking part; personally, I’d call that one a must read. An Aussie writer says it’s time to declare war on cyclists, because we’re so much more dangerous than motor vehicles; nice to know irresponsible journalism isn’t just an American phenomenon. Meanwhile, a local bike organization offers a more rational response. And an Aussie planning institute says give up on bikeways and turn them into Segway and scooter lanes, because their lazy ass countrymen won’t ride them anyway.

Finally, the Alliance for Biking and Walking is looking for nominations for their 2013 bike and pedestrian advocacy awards, both individual advocates and organizations are eligible. When you fill out your nomination, it’s spelled B-i-k-i-n-g-i-n-L-A.

Okay, okay, I’m kidding.

Sort of.

NHTSA data shows drop in traffic and bike deaths — and cyclists fare as well in collisions as motorists

I’m stunned.

Like just about everyone else, I have always assumed that the lack of protection afforded cyclists meant that we fare far worse in collisions than the occupants of motor vehicles.

After all, we don’t have seat belts and airbags — let alone a couple tons of steel and glass — to protect us. Just a thin shell of foam covered in plastic and a maybe bit of chamois between our legs.

But I was wrong.

During an email exchange with fellow cyclist and KCRW chief engineer Steve Herbert, he posed an intriguing question.

For all the cycling deaths we are seeing and the lack of protection a bicycle provides us in a crash with another automobile, I wonder if fatality numbers are proportionally higher than that of motor vehicle occupants?

Fortunately, the answer was readily at hand.

Just yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the latest traffic fatality statistics for 2010, showing an overall drop in traffic deaths from 1.13 deaths per million vehicle miles traveled in 2009 to 1.09 fatalities per million miles in 2010. And a drop of over 1,000 traffic deaths over the pervious year, from 33,808 to 32,788.

And yes, that’s a significant improvement.

Even if an average of 90 traffic deaths a day is hardly good news.

The news is also better for cyclists, as biking deaths have dropped to 618 — the lowest total in 35 years — despite a dramatic upsurge in ridership.

That’s still an average of 1.7 riders dying on our streets everyday. Nearly 12 every week. Over 51 every month.

And it is still far from acceptable.

The real surprise came when I dug a little deeper into those figures.

According to the NHTSA figures, excluding motorcyclists, roughly 2,009,000 motor vehicle occupants — drivers and passengers — were seriously injured on American roads last year, compared to 23,946 fatalities. That gives a ratio of 83.9 motor vehicle injuries for every death.*

For the same year, roughly 51,000 cyclists were seriously injured compared to 618 deaths, for a ratio of 83.5 to one.

Look at that again — 83.9:1 for motor vehicles, compared to 83.5:1 for cyclists.

In other words, you have virtually the same risk of dying in a traffic collision riding your bike, with little or no protection, as you have in a car or truck surrounded with safety features.

Of course, that does not take into account the frequency of collisions. While the NHTSA can cite a rate of 1.09 deaths per million miles of vehicle travel, no such figures exist for bikes, as there is no quantifiable method of determining how many miles are travelled by bike each year; any estimate you might see is nothing more than an semi-educated guess at best.

But those figures clearly show, once a wreck severe enough to cause serious injury occurs, you face no statistically greater risk on a bike than you would in a car.**

Don’t know about you, but I’m pretty damn shocked.

* Motorcyclists face a significantly greater risk, with 82,000 injuries compared to 4502 fatalities, for a ratio of 19:1.

**Update: One important distinction I failed to make. As maxutility pointed out, the data doesn’t show the same injury to death ratio for all car and bike collisions, but only those severe enough to result in injury. I’ve adjusted the copy to reflect that. The data does not show whether you are more likely to be seriously injured in a collision riding a bike or in a motor vehicle, just the ratio of serious injuries to fatalities.

Reimagining a more livable San Gabriel Valley; dissecting national cycling death statistics

It’s a simple question, really.

Why should L.A. area cyclists give a damn about a freight transportation project — especially one that would follow the course of the San Gabriel River, the near-mythical waterway that flows well east of Downtown, where most Angelenos fear to tread?

The answer is equally simple.

Because it has the potential to dramatically transform transportation and livability of the east L.A. basin, bringing renewed life to communities currently choked by diesel fumes and roadways gridlocked with big rigs. And at the same time, restoring one of L.A.’s concrete-clad water disposal systems to the natural, free-flowing waterway it was before fears of flooding overwhelmed common sense and drove nature to its knees.

Oh, and it includes a bike path, too.

Rick Risemberg, of Bicycle Fixation fame, wrote me last week to call my attention to a proposed project I had been only vaguely aware of, and to which I hadn’t given more than a few moments thought.

GRID — the San Gabriel River Infrastructure Development project — would replace the current system of loading cargo at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach with integrated cargo cranes that would load cargo containers directly onto electric trains, cutting offloading time from 36 hours to two. And at the same time, eliminating the need for thousands of semi-trucks that currently ply the ports and clog SoCal freeways.

The trains would then run through special bunker-strength tunnels placed under the banks of the San Gabriel River up to distribution yards in the Inland Empire, where the cargo would be transferred to trains and trucks for transport throughout the country.

The result would be a dramatic reduction in freeway traffic along the 710 and 605 freeways, virtually eliminating traffic congestion and improving air quality. In fact, traffic could be reduced to such a degree that one or both of the freeways might become obsolete and candidates for removal — greatly improving the livability of an area blighted by massive roadways.

At the same time, a second tunnel could be built for passenger rail, tying into existing Metro Rail, Metrolink and Amtrak railways. Existing high-voltage power lines would also be placed in underground tunnels, freeing thousands of acres of power-line right-of-ways for redevelopment, while pipelines could be included for fresh water and sewage.

And the massive construction project would provide an opportunity to rip out the concrete banks of the river, and return it to the natural riparian basin it was before we felt the need to “improve” it. The result would be a natural riverway lined with parks, wetlands and nature preserves, as well as what would undoubtedly be one of the area’s most beautiful and popular bikeways along the full course of the river.

Yes, it would be expensive. Costs would undoubtedly rise well into the billions, if not more.

But it would provide tens of thousands of good, high-paying jobs in the short term, just as construction of the Hoover Dame did during the last Great Depression. And in the long term, it would result in savings and tax revenues that could far exceed the cost to build it, while providing much needed wildlife habitat and improving the quality of life for every community along its banks.

And it would eliminate the need for the much-debated tunnel under South Pasadena to complete the 710 freeway — which would free up hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for construction costs, while preserving the quality of life in one of the area’s most livable communities.

Of course, getting a massive, expensive project like this approved by today’s small-thinking, auto-centric Tea Party-addled Congress would be challenging, to say the least — even though it would be build largely, if not entirely, through private funding.

Then again, a couple of years ago, I would never have imagined that a bike-friendly L.A. might happen in my lifetime, either.

.………

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released statistics for bicycling deaths in 2009; 630 cyclists were killed in the U.S. and another 51,000 injured. That works out to 2% of all traffic deaths, as well as 2% of traffic injuries, and marks a 12% reduction over 2008.

Contrary to common perception, only one-third of the deaths occurred at intersections, while 72% occurred during daylight hours — though they define daylight as anytime between 4 am and 8 pm.

The average age of cyclists killed and injured on the streets has gradually risen over the previous 10 years to 41; cyclists under the age of 16 accounted for just 13% of fatalities and 20% of injuries. Seven times more men were killed than women, and four times as many men were injured.

Forty percent of fatalities involved alcohol use; surprisingly, 28% of the cyclists who were killed had been drinking.

California had more than it’s share of fatalities, with 99 cyclists killed; 3.2% of the total 3,081 traffic fatalities. That works out to 2.68 bicycling fatalities per one million residents, which places us in the top ten most dangerous states per capita. Yet that pales compared to Delaware and Florida — which once again ranks as the nation’s deadliest state to ride, with 107 cycling fatalities — at 6.78 and 5.77 fatalities per million residents, respectively.

Main, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and the District of Columbia had no bicyclists killed in 2009.

Just in case you’re thinking about moving somewhere a little safer.

.………

Rick Risemberg endorses bike advocate Stephen Box for L.A.’s 4th Council District, with some reservations. LACBC calls on cyclists to bike the vote, offering survey responses from some of the city’s council candidates. Grist says the new bike plan shows the cabbie who ran Mayor Villaraigosa deserves a big, fat tip, while the National Resources Defense Council says the plan paves the way for a greener Los Angeles. The L.A. Times endorses the bike plan, though that might have carried more weight before the council vote.

Tree Hugger offers a list of bike Twitter accounts to follow; Joe Anthony’s Bike Commute News and Long Beach expats PathLessPedaled were the only Southern Californians to make the list. A bike ride a day could keep the doctor away. Utah shoots down a proposed Idaho Stop bill. While New York police continue to crack down on cyclists, they continue to ignore far more dangerous behavior by drivers; the Wall Street Journal says Gotham cyclists really aren’t that bad. Protected bike paths increase riding while easing congestion. The New York assemblyman who proposed a law requiring license plates for all cyclists has wisely withdrawn his bill. Fairfax VA’s bike coordinator position is under attack as a “political statement position.”

Finally, a ban on biking London’s South Bank is reversed, and considerate cyclists are now welcomed. And a British drivers’ organization says kids should glow in the dark; maybe we should require anyone under 16 to wear a flashing neon sign that says “Don’t Hit Me.”

After all, there’s obviously no point in asking drivers to pay attention.

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