Tag Archive for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Still no Koreatown traffic signal after 3 years, Huizar rides 6th Street Bridge, and NHTSA boss calls for Idaho Stop

Good question.

It’s been three full years since a four-year old girl was killed by a left-turning driver while holding her mother’s hand in a Koreatown crosswalk.

Now LAist wants to know why nothing has been done to install the new traffic signal Koreatown residents were promised in response to Alessa Fajardo’s death as she was walking to school.

Alessa’s death highlighted a series of failures: by the driver who killed her and — more significantly — by the city of L.A., which long knew of dangerous conditions at the intersection where she was killed, but did not add (some) safety improvements until after her death…

But three years after Alessa was killed — and more than 30 months since LADOT recommended the signals be upgraded (with 4-way left turn signals) to make the intersection safer — the improvements have not yet been made.

Adding insult to literal injury, the driver apparently skipped town after initially stopping. There’s been an outstanding warrant for Indira Marrero since she failed to appear in court two years ago — despite the relative slap on the wrist of a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge.

Photo by Pixabay.

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It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from disgraced CD14 Councilmember Jose Huizar, who left office under the cloud of racketeering and bribery charges.

Apparently emboldened by the controversy swirling around successor Kevin De León, Huizar popped up yesterday to subtly remind everyone of one of his more popular accomplishments, even though it wasn’t completed until long after he was gone.

Like Huizar, De León refuses to resign despite repeated calls to step down.

Although as shameful as De León’s conduct has been, at least he doesn’t face decades behind bars for his actions, or the lack thereof.

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She gets it.

The acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aka NHTSA, is calling for approving the Idaho Stop Law.

She argues that data shows the law, which allows bicyclists to treat stop signs as yields and red lights as stops signs, provides additional safety benefits to people on bicycles.

It’s already in effect in a handful of cities and states, while a modified version known as Stop as Yield — which does not allow for treating red lights as stop signs — is law in several others.

Although not California, where Governor Newsom vetoed it — twice.

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Today’s common theme is cops behaving badly.

A Canadian mountie faces charges for hitting a bike-riding suspect with his patrol car, after two men on a bicycles were seen making off with a large metal safe on a dolly.

And a 22-year old Aukland, New Zealand cop pled guilty to the off-duty death of a bike-riding man, while driving at well over twice the legal alcohol limit.

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

A white Illinois woman walked with probation after being allowed to plead down a felony hate crime charge to a single count of misdemeanor battery, for confronting three Black men riding their bikes along Lake Michigan, insisting their skin color meant they couldn’t be there without a permit.

Anger is growing in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a road raging driver was caught on security cam driving up on a sidewalk to hit a bike rider; both the driver and the victim left the scene afterwards. Always stick around to talk to the police after any assault, vehicular or otherwise.

A Toronto bike rider was lucky to escape from a road raging driver who swerved into him, before getting out of his truck to attack him. Laws may be different in Canada, but LAPD officers have told me that simply exiting a vehicle to confront someone is enough to subject a driver to assault charges.

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

Police in Springfield, Missouri are looking for a bike-riding woman and her companion, after they ignored No Trespassing signs to steal an 80 to 100-pound bench.

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Local

Pasadena has received a $36,500 site grant to improve bike and pedestrian safety.

 

State 

Orange County sheriff’s deputies will host a pair of free, all-ages ebike safety classes in Rancho Santa Margarita over the next two months.

Santa Barbara is removing the green bike lane markings from the center of the State Street Promenade. The bike lanes were intended to separate bike riders and pedestrians, but were ignored by people walking; now bicyclists and pedestrians will be expected to share the carfree street.

Tragic news from Fresno, where someone riding a bicycle was killed in a collision near the Fresno State University campus.

Apparently missing the point of a quick-build bike lane, San Francisco business owners are calling for more study and complaining about a loss of parking, even though the idea behind quick-build lanes is to try them out to see if they work.

Great idea. A resident-led rapid response group is working to call attention to traffic violence in Oakland, quickly organizing protests following deadly collisions.

 

National

Lifehacker offers advice on how to ride your bike in the rain.

Thrillist talks to the “experts” for a list of 16 bicycling essentials every new rider should own. None of which are actually essential.

A Tacoma, Washington bike drive bought in 370 bicycles to be refurbished and donated to people in need.

Fast Company looks at Denver’s wildly successful and popular $4.1 million ebike rebate program.

An Oklahoma man was sentenced to life in prison for the random drive-by shooting that killed a man riding a bicycle; he reportedly killed a stranger just to impress members of a street gang.

An Ohio man wants his coke possession charge separated from charges for the hit-and-run death of a 13-year old boy riding a bicycle, arguing that the drug bust came the next day — even though he was on his way to buy it when he killed the kid.

A Martha’s Vineyard letter writer complains about the two-week closure of a bike path for a three-day music festival, arguing that families and children are routed onto deadly roadways instead.

Lonely Planet says yes, it is possible to be a tourist in New York on a bicycle.

New York is offering a paltry $5,000 reward for the hit-and-run driver who killed a 13-year old boy, who leaped in front of his sister to push her out of the way as they walked in a bike lane.

 

International

Road.cc’s Near Miss of the Day isn’t, after a bike rider’s bikecam catches a van driver actually sideswiping him.

In a major setback for Vancouver bike riders, the city plans to rip out a contentious bike lane through a city park, so cut-through drivers can resume zooming through after being banned during the pandemic.

The conservative Times of London makes a dramatic U-turn by concluding that two-wheels are good, just nine months after demanding licenses and liability insurance for people on bikes. Although they still think cargo bikes annoy drivers.

American Anne Sacoolas pled guilty to a reduced charge of causing death by careless driving in the 2019 head-on, wrong-way driving death of a 19-year old British motorcyclist outside an RAF airbase known to house American spies, where her husband had worked. Sacoolas was able to use her husband’s diplomatic immunity to flee the country; it’s unlikely she will return to the UK for sentencing.

Brussels, Belgium now bans motorists from driving through the city center if that’s not their final destination.

We Love Cycling offers advice on how to cross European borders on a bicycle.

 

Competitive Cycling

Ireland is making a bid to host the start of the Tour de France, possibly as early as 2026.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your new ebike could literally explode. Or when The Cannibal spent twice as long wearing yellow as Britain’s latest prime minister spent in office.

And why tote a bulky tent and sleeping bag on your next bike tour, when you can peddle your very own solar-powered ebike camper van for the low, low price of ten grand?

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

1st quarter traffic deaths jump again, proof pickups and SUVs cause more deaths, and holding killer drivers accountable

No, it’s not your imagination.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported yesterday that more people have died on American streets in the first quarter of this year than any year in the past two decades.

Early NHTSA estimates show 9,560 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes through the end of March, a seven percent increase over last year, which saw the highest number of traffic deaths in 16 years.

In other words, we are going the wrong way, at an ever-increasing pace.

There’s a wide range of likely reasons, ranging from speeding and distracted drivers to trucks and SUVs with high, flat grills designed to kill.

None of which are beyond our ability to solve today.

We only need to get enough people to care enough about the lives of innocent victims to demand change.

But so far, that, too, has been beyond our reach.

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On a related note, Ontario, Canada safety advocates say they have the numbers to prove pickups and SUVs cause more deaths, and have written the province’s chief coroner to request an investigation.

One of the studies, from 2021, estimates 8,131 pedestrians between 2000 and 2019 could have survived if they were struck by sedans instead of SUVs or trucks.

Another study, published in the Journal of Safety Research in June, found that while SUVs and trucks made up just 26.1 per cent of pedestrian and cyclist collisions, they accounted for 44.1 per cent of fatalities.  That study also suggested that because of their larger size, SUVs and trucks are more likely to hit vulnerable road users in the chest or head than a sedan.

Maybe they could write a few letters to US officials while they’re at it.

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A writer for Outside takes a deep dive into the aftermath of a tragic New York bicycling collision that took the life of a young woman, to examine why drivers are so seldom held accountable for killing another person.

And what can be done about it.

As part of the story, he looks back to the magazine’s groundbreaking Cycling Deaths project, which attempted to document every bicycling traffic death in 2020, recording nearly 700 fatalities.

In most of the stories we gathered information on, there were no consequences for the driver or even scrutiny of their behavior. Law enforcement rarely issued a ticket to drivers who killed cyclists. Criminal charges for the crash itself were even less common, often occurring only when a driver was intoxicated. It was hard not to read through each case and wonder: Is that the way things should be? Does driving that results in someone’s death cross the legal threshold for punishment that infrequently?

It’s very hard to find comprehensive data on penalties issued after car crashes, but among the safe-streets advocates and legal experts I talked to, it’s generally taken as a matter of course that people who kill cyclists while driving—even recklessly, even illegally—are rarely held legally accountable for their actions. The big picture, those observers say, is that drivers are offered a kind of impunity that doesn’t exist in just about any other situation where a human kills another human. “The judicial system is applying laws in a way that results in widespread injustice to victims of traffic violence,” says Gregory Shill, a law professor at the University of Iowa. “I would go beyond courts—a common root of all this is that we have a high social acceptance of traffic deaths.”

As the story points out, drivers should automatically lose their license if they kill another person, but seldom do.

As Traffic author Tom Vanderbilt put it, a drivers license is too easy to get, and too hard to lose

If I had my way, killer drivers would be sentenced to work-release, required to serve in emergency rooms and morgues during the day to tend to the victims of traffic violence, before returning to their cells at night.

Although the courts would probably consider that cruel and unusual punishment to subject them to that kind of emotional and psychological torment.

Unlike, say, their victims and their loved ones, who have to suffer that pain for the rest of their lives.

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This is who we share the city with, unfortunately.

Maybe they’re care more if it was 58. Or 59.

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Time’s running out to score a great deal on a vintage bike, and support a good cause in the process.

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Yes, your morning commute can be green, and actually make you happy.

Even in chilly Minnesota.

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Remember this the next time you have to lock your bike up to a banged-up wheel-bender rack.

Thanks to Glenn Crider for the heads-up. 

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GCN wants to help you improve your average speed on your bike.

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Our German correspondent Ralph Durham forwards a photo of race walkers at the European Championships in Munich, where he’s working as a volunteer.

And points out that even they have to cope with race motos. Although the slower pace probably means they pose less risk to the racers.

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

That’s more like it. An Idaho driver has been sentenced to 12 years behind bars, with three years fixed, for chasing bike-riding kids through a public park with his pickup, then running over one boy’s bike after he jumped off. But it’s okay, because he’s really, really sorry. No, really.

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

LAPD officers shot a bike-riding young man waving a machete after he refused orders to drop the knife and allegedly advance on officers; no word on his condition.

Elderly London residents say they’ve stopped walking on a roadway that was closed as part of the city’s Low Traffic Neighborhood, the equivalent of a Slow Street in the US, out of fear of red light-running bicyclists and confusion over who has the right-of-way.

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Local

The Eastsider reports city officials will make the temporary closure of Griffith Park Drive through Griffith Park permanent, after a traffic study showed the closure eliminated cut-through commuter traffic without increasing traffic on Zoo Drive (scroll down).

LADOT is bringing protected bike lanes and bus islands to a one-mile stretch of Central Ave in Watts.

 

State 

A California firm is working with Toshiba to improve the chemistry of ebike batteries to reduce charging times and the risk of battery fires.

A coalition of San Diego advocacy groups have endorsed Alternative D for the planned reconstruction of Park Blvd through Balboa Park, which calls for eliminating parking and installing bus lanes and a separated bike lane.

He gets it. A spokesperson for the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition says the problem isn’t that ebikes are unsafe, it’s a wakeup call to how unsafe the roads are.

Anson Williams, the 72-year old actor who played Potsie in Happy Days back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, is running for mayor of Ojai on a platform that includes expansion of bike paths and trails. He’s got my vote.

This is who we share the road with. A UC Santa Barbara cop was busted for a drunken hit-and-run in Solvang earlier this month; fortunately, his only victim was a parked minivan. Thanks to Ted Faber for the link.

A San Jose homeowner says he’s spent $30,000 to construct reinforced barriers to stop out-of-control drivers, after 23 drivers have slammed into his home since the 680 freeway opened 50 years ago.

 

National

Next City offers more on the recent NACTO report suggesting that bike laws aren’t keeping bike riders safe, while leading to over-policing of people of color.

Cycling Tips offers a beginner’s guide to what matters most in selecting entry-level road and gravel bikes.

More than 2,100 Denver residents have received ebike rebate vouchers up to $1,700 since the program began in April; most putting their ebikes to good use, with around half riding them on a daily basis. On the other hand, California’s fully funded ebike rebate program remains in limbo, apparently awaiting a chilly day in hell. 

Congratulations to Nebraska, which is no longer the nation’s least bike-friendly state; that dishonor now goes to Wyoming, which is unfriendly to bikes and Cheneys, apparently.

Chicago Magazine talks with Christina Whitehouse, the founder of Bike Lane Uprising, an app allowing bike riders to log the location and submit photos of vehicles illegally parked in bike lanes.

No bias here. Chicago cops responded to a protest over drivers running red lights by changing the traffic signal to green for a full five minutes, stranding everyone waiting to cross the street.

A kindhearted Pittsburgh cop bought a new bike and helmet for an eight-year old girl, after firefighters weren’t able to save her bike from a fire at her grandmother’s house.

TMZ offers more information on the death of Ironman triathlete and Norristown PA cop Brian Kozera, who allegedly ran a stop sign on his bike and crashed into the side of a pickup, before being run over by the truck’s rear wheels. As always, the question is whether there were any independent witnesses to the crash, or if investigators are relying on the word of the driver.

 

International

If you’re looking for a new business opportunity, you could do worse than a solar-powered food ebike.

They get it. Calgary, Alberta is installing a bike lane to remove excess road space and slow speeding drivers.

Pilot protected bike lanes on one of Toronto’s busiest streets saw up to a 193% jump in ridership over a single year, while resulting in a less than one minute delay in motor vehicle traffic.

A seven-year old British boy became one of the youngest people to ride from Paris to London after his father was killed in an industrial accident, raising the equivalent of over $42,000 for bereaved children on the 200-mile journey.

The Guardian’s Peter Walker says a proposal to requite license plates on bicycles in the UK makes bicyclists the latest target in the culture wars. The proposed regulations are reminiscent of North Korea, where people are required to pass a bicycle proficiency test and display a metal license plate on their bikes; that country also bans women from riding bikes.

 

Competitive Cycling

For nearly two decades, we’ve been supposed to pretend Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis never won the Tour de France. Now we’re supposed to pretend Nairo Quintana didn’t have a top ten finish in the Tour last year, after UCI stripped him of 6th place for using the prohibited painkiller tramadol; Quintana denies ever using it, of course.

Ramona High School graduate Gwendalyn Gibson, class of 2017, became the only American to win a World Cup mountain bike race this year, after taking first in a West Virginia race last month.

In case you missed it yesterday, NPR offers a good look at gravel racing, and the sport’s emphasis on diversity and inclusion. Thanks to Lionel Mares for the reminder.

This week’s 2022 Para-Cycling Road World Championships somehow slipped under the radar, even as the US is making a good showing.

 

Finally…

Evidently, bike mechanics hate triathletes — and not just because they wear speedos, evidently. That feeling when American tourists have no idea why there are so many bicycles parked at European train stations; thanks to Erik Griswold for the tip.

And now you, too, can have your very own DIY beer stabilization system to avoid spilling your suds as you ride around Burning Man.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

NHTSA considers limiting speeds on new cars, California considers $2,500 tax credit for non-car owners, and Ford finally gets it

It’s Election Day in California. 

If you live in the state, get out and bike the vote if you haven’t already. 

Seriously, what are you waiting for?

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels.

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Yes, please.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aka NHTSA, asked if Americans would accept GPS-based speed limiters that would prevent drivers of new cars from exceeding the speed limit, except in an emergency.

A modern take on mechanical speed governors, the electronic system, which is taking effect in the European Union this year, would slowly reduce deaths and injuries due to speeding as older cars are phased out.

It would also eliminate a leading cause of police traffic stops, reducing racial profiling while improving safety for both police and the vehicle occupants, especially people of color.

Although it’s questionable how well it would be received here in the US, where too many drivers consider speeding their God-given right. And it would drive an inevitable black market industry to disable them.

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Great idea.

Streets For All is working with State Senator Anthony Portantino to sponsor SB 457, which would provide a $2,500 tax rebate for any adults that who don’t own a car.

The goal is to reward people making the socially conscious choice not to drive, while providing a financial incentive for people to go carfree.

Especially in light of a new study shows that the lifetime cost of owning an average small car comes to $689,000, of which society pays $275,000, while owning a Mercedes SUV carries a lifetime burden of over a million dollars.

Which is about as good an argument as you can make for passing a rebate to give up your car for good.

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On further reflection, even Ford gets that their ad was despicable.

Or at least, when social media is against them.

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

No bias here. A writer for City Watch blames road diets for the failure of Vision Zero in Los Angeles, as well as increasing traffic congestion and rising road rage, and all the other ills on our streets. Maybe someone should remind her that most road diets planned for Los Angeles never happened, after cowardly councilmembers cancelled them. 

An 18-year old Georgia woman faces an attempted murder charge after intentionally running down a woman she knew as the victim was riding her bicycle.

Also in Georgia, a man faces charges for intentionally running down a 15-year old boy on a bike with his ATV, after the boy tossed a banana peel on the side of the road next to the man’s property.

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

A Singapore delivery rider was sentenced to three days in jail for crashing his speeding ebike into a 71-year old man, breaking his wrist.

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Local

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee will hold its monthly virtual meeting starting at 6:30 this evening.

The one-woman play California Coast Classic currently being staged in North Hollywood comedically retells the author’s experience with the annual ride from San Fransisco to Malibu to benefit the Arthritis Foundation.

 

State 

About damn time. Caltrans has received $35 million in funding from the California Transportation Commission to upgrade traffic lights and install Class II painted bike lanes along a 20 mile stretch of PCH in Orange County.

San Francisco is planning a half million dollar pilot program to give free ebikes to 35 delivery drivers to get them out of their cars and cut their carbon footprint.

Maybe he really is lucky. The San Francisco Warriors fan hosted the nine-year old fan whose lucky lowrider bike was stolen for game two of the NBA championship. And won the game.

Yosemite’s bikeshare system gives you up to two hours to visit park attractions by bike, for free.

 

National

People for Bikes suggests three keys to rapidly building out extensive bike networks fast, from getting everyone to the table, to not waiting for policy to catch up.

Condé Nast Traveler talks with the plus-sized founders of All Bodies on Bikes, which works to make cycling more size-inclusive, and eliminate anti-fat bias in society as a whole.

Austin, Texas has invested $23.3 million in new bike infrastructure since 2016, but still has a long way to go to make the city safe enough to encourage people to use bicycles as their primary form of transportation.

Chicago will give away 5,000 bicycles to city resident this year, along with helmets, locks and beginner’s bicycling classes.

Yesterday we mentioned an Indianapolis hit-and-run victim who told police the license number of the car that hit her before she died; now it turns out she was intentionally run down by her ex-boyfriend as she rode her bike, who had been stalking her and their daughter.

Bicyclists in Maine could soon see a $160 million offroad bike trail connecting all of the states 25 largest cities. “Largest” being a relative term, with Brewer checking in at the 25th spot with just 9026 residents.

The jealous girlfriend who allegedly killed gravel cycling star Moriah “Mo” Wilson was reportedly last seen at the Newark, New Jersey airport three weeks ago, the day after Austin, Texas authorities issued a warrant for her arrest.

DC’s 150 miles of bike lanes still leaves significant gaps in the network, leaving riders on their own to confront “eight lanes of death.”

 

International

Milan, Italy announced plans to build 466 miles of protected bike lanes to create one of Europe’s largest and most comprehensive bike networks, with a concentric spoke and hub system connecting every part of the city.

A Ghanian website looks at the the very cool, but very strange wooden bicycles made by a local artist.

Australia’s new prime minister is one of us, taking a diplomatic ride on bamboo bikes with the Indonesian president on a state visit to West Java.

 

Competitive Cycling

French pro Clara Copponi survived a mass crash less than a thousand feet before the finish to win the first stage of the women’s Tour of Britain; the race was delayed over an hour after a driver crashed into a motorcycle cop leading the race.

No bias here. British tabloids went on the attack after a pair of trans women won a gender inclusive fixed-gear crit, with a young mother finishing third; the race was open to “trans men and women whose physical performance aligns most closely with cis-women.”

Scary moment in the Vuelta a Colombia, when stage three winner Luis Carlos Chia crashed into his own wife, who was taking photos of the race, seconds after crossing the finish line.

Bicycling profiles transgender women’s cyclist Molly Cameron, who has faced that same bias herself. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

America’s last remaining Tour de France winner announced he’s suffering from Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, a slow-progressing and treatable form of blood cancer; Greg LeMond says he hopes to be in remission in a few months.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could have built-in Bluetooth and a wireless 4G connection. Do your pedaling on the road, not under your desk.

And that feeling when your bike gets charged by a zebra.

No, right here in California.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

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.

https://twitter.com/nealrogers/status/1526757824440766465

 

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.

………

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

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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

………

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.

………

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?

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

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