Tag Archive for National Safety Council

US traffic deaths up despite — or because of — coronavirus, LA’s last lonely Jump Bike, and NC ballot deadline tomorrow

If you thought the streets were more dangerous last year, you’re right.

According to an estimate from the nonprofit National Safety Council, traffic fatalities jumped 8% across the US last year.

Around 42,060 people lost their lives, an increase of more that 3,200 people who didn’t make it home to their loved ones, despite a decrease in overall miles traveled due to the pandemic.

Last year’s deaths were the most since 2007 when 43,945 people were killed in vehicle crashes. In addition, the safety council estimates that 4.8 million people were injured in crashes last year.

Federal data shows that Americans drove 13% fewer miles last year, or roughly 2.8 trillion miles, said Ken Kolosh, the safety council’s manager of statistics. Yet the number of deaths rose at an alarming rate, he said.

But all those empty streets just left room for dangerous speeding and aggressive drivers to do their worst.

And even though traffic is now getting close to pre-coronavirus levels, the bad behavior on the roads is continuing, authorities say.

“It’s kind of terrifying what were seeing on our roads,” said Michael Hanson, director of the Minnesota Public Safety Department’s Office of Traffic Safety. “We’re seeing a huge increase in the amount of risk-taking behavior.”

This estimate should serve as a wakeup call to cities and states around the US that merely paying lip service to Vision Zero isn’t enough.

And yes, that includes Los Angeles, where virtually nothing has been done to implement the program since it was announced with great fanfare in 2015.

We’ve already badly missed the initial benchmark to reduce traffic fatalities 20% by 2017. And we will inevitably miss the mayor’s promise to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.

As if.

The simple fact is, people will continue to die on the streets in Los Angeles, and throughout the US, until we finally decide that one more death is just one too many.

And that innocent blood on the street is too high a price to pay for the simple act of getting from here to there.

Then do something about it.

Photo of LA’s last Jump Bike by David Drexler.

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David Drexler finds the last, lonely Jump bike on LA’s Westside, still leaning against a lamppost on the south side of Westchester Parkway across from LAX.

He notes that the police and city must think it still belongs to the defunct Jump, and that apparently no one in LA thinks it’s worth stealing.

The popular red bikes were taken off the streets when Uber gave up on the dockless ebikes after mismanaging them into the ground.

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Streets For All sends word that tomorrow is the last day to request a mail-in ballot for the following neighborhood council races.

This Tuesday is the final day to request a mail-in ballot for neighborhood council elections in Region 5. These regions include: Central Hollywood, East Hollywood, Greater Wilshire, Hollywood Hills West, Mid City West and P.I.C.O.

Speaking of neighborhood councils, Streets For All adds their endorsements for the Central Hollywood NC to those announced for other areas last week.

And if you live, work, attend school or shop in the Mid City West area of LA, the area’s neighborhood council will consider the proposed Venice Blvd For All Complete Streets project at today’s virtual meeting; you can comment during the meeting, or send your comments in advance by email.

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Once again, Bike Index’ free bicycle registration and stolen bike database proves that sometimes you get a lot more than you pay for — this time with the assistance of the LAPD.

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Hopefully California will be next.

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Start your Monday with an eight minute snowy stunt biking break.

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

Which includes the seemingly intractable battle between bike riders and equestrians, as a horse group in the UK accuses bike riders of going too fast and being abusive to man and beast alike.

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

A bike-riding man faces a murder charge for shooting a Milwaukee driver to death in a road rage dispute, which began when the bike rider punched the man for complaining that he had to swerve to avoid the salmon cyclist.

It takes a major schmuck to deliberately kick a five-year old kid off his bicycle in a New York park.

Unbelievable. A Belgian court fined a bike rider the equivalent a lousy $1.19 for intentionally kneeing a little girl as he passed on a snowy trail, in an attack that caused well-deserved outrage around the world.

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Local

LAist wants to introduce you to David McNeill, the man behind the newly completed 13-mile Park to Playa Trail.

Culver City-based Walk N Rollers is raising funds for a volunteer bike repair hub for kids in need; so far, they’ve raised just under $1,000 of the $10,000 goal.

Coldplay frontman Chris Martin is one of us, taking a scenic ride through the ‘Bu on his Rocky Mountain mountain bike.

 

State

A half dozen “sculptural” bike racks were installed in Oildale, Bakersfield’s neglected neighbor and birthplace of the late, great Merle Haggard, with designs ranging from a coffee cup and electric guitar, to a figure of a racing cyclist and a whimsically-shaped man on a bike.

Streetsblog SF says it’s time to stop painting bike lanes with green paint that wears off, and starting paving them with colored asphalt like the Dutch.

Wheelie-popping teens celebrate the Bike Life every day by riding around the old Santa Rosa courthouse.

One positive to come out of 2018’s Carr Fire is a new and improved 10 Bridges Trail, which was reduced to a one bridge trail after the fire took out the other nine bridges; Redding bicyclists are already riding it, even though the official completion is still months away.

 

National

Don’t hold your breath about getting the ‘bent parts you need anytime soon. Unless you’re standing near me and not wearing a mask, that is, in which case, by all means, hold it until I leave or you pass out, whichever comes first. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Ebike prices are on their way up, thanks to the expiration of a tariff exemption, as well as bikemakers phasing out promotional pricing.

Las Vegas police bust an alleged drunken hit-and-run driver shortly after the rear-end crash that took the life of a 60-year old bike rider.

This is who we share the road with. A Milwaukee man pled guilty to a hit-and-run crash that killed two young sisters and injured their ten year old cousin, after speeding down a bike lane past cars other drivers stopped at a red light as the girls crossed in a crosswalk. He’ll be sentenced later this year.

A candidate for Manhattan DA calls for treating traffic violence like the epidemic it is.

A Miami cop speeding with red lights and siren killed a bicyclist riding with a group of cyclists last month, yet over a week later, no information has been released.

 

International

Road.cc recommends the tools you should have on hand for basic bike repairs.

Cyclist is celebrating Women’s History Month by highlighting a full month of inspirational women in the bike world.

Scotland signs on to a national Vision Zero plan, pledging to eliminate traffic deaths by 2050. And LA will probably still be struggling to meet their 2025 pledge.

Bicycles become a tool of protest as the head of an Indian political party leads a ride in support of fellow politician targeted by a government vendetta.

A Kenyan website talks with the founder of a Nairobi bike club about riding safely in the country.

That’s one way to do it. A new study shows a reduction in Japanese bike and pedestrian injuries when it snows — because people switch to warmer modes of transport.

A Specialized vice president tells the company’s Asian suppliers to step-up production, insisting there’s millions of dollars to be made once the Covid-19 pandemic is finally over.

Who needs drive-in restaurants when you can ride up to the bike-rack tables at a Manila restaurant and dine on your saddle?

 

Competitive Cycling

Irish pro Sam Bennet apparently finds taking the first stage of Paris-Nice nice, but Aussie pro Richie Porte didn’t make it to the finish line.

No surprise here, as Dutch ‘cross meister Mathieu van der Poel out-sprinted notable roadies to win on the gravel roads of the should be-Monument Strade Bianche.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to ride off with an $11,000 bike, turn off the damn GPS first. That feeling when your delivery ebike goes up in spontaneous flames.

And that feeling when you discover the rusted, jerry-rigged bicycle you’re working on once belonged to Mohandas K. Gandhi.

Yes, that Gandhi.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a damn mask, already. 

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