Tag Archive for New York Times

Morning Links: A short CicLAvia thread, NYT op-ed says cars are death machines, and Keep LA Moving summit on video

I had a little different CicLAvia yesterday.

My wife, who doesn’t ride a bike, wanted to go to CicLAvia this time.

So I left my bike at home, and we walked the section through the Civic Center and Little Tokyo, then combined it with a long-planned walking tour of the Arts District, ending with lunch at Smorgasburg.

Along with a stop at Angel City Brewery on the way back for a touch of Octoberfest and a half growler of their fest martzen.

And yes, a good time was had by all. With the exception of my new knee, which has been barking at me ever since we got home.

I should have sprung for the Vibranium model.

Or maybe unobtanium.

More a few people turned out this time. Just like every CicLAvia, going back to the very first one.

Whoever scheduled a Mole fest right next to CicLAvia deserves a promotion.

Who doesn’t love the incredible craftsmanship that goes into these lowrider bikes?

Thanks to Jason for a quick rundown on Pure Cycle’s new e-cargo bike.

I’m not saying everyone went to Angel City post CicLAvia…

…but it sure as hell looked like it.

 

Meanwhile, Sam Omar-Hall offers a great thread capturing the day.

And everyone’s favorite transit advocate reminds us that the final CicLAvia of the year comes in two months.

………

Today’s must read comes in the form of an op-ed in the New York Times.

Especially after her nine-year old niece was lucky to survive getting hit by an ice cream truck in Los Angeles.

Cars are death machines. Pedestrian fatalities in the United States have increased 41 percent since 2008; more than 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2018 alone. More than 4,000 American kids are killed in car crashes every year – I am thankful every day my niece wasn’t one of them.

Here’s the thing: Statistics clearly don’t seem to persuade anyone of the magnitude of this problem. Not policy makers or automakers, technologists or drivers.

She goes on to quote from over 500 people who responded to her request for stories of getting hit by a driver.

And says autonomous cars aren’t going to save us.

Among the safety measures proposed by car companies are encouraging pedestrians and bicyclists to use R.F.I.D. tags, which emit signals that cars can detect. This means it’s becoming the pedestrian’s responsibility to avoid getting hit. But if keeping people safe means putting the responsibility on them (or worse, criminalizing walking and biking), we need to think twice about the technology we’re developing.

This may be the worst outcome of the automobile-centered 20th century: the assumption that it’s people who need to get out of the way of these lethal machines, instead of the other way around.

And neither are SUVs.

Because the front end of an S.U.V. is higher than the average car’s front end, it is far more likely to hit a pedestrian in the chest or head and twice as likely to kill walkers, runners, cyclists and children, compared to regular cars. And yet, S.U.V. sales account for 60 percent of new vehicle sales.

One of the easiest ways to make cars safer would be to make them smaller. Another way? Figuring out how to get people to drive less by providing safer, more sustainable alternatives to the car.

Seriously, take a few minutes to read the whole thing — including the quotes from the victims.

We’ll wait.

If you have any time left, The Guardian offers this long read on why the streets are getting deadlier for pedestrians.

And for us.

………

Shameful.

The wife of an American diplomat stationed in the UK is claiming diplomatic immunity to avoid responsibility for the hit-and-run that killed a British motorcycle rider.

She was reportedly driving on the wrong side of the road when she slammed into the 19-year old victim while driving next to a US spy base.

After police tracked her down, she promised not to leave the country. Then did it anyway, presumably returning to the US.

His heartbroken parents have appealed to President Trump to return her to face justice.

But we’ll have to see if this administration has the integrity to do the right thing. Or will shield her from anything even resembling justice.

I know which one my money is on.

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Keep PDR Moving has posted a nearly four-hour video of the “national summit” for Keep LA Moving, which Peter Flax says amounted to about 25 NIMBYs and traffic safety deniers gathered in a restaurant.

He also says John Forester, aka the “father of vehicular cycling,” comes on about 30 minutes in, and proceeds to bore the room

If you have the time, and the stomach, to actually watch it.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on.

A road raging Wisconsin driver got out of his car and repeatedly punched a man on a bike, then threatened to beat up the police officers when they arrived to break it up, after the bike rider made the mistake of flipping off the driver when he revved up behind him. That’s one key lesson I learned the hard way — never flip off the driver behind you.

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Local

The LA Times celebrates the permanent hold placed on the freeway portion of the High Desert Corridor through north LA County, saying building a highway that will increase the amount of miles driven, at a time when the state is committed to cutting driving miles, is the wrong move. But notes that the high speed rail and bike path portions of the project can still go through. And should.

A former member of the Pasadena Transportation Advisory Commission sets the record straight on Complete Streets, correcting the mistaken belief that Complete Streets only benefit of people walking or riding a bike.

This is who we share the roads with. An allegedly drunk Pasadena driver fled the scene after killing a pedestrian; the driver faces charges for vehicular manslaughter, DUI and driving without a license. More evidence just how desperately those Complete Streets are needed. And how desperately we need to do something to stop hit-and-runs.

 

State

The Orange County Transportation Authority, aka OCTA, and Caltrans want your input on how to transform Beach Blvd between La Habra and Huntington Beach. Banning cars and turning it into a transit, bike and pedestrian corridor probably won’t fly. But it should.

An anonymous donor is offering a $25,000 reward for the heartless coward who fled the scene after running down 53-year old Michelle Scott as she rode her bike to work at her Escondido office on Wednesday, leaving her lying on the side of the road with critical injuries.

The Ventura County Star suggests riding a bike as one option for an eco-friendly commute during the county’s Rideshare Week starting today.

A bike-riding San Francisco columnist says the solution to conflicts on the road are bicycle turnout lanes that would allow bike riders to get out of the way of trailing traffic, just like the one he and his wife used to pull aside to leet a semi pass on a narrow roadway.

Sad news from Oakland, where a 24-year old man was the victim of a dooring; he was killed when someone opened the door of a parked car in front of him, knocking him into the path of a large pickup. I’m told the street had sharrows, which were due to be replaced with bike lanes. But it’s too late to save this man.

Former pro Levi Leipheimer’s GranFondo drew nearly 5,000 bike riders from 14 countries to Sonoma County for the 11th edition of the annual ride.

USA Today picks up the story of the four bike-riding junior detectives who helped rescue a lost 97-year old Roseville woman with dementia.

 

National

Gear Patrol says their bike of the year is one you never heard of. For once, I have to agree.

A writer for Bicycling says ebiking has suddenly become his favorite new way to explore a city.

Bicycle-oriented development is the latest trend in housing targeting Millennials.

Seattle police appear to have abused their bait bike program, targeting poor and homeless people by leaving an unlocked bicycle outside of a Goodwill store; nine people were busted, but the only one that went to trial resulted in a not guilty verdict.

A Michigan woman pens a passionate plea dripping with windshield bias begging bike riders not to make her almost kill us.

NBA great Reggie Miller rode his first century in Indiana over the weekend to benefit the fight against breast cancer.

The carnage continues in New York, where a 10-year old boy was killed riding his bike with the light while in a crosswalk; the driver, who didn’t have a driver’s license, reportedly attempted to flee with the bicycle still jammed under his truck. The boy was the 24th bike rider killed in the city this year, compared to just 11 for all of last year.

Good idea. Some New York city buses will be outfitted with cameras pointed at the right side of the road to catch people illegally parking in bike lanes; the drivers could eventually get tickets in the mail. But who will get the tickets for all those police cars parked in them

Delaware bicyclists are looking for a private property owner willing to host a ghost bike, when they had to take down the bike honoring a fallen bike rider after just two days because the local DOT was planning to remove it from the public property it was sitting on.

Los Angeles celebrated CicLAvia just one day after bike riders in DC enjoyed the city’s first open streets event.

South Carolina bicyclists say a road widening project left them with less room, not more.

 

International

The BBC talks with people with disabilities, who say that ebikes have changed their lives.

Former Cream and Blind Faith drummer Ginger Baker was one of us; the rock legend, who died on Sunday, gave up his dream of riding in the Tour de France after he was hit by a cab as a teenager.

Life is cheap in London, where a woman walked without a single day behind bars for slamming into a bikeshare rider with her Porsche and breaking his skull.

No bias here. A UK columnist says the spread of e-scooters are proof we’re doomed as a species, insisting that riders terrorize the sidewalk and look ridiculous. Yes, the way people look while riding a scooter is certainly the best argument against them.

A British man rode a BMX bike 300 miles in a monkey suit to raise funds and call attention to the problem of stillborn births, walking the last mile after breaking his chain. And learned the hard way that a plush monkey head works better than a bike helmet.

A writer for The Guardian wants to know why women bicyclists are targeted for abuse by aggressive male drivers, saying it’s “as though female cyclists are transgressing an invisible boundary in a way that some men find intolerable.”

A full 5% of Scottish commuters regularly get to work by bike, a number most American cities would envy, let alone the whole county. But that’s just half the country’s target for next year.

Little Mix singer Jesy Nelson is one of us, too, as she goes for a bike ride with her boyfriend on a chilly UK autumn afternoon.

Finnish immigrants get free lessons in how to ride a bike in order to fit in with the bike-riding natives.

The Danish and Irish prime ministers went for a leisurely bike ride in Copenhagen, while the Dutch prime minister explains why he rides his bicycle to work nearly every day. Short answer, because he can.

Even Tehran is passing Los Angeles by promising to build 340 miles of cycle tracks over the next five years, although women can ride a little more comfortably here, without worrying about dressing conservatively or prohibitive fatwas. That compares favorably to LA, which “built or upgraded” just 13 lane miles of bike lanes — 6.5 miles of actual roadway — in fiscal year 2018-2019. 

 

Competitive Cycling

I want to be like her when I grow up. A 70-year old Bolivian woman became the oldest woman to compete in the country’s 37-mile Skyrace extreme bike race on the legendary Death Road.

Now you, too, can cheat in cycling from the comfort of your own home.

 

Finally…

If you’re going use a mountain bike as your getaway vehicle, at least wait until you get the money. If you’re playing hide and seek from the cops with a stolen motorbike, maybe find a better hiding place than behind a telephone pole — and put a damn shirt on for your mug shot.

And your bike can take you almost anywhere.

Like to a good piece of cake.

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A special thanks to Linda T and Matthew R for their generous contributions to support this site. I rely on your support — emotionally and financially — to keep the best bike news coming your way every day.

And too often, the worst, too. 

Morning Links: NY Times fumbles LA’s Mobility Plan, anti-Rowena road diet petition, and a CicLAvia sneak peek

Elitist my ass.

In a piece of journalism unbefitting a great newspaper, the New York Times looks at the new LA Mobility Plan.

But instead of focusing on the city’s efforts to reduce reliance on cars and build a 21st Century mobility network, it directs its gaze on the largely unfounded fears of gridlock expressed by a handful of opponents.

Starting with Fix the City, the unofficial voice of LA NIMBYs everywhere.

The group, which has threatened to sue to stop the plan, has also tried to stop the new Academy of Motion Pictures museum next to LACMA. And they are one of the groups that successfully sued to halt the construction of a half-finished shopping center at Sunset and Western — blocking much needed jobs in a largely impoverished area, while increasing blight in an already blighted neighborhood. Something that the center would have helped to alleviate by bringing life to a long neglected corner of Hollywood.

But evidently, the NYT doesn’t have access to Google, which would have allowed them to research the background of the group in less than five minutes.

Instead, they simply took them at face value, quoting one of the group’s founders.

“What they’re trying to do is make congestion so bad, you’ll have to get out of your car,” said James O’Sullivan, a founder of Fix the City, a group that is planning a lawsuit to stop the plan. “But what are you going to do, take two hours on a bus? They haven’t given us other options.”

Never mind that the purpose of the plan is to cut transit times and provide Angelenos with viable transportation options other than the city’s unsustainable, and no longer desired, reliance on the automobile.

The paper also repeats, without examination, the fallacy that the plan would double the number of congested intersections in the city.

Yes, that’s in the plan. But if they’d bothered to do their due diligence, they would have discovered that it’s a worst case projection, based on the assumption that no one will choose to walk, bike or take transit, despite the alternatives presented by the plan.

Which is highly unlikely.

The paper only has to look outside their own windows to see that if you build it, they do, in fact, come. New York has seen a substantial growth in ridership in recent years, as the city has more than doubled the space devoted to bike lanes.

Never mind the dramatic growth shown in other cities around the country, as they install protected bike lanes like the ones called for in the plan. Or even Santa Monica’s 356% jump in ridership over the last 12 years, as the city has become one of the most bike-friendly towns in Southern California.

And it ignores the probability that more people will choose to use transit as train lines expand and offer greater connectivity, and bus only lanes offer more direct routes with shorter trip times. Or that people are more likely to walk as the streets become safer and more inviting.

Even the city’s planned bikeshare system could offer some relief from traffic, as a new study shows DC’s bikeshare system reduced traffic congestion 2% – 3% in neighborhoods surrounding the bikeshare hubs.

Then there’s everyone’s favorite LA councilmember, “Roadkill” Gil Cedillo, who states his preference for maintaining the current hegemony of the motor vehicle, and goes unchallenged as he calls bike lanes elitist, in a turn of Doublespeak that would make Orwell proud.

“The reality is that Southern California is built around the automobile,” said Gil Cedillo, one of two Council members to vote against the plan. “We’re going to make more traffic and create even greater congestion. I don’t know how anybody votes for that.”

He said few of the constituents in his lower-income district would use the bike lanes, while everyone would suffer as traffic worsened.

“It’s a very elitist policy,” he said.

Evidently, Cedillo has never met anyone who rides a bike. Or noticed the many low income and immigrant riders in his own district as he drives to the office — many of whom can’t afford a car, any car, and rely on bicycles as their only form of transportation.

How he would describe them elitist is beyond comprehension. Let alone how the NY Times would let him get away with it.

There is an important story to be written about LA’s shift to a multi-modal future.

But this isn’t it.

………

A petition has been started to undo the Rowena road diet, even though it has reduced injury collisions over 50%; it currently stands at 200 supporters. If we can’t manage keep a successful road diet in place, it doesn’t bode well for Vision Zero or the Mobility Plan.

Thanks to Northeast L.A. Bikes for the heads-up.

………

Make you plans now for next year’s CicLAvias.

Dennis Hindman sends word that the LA City Council Transportation Committee will discuss plans for three of the popular open streets events scheduled for the next fiscal year at Wednesday’s meeting.

You already know about next month’s CicLAvia in DTLA; others are planned for Van Nuys and Pacoima in March, and Southeast Cities, including Huntington Park and Watts, in May.

There will likely be at least one other LA event later next year, as well as some CicLAvias wholly outside the City of LA.

………

A 60-year old Memphis cyclist was shot by someone in a car Saturday night following an argument after the rider was almost hit by their car. Fortunately, the victim survived in what is described as “non-critical” condition.

Let that be a reminder to all hot tempered riders — myself included — that you never know who or what is in that car that nearly ran you off the road.

It’s usually better to just let it go.

Thanks to Bob Young for the link.

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With all the bad news out there these days, it’s nice to see some real kindness directed towards bike riders.

Boulder CO police convince Walmart to donate a bike to replace one stolen from a local kid, and dig into their own pockets to buy him a helmet and lock.

Meanwhile, a North Dakota man buys a new bike for a neighbor boy when his was stolen. And friends of a visually impaired Marine vet pitch in to replace his $1,800 motorized bike after it was stolen.

………

Purito takes the leader’s jersey in the Vuelta after 16 stages, though he may not hold it very long. American Joe Dombrowsky gets the go ahead to go for stage victories, while the motor doping rumors refuse to go away, despite a lack of evidence.

Teejay van Garderen says he’s motivated for the worlds after a bad year on the bike.

Caught on video: A French race fan runs out onto the course to retrieve a bike after a rider falls, preventing a massive crash as the peloton approaches. But who wins if you cross the finish line going the wrong way?

Italian prosecutors conclude the late great Marco Pantini wasn’t murdered, but died of a cocaine overdose, as originally thought.

And sad news from Virginia, as a cyclist competing in the Shenandoah Mountain 100 Backcountry Mountain Bike Race died following a severe crash during the race.

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Local

The Ballona Creek bike path will be closed for maintenance between Overland Ave and National Blvd from 6 am to 5 pm this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

For once, the cyclist gets the TV celebrity girl, while paparazzi even chase bike riding actresses in Ghana.

Burbank installs electric vehicle charging stations, but the owner of Bicycle John’s bemoans the loss of two parking spaces near his business. Dude, your customers ride bikes; they won’t mind walking a little further to get there.

The planned redevelopment of the Redondo Beach waterfront includes a 30 to 40 foot wide bike and pedestrian pathway along the ocean for the full length of the project.

 

State

The Times says Governor Brown’s compromise proposal is the best bet to fix California’s broken roads; the plan includes investing $500 million in cap-and-trade funds in transit and making streets more bike and pedestrian friendly. Of course, the question is how much of that would trickle down to fund bike and pedestrian projects.

San Diego’s Union-Tribune charts bike theft hotspots in the city. Not surprisingly, it turns out they’re the areas where more people ride bikes.

Evidently, bike theft is a worldwide problem, from California’s Central Coast to the shores of Borneo.

San Francisco police have arrested a man who allegedly was the jerk who bashed a car with his U-lock during last month’s Critical Mass, causing two grand in damages.

Yet another California bike rider has died at the hands of a drunk driver, this time in Brentwood.

A Napa writer repeats the tired and impractical call to require bike riders to be licensed, registered and insured. As if we pose as much risk to the public as the people in the big, dangerous machines that kill 30,000+/- Americans every year.

This is why you should always inspect and maintain your bike. A Folsom-area bike rider was badly injured in what everyone assumed was a hit-and-run, but a witness said he actually fell when his bike snapped in two.

 

National

A new study shows speed cameras save lives, and encourage drivers to slow the f*** down.

Five hundred Nevada bike riders rally to remember a fallen cyclist killed while riding on the Las Vegas Strip, while officials promise to crackdown on drivers who violate riders right-of-way; a similar number honored a fallen rider in Birmingham AL.

If you’re going to steal a bike off an Illinois porch, have the decency to wait until they take it out of the shipping box.

You can now ride a genuine work of art inspired by works in the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Well no, actually, you can’t.

That’s convenient, anyway. After a New Jersey cyclist is hit by an ambulance, they load him in the back and take him to the nearest hospital.

A Virginia bike path jumps from one side of the road to the other at the city limit, with no apparent way to cross to the other side. But an official swears riders won’t be inconvenienced. Uh, right.

A Florida county bans bike riders from a local road in apparent violation of state law. And it can’t be enforced, anyway.

 

International

A 69-year old cyclist will spend his next birthday bicycling from Toronto to Mexico to raise money for a charity founded by his late wife to aid people in San Miguel de Allende and the state of Guanajuato.

Caught on video: A bike-riding hit-and-run Brit jerk claims he doesn’t have a name after plowing into a woman from behind; you can see him reach out to push her away — or maybe push her down — as she walks out in front of him

A bike path-roaming Welsh barista has been put on hold because they can’t find a place to park his three-wheeled cappuccino-brewing bike.

A Finnish advocate says the focus should be on safer roads, not helmets; most bike wrecks in the city are caused by slippery conditions or drunkenness.

Bike riders rally in 100 cities across India to promote bicycling, and encourage daily riding.

Australia’s Cycle Space says it’s not a war between drivers and cyclists, it’s an attack on city dwellers by people in the suburbs.

Despite a favorable sounding headline, a writer for Australia’s Financial Review devotes nearly a thousand words to saying Sydney isn’t Copenhagen, and complaining how bike lanes make her commute worse.

No, it is not a freak accident when a distracted support van driver runs over a member of the Malaysian national cycling team because he was stretching his leg; fortunately, she’s in stable condition and has regained consciousness after surgery.

 

Finally…

Submitted without comment: A six-year old Ukrainian boy was riding his bike when a horse attacked and bit off his penis; the good news is, the horse must have spit it out, and surgeons were able to reattach it. If you’re carrying marijuana on your bike and wanted on two outstanding warrants, don’t ride without reflectors in the middle of the street.

And apparently, not even kite surfers are safe from cars.

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One last note.

Operating BikinginLA is a more than full-time job that pays less than the minimum wage. But if everyone who visits here today donated just $10, it would fund this site and meet my expenses for a full year.

And please join me in thanking our sponsors Jim Pocrass of Pocrass & De Los Reyes, and Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney Josh Cohen. Without their support, this site wouldn’t be possible.

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