Tag Archive for NHTSA

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

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

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

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

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

Artwork by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the heads-up.

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

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

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

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Still more Bike to Work Week news.

Or bike anywhere, for that matter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Local

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

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

 

State 

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

 

National

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

Cycling Weekly considers what makes a good beginner bicycle.

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

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

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

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

 

Competitive Cycling

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

US bicycling deaths up over 9% in 2020, Feds commit to Complete Streets, and remembering a fallen bike rider

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the final traffic fatality stats for 2020.

And the news was as bad as we expected.

A whopping 38,824 people were killed on American roads, the worst since 2007, and a nearly 7% jump over 2019.

That also represents a 21% increase over the previous year in deaths per vehicle miles traveled (VMT). So it’s not just due to more people on the roads; in fact, 2020 was marked by a dramatic decrease in driving due to the pandemic.

The one bit of good news is that traffic injuries dropped 17% in 2020, while crashes declined 22%.

So we’re talking fewer, but far more deadly, crashes, with pedestrians and bicyclists accounting for one in five of those killed.

Like the overall trends, it was a mixed bag for bike riders, with 938 people killed while riding their bikes in 2020, a 9.2% increase over the year before, while injuries dropped 21%, to 10,171.

Meanwhile, we’re off to a horrible start to this year, with 22 people killed riding their bikes in Southern California in just the first two months of 2022 — a rate of one person killed less than every three days.

Which has got to stop.

Now.

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Meanwhile, the Federal Highway Administration submitted their first report to Congress detailing their “commitment to advance widespread implementation” of Complete Streets, as required by last year’s infrastructure bill.

Which they define like this.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law defines Complete Streets standards or policies as those which “ensure the safe and adequate accommodation of all users of the transportation system, including pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation users, children, older individuals, individuals with disabilities, motorists, and freight vehicles.”

The law requires that a relatively paltry 2.5% of planning funding has to go towards Complete Streets, or bicycling, walking or transit projects.

Then again, that’s 2.5% more than was required before.

Although their idea of a Complete Street may leave something to be desired.

The infrastructure bill also contains a provision that will prevent states from setting traffic safety goals that allow an increase in traffic deaths each year.

And they’ll have to take steps to protect the safety of bike riders and pedestrians in order to keep receiving federal funds.

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Nice piece from a longtime reporter with the Daily Bulletin, who remembers former five-term Upland Councilmember Tom Thomas, who died Saturday after he was struck by a motorcyclist while riding his bike in Montclair.

David Allen recalls him as a friend, as well as a local leader, along with his three-decade love of bicycling. He talks about Thomas as being too nice for today’s rough-and-tumble civic politics.

A few paragraphs stand out, though. Like this from when Thomas was first elected to the city council in 1990.

Riding defensively is his approach and expecting the worst his philosophy when biking on city streets. Clueless motorists frequently make turns across the path of bike riders or nearly knock them over when zooming by.

Then there’s this, as Allen spoke with Thomas’ wife after his death.

I ask her about Tom’s bike riding. He’d head out Tuesday, Thursday and either Saturday or Sunday for 20 to 35 miles at a time. The 6-foot-1 senior was, enviably, at his college weight of 210. And he took every precaution on the road.

“This man was the safest cyclist you could have,” Ann says. “He wore the neon yellow windbreaker. If it was even dusk, he would turn on his lights, front and back. He always wore a helmet. He would curse people who didn’t wear one. He broke three helmets over the years” — starting with that 1990 accident.

Sadly, it wasn’t enough to keep him safe.

Another reminder that you can do everything right. Yet your safety still depends on those we share the road with.

We have no choice but to trust them with our lives, in the most literal sense.

Even if they don’t deserve it.

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REI is now offering members a 20% discount on bike repairs, as well as free flat fixing. Which should more than pay for your lifetime membership fee the first time you use it.

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Now this is a bike ad.

https://twitter.com/CoolBikeArt1/status/1499111168232800265

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

A Bowling Green, Kentucky bike rider was threatened by a pair of men in separate pickups, after the first driver bumped his bike, and the second stopped behind him and threw his bike off the roadway.

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

A man riding on a Placer County, CA bike path struck a woman with his bike, apologized, then pulled a knife and robbed her as he helped her up.

Houston, Texas police are looking for an armed robber who rode up to couple as they were getting into their car outside a shopping mall, pointed a gun at them and demanded their wallets and cellphone.

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Local

CD2 Councilmember Paul Krekorian wisely cancelled the ill-advised proposal to widen Burbank Blvd in North Hollywood, opting to widen sidewalks and improve safety for pedestrians instead.

A writer for City Watch questions whether CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz has the integrity to serve as city controller, after violating city ethics rules by attending a fundraiser at the home of a DWP commissioner, while suggesting Koretz should know better after 55 long years in politics.

USC’s Annenberg Media discusses the Healthy Streets LA ballot proposal, which would require Los Angeles to build out the mobility plan when streets get repaved.

A new e-scooter company has taken root in Santa Monica, with Chicago-based micromobility company Veo expecting to hire 300 people to staff its West Coast HQ.

 

State 

Costa Mesa will rename a segment of the 55 Freeway for fire captain and fallen bike rider Mike Kreza, who was killed by a stoned driver while riding in Mission Viejo in 2018; Stephen Taylor Scarpa was sentenced to 15 to life after his conviction for killing Kreza last year.

Bikemaker Yuba Bicycles used their own cargo bikes to move their headquarters from San Juan Capistrano to new offices in Lake Forest.

The San Diego Bike Coalition highlights the city’s new @SDCrashBot to track collisions involving bike riders and pedestrians, based on Streets For All’s Vision Zero Alerts, which has provided a similar service for the LA area for a little over a year. Thanks to Phillip Young for the link.

Oakland’s 14th Street is due to get a Complete Streets makeover, with a 4-to-2 lane reduction, shortened crosswalks and curb-protected bike lanes on both sides.

No bias here. After an SUV slammed into an Anderson, California preschool, sending 14 little kids to the hospital, the LA Times doesn’t even mention that it had a driver until story’s penultimate paragraph. But at least they didn’t call it an accident.

 

National

If you’ve always dreamed of working in the glamorous field of bicycle journalism, Bikerumor is looking for freelance writers for remote work.

Houston will install a popup bike lane this Sunday to allow fans to ride safely to the rodeo.

An autistic Michigan man spreads joy through his community by riding his bike while wearing extravagant holiday-themed suits, showing how special people with autism can be.

A new documentary from a Boston bike advocate highlights several women who enjoy riding their bikes after dark.

 

International

The Guardian profiles Twitter user @cybergibbons, who polices the social media site to confront anti-bike trolls. I’ve been known to do the same thing, but with about 30,000 fewer followers. Thanks to Jon for the heads-up.

Road.cc offers tips on how to keep your bike from being a pain in the butt. Or anywhere else.

A Toronto bicyclist films himself unexpectedly, and painfully, wiping out on the city’s streetcar tracks.

Welsh math teacher during the week, record-setting cyclist on weekends.

The truck driver who killed an English woman as she rode her bike through a deadly intersection faces charges of driving while stoned and without a license; she was the eighth bike rider killed there in recent years.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a former Oxfordshire mayor walked with a suspended sentence for killing a 75-year old man riding a bicycle.

A new study from London’s Hackney neighborhood shows the British equivalent of Slow Streets encouraged 30% of residents to drive less, and ride their bikes more.

Two additional men have been charged in the violent home-invasion robbery of pro cyclist Mark Cavendish; a third man is already awaiting trial.

Irish academics say a focus on driver safety has made roads less safe for bike riders and pedestrians, and driven human interactions off the streets.

 

Competitive Cycling

Sad news from Australia, where three-time world champ Alex Woods died from cancer at just 55-years old; he also won championships as a junior, as well as winning gold, silver and bronze Olympic medals.

More sad news, as Ukrainian national cycling coach Alexander Kulyk was killed in a Russian attack while trying to help people evacuate from Kyiv; his son, former pro cyclist Andriy Kulyk demands that UCI ban Russian and Belarusian cyclists.

Russian cyclist Aleksandr Vlasov says he feels sorry for everyone who is suffering because of his country’s invasion of Ukraine, and says he just wants peace like most Russians.

Russian ex-cycling team boss Oleg Tinkov, the former owner of the Tinkoff-Saxo team, also came out against the war, calling it “unthinkable and unacceptable.”

VeloNews looks forward to Saturday’s Paris-Nice race, saying the eight-stage race has the strongest field so far this season. Meanwhile, the magazine asks if anyone can beat Tadej Pogačar in the one-day Strade Bianche, which also runs tomorrow.

A 21-year old British trans woman says she just wants to be competitive again, after previously setting national records as a junior male; Emily Bridges will compete as a woman for the first time this year, after lowering her testosterone levels since publicly transitioning in 2020.

How to cut corners by cutting corners to cheat in bike racing.

 

Finally…

That feeling when winning a time trial scores you a box of sex toys. Your next bike could be all wheels and chain, with no frame.

And that feeling when your toddler needs a $1,200 titanium balance bike.

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

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

No, you’re not just being paranoid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.

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Unbelievable.

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

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Yet another reminder to register your bike.

Now.

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I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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

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

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

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

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Local

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

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

 

State

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

 

National

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Competitive Cycling

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

 

Finally…

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

And shades of the Super Bowl Shuffle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An LAPD press release offered this description of the suspect.

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

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

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

Suspect photo from LAPD press release.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Local

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

 

National

Consumer Reports offers tips on getting a good bike fit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

Pink Bike explores France’s secret bike parks.

 

Competitive Cycling

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

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

 

Finally…

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

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

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

Bicycling deaths drop 3% last year, compared to 6.3% jump in 2018; and Slow Streets spread across US — but not LA

Let’s start with a little good news for a change.

According to the the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, US traffic fatalities fell 1.2% last year.

And that drop extended to bicycling deaths as well, which declined 3% compared to 2018.

There was also a 2% drop in pedestrian deaths.

All of which is great news.

But it would be even better if bike and pedestrians deaths hadn’t spiked in 2018 by twice as much as they fell in 2019.

Photo by paul voie from Pexels.

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Today’s common theme is the nation’s bike boom and the spread of Slow Streets across the US.

Bike riders are taking over the streets of San Jose as drivers stay home, and people get out on their bikes.

Sonoma County bike shops got the okay to reopen on Monday, just in time to capitalize on the boom in bicycling.

Bike shops are booming in Las Vegas, where one shop manager says iconic Las Vegas Blvd is turning into a fitness trail; bikeshare use is up in Vegas, too.

Pennsylvania bike shops are missing out on the coronavirus bike boom, prohibited from selling bikes during the lockdown.

Baltimore is getting on the Slow Streets bandwagon, closing streets so people can get out for fresh air and exercise during the Covid-19 lockdown.

New Orleans is getting on the Slow Streets bandwagon, too. But Arlington VA won’t be closing streets for social distancing anytime soon.

Missing from that list is Los Angeles, which continues its longstanding policy of automotive hegemony on the streets.

Although Mayor Garcetti hinted yesterday that changes may be coming, albeit too late to help Angelenos make it through the lockdown.

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

They clearly don’t like people on bikes. An English man was pulled off his bike and attacked by the occupants of a car following a punishment pass, in the same area where a family was harassed for riding their bikes last month.

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

Police in Chicago are looking for a gang of bike-riding robbers who have been terrorizing pedestrians in Rogers Park.

A man was busted for stalking an Idaho Falls, Idaho woman after riding his bike 15 miles from another town to harass her, despite a restraining order.

………

Local

Former US Women’s National Team cyclist Ryan Kelly walked 44 miles from Ventura Harbor to the Malibu Pier to raise $4,400 for pediatric cancer research.

Michael Keaton is one of us, as the former Batman and 80’s sitcom star took a spin through Pacific Palisades on his ebike.

Adam Sandler is still riding his bike through the ‘Bu, stopping off at a mobile bike repair van for a little work

 

State

Orange County beaches and beach bike paths will reopen on a limited basis, with users required to keep moving.

The San Diego Bike Coalition is taking Bike Month into the virtual world with a series of riding challenges for both new riders and seasoned commuters.

Sad news from San Francisco, where 22-year old Twitter staffer and bike advocate Courtney Brousseau was murdered Monday night, apparently collateral damage in a shootout between two groups of men.

 

National

Bicycling’s Selene Yeager discusses how to keep going when the going gets hard, while cycling coach Chris Carmichael offers advice on how to descend faster — and safer.

A Chicago woman tracked down the thief who stole her cargo bike, and eventually let him go after talking him into giving it back — and after he complained about being harassed. No, really.

Once again, it takes the death of a bike rider to get needed safety improvements, as Chicago installs protected bike lane bollards where a woman as killed in a collision six months ago. Although “protected” is a relative term when the only barrier is a row of thin plastic sticks.

Seriously, how fast do you have to be going to kill a 72-year old New York bike rider while backing into a parking space?

A writer looks back to his New Jersey childhood with a warning to look out for inanimate objects during May’s Bike Safety Month, while another writer from the state says he knows he’s taking a chance, but riding a bike is therapy right now.

A Virginia company is distributing free bike locks to frontline workers after reading about an Irish doctor whose bike was stolen during her 12-hour shift.

Heartbreaking story from Mississippi, where an 11-year old girl was killed by a hit-and-run driver as she rode her bike next to her mother, after they were both run down and left in the street to die.

Sad news from Florida, where a 71-year old man was killed, and a 70-year old woman injured, when a pickup driver slammed into the tandem bike they were riding.

 

International

Canadian bike advocates say people taking up riding for the first time during the pandemic need a new mindset to stop thinking like they’re driving a car.

Famed Italian bike builder Ernesto Colnago has a new boss, after his eponymous company was sold to an Abu Dhabi investment fund.

No bias here. A European website says Spanish bicyclists are out of control after finally being released from the county’s severe lockdown, and fed-up residents are ready to teach them a lesson.

 

Competitive Cycling

The revised WorldTour calendar has been released, assuming pro cycling will return in 2020 — which is a big if right now; all three Grand Tours will take place, along with the Monuments, although the the compact calendar means the Giro and Vuelta will overlap. There will also be a women’s Paris-Roubaix on the same day as the men’s race.

Legendary French journalist Philippe Brunel looks back on 40 years of the Giro d’Italia, as well as Italian cycling great Marco Pantani.

Speaking of legends, the BBC looks back on triple Giro and double Tour de France winner Gino Bartali on the 20th anniversary of his death; as great as he was, Bartali’s cycling exploits are overshadowed by his secret work to save Jews during WWII.

 

Finally…

Apparently, investing is just like riding a bike. And who needs a Naked Bike Ride when you can just strip down and go for a ride?

………

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

CA bike deaths set 25-year high, bicycling cop pays dangerous driver a visit, and bike video captures Kobe crash conditions

Yes, they really are killing us out there.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that California bicycling fatalities are the highest they’ve been in 25 years.

The NHTSA analyzed the data for the state, and found more bicyclists died in traffic collisions in the years from 2016 through 2018 than any other three-year period since Bill Clinton took office.

And that’s a long damn time ago.

Needless to say, LA County once again led the way for the entire state, with an average of 35 deaths per year in that same three year period, compared to a little less than 25 per year from 2006 to 2008.

Also needless to say, the best way to stop people from dying on the streets is to lower the damn speed limits.

Which would require repeal of the deadly 85th Percentile Law, and legalization of speed cams to enforce it.

And that can’t happen soon enough.

Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

………

A bike-riding LAPD cop describes going to visit a reckless driver who nearly ran down a pair of bicyclists at Ohio and Veteran in Westwood.*

And for a change, it has a happy ending. Well worth a short six minutes of your day.

Thanks to Zachary Rynew for the heads-up.

*Exactly where I used to ride both coming and going at least three or four times a week before we moved to Hollywood.

………

Apparently, Mr. Rynew has been a very busy boy, filming the first bike video connected to the helicopter crash that killed nine people, including Kobe Bryant and his daughter.

Then stumbling on the Coaster Bike Challenge.

………

Streetsblog is hosting a Transportation Town hall in CD12 next month; both regressive incumbent John Lee and progressive challenger Loraine Lundquist have been invited, but only Lundquist has confirmed so far.

………

Once again, the Marines have decided to some military stuff on Camp Pendleton — like helicopter operations, according to the base — which will mean shutting down the bike path for the week of February 10th.

However, people on bikes are allowed to ride I-5 through the base, while cursing the Marines for forcing them out there.

Thanks to Robert Leone for the tip.

………

Every bike event should be held in a craft brewery. And every bike path should lead to one.

Just saying.

………

Robert Leone also forwards opportunities for San Diego bike riders to get more involved, courtesy of the San Diego Bicycle Coalition.

This Tuesday, January 28th from 5:30pm to 6:30pm at our office downtown (300 15th St. San Diego, CA 92101) we will have a presentation from Susan Baldwin on Measure A. She will highlight the importance of smart growth and how crucial this is for the San Diego region. Learn more here. We invite you to join us and learn more so that you may make informed decisions when you vote.

This Wednesday, January 29th at 6pm the Draft Active Transportation Plan (ATP) for the City of Chula Vista will be presented at a specially scheduled Safety Commission Meeting in the Council Chambers. Click here for the agenda. Click here for the Draft ATP. The address is 276 Fourth Ave. Chula Vista, CA 91910.

Next Monday, February 3rd, 2020 at 2pm the City Council members from the City of San Diego will vote on the Budget Priority Memos they each submitted Friday, January 10, 2020 to the Mayor’s office. Click here to see what they submitted. If you would like to attend and speak, please join us. There will be a lot of people who plan to attend with their requests. The more we can speak up for cyclists the better!

………

It may not have been easy, but Bicycling once again proves there’s no such thing as a theft-proof bike lock.

Then again, as one cop put it, all you really have to do it make easier for a potential thief to steal someone else’s bike instead.

………

The Hollywood Reporter reviews the latest Lance Armstrong documentary, which premiered at Sundance in advance of its airing on ESPN.

But this pretty well sums up what you need to know.

Every word he says in the documentary feels either lawyered to death or endlessly rehearsed over countless solitary bike rides…because he’s still halfway between victimhood and martyrdom in his own mind.

Touché.

To paraphrase an old country song, how can we miss him if he won’t go away?

………

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

A road raging New Mexico driver faces a well-deserved four and a half years behind bars after he was convicted of shifting his vehicle into reverse and backing into a group of senior bike riders he’d just passed, after exchanging words with them. Thanks to Brian Kreimendahl of Bike Santa Fe for the link.

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

A Wisconsin father hopes a $10,000 reward will lead to the two people riding bicycles who stabbed his son to death in an apparently random attack last September, then disappeared without a trace.

A Florida bike rider faces charges for pulling out a hammer and attacking a driver who almost hit him, after the driver told him he’d been watching out for cars, not people on bicycles. I’ve practiced nonviolence since I was a teenager, but I’d still be tempted to take a swing at him myself for that.

………

Local

Bike West LA, Bike Culver City and the Central NBA/Sunset4All will host the second annual Mobility Mixer tomorrow night at the Bike Shop California on Motor Ave in West LA.

ULCA’s Daily Bruin reports Wheels sit-down scooters will soon come with an attached helmet. Somehow I doubt those hygienic liners they promise to provide will keep people from sharing their scalp critters, though.

Ride Around Pomona and Pomona Valley Bike Coalition will hop in the wayback machine for a 1950’s themed casual ride through, yes, Pomona.

 

State

Give it up, scofflaw scooterists. Lime will soon know if you’re riding on the sidewalk illegally. Now if they can just figure out how to tell when they’re parked blocking the sidewalk.

Speaking of scooters, San Diego just voted to ban them from the city’s boardwalks.

This is who we share the bike paths with. A 70-year old Santa Cruz woman was busted for her third DUI after driving the wrong way on a local bike path. Just one more example of government officials keeping dangerous drivers on the roads. Or bike paths. 

Streetsblog says the Bay Area suburb of Fremont will soon have the area’s best curb-protected bike lanes. And definitely puts to shame anything we have down here.

 

National

Bike Snob breaks down and admits that some bike do have souls.

CityLab offers its predictions for the scooter industry.

Bicycling talks bike baskets, and lists the ones they recommend. But which is the best one for toting a corgi?

Forbes says much of the initial information about the killing of bike rider Elaine Herzberg by a self-driving Uber car in Tempe AZ was wrong, including the myth that she “came out of nowhere.”

A Texas TV station corrects a letter writer, saying runners and walkers are required to face oncoming traffic, but bike riders are forbidden from riding salmon.

Seriously, what good is a bike box if the cops won’t keep drivers out of it? The Chicago Tribune wants to know.

Congratulations to New York, which came out on top with the least impact in a ranking of the climate impact of 100 metropolitan regions, followed by the Bay Area. Los Angeles ranked a surprisingly good 34, scoring high for bike use — no, really — and transit, but losing significant points for vehicle miles traveled.

Mourners released balloons on Tuesday in honor of Deondrick Rudd, the Louisiana bike rider who was killed by street racing brothers last weekend; Rudd was preparing to propose to his girlfriend on Valentines Day. Don’t do that. Mylar balloons can short power lines, causing fires and blackouts, while latex balloons pose a risk to birds and wildlife once they come back down. And they always come back down. 

 

International

Unlike some bicycling magazines and sites we could mention, Road.cc apparently recognizes that not every bike rider has wads of money falling out of their Rapha, recommending five roadies under the equivalent of $390, as well as ten of the best affordable bike shorts.

A Montreal website says the city’s Vision Zero program is revolutionizing the way people think about Montreal’s streets. That compares favorably with Los Angeles, which is revolutionizing the way a Vision Zero plan can gather dust on the shelf.

An English writer stumbles on his stolen bike, and swears his way into getting it back.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a truck driver gets off with a measly eight months behind bars for killing a woman riding a bike while talking to his wife using a handsfree cellphone, despite blinding glare from the wet road.

An Irish paper breaks down where the country’s political parties stand on bicycling issues. All of which show more support for bikes than both of America’s two major political parties.

Paris offers yet another incentive to get people out of their cars, reimbursing residents up to the equivalent of $660 for buying an ebike or cargo bike.

Damn. A Bali mob beat a man to death over an accusation that he’d stolen a bike helmet; police have been unable to confirm the theft, let alone who did it.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews tells the tale of how Primož Roglič, aka he whose name must be copied and pasted, made the unusual leap from ski jumping to the top of the cycling world.

A writer for Cycling Tips struggles to find hope in the hopeless at the Tour Down Under — or as he calls it, the brushfire tour.

Cycling’s governing body has pulled the plug on China’s Tour of Hainan next month due to fears over the new coronavirus.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to make your bank robbery getaway by bicycle, maybe try something a tad more nimble than a cruiser bike. If you want to go unnoticed after shoving 30 purloined cellphones into your pants, maybe spandex bike shorts aren’t the best choice. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for that one.

And if you think a dangerous pass is a good idea, this British cop has some advice for you.

 

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: US traffic deaths are down, while bike fatalities go up; more groups spread holiday bike cheer

According to the latest stats from the NHTSA, overall traffic deaths in the US are down slightly, while bicycling fatalities are the only category that went up in 2013.

That increase, to 743 cycling fatalities — up from 726 the year before — is most likely due to increased ridership.

Which doesn’t make it acceptable.

……..

‘Tis the season.

Redlands police donate 23 bikes to help veterans in the Inland Empire. The Santa Barbara Bike Coalition gives shiny new bikes to 24 kids; thanks to Megan Lynch for the link. A Sonoma County businessman donates 150 bikes to kids in need. A San Jose bike charity donates 2,700 bicycles to local kids. Oregon elementary school kids get 25 new bikes.

Why do these stories matter?

Because this is the next generation of bike riders. And every kid — or vet, for that matter — deserves the chance to ride a bike, regardless of whether they can afford one.

……..

Local

Streeetsblog wants your vote for the annual Streetsie Awards for Elected Official and Civil Servant of the year; I’m proud to have a couple of those on my mantle. Not that I actually have a mantle, but still.

A bike riding 24-year old mother fights for safer spaces for her daughter.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a free bike valet at the city’s big party at Downtown’s Grand Park. About time LA did the New Year right.

 

State

A Newport Beach bike rider suffers minor injuries in a right hook.

The wrong-way and allegedly intoxicated San Diego driver who hit a group of cyclists on Fiesta Island, leaving one paralyzed from the waist down, is found competent to stand trial. Although her lawyer successfully argues for a second opinion.

San Diego is sued over a recently installed road diet and bike lane, claiming the city did an inadequate CEQA review; however, California law was recently changed to exempt bike lanes from environmental review.

A bike rider suffers moderate injuries in a Desert Hot Springs collision after he allegedly runs a red light.

A Bakersfield family asks for help after a 46-year old grandfather is killed in a hit-and-run while riding his bike.

The new three-foot passing law gets a thumbs-up from San Jose cyclists; not so much from a local pedestrian.

Evidently, a NorCal driver failed to note the three-foot law, as he whacks a Siskiyou County physician with his right mirror; the victim suffered a broken collarbone.

 

National

Bicycling’s Elly Blue offers an interview with the founder of Black Girls Do Bike.

The editor of an Arizona newspaper reminisces about the places a bike can take you.

The Denver Post questions the $16.5 million cost of the new 18 mile bikeway paralleling a newly rebuilt highway. Funny, but they don’t seem to question what it cost to build the part cars will travel on.

The penultimate stage of next year’s USA Pro Challenge will end in my hometown.

Sadly, a research scientist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory lost his life in a mountain biking fall.

 

International

Now that’s more like it. A diabetic motorist in the UK is sentenced to fifteen months in jail and banned from driving for 20 years — yes, years — for killing a cyclist after he failed to monitor his blood sugar levels.

Caught on video: A Brit bike rider confronts a motorist who nearly hit him after not clearing the ice from his windshield; the driver claimed he could see clearly, but somehow couldn’t see the cyclist.

A British bike rider feels like a pariah when his bike is attacked for taking up space on a train.

Russell Crowe takes the cast of his new movie on 30-mile bike rides to bring more energy to the set.

A Philippine priest rides over 1,100 miles to raise awareness of climate change.

Over 600 bike riders have been busted for drunk bicycling under Taiwan’s new BUI law. And fined the equivalent of a whopping $9 to $18 dollars.

 

Finally…

A bunny gets trapped in the wheel of a mountain bike, and somehow hops away relatively unscathed; and yes, you really do need to see the photo. Former Talking Head David Byrne discusses the joys of bike riding.

And unbelievably, three Dallas cyclists are harassed by a driver who deliberately knocked one off his bike, then got out of his car and started hitting him — and not only do police issue the attacker just a minor ticket for assault, they ticket the victim for taking a beating. Thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

……..

Please accept my best wishes for a very merry Christmas. And may this season bring peace and joy and bikes and love to you and all your loved ones.

 Silent-Night

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.

California traffic deaths continue to drop, but OC bike fatality stats just don’t add up

Evidently, 2010 was a very good year for Orange County cyclists.

Or maybe not.

According to official statistics released recently by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, only three cyclists were killed in the county in 2010.

This in a county that averages one bicycling fatality a month. And one that suffered 21 bike deaths just five years ago, in 2006.

Judging by the stats, the county has shown a remarkable — or perhaps miraculous — improvement in bicycle safety.

Then again, things aren’t always what they seem.

Overall, the state of California showed continued improvements in roadway safety, with the total traffic fatalities in the state dropping from 4,240 in 2006 to 2,715 in 2010 — a decrease of over 1,500 in just five years.

Then again, one death is one too many.

And 2,715, while much better than previous years, still reflects the ongoing carnage on streets, as far too many people leave their homes or jobs, and never return again.

I’ll leave it to others to speculate why we’ve seen such a dramatic drop in motorist deaths.

But just imagine how much that figure could be improved if we could just get people to stay the hell away from their cars when they’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Or leave their damn cell phones and other distractions behind once they slide behind the wheel.

Although fighting distracted driving looks like a losing battle as manufacturers seem intent on building distraction into their dashboards in order to bring that death rate right back up.

You have to scroll down to the middle of the NHTSA’s page for California before information on bicycling fatalities finally appears.

Surprisingly, even that shows significant improvement over the last five years, with a drop from 141 cyclists killed on California streets in 2006 to 99 in 2010. That matches the total for 2009, although the percentage of the total traffic fatalities represent by cyclists rose from 3% to 4% as other traffic fatalities dropped even more.

Then again, that number may not be entirely accurate. Because a breakdown of the totals on a countywide basis shows one highly questionable total.

And yes, I’m looking at you, OC.

To put those figures in perspective, we can add in last year’s unofficial totals from my own records, along with an average for the six-year period.

As you can see, the totals for 2010 pretty much fall in line with the six-year average, even though several counties showed a dramatic increase for last year.

With one glaring exception.

Remarkably, Orange County experienced, by far, the greatest improvement in the state, dropping to the lowest rate per capita (pdf) of any county in the California reporting even a single death, with just 0.10 cycling fatalities per 100,000 population.

By comparison, OC reported .37 bike deaths per 100,000 population in 2009, while L.A. showed .22 for both 2009 and 2010.

Maybe it’s a fluke.

Maybe the county did have an exceptionally good year. Maybe far fewer cyclists really did die on OC streets than might otherwise have been expected.

The problem is, at least two cyclists died after being hit by cars on Orange County streets that weren’t included in that total. Published news reports indicated that at least five cyclists died as a result of traffic collisions in the county that year.

In order to clarify the situation, I downloaded the entire list of 1318 bicycling collisions in Orange County from the CHP’s SWITRS database — every bike-involved collision that was reported to police in the county in 2010.

And like the FARS data, it showed just three fatalities within the county.

  • 4/20/10, Beach Blvd & LaHabra Blvd, La Habra, 49F
  • 7/15/10, Spyglass Hill CT, Newport Beach, 35M
  • 12/22/10, Brookhurst & Villa Pacific Dr, Huntington Beach, 69M

Those dates, locations and ages correspond to the tragic deaths of Annette Ferrin-Rogers, Michael Nine and Jurgen Ankenbrand.

The list also showed 59 other collisions in which a cyclist was severely injured.

Of those, two corresponded to fatal collisions that had been reported in the press:

  • 8/3/10, Newport Coast and RT 73, Newport Beach, 65M
  • 11/17/10, Walnut and Browning Avenues, Tustin, 22M

The first matches up with Dan Crain, who died 12 days after he was hit by a car, and Marco Acuapan, who lingered in a coma until April of last year following the hit-and-run collision that eventually took his life.

Maybe the problem is that they initially survived the collision, only to die days or months after the initial impact.

It could be argued that Dan Crain died as a result of the surgeries he was subjected to following his collision; however, those surgeries were performed to treat injuries he received in collision and would not have been necessary otherwise. Meanwhile, Acuapan’s death was a direct, if somewhat delayed, result of the collision that put him in a coma until the day he died.

Maybe Orange County authorities are splitting hairs by excluding their deaths.

But that appears exactly the argument Orange County is making by excluding their deaths from the county’s reported fatalities. Even though it’s hard to argue that Crain and Acuapan might not still be here if they hadn’t both been hit by cars.

Which makes me wonder if there were other deaths that year that we don’t know about. In the absence of any other news reports — and trust me, I’ve looked — we can only hope that no other deaths are hidden among the other 57 severely injured cyclists included in the SWITRS data that never made the news.

After all, it’s only in the last year or so that the press has started taking cycling collisions seriously as bicycling gains in popularity and riders press for more accurate reporting; in years past, it wasn’t unusual for cycling deaths to go virtually unnoticed by the mainstream press.

But even if you count all five fatalities, instead of just the three that were officially reported, 2010 would seem to be an exceptionally good year for Orange County cyclists. And by far, the county’s safest year on recent record.

Sadly, though, it’s not one local authorities can much take credit for; it appears to be a fluke, as cycling fatalities bounced right back with at least 13 deaths the following year.

And just three months into this year, Orange County has already seen three cyclists killed in traffic collisions — as well as a fourth who may have died of a heart attack as a result of a fall while riding, or perhaps the other way around.

Clearly, the county has a lot of work to do to make their streets safe for all users.

Regardless of what may or may not have occurred two years ago.

*Based on primarily on published news stories, as well as CHP reports.

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