Tag Archive for Paul Koretz

Embarrassed to be seen on an ebike, support for Venice Blvd bike lanes, and Sierra Club backs faux-environmentalist

A quick update before we get started. 

My brother has made it to Kansas a week into his latest cross-country bike ride.

So far, things are running smoothly, despite temperatures in the high 90s. 

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No bias here.

A writer for The Atlantic, who clearly doesn’t get it, says ebikes are monstrosities that need to develop an identity of their own, distinct from bicycles and motorbikes.

Never mind that ebikes open up this wild and wonderful world of bicycling we so love to countless people who couldn’t ride a bike before, or would love to ride one again.

Not to mention countless more who use them as a simple and efficient way to get to work or school. Or do their shopping without having to break out the family SUV.

Or own one, even.

But writer Ian Bogost doesn’t see it that way.

But I’ve been trying to live with one, and brother, I’ve got some bad news. These things are freaks. Portraying e-bikes as a simple, obvious, and inevitable evolution of transportation (or even of bicycling) doesn’t fully explain these strange contraptions. The Venicsame was said of Segways, and then of Bird scooters, and both flamed out spectacularly…

Perhaps my e-bike ambivalence comes in part from the bike’s strange social status. An e-bike isn’t cheap—the least expensive ones are about $1,000, and they go up to $5,000 or more. But the symbolic value one receives in exchange is minimal. Spending five large on a conventional bike would get you a status symbol—you’d come off as a cyclist for sure. For that matter, spending that dough on a Vespa would infuse you with an Aperol-tinged Italianate cool. You’d want to be seen arriving on your moped. But I don’t want anybody seeing me on my e-bike. It’s just kind of embarrassing.

Seriously.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but who honestly gives a rat’s rear about the social cachet of your bicycle, unless you are in fact dropping way too much on a high-end roadie designed to make you faster than your little legs and limited skills would otherwise allow?

You know, kind of like an ebike.

But wait, as they say in informercials, there’s more!

Currently, e-bikes are trapped in the weird smear between pathetic, loser bicycles and pitiable, low-end motorbikes. Especially in America, where bike infrastructure is far less developed than in the small, flat nations of Northern Europe that cycling advocates like to exalt as a model, e-bikes have become kind of a nuisance. Walking the streets of New York City, it now feels just as likely that you might get mowed down by an e-bike as a taxicab. Elsewhere, the narrow protected lanes and greenway trails built for human-powered bikes—already littered with stroller-pushers and joggers—don’t quite scale to the new swiftness of e-bikes. The pathways and roads themselves, perhaps already unsafe at bike speed due to uneven pavement and poor maintenance, feel even more dangerous on a not-quite-motorcycle.

So, no one wants ebikes and there’s no market for them, yet they’re as ubiquitous as taxicabs on New York sidewalks.

Sure, that makes sense.

Never mind that ebikes already outsell electric cars and plug-in hybrids combined in the US.

That would seem to refute the argument that there’s no clear market for them. Let alone that anyone other than him is embarrassed to ride one.

Maybe someone could just tell Mr. Bogost that 2012 called, and wants its hot take back.

Then again, maybe he wouldn’t feel so embarrassed if he was riding Mercedes new $5,800 Formula E-inspired ebike.

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The proposal to expand the protected bike lanes and bus lanes on Venice Blvd seemed to enjoy overwhelming support at yesterday’s virtual meeting, as well as on community surveys.

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Leave it to our local Sierra Club to get it wrong.

As someone who grew up in Colorado, I’d long seen the Sierra Club as a protector of the native environment.

But it didn’t take long after moving to Los Angeles to realize that the LA/Orange County chapter was mired in form of environmental conservatism unbecoming of local politics. And unwilling to upset the automotive hegemony and single-family home applecart to actually advocate for the change we need to save our city.

Let alone the planet.

Which leads to their endorsement of everyone’s favorite faux-environmentalist and termed-out councilmember, who apparently never met a bike lane he liked, or a NIMBY he didn’t.

My old friend Dr. Michael Cahn seems to sum up the sad situation pretty well.

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Hats off to the East Side Riders for working to bring an ebike lending library to the South LA area.

Even if a certain writer for The Atlantic would be embarrassed to be seen on one.

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Beautiful cover art by the late, great French illustrator Jean-Jacques Sempé.

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More proof you can move anything by bike. Even if it looks like the dog is doing the steering.

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

Yet another cord has been strung over a Madison, Wisconsin bike path where it could clothesline an unsuspecting rider; one victim has already been seriously injured crashing into one.

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

A Welsh cabbie has been sentenced to two years behind bars for deliberately running over a road raging bike rider who slapped the hood of his car and called him a fat fuck in a dispute over the man’s driving.

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Local

What took so long? Ever since a speeding driver blew through a red light and killed five people in Windsor Hills, along with a pregnant woman’s unborn baby, I’ve wondered when they would get around to claiming she wasn’t conscious leading up to the crash.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton expounds on yesterday’s comment about the Ventura Blvd bike lane plans, questioning why the city is touting it as a bike safety proposal instead of the parking plan it really is.

 

State 

For the second year in a row, Governor Gavin Newsom killed a bill that would have allowed bike riders to treat stop signs as yields; this time he only had to announce plans to veto the bill to get it pulled by its sponsor. Never mind that it’s safely in use in an ever-growing number of cities and states. Maybe we’ll have to call getting ticketed for rolling a stop “getting Gavined.”

Calbike is looking for a full-time executive director, as well as a part-time individual giving manager. Let me know when that last position gets filled; I know a few individuals I’d be happy to give them.

Carlsbad literally put its money where its figurative mouth is, voting to allocate $2 million to confront a bike safety emergency, after bicycle and ebike injuries doubled over the previous year, and two ebike riders were killed there just one week apart; the funding includes half a million dollars to hire four additional traffic enforcement cops. Thanks to Oceanside bike lawyer and BikinginLA sponsor Richard Duquette for the heads-up; the way things our going in San Diego and Orange counties lately, they need a good bike lawyer down there. Or maybe an army of them.

 

National

Cycling Weekly offers a guide to smooth and efficient shifting, and announces their picks for the best bike bells. Wake me when somebody makes a bike bell that sounds like an old submarine klaxon.

ZDNet suggests where to hide an AirTag on your bike so thieves won’t find it. Apparently assuming that bike thieves don’t know how to Google.

A VeloNews podcast talks with mountain bike icon Gary Fisher, who has remained a force in the bike industry through two cultural revolutions.

An Orem, Utah elementary school is raising funds to teach kindergarten kids how to ride bikes, through the All Kids Bike program.

While LA bike riders struggle to get to SoFi Stadium, Houston is building a bike path to get riders safely to and from the NFL’s NRG Stadium; the city hopes to conclude work in time for the annual rodeo and livestock show in March.

A Minnesota bike rider explores John Prine’s “jungles of East St. Paul.” And makes it look pretty damn good in the process.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A Michigan woman was killed by a hit-and-run driver, just moments after she ran out of her house to aid a bike rider who had just been killed by another motorist.

New York is considering an ebike rebate program that could slash prices 50%, up to a retail cost of $2,200.

The husband of an American diplomat killed riding her bike in Maryland has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support; a crowdfunding campaign has raised nearly $180,000 in just two days to advocate for safer bikeways, more than tripling the original goal.

 

International

The Guardian considers how our language has been colonized by cars, while wondering whether we really want to see the world from a windshield perspective.

Seriously? The Sun questions who was in the right, after a driver plows into a rider practicing stunts on his BMX bike in the middle of a dark street. Is all of the above an option?

No need to cork intersections anymore, with a new device that will let you control the traffic signal for up to 45 seconds at a time.

Road.cc wants to know who drained the color out of road bike tires, and why.

No irony here. A mayoral candidate in Winnipeg, Manitoba had his own bicycle stolen, just 85 minutes after announcing a plan to eliminate bike theft.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a British paramedic’s bike while he was busy saving lives; the victim was riding his bike to save money after the birth of his daughter.

Bike Radar offers ten “weird and wonderful mountain bike throwbacks” from this year’s Malverns Classic in the UK.

 

Competitive Cycling

Aussie Kaden Groves won his first Grand Tour stage in Wednesday’s 11th stage of the Vuelta, while Remco Evenepoel maintained his grip the red leader’s jersey.

Cycling Weekly examines Irish pro Sam Bennett’s return to his winning ways in the opening weekend of the Vuelta.

Over 1,800 riders are expected to turn out for the tenth anniversary of The Rebecca’s Private Idaho gravel race, founded by former cycling great and Idaho native Rebecca Rusch.

 

Finally…

We may have to deal with distracted LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to ride highways smothered in Alfredo sauce. That feeling when Google Maps directs you to bike lanes that don’t exist.

And with hair like that, who needs a helmet?

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Koretz gas ban called election gimmick, 6th Street Viaduct values cars above people, and Metro Bike wants your opinion

My apologies once again for yesterday’s unexcused absence. 

I’m still dealing with bouts of disabling dizziness and queasiness that can stop me in my tracks, as it did Wednesday night. 

My doctors continue to assure me that it’s a form of migraine. Even if it hasn’t responded to diet, medication or any of the other treatments they were just darn sure would work. 

Which means this probably won’t be the last time it happens. 

And the next time won’t, either. 

Photo by Harrison Haines from Pexels.

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He gets it.

Rick Cole has lead a handful of SoCal cities, including Ventura and Santa Monica, as well as serving as a deputy mayor in Los Angeles.

Which is to say, he knows what he’s talking about. And can spot a cheap political stunt a mile away.

Sorry, Paul Koretz.

The tweet may be hidden behind a sensitive content warning, for reasons that will forever escape me. Just click the View link to display it, or you can read it here

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More proof that the designers of the new 6th Street Viaduct put cars ahead of people.

Especially people on two wheels.

Speaking of which, the Bicycle Advisory Committee’s Planning and Bikeways Engineering Subcommittees will discuss the bridge’s “bikeway shortcomings” at Tuesday’s Virtual meeting.

The committees will also discuss the Northvale Gap on the Expo bike path, and bike safety in Griffith Park, among other issues.

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Someone tell LADOT it would help if they put a link to the survey in their tweets.

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Metro is teaming with Active SGV to host a ride in Pomona tomorrow.

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Gravel Bike California takes a ride through the redwoods of Santa Cruz.

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

A naked Scottish couple riding a tandem were attacked by a driver, who made a U-turn to come back and hurl abuse at them — calling them prostitutes — before swerving his car into the couple; they’re continuing on their 837-mile fundraising ride despite suffering minor injuries.

British bike riders were quick to point out to a local police department why urging people to Cycle Like You Drive is a very, very bad idea.

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

Heartbreaking story from the UK, where a hit-and-run bicyclist will spend the next year behind bars for killing a 79-year old woman after rounding a corner while riding on the sidewalk.

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Local

A writer for the LA Times recommends exploring Griffith Park on your bike, particularly since Griffith Park Drive has been closed to cars through Monday. And hopefully longer.

CicLAvia is hosting a CivSalon panel discussion on Wednesday to discuss how innovation can make our streets safer and more equitable.

 

State 

Calbike joins with 17 other agencies to call for and end to freeway expansion in the Golden State.

Streetsblog says Caltran’s Complete Streets Action plan is basically a list of specific actions the agency will take to encourage a shift towards equitable and safer transportation. Let’s hope so, anyway.

Call it a win-win. San Diego’s new 2.3-mile bike lane on Pershing Drive through Balboa Park will improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians, as well as including a project to replace aging stormwater lines to prevent flooding and reduce water pollution.

A 58-year Rancho Bernardo man completed a 3,300-mile ride across the US, raising over $20,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to fight type 1 diabetes.

Berkeley’s new 12-block parking and barrier protected bike lane connects the north and south sections of the city’s downtown.

Sonoma Magazine offers the ultimate guide to riding in the wine country county.

 

National

They get it. A retail business website says retailers usually fight new bike lanes, arguing they will hurt their business — but usually end up with higher sales after they’re built.

A British man completed his 4,000-mile bike ride across the US, raising nearly $30,000 for charity in the process — including the equivalent of over $2,300 from Dame Judy Dench.

The Pro’s Closet and The Radavist’s John Watson have teamed up on a special-edition gravel bike inspired by a Toyota Land Cruiser; only eight will be made, selling for just under nine grand.

Walmart is recalling a bike helmet that was a replacement for a recalled bike helmet.

It’s the 125th anniversary of the legendary Buffalo Soldier’s 41-day, 1,900 mile bike ride, proving bicycles could efficiently move troops. Until those damn cars and trucks took their place.

Pay full freight for a bike from Colorado bikemaker Alchemy Bikes, and they’ll put you up in a Golden CO hotel, and spring for beer and a breakfast burrito.

Tragic news from Colorado, whee a six-year old boy died days after he was bitten by a rattlesnake while riding bikes with his family.

Cars are still banned from the Northern entrances to Yellowstone due to flooding damage, but bikes are being allowed in for short rides; bicyclists call the carefree carfree experience “magical.”

It’s illegal to stand on the pedals while you ride your bike in Indiana.

Sad news from Missouri, where a 44-year old man was killed when a sheriff’s deputy rear-ended his bicycle; no word on why the deputy couldn’t see a grown man on a bike directly in front of him.

The alleged DUI driver who hit three pedestrians standing on an Illinois bike path, killing two young men, saw half the charges against her dismissed, but will face trial on the seven remaining counts.

A self-described “avid cyclist” says there has to be a better use for St. Paul, Minnesota’s money than removing parking spaces to build a two-way bikeway. There are no more chilling words than those that begin with “I’m an avid cyclist, but…”

There’s a special place in hell for whoever attacked a popular New York restaurant worker to steal his ebike as the man ride home from work, putting him in a coma he never recovered from.

Once again, a driver ran down a bike rider, then got out of his car to remove the victim’s bicycle from underneath before fleeing the scene, this time in North Carolina. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

A Florida woman was lucky to survive after a driver hit her and a friend as they were riding their bikes, dragging the woman 50 feet beneath the car as the driver fled the scene; her friend escaped with just minor injuries.

 

International

London’s Evening Standard takes a look at the city’s bikeshare tribes, with tongue placed firmly in cheek.

Police in Britain’s New Forest urge drivers to slow down so they don’t crash into the donkeys. Or the people on bicycles .

That feeling when you fly to London, but your $16,500 bike and luggage fly to Naples.

Former pro cyclist and Rwandan genocide survivor Adrien Niyonshuti beat the pro peloton to the top of France’s legendary Alpe d’Huez, despite riding a 40 pound, single speed Qhubeka bike built for use in Africa.

Bike Radar looks at the best “weird and wonderful” tech from Germany’s Eurobike trade show.

The head of Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency reportedly is in intensive care after suffering multiple injuries falling off his bicycle; as usual, the country denies anything even happened. Although his injuries suggest something more serious than a simple fall off a bike.

A 36-year old Indian man has been riding throughout the country for the past three years to call attention to organic farming and the problem of single-use plastics.

CNN looks at how Abu Dhabi became the world’s hottest bicycling city. No, literally.

Hong Kong is considering requiring a helmet for anyone riding a bicycle, tricycle or multi-wheeled bike. Evidently, they have a lot of five, six and seven wheeled bikes. 

 

Competitive Cycling

Yellow jersey bearer Tadej Pogačar cracked on Wednesday’s 11th stage of the Tour de France, allowing Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard to slip into the lead.

He wasn’t the only Slovenian to crack. Primož Roglič followed suit the next day after a series of attacks by his Jumbo-Visma team, in an effort to widen Vingegaard’s lead; Vingegaard ended the day 2:22 ahead of Pogačar, who was unable to successfully attack on Thursday’s ride up Alpe d’Huez.

Twenty-two-year old Brit Tom Piddock won Thursday’s stage, besting veteran Chris Froome on the mountain top finish.

The top American is now Sepp Kuss, nearly 25 minutes behind the leader in 17th place, and one notch above Nielson Powless in 18th. Meanwhile, 21-year old Tour rookie Quinn Simmons vows to keep attacking.

Atlas Obscura dives into the chaos of the Tour’s Fast and Furious Feed Zone.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could be good for 125 miles. Why stop riding at the water’s edge?

And let your bike be your tent pole on your next bikepacking trip.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

LA to audit failed Vision Zero, memorial for Prynsess Brazzle, and guilty plea in drunken Solana Beach hit-and-run

No irony here.

Outgoing CD5 City Councilmember and city attorney candidate Paul Koretz called on Los Angeles to audit the city’s Vision Zero plan, in an effort to determine why traffic deaths continue to rise seven years after it was adopted.

And just three years before traffic deaths were supposed to be a thing of the past.

Yes, that’s the same self-proclaimed environmentalist who has blocked bike lanes and Complete Streets projects in his district, including on Westwood Blvd and Melrose Avenue, since taking office 13 years ago.

Which certainly couldn’t have anything to do with it, right?

According to the story by LAist, the city saw 186 people killed in crashes in 2015, when the plan was adopted, with a jump to 294 last year. And it’s on a pace for over 330 traffic deaths this year.

Los Angeles Walks Executive Director John Li pointed out one glaring problem with the program.

“Structurally, we have a political system that has not had a unified vision of Vision Zero — it’s 15 different approaches to Vision Zero,” Yi told LAist. “How do we give political elected officials the confidence, or the political courage… to get more bike lanes, more bus lanes, flatter sidewalks, [and] slower streets? Because right now, it’s just too politically risky for elected officials and they’re not willing to be a leader on this.”

But honestly, how do you audit something that was never more than the political equivalent of vaporware?

LA’s Vision Zero has never received more than a fraction of the funding required to implement it, let alone the support from the mayor’s office necessary to even make a dent in traffic deaths.

There was no multi-agency task force dedicated to implementing it. No dedicated staff at LADOT, or any other public agency. No one with the power to cut through the red tape and NIMBY objections to reimagine our mean streets.

And no one with the ability to overrule LA’s 15 little kings and queens, who each rule their own fiefdom from their offices at city hall. Each of whom has the power to unilaterally water down or halt any changes to the streets in their districts, just as Koretz has proudly done.

Never mind “Roadkill” Gil Cedillo in CD1, Mitch O’Farrell in CD13, or Paul Krekorian in CD2, each of whom halted major shovel-ready lane reductions and other badly needed traffic safety programs.

Or any of the other councilmembers who, with very few notable exceptions, cowardly hid behind claims of public opinion and the demands of the almighty automobile to avoid making any of the tough choices necessary to make even a modest reduction in traffic deaths.

Let alone put an end to them.

The simple fact is, LA’s Vision Zero has never been more than smoke and mirrors, with a little modest nibbling at the edges so minor no one could complain.

But that was exactly what we warned about when the plan was first adopted, questioning whether Los Angeles elected leaders had the political will and courage necessary for the plan to succeed.

In retrospect, the clear answer is no.

And 300 Angelenos, and all of their friends and loved ones, are now paying the price every year.

Mayor Garcetti signs the Vision Zero order behind his comically huge outdoor desk; photo from Streetsblog LA.

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Speaking of Vision Zero, we live in a city where officials are willing to honor the victims of traffic violence.

But won’t lift a finger to keep them alive.

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A 22-year old San Diego man faces 15 years behind bars for the drunken hit-and-run death of 75-year old Allen Hunter II as he rode his bike on South Coast Highway 101 in Solana Beach last year.

Beau Morgan pled guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run causing death and driving under the influence; he was over twice the legal limit when he turned himself in 45 minutes after the crash.

Once again destroying two lives with one careless act.

Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up.

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

No bias here. San Jose drivers call a proposal to make them change lanes to pass bike riders insane and evil. Then again, so is hiding the story behind a paywall. 

No bias here, either. A Berkeley writer complains that the city’s policies are turning bicycles into a “weapon of civic destruction…damaging neighborhoods, endangering bicyclists and undermining the legitimacy of governance while squandering millions of dollars.” Okay, so some articles would be better hidden behind a paywall. Or under a rock.

Police in Britain are looking for a road-raging driver who head-butted a bike rider after a dispute.

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Local

The LA Times endorses Katy Young Yaroslavsky — longtime LA politician Zev’s daughter-in-law — to replace Paul Koretz in CD5, although they also like Scott Epstein, who has a much better bike safety pedigree.

Plans are in the works for new bus only lanes on Florence Ave in South LA, which would also allow bike riders to use them; however, like other LA bus lanes, they would only be in effect during peak traffic hours.

A South Pasadena website looks back fondly on Sunday’s 626 Golden Streets.

Palmdale will conduct a Complete Streets overhaul of Avenue R, including walkable sidewalks and painted bike lanes.

 

State 

Social media users are understandably up in arms after video of San Diego workers destroying bicycles during a homeless sweep went viral.

A homeless man already on probation for another crime is back behind bars after shoplifting merchandise and stealing a bicycle from an El Cajon Target, then forcibly taking another bicycle in a strong arm robbery.

The Los Osos woman who got out of prison after just two years of her seven-year sentence for the drunken death of a bike-riding San Luis Obispo college student was released early thanks to pre-sentencing credits and a re-entry program; she’s now back behind bars after crashing into several parked cars with a BAC four times the legal limit.

A new bill in the state Assembly would mandate secure bike parking in new residential buildings; AB 2863 would also require the California Building Standards Commission to update its bike parking standards for commercial buildings. Although they should also require building owners to allow tenants and workers to take their bikes inside to their homes and offices.

Calbike is once again asking for your support for the Bicycle Safety Stop Bill, aka Stop As Yield, aka the stop sign portion of the Idaho Stop Law, somehow assuming Gavin Newsom will sign the bill after vetoing it last year.

Streetsblog talks with a San Francisco ER doctor, who says preventable injuries dropped when JFK Drive was closed to drivers, and pleaded with city officials to keep it that way.

 

National

America Walks takes a deeper look at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s call for public comments on how to make motor vehicles safer for pedestrians — and for people on bicycles. You have until Monday to get your comments in.

A writer for Popsugar replaces her car and reduces her carbon footprint with an ebike from women-owned Bluejay.

Seriously? A Utah paper asks if it’s time to get serious about road safety after three pedestrians were killed in a single hour, with four bike riders killed in the state in recent weeks — wait, make that five. The time to get serious was before anyone got killed.

More proof that NIMBYs are the same everywhere, as Houston residents decry plans for a 1.5-mile lane reduction and bike lanes, calling it a disaster that will cause traffic congestion and force drivers into neighborhoods.

Surprisingly, Minnesota has the nation’s longest paved bike trail, running 800 miles along the Mississippi River, as well as a 315-mile path through two national parks and nine state parks.

 

International

A Welsh police official is “hugely supportive” of bike cams, saying police can’t be everywhere but the public can.

That’s more like it. British drivers complain that they could be fined the equivalent of $6,250 for distracted eating behind the wheel, calling it nonsense and daylight robbery. Although everyone else on the road likely likes the idea.

A Melbourne, Australia city councilor says a proposal to remove bike lanes would be economic vandalism.

A Perth, Australia e-scooter rider was killed in a collision with a bike rider when the two crashed on a blind bend; the bike rider was treated for minor injuries.

An Aussie op-ed complains that Sydney’s new bike plan completely ignores half the city.

 

Competitive Cycling

Mark Cavendish insists there’s no rivalry between him and Fabio Jakobsen for a spot on the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team in this year’s Tour de France.

Women’s cycling continues to grow, with plans for a women’s Milan-San Remo next year.

  

Finally…

Your next bike could be the two-wheeled offspring of Formula 1. We may have to put up with angry LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to deal with road-hogging grizzlies.

And that feeling when a bike path is named after a creepy clown, or maybe the other way around.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Invalid signatures sink Bonin recall, Koretz nixes expanded hours for La Brea bus lanes, and Ride4Love Super Bowl Sunday

So much for that big anti-Bonin uprising in his coastal council district.

Wealthy and conservative activists have been gunning for CD11 Councilmember Mike Bonin almost since he first took office in 2013.

Especially following his bold, but poorly rolled out, attempt at installing much needed road diets in Playa del Rey in 2017, which were removed after Mayor Eric Garcetti cut the legs out from under him following an angry outcry from drivers used to using the roadways as a deadly surface-street alternative to the 405.

Numerous attempts recall him have been announced, despite the overwhelming support Bonin has enjoyed at the ballot box.

And all have fizzled.

The latest attempt got the furthest, as recall supporters actually made it to city hall this time, submitting over 39,000 signatures to the city clerk’s office, far more than needed to qualify the recall for the ballot.

Except, as it turned out, over 13,000 of those signatures were rejected as invalid. Leaving them around 1,350 short.

Now the bike-friendly and bike-riding councilmember can turn his attention to running for a third and final term in office this year, which will most likely return him to his position as chair of the city council’s Transportation Committee.

And avoid the awkward possibility that he could be removed from office amid the typically low turnout of a recall election this spring, then returned when the larger voting public turns out for the June primary election.

As the LA Times points, out, this is the third council recall attempt to fizzle out this year, after earlier failed attempts to oust Nithya Raman and Kevin de León.

Photo taken from Bonin website.

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Once again, outgoing CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz shows his true stripes, standing in the way of a much-needed bus lane on La Brea, if it happens to inconvenience anyone even a tiny bit.

Thankfully, Koretz will be termed out this September, when hopefully, someone who actually supports improving transit service to get Angelenos out of their cars can take his place.

So maybe just hold off on printing those Bus Lane No Parking signs for a few more months.

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Mark your calendar for February’s biggest outdoor event.

Wait, there’s a football game, too?

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I’m not one to talk about my religious beliefs.

But I confess to saying a prayer to the Madonna del Ghisallo every night, asking that everyone who rides a bike the next day may return home safely.

Sadly, sometimes the answer is no.

So I also pray for all those who have been injured or killed riding a bicycle, and all of their loved ones, that they may be comforted and at peace.

Because what’s the point of having our own patron saint if we don’t ask for her help?

https://twitter.com/CoolBikeArt1/status/1483552308126437376

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

No bias here. Yet another lengthy screed from a self-proclaimed San Luis Obispo “pedestrian, bicyclist and…commercial driver” complaining that bicycling and walking safety improvements in the city are doing just the opposite — including a new two-way protected bike lane he claims is just teaching children to ride on the wrong side of the road.

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

Riverside police are looking for a bicyclist who repeatedly whacked a 60-something man over the head with a piece of wood in an apparent road rage attack on New Year’s Eve, resulting in head injuries that kept the victim hospitalized until now. Never resort to violence, as tempting as it may be — especially with a weapon, improvised or otherwise. Regardless of what the driver may have done to piss you off.

An alleged road raging bike rider pled guilty to a pair of bail jumping charges on the eve of his trial for fatally shooting a Milwaukee immigration attorney in front of his wife; the defense accuses the driver of directing a racial slur at the Black bicyclist. Which, horrible though it may be, does not justify killing the victim with a gun the shooter was not legally allowed to possess.

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Local

Streetsblog encourages you to weigh in on Metro’s budget for the upcoming year.

 

State

The HIV/AIDS fundraiser AIDS LifeCycle ride is back this year after a two-year pandemic hiatus, and looking for volunteers to help out.

Spectrum News 1 considers the soaring popularity of ebikes in San Diego.

A Corona man is ordered to stand trial for attempting to sexually assault a schoolgirl, then fleeing naked on his bicycle. Seriously, there’s not a pit in hell deep enough.

Oakland is pulling the plug on their Slow Streets program, rather than making them permanent like some other cities have done.

 

National

Cannondale’s new Synapse is one of the first road bikes from a major manufacturer to incorporate integrated daytime running lights and a rear-facing radar to alert the rider to any approaching motor vehicles, based on Garmin’s Varia bicycle-mounted radar.

You’ve got to be kidding. South Dakota’s Supreme Court tossed a lawsuit from a woman who was paralyzed when her bike wheel got caught in a Rapid City storm grate, after the city destroyed the evidence by removing nearly 100 similar grates — including the one that left her a quadriplegic, making it impossible to prove her case.

Santa Fe bike riders call for an end to automotive supremacy in advance of a redesign of a deadly thoroughfare that was once part of the famed Route 66.

A handful of Good Samaritans pitched in to buy a new racing bike for a Colorado triathlete who lost everything in the recent Boulder County fire, including her carbon fiber Cervelo, which was turned to ash by the flames.

Your old car tires could have a new life as armadillos marking a Memphis protected bike lane. Now if they’d just recycle the rest of the cars.

The NYPD tells moped riders to stay the hell out of the bicycle/pedestrian lane on the Queensboro Bridge. Now if they could just stop their own cops from parking in bike lanes.

Nice move. New York will provide free two-month bikeshare memberships for hospital workers at the front lines in the battle against the Covid-19 Omicron surge.

A new Penn State study shows that even Bike Friendly University’s are failing to encourage members of underserved racial, gender, low-income and disabled groups to bicycle to and on college campuses.

Bicyclist and pedestrian deaths nearly doubled last year in Florida’s Pinellas County, home to Clearwater and St. Petersburg, jumping from 49 in 2020 to 85 in 2021.

 

International

Local residents are delighted that plans to segregate an English bike lane have been scrapped, so they can keep parking in it.

The Vatican now has its very own cycling team, in honor of the bike-loving pope.

A new German study shows that the country’s increase in bicycling is largely driven by highly educated urban residents, who are riding twice as much as they did when the study began in 1996. Although the study only goes through 2018, so it doesn’t include the effects of the pandemic bike boom. Thanks to Ralph Durham for the heads-up.

A New Zealand tour boat skipper spent the pandemic building a new 35-mile mountain bike track, opening up backcountry areas that have never been open to the public before.

Life is cheap in Adelaide, Australia, where police unexpectedly dropped all charges against a 25-year old man accused of deliberately ramming three separate bike riders while driving a stolen car.

 

Competitive Cycling

Sad news from Brazil, where elite mountain biker Mariano Merlo died after a sudden illness; she was just 27 years old.

Russian cyclist and former world junior time trial champ Aigul Gareeva has been suspended after skipping not one, not two, but three doping tests over the past year, which could lead to up to a two year ban. Nope, nothing at all suspicious about blowing off three dope tests. Especially now that the Era of Doping is over, right?

Continental-level developmental team Israel Cycling Academy was victimized by bike thieves on Monday, losing 17 team bikes from a truck at the team’s Catalonia, Spain training camp.

Argentine cyclists discover the hard way that maybe they should slow down just a tad when the road is flooded out in front of the peloton.

https://twitter.com/SC_ESPN/status/1483113665188569089?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1483113665188569089%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2Fcycling-live-blog-18-january-2022-289579

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could be haute couture. Don’t stab your companion in an argument over who owns a bike — especially when you’re already on bail for a meth bust.

And it looks like LA tall bike king Richie Trimble’s 20 feet 2.5 inches Stoopid Taller is now just the world’s second tallest bike.

………

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

Metro bikewashes 605 freeway expansion, LA council considers safety measures, and CicLAvia heads to South LA

Sometimes, the explanation stinks as much as the project.

And the location.

Anyone who ever drove the 605 Freeway through Baldwin Park and the City of Industry in years past noticed the stench of the duck farm long before it came into sight.

And it lingered long after, making you wonder if the odor was still wafting through the air, or burned into your olfactory nerve.

It’s been 20 years since work began to turn the poultry farm into a park. Although you have to wonder if even that is long enough to get the stink off the land.

But now the stench is wafting from the Metro boardroom, instead.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton reports the board Planning Committee unanimously approved a $35 million project to widen the freeway interchange at the 605 and Valley Blvd. And is greenwashing it with supposed benefits to bike riders and pedestrians.

What’s depressing is how inexorably these small freeway expansion projects continue to advance. And the Metro gaslighting that now promotes polluting auto-focused freeway expansion as good for equity and for active transportation.

He goes on to note that Caltrans bizarrely certified that the project would have no negative environmental impact.

Because apparently, induced demand isn’t a thing anymore.

The 605/Valley Blvd project was environmentally cleared via a negative declaration (asserting the project has no adverse environmental impacts) approved by Caltrans in May 2021. The environmental documents use discredited Level of Service metrics to show that widening roadways would “reduce congestion on Valley Boulevard” and “alleviate mobility constraints.” The project would widen roads, increasing car congestion and concomitant pollution burdens on the surrounding communities.

Equally bizarre, though, is Metro’s attempts at greenwashing the project by touting its extremely limited benefits to alternative transpiration.

Again, from Linton’s Streetsblog piece —

Caltrans and Metro tout the project as benefiting alternative transportation. The environmental documents assert that the project would “enhance bicyclist and pedestrian safety” and “help reduce GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions” by supporting alternative modes of transportation: biking and walking.

All of the non-car features of the project are:

  • Adding a sidewalk where it is currently missing on the north side of Valley Boulevard – including ADA-mandated features such as wheelchair ramps.
  • Adding “a widened shoulder to provide a future bike lane along Eastbound Valley Boulevard up to the northbound loop on-ramp.” Installing this 1,400-feet length of bike lanes does not appear to be actually included in the project, but the margin for potential future bike lanes is nonetheless noted as helping reduce GHG emissions.
  • Reducing the curve radius of the northbound loop on-ramp from eastbound Valley Boulevard; this “would be reduced to slow entering traffic to enhance safety for bicyclists and pedestrians and support use of these alternative modes.” Note that the reason the turning radius is being narrowed is to accommodate a second lane on the current one-lane on-ramp (without taking out the business next door). Caltrans asserts that an upcoming curve radius would slow Southern California drivers entering the on-ramp, and that this would encourage bicycling. Really.

All the extra bike riding this project would inspire wouldn’t begin to offset the environmental and climate damage it would cause.

Then again, it’s hard to offset anything when the bike and pedestrian side of the equation is virtually nil.

Unless you think a possible, noncommittal quarter-mile bike lane that may never be built is enough to offset what would undoubtedly be a major increase in traffic and emissions.

Or that safety for people on foot and bicycles can really be enhanced by adding a second onramp lane.

Admittedly, I’m not lawyer. But it seems like it wouldn’t take a very big cannon to shoot holes in the environmental report for this project.

Or a water pistol, for that matter.

So let’s be honest.

Every member of the Planning Committee who voted in favor of this project — which is all of them — should be ashamed.

Because whatever benefits this freeway widening project may or may not offer, their efforts to bikewash it with negligible benefits to bike riders and pedestrians stinks every bit as much as the duck farm did.

And it will take years to wash that stench off them, too.

………

Nice to see an effort by LA Councilmembers Mike Bonin, Paul Krekorian and Paul Koretz to use newly signed state laws to improve safety on our streets.

Then again, Koretz has always been in favor of safety improvements, as long as they’re in someone else’s district.

………

CicLAvia has released details on December’s 5.3 mile open streets festival in South LA, connecting the neighborhoods of South Central, Exposition Park, Leimert Park and Crenshaw.

………

Today’s must read comes from an Associated Press story that only tangentially involves bicycles.

Instead, it’s about kids as young as six years old being handcuffed and arrested by police — including brutal use-of-force incidents — the overwhelming majority of whom are Black, brown or other people of color.

Here’s just one example they cite.

About 165 miles due south, in the rural hamlet of Paris, Illinois, 15-year-old Skyler Davis was riding his bike near his house when he ran afoul of a local ordinance that prohibited biking and skateboarding in the business district — a law that was rarely enforced, if ever.

But on that day, according to Skyler’s father, Aaron Davis, police officers followed his mentally disabled son in their squad car and chased his bike up over a curb and across the grass.

Officers pursued Skyler into his house and threw him to the floor, handcuffing him and slamming him against a wall, his father said. Davis arrived to see police pulling Skyler — 5 feet tall and barely 80 pounds, with a “pure look of terror” on his face — toward the squad car.

“He’s just a happy kid, riding his bike down the road,” Davis said, “And 30 to 45 seconds later, you see him basically pedaling for his life.”

Seriously, there’s no damn excuse for targeting kids like this, unless they somehow pose a direct threat.

And that’s pretty hard to imagine for a six-year old.

Or an unarmed 15-year old just out for a bike ride.

………

More evidence that motor vehicle exhaust lowers intelligence, as a Texas driver rolls coal into a Whataburger dining room.

@jaysonmanzanares0

Only in Texas #fypシ #smoke #funny #stupid #dumbass #viral #popular #outtaline #whataburger @Whataburger

♬ original sound – Jayson Manzanares

While it may seem like an obnoxious prank, it should be treated as an assault with a deadly weapon, which could have severe consequences for anyone with allergies or breathing problems.

………

Who needs a bike car in the train when you’ve got one in front of it?

https://twitter.com/grescoe/status/1450864913396781063

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the forward.

………

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

No bias here. Instead of improving safety, Korea’s leading steel maker is banning bicycles from its mills.

Singapore is banning bicyclists from riding in groups of more than ten people riding abreast, or five riding single file.

 

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

Calabasas sheriff’s deputies are looking for a bike-riding cosmetics shoplifter who raided the local Sephora and Ulta Beauty stores on at least four separate occasions.

Police in my Colorado hometown are looking for a peeping Tom who fled by bicycle after he was spotted, firing several shots at a group of people who tried to confront him.

A bike-riding Florida teenager says he was trying to kill himself to avoid going back to jail when he fatally shot a cop he was wrestling with, who was trying to arrest him for attempting to break into several cars.

………

Local

No news is good news, right?

 

State

The New York Times explains why Newsom vetoed a handful of bills, including California’s proposed Stop As Yield law and one legalizing jaywalking. Meanwhile, SF Gate questions why Newsom vetoed the jaywalking bill, since everyone does it.

Here’s a chance to make some money while you ride your bike. Caltrans wants to pay you up to $250 a day to clean up trash along California highways.

Santa Barbara is hosting a pair of public meetings, virtual and otherwise, to discuss a possible bike/ped bridge over the 101 Freeway.

A Santa Cruz charity ride raised over $200,000 for local nonprofits. And no, it’s not named for conservative KFI shock jocks Jon and Ken.

Good news and bad news. Bay Area bike riders are happy to learn the hard-won bike lane on the Richmond-San Raphael Bridge won’t have to be closed for construction of a proposed water pipeline. But the approach leading to the bridge will be.

 

National

Seriously, who doesn’t need a limited edition Ozzy Osbourne bike jersey?

A climate website looks at the delivery riders on the front lines of the shakeup in sustainable transportation, and the price they pay with their own lives and bodies. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Outside offers advice on how to avoid low bone density, which has been linked to extensive bicycling.

Road Bike Action offers tips on how to be your own wrench.

Consumer Reports provides advice on how to keep your ebike running longer, while warning about the dangers of ebike battery fires.

A trio of Seattle physicians call on officials to reconsider a proposal to revoke the county’s mandatory bike helmet law, which has been used to unfairly target people of color.

Kindhearted Texas residents pitched in to buy a new ebike for a formerly homeless vet, after his homemade shoeshine cart and the jury-rigged ebike he built were stolen; he recovered the shoeshine cart, but his bike remains missing.

Hats off to a group of Rhode Island mountain bikers, who pitched in to scrub Nazi graffiti off state lands.

A former mountain biker from Seattle is in New York, replicating the Shadowman figures of 1980s street artist Richard Hambleton.

An op-ed from three New York teens calls on the city to develop The NYC Tube, a proposed inter-borough bicycle highway. We need something like that here in Los Angeles to connect at least some of the 88 cities in LA County. Let alone one crossing the City of LA itself.

Momentum Magazine talks with a stunt rider who calls himself Obloxkz, or O, about the Red Bull documentary NYC Bike Life and the ride-outs that continue to traumatize Long Island drivers.

Florida police are checking an abandoned bike for fingerprints, which may or may not have been the bike ridden by someone who may or may not have been Brian Laundrie, who may or may not be suspected in the death of Gabby Petito. Meanwhile, investigators are examining human remains found in a Florida nature reserve, which may or may not be Laundrie’s.

 

International

Intenet users teamed up to find a handicapped Vancouver man’s stolen handcycle, just 17 minutes after he posted a notice of the theft online.

An Italian ultracyclist is riding over 1,200 miles from Milan to Glasgow for the COP26 climate conference to spread the word about bicycling.

Once again, bike riders are heroes, as India’s Relief Riders earn a nomination for next year’s Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to deliver food and medicine to elderly, disabled and people isolating during the worst of the country’s pandemic.

An Indian man insists he loves his wife, despite running her down with his car as she rode her bicycle to work, then hacking her to death before attempting to cut her head off. Which makes you wonder what he would have done if he didn’t love her.

Malaysia threatens to jail people for up to three months for the crime of riding an e-scooter on public streets.

 

Competitive Cycling

Seems appropriate. Rising Belgian pro Remco Evenepoel will take part in the Kansas edition of the Belgian Waffle Ride, along with his Deceueninck-QuickStep teammate Mattia Cattaneo.

Seventeen top women’s teams have confirmed for next week’s inaugural Lion’s Den race in Sacramento, with a star-studded field including US Olympians Lily Williams and SoCal’s own Coryn Labecki, who was formerly known as Coryn Rivera before her recent marriage.

Cyclist looks forward to next year’s women’s Tour de France, calling it a week of brutal climbs and gravel.

A diabetes website talks with former Team Novo Nordisk cyclist Ezra Ward-Packard about the joys of competing with Type 1 diabetes. Thanks again to Keith Johnson. 

Cannondale is teaming with travel and language company EF Education First to sponsor new college cycling teams at one HBCU and two tribal colleges, with enough funding for three years.

Forty-seven-year old Natalie van Gogh is calling it a career after 15 years in the pro peloton, insisting she’s just Natalie, “not Natalie the transgender cyclist.”

 

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to ride your e-scooter on a highway, weaving in and out of traffic at up to 60 mph. Now you, too, can get your next bike from a haunted REI co-op.

And maybe it’s time we demanded a mandatory helmet law for deer.

Pretty impressive handspring as it tumbles offscreen, too.

………

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

Biking Where Black, candidates to replace Koretz in CD5 back bikes, and Ford fan site blames aggressive drivers

No surprise here.

A new study from Chicago’s South Side shows a correlation between the lack of bike lanes in majority Black communities, and excessive ticketing for bicycling violations by police.

It’s no surprise then that, according to a study by University of California Davis professor Jesus Barajas, tickets for riding on the sidewalk were issued eight times more often per capita in Chicago’s majority-Black communities than majority-white neighborhoods, which tend to have far more miles of marked and protected bike lanes on arterial roads.

In addition, the Chicago Police Department has been fairly upfront about the fact that it uses zero-tolerance traffic enforcement as a strategy to enable searches for guns and drugs in high-crime neighborhoods. “When we have communities experiencing levels of violence, we do increase traffic enforcement,” Glen Brooks, the department’s director of public engagement, said on WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” show in 2018. “Part of that includes bicycles.”

Just more evidence of the excessive burden placed on people of color for biking while Black or Brown.

Simply put, these are our brothers and sisters, who deserve better. And the support of the entire bicycling community.

Today’s photo shows a new Metro Bike dock that appeared without warning in Hollywood, just two blocks from the entrance to Runyon Canyon.

………

This is who we could have representing LA’s 5th Council District, replacing pseudo-environmentalist Paul Koretz, who was happy to support bicycling as long as it didn’t inconvenience cars or the people in them in any way.

Or anyone else, for that matter.

………

Speaking of CD5, Katy Young Yaroslavsky — longtime LA politician Zev Yaroslavsky’s daughter-in-law — has tossed her hat in the ring for next year’s election to replace termed-out Paul Koretz.

And the senior environment and arts policy deputy for County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and former environmental land-use attorney is already saying the right things when it comes to supporting safer and more livable streets.

Yaroslavsky also said she would have supported Uplift Melrose, a proposal to bring more pedestrian space and fewer traffic lanes to the Melrose area. That proposal was not supported by Koretz because he said it would have created more traffic congestion in surrounding areas. Yaroslavsky said she is open to pursuing options like Uplift Melrose and also supports more bicycle lanes, particularly lanes connecting to locations that are centers of employment.

“I think that we need to create opportunities for people to get out of their cars,” Yaroslavsky said. “Bike lanes need to connect to each other and they need to get people where they need to go.”

We have a long way to go before May’s primary election.

But it looks like we’re off to a good start.

………

He gets it.

A writer for a Ford aficionado site takes a surprising stand in the case of a Colorado bike rider killed last week by a 19-year old mechanic test driving a Ford F-150 Raptor pickup.

And concludes that most crashes involving bicyclists result from aggressive and distracted driving.

Meanwhile, a Denver TV station refutes claims of scofflaw bicyclists by looking back at a grounding breaking study from a University of Colorado Denver professor who found that drivers and bike riders break the law at about the same rate.

But that people on bicycles do it for better safety, while drivers do it for convenience.

………

Looks like fun.

London bicyclists turned out in force for a mobile rave in a tunnel.

………

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

Oh hell no. Police are looking for a road raging Brazilian driver who backed his car over a man and his five-year old son for the crime of allowing the boy to ride his bicycle in the street; fortunately, neither was seriously injured.

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

A 66-year old English woman needed an urgent hip replacement after she was knocked to the ground by a bike rider pulling a trailer at an outdoor market, who simply shouted “sorry” as he rode away without stopping to see if she was okay.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton says Metro’s revised proposals for bus rapid transit on Eagle Rock’s Colorado Blvd provides a litmus test for CD14 Councilmember Kevin de León as he runs for mayor next year.

 

State

What does it say when a new fat tire ebike from a California company inspired by the car that won the ’79 Le Mans comes complete with a built-in fire extinguisher?

Davis is hosting a zombie bike ride on Halloween Day. That’s in contrast to the zombie drivers we have to contend with every day.

 

National

Bicycling examines how ebikes are getting people back on their bikes and back into their communities. As usually, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

Speaking of Bicycling, the magazine unveiled Specialized’s $5,000 Aethos Comp Rival as their bike of the year for 2021. Once again, read on Yahoo if you can’t access Bicycling’s site.

A kindhearted El Paso deputy bought a new bike for a homeless man he befriended, after noticing the man was riding a “ratchety” bicycle.

Austin, Texas is more than halfway to building out a 400-mile bicycle network by 2025, at a pace of slightly less than 50 miles a year. Just in case you need proof it can be done. And yes, I’m talking to you, Los Angeles.

A Wisconsin man is riding 1,600-miles from Martha’s Vineyard back to his home state to raise awareness about kidney disease and the opportunity to be a living donor, just one year after he gave one of his to a stranger.

There’s a special place in hell for anyone who would steal an adaptive bicycle from someone with special needs. Like the schmuck who made off with the customized three-wheeled bike a Toledo, Ohio man with cerebral palsy relied on for transportation.

Vogue takes a look at what they call New York’s most meaningful and stylish fundraising ride.

 

International

Cycling News considers the best bike bells for any kind of riding, while Livestrong proves they’re still around with a list of their own.

A new book highlights the weird, wonderful and sometimes ludicrous world of early bicycles.

Bike thefts in Scotland are up nearly 20% since the beginning of the pandemic, with the jump in thefts due to increased demand from the worldwide bike boom.

London plans to introduce a life-saving, citywide 15 mph speed limit next year. Proving once again that is can be done. Still looking at you, Los Angeles.

An English driver could stand trial for gross negligence manslaughter for killing a bike-riding 15-year old boy, who then kept going to see a woman he met on a dating app, after a coroner’s inquest uncovered additional evidence three years after the driver had walked when a previous case collapsed in court.

Probably not the best idea for a drug-abusing British man to steal a doctor’s bicycle while awaiting sentencing as a serial bike thief; he ended up getting two years for his crimes.

Apparently, the bike boom doesn’t extend to kids riding to school in the UK, even while average bike mileage has more than doubled in the last 19 years.

Proof that comedians aren’t always such keen observers of life, as British comic Rob Beckett claims he’s never seen someone on a bicycle smile.

An Irish man gets two and a half years for attacking a 50-year-old woman riding to her job cleaning a shopping mall and stealing her bike.

German startup Dance continues to pull in investments for their ebike subscription service, raising nearly $20 million in new funding.

A 28-year old bike-riding Italian priest was beatified by the Catholic Church, 77-years after he was brutally beaten to death when he attempted to bury at least 770 civilians massacred by the Nazis in WWII; his bicycle was one of the holy relics presented at the ceremony.

A self-described Latino American magazine calls Barcelona, Spain a bicycling paradise.

 

Competitive Cycling

Annemiek van Vleuten turned on her fellow Dutch teammates for failing to effectively support Marianne Vos in the women’s road world championships, accusing them of not working hard enough in the race.

VeloNews considers how 43-year old Czech mountain biker and ‘cross champ Kateřina Nash keeps winning after 20 years as a pro cyclist.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your bike tire was bitten by a rabid fox. Ebike weight weenies of the world rejoice — you have nothing to lose but your $22,000.

And I want to be like him when I grow up.

No, not just still riding at that age, but an 11 term congressman, too.

………

Thanks to Alan C for his unexpected donation to help support this site, and keep SoCal’s best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day. 

Donations are always welcome and appreciated, regardless of the size, season or reason. 

………

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

Man killed in South LA shooting and bike-riding 8-year old girl shot, and Bonin faces another right wing recall effort

There’s a special place in hell for whoever fatally shot a 22-year-old man in South LA Tuesday night — and also shot an eight-year old girl as she was apparently riding past on her bicycle.

Unfortunately, we seem to be going back to the bad old days when shootings were an everyday occurrence in Los Angeles, just like traffic collisions.

And just like traffic violence, innocent people are too often collateral damage. Like an eight-year old girl, who fortunately is expected to survive.

And just like traffic violence, it’s a problem that can be solved, if we all just care enough to do something about it.

Which sadly seems like a very big if these days.

………

Bike and pedestrian friendly Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin is just the latest LA official targeted by a recall petition.

And not for the first time.

https://twitter.com/DavidZahniser/status/1404858096426487814

Despite Bonin’s overwhelming popularity, winning 71% of the vote in the 11th Council District in 2017, he has been repeatedly targeted by conservatives who hate his policies, but haven’t been able to beat him at the ballot box.

Whether this latest recall attempt is a genuine effort to get him out of office, or just an attempt to harass and distract him, it seems like a remarkable waste of time and money for someone who will be up for re-election in less than a year.

………

No hypocrisy here.

Speaking at yesterday’s meeting of the Los Angeles City Council’s Transportation Committee, outgoing CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz says hardly anyone uses the bike lanes in his Westside district.

That couldn’t possibly have anything to do with Koretz repeatedly blocking bike lanes on Westwood Blvd and other major streets in his district, though.

Could it?

People might be more likely to use them if they were safer and provided more separation from the Westside’s high speed traffic, legal and otherwise.

And if they connected with other safe bike lane in an actual network that could be used to travel throughout the district, rather than a handful of disconnected bike lanes that unexpectedly end, forcing riders to fight their way through heavy traffic.

A failure of planning that can be laid directly at Koretz’s feet, who is clearly all in favor of building bike lanes.

In someone else’s district.

Correction: Call it a poor word choice on my part. The failure was not one of planning, as former LADOT Bicycle Coordinator Michelle Mowery pointed out in the comments yesterday

I’d like to take issue with your use of the word “planning” in respect to the lack of bikeways on the Westside. It is not “a failure of planning” that the Westside does not have a sufficient bikeway network. What the Westside does not have is enough political will. The planning was done, the funding was available for implementation, and the projects were all blocked by the NIMBYs and sitting elected officials.

She’s right.

I should have known better, because I remember those losing battles all too well. My apologies for unintentionally placing the blame where it doesn’t belong. 

………

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

A Michigan bike rider was the latest victim of a driveby paintball shooting, which is a lot less harmless than it might seem.

No bias here. An op-ed in the New York Daily News says “ebike blood” is on the hands of New York’s progressive city council for the crime of finally making it legal to ride an ebike or e-scooter in the city. Then goes on to lump both together, without noting that the injuries and deaths he cites could just as easily have happened with regular bikes or skateboards.

Speaking of which, there’s tragic news from New York, where 65-year old actress Lisa Banes died over a week after she was struck by a hit-and-run rider on an e-scooter.

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

A San Francisco man rode his bicycle into a drugstore, dumped a shelf-full of merchandise into a garbage bag, then casually rode his bike out the door.

………

Local

No news is good news, right?

 

State

San Diego’s Coast News Group visits North County’s bicycle-themed Rouleur Brewing Company.

SF Gate recommends everything you need to start commuting by bike. Except for the actual, you know, bicycle.

Once again, the bike rider gets the blame, after a 69-year old Sonoma woman suffered major injuries when she allegedly rode her bicycle into the path of a motorist. Which is hard to imagine, since she was riding west and was struck by a driver headed east on the same road; as always, a lot depends on whether there were any independent witnesses to corroborate the driver’s story.

Another tempting road bike route from Sacramento Magazine.

 

National

How to stop that dreaded tubular tire shimmy. Besides riding clinchers, that is.

Don’t ask me to explain the science. But studies confirm that wider road bike tires are faster than skinnier tires. Thanks to Austin Brown, aka Power Lama, for the link.

Cycling News offers advice on where to buy ebikes, which are in unexpectedly short supply these days.

I want to be like them when I grow up. A group of self-described old fogies, whose ages match the mid-70° Kansas weather, has been meeting for weekly rides for the last ten years, rain, snow or shine.

Twenty-year old Dutch IndyCar racer Rinus VeeKay will miss this weekend’s race in Wisconsin after breaking his clavicle crashing his bicycle on a training ride.

A Cape Cod woman says she may not have a view of the water, but she’s just as happy living next to a bike path.

Good news for Sheldon Brown fans, as the popular bicycle repair website penned by the late bike mechanic will live on, despite the closure of the Boston bike shop where he worked.

Once again, a driver is somehow unable to avoid crashing into a group of bike riders, as one person was killed and another wounded when the driver smashed into a group of four people riding bicycles in Syracuse NY. And once again, fled the scene, leaving his or her victims bleeding in the street.

A helmetless woman died after falling off her bike on a bike path in a Bronx park. Yet another tragic reminder that slow speed falls are exactly what bike helmets are designed for.

Bikes are still booming in Gotham, where ridership on bridges over the East River are still above pre-pandemic levels.

The Daily Show host Trevor Noah is one of us, riding his bike to a New York comedy club where he wasn’t planning to perform. But did anyway.

A New Orleans letter writer says he’s never seen a single bike rider obey basic traffic laws in 30 years. Which likely says a lot more about his powers of observation than it does the people on bikes.

No pun here, as a Miami paper says the city is driving to become more bicycle friendly, when it’s all that driving that made and keeps it unfriendly. But it’s interesting that they included Santa Monica, along with Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm, as their examples of bike and pedestrian friendly cities.

A grateful Florida man gets to thank the Florida paramedics who saved his life, despite suffering 47 broken bones when he was hit by a driver while riding his bike.

 

International

Your next bike helmet could warn you in advance about a pending dooring.

A tech website says the world’s obsession with e-cars is impeding the race to net zero, and that more active transportation is needed, instead. Which is pretty much what we’ve been saying all along.

An Edinburgh, Scotland man says buying an adult tricycle was the best move he made during the pandemic.

Presenting the first belt-drive ebike capable of going 28 mph, from Dutch bikemaker Gazelle. A speed that requires a helmet here in the late, great Golden State, and can’t be legally ridden on a bike path.

The shortage or bikes and parts driven by the pandemic bike boom isn’t likely to be helped by a two week closure of Shimano’s Malaysia plant due to a government shutdown.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling News suggests ten riders to watch in the men’s 2021 USA Cycling Pro Road Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee this weekend. Then tops that with eleven riders to watch on the women’s side.

Popular American cyclist Tejay van Garderen is calling it a career after this weekend’s nationals.

 

Finally…

Repeat after me — If you’re carrying meth and weed on your bike, put a damn light on it, already. Valet your bike at the College World Series.

And that feeling when there’s no sensible way to mount a bike rack on your supercar.

………

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

Welcome to a pandemic Bike Week, Newsom gives extra half billion to active transportation, and don’t Koretz our streets

Welcome to Bike Week 2021.

Such as it is.

Thanks to year two of the pandemic, there’s no opening event, no Blessing of the Bicycles, and no pit stops on Friday’s Bike Anywhere Day — the Covid inspired replacement for Bike to Work Day.

But Metro is trying to fill the gap with a series of online bike classes ranging from basic bicycle repair and maintenance to how to use bikeshare.

Speaking of bikeshare, they’re offering a free 1-ride Metro Bike pass this Friday only, using promo code 052121, or half-off a 365-Day Pass using Promo code: BIKEANYWHERE2021.

You can also get a one-year Metro Bike Hub pass for just $20 this month, two-thirds off the usual $60. Register here with promo code MAY2021.

Metrolink — no relation to Metro, despite the similar names — is offering free rides to anyone with a bicycle this week. Which is a great excuse to hop a train to Ventura, San Bernardino or Oceanside to try riding somewhere new.

The LACBC is continuing their Bike Month Photo Scavenger Hunt all month, in conjunction with Las Fotos.

And Wednesday marks the annual Ride of Silence to remember fallen bicyclists; sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any rides scheduled in the LA area this year.

Hopefully this damn disease will be behind us soon, and we can bounce back with an even bigger and better Bike Week next year.

Photo by Michael Gaida from Pixabay.

………

Okay, so I screwed up on Friday.

Thanks to Joe Linton for pointing out that I had the wrong link to LADOT’s virtual public meeting to discuss closing the infamous Northvale Gap on the Expo Bike Path.

The meeting will take place this Wednesday at 5pm; advance registration is required.

The .7 mile gap in the bike path was forced by homeowners in Cheviot Hills, who settled for stopping the bike path through their neighborhood after failing to stop the Expo Line itself — somehow fearing that the bike path would bring some sort of criminal element, who would bike off with their bigass flatscreens.

Metro and city officials decided it would be easier to leave the gap and just build the train line, and come back to to close it at a later date — and at a much higher cost.

But the joke was on the homeowners, since the gap in the bikeway forces riders to take a more circuitous route in front of their homes, rather than on the other side of a wall behind them.

The usual NIMBYs will undoubtedly be out in force to oppose it. So make sure to attend if you can to voice your support.

This is what Streets For All is asking for.

We encourage you to attend and to make public comment asking that:

  • the bike path be open to people on bikes 24/7 (there is a NIMBY effort to close it after dark)
  • the bike path have multiple access points to maximize convenience for people on bikes (there is a NIMBY effort to limit access)
  • the bike lanes on Motor be physically protected from moving car traffic

………

Governor Gavin Newsom is tossing bike riders and pedestrians a half-billion dollar Active Transportation bone, although that’s just a small part of the state’s $79 billion pandemic tax windfall.

Never mind that he seems to be doing his best to buy a victory in the upcoming recall by spreading state money around to everyone.

………

I wasn’t the one who first turned “Jerry Brown” into a verb meaning a dangerously close pass, after he vetoed not one, but two three-foot passing laws before finally signing a much weaker version.

But I sure as hell did everything I could to popularize and spread it.

Now Alissa Walker has turned pseudo-environmentalist Paul Koretz into a verb, as well.

As in CD14 Councilmember Kevin de León tried to Koretz Eagle Rock’s Beautiful Boulevard plan.

And it couldn’t happen to a more deserving person.

https://twitter.com/streetsforall/status/1393556992917078016

………

This is who we share the road with.

………

9 to 5 Mac puts Apple’s new AirTag to the test for a simulated bike theft. And likes the result.

………

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

No bias here. A London paper tries to stir up anger with a one hour time-lapse camera showing barely any bicyclists using a new bike lane, as drivers complain about snarled traffic. Even though it doesn’t look very snarled. It also does say what time of day the video was taken; it was likely filmed at the slowest part of the day.

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

An unidentified man escaped by bicycle following a failed attempt to scale a wall into Ben Affleck’s Los Angeles home, after he was chased off by paparazzi.

………

Local

Metro plans to boost spending on induced demand by 80% in their upcoming budget, devoting $212 million to widening highways and other highway “improvements;” it will be on the agenda of their meeting this Wednesday. Eagle Rock’s resident-driven Beautiful Boulevard will also be on the agenda.

Hancock Park residents opposed LADOT’s Stress Free Connections plan for a safer and more bikeable 4th Street, with the head of the homeowner’s association saying “We want to make the neighborhood safer for everyone, not just those riding bicycles,” apparently failing to grasp that making it safer for bicyclists makes it safer for everyone.

Santa Clarita held their Bike to Work Week last week, and a community bike ride, complete with goody bags, on Saturday.

Long Beach may consider building a three-mile pedestrian pathway alongside the San Gabriel River bike path.

 

State

Call it a good argument badly framed. A columnist for the Southern California New Group points out the reasons why bike riders should be allowed to treat stop signs as yields. Although he calls it blowing though stop signs, a phrase that is guaranteed to piss drivers off.

San Diego is also dropping Bike to Work Day in favor of Bike Anywhere Week this week.

Speaking of San Diego, the city appears to be making progress with Vision Zero, as traffic deaths and serious injuries dropped for the second straight year.

The Bakersfield Californian calls for allowing ebikes and scooters on the 30+ mile Kern River Parkway Trail. Although they awkwardly refer to them as “motorized vehicles,” which likely means something entirely different to most people.

 

National

A new study from the CDC reports there were 596,972 emergency department visits for bicycle-related traumatic brain injuries in the ten years from 2009 to 2018; surprisingly, that represents a 5.5% decrease for adults, and a nearly 50% drop children. Although that could reflect a decrease in ridership among children as much as improved safety.

Gear Patrol recommends their favorite fixies, with prices ranging from $299 to $1199.

No bias here. A bad take from an insurance company based in the Pacific Northwest, which says there’s a “battle for road supremacy” in Portland and Seattle between drivers and increased numbers of people on bikes. Even though their survey shows half of the people who responded think bikes and cars share the road well.

A retired National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist rode his bike across the Permian Basin oil fields in New Mexico and Texas to call attention to climate change.

Heartbreaking news from Chicago, where a 13-year old boy was critically wounded when he was shot in the head and neck in a driveby shooting as he was riding his bicycle. There’s just no damn excuse for that crap. Period.

Tragic news from New Hampshire, where a 69-year old man was killed when he was struck by a bike rider as he was crossing the street. Another reminder to always slow down and ride carefully around pedestrians, who can be unpredictable and don’t always look for bikes when they step out into the street. Which is not to say that’s what happened here.

A kindhearted New York filmmaker gave his own bike to a young man who recently rode a heavy bikeshare bike up a local mountain.

 

International

Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter questions why ebike regulations are so random, and no one is looking at them as part of the larger transportation picture.

A travel website looks at the world’s most dangerous mountain bike trails. Which is a large part of the appeal to some people. 

A Montreal woman is devoting her time to ensuring kids get bikes despite the short supply cause by the bike boom by passing along donated bicycles to underprivileged children; she’s given away over 250 bikes since March.

If you insist on stealing a bicycle, probably not the best idea to steal an English police bike.

An Irish man is riding his bike over 1,700 miles from Dublin to where he first met the love of his life in Spain to raise funds to fight Motor Neuron Disease, after she succumbed to the disease at just 31-years old.

Forget an inflatable helmet. A French company is introducing an airbag jacket that inflates if you crash or fall. As long as you have an extra nine hundred bucks to buy one.

Break India’s Covid curfew and you might have to do sit-ups in the street and carry your bike back home.

A Singapore writer says “errant cycling” gives the rest of us a bad name, and “we could all stand to exercise more graciousness.”

An Australian woman cried tears of joy after receiving a custom adaptive bicycle, following the loss of both legs and most of her fingers to a bacterial infection.

 

Competitive Cycling

French cyclist Victor Lafay won his first Grand Tour stage in Saturday’s stage eight of the Giro

About damn time. The organizer of the Tour de France says they’re going to bring back the women’s TdF after more than thirty years, with the first edition to come sometime after the men’s race. But he made it clear not to expect parity with the men’s Tour.

SoCal bike racing is back with the season opener for the California Bicycle Racing 2021 CBR Criterium Series; L39ION of Los Angeles swept the podium for the men’s pro race, while Serious Cycling’s Chloe Patrick took the women’s race.

 

Finally…

Why vacuum with a Dyson when you can ride one, instead? That feeling when you accidentally photobomb a soccer team bus with your bakfiets and a poodle.

And probably not the best idea to jump into a river to avoid the police, after drunkenly smashing your head into a storefront window, and attempting to jack a bike.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

And get vaccinated, already.

Alleged San Diego hit-and-run driver pleads not guilty, and more on NIMBY Koretz killing Melrose project

Twentynine-year old Mauricio Flores pled not guilty to felony hit-and-run in San Diego on Monday.

Flores is the minivan driver who allegedly slammed into a 66-year old bike rider near the city’s airport last month, leaving the victim with a life-threatening head injury.

In actions captured on video, he allegedly got out of his van, along with a passenger identified as 50-year old Jessica Bailey, examined the victim lying in the roadway, then calmly removed his bike from under their van and drove away.

They were captured in Kern County less than two weeks later.

There’s no word on whether Bailey is in custody, or if she will face any charges.

And no word on the identity or condition of the victim.

There are several stories from other news outlets, like this one, but they’re all virtually identical. Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up.

………

Streets For All founder Michael Schneider lays out in painful, step-by-step detail just what went wrong with the Uplift Melrose plan to improve the iconic, if deadly, LA street.

And how the environmentally friendly project was killed by a single LA councilmember, acting on behalf of a notorious NIMBY group.

Just after the Mid City West meeting, the NIMBYs sprang into action. They viewed Uplift Melrose as a threat to the sacred space of vehicles in this city, and were outraged that a project would even be considered that would rellocate space from cars for a bike lane. Those bike lane thieves, trying to take away sacred car space! And while the project was so much more than a bike lane — it was wider sidewalks, new trees, raised crosswalks, new lighting… all they could see was the bike lane.

Jim O’Sullivan, co-founder of Fix The City — a litigious organization that sues over nearly every bike lane and high density housing project using money from questionable funding sources — started sending threatening emails to Councilmember Koretz and eventually to the entire city council. They also posted misinformation on Next Door. When NIMBYs can’t win on the merits of something, then they simply resort to the tired and true “there wasn’t enough outreach” argument.

It’s worth taking a few minutes — okay, nine, according to the article — to read the whole thing.

Because this is what we’re up against.

And what we will continue to confront — and too often, lose — as long as we continue to elect regressive leaders in environmentalist sheep’s clothing.

Speaking of which, Bike the Vote LA is encouraging you to phonebank for CD4 candidate Nithya Raman this Sunday to support an actual environmentalist.

………

Something is seriously wrong when the person charged with enforcing a state’s laws doesn’t obey them himself.

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg killed a man riding his bike Saturday night, then continued driving home without bothering to stop, later claiming he thought he’d hit a deer.

An excuse used by countless other hit-and-run drivers, in a usually failed attempt to avoid responsibility for their crimes.

It remains to be seen whether Ravnsborg, who has a long record of speeding and other traffic violations, will be held accountable. Or if his position will shield him from blame.

Although it doesn’t bode well that the state’s Department of Public Safety is withholding key details of the investigation.

Ravnsborg was reportedly driving home from a Republican fundraising dinner, where he swears he didn’t drink.

Even though any rational and sober person would stop to see what they hit after an impact like that.

………

Still more proof you can literally carry anything on a bicycle.

………

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

An American marine biologist in the Philippines with a bad case of windshield bias questions why road space is being given to bike riders when motor vehicles bring in much more “revinue” for the government. He may be many things, but an environmentalist clearly ain’t one of them, regardless of what the headline says.

………

Local

Bruce Willis is one of us, riding his Trek ebike through the streets of LA, even if the story somehow comes by way of Islamabad. Yippie-ki-yay, indeed.

Olympic boarder Shaun White and Vampire Diaries actress Nina Dobrev are two of us. Or make that three, as they went for a bike ride through the ‘Bu with her dog in his arms.

 

State

A recovering Newport Beach stroke victim reached his goal of swimming 100 miles Labor Day weekend, then walked a couple miles to where he’d left his bicycle to ride back home.

A San Diego letter writer questions the city’s 42 percent increase in bike ridership, saying it’s meaningless without knowing how many riders there were before. Hate to say it, but he’s got a point.

 

National

Washington state is adopting the Idaho Stop Law next month, allowing bike riders to treat stops as yields — but not treat red lights like stop signs, as is legal in Idaho.

This is how it works in other places. Austin, Texas is going to make permanent a popup bike lane installed during the coronavirus crisis after it proved successful. Unfortunately, unlike countless other cities around the world, auto-centric Los Angeles never bothered to install any temporary bike lanes during the lockdown period to begin with.

Dozens of Louisville KY residents rode to apartment where Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by police, who were looking for her former boyfriend, to see where it happened and demand justice for her.

Chicago is responding to the increase in bike riders by installing a curb and post protected bike lane on a busy street, removing 100 parking spaces to make room.

Boston is raising Austin’s ante by making an entire Downtown popup bike network permanent. Although Boston’s bike boom has also been reflected in a corresponding jump in bike thefts.

Now that’s how to campaign. A New York state assemblyman is riding his bike 116 miles across the state’s 116th Assembly District to raise funds for his campaign.

A 73-year old Franciscan friar in Pennsylvania is riding nearly 400 miles along the Erie Canal to raise funds for an outreach center serving people struggling with rural poverty; it’s the stage-4 colon cancer survivor’s tenth annual ride.

Billy Connolly is one of us, too. The Scottish comic, who suffers from Parkinsons, suffered an eye injury falling off his ebike near his home in Key West.

Unbelievable. Authorities dropped aggravated assault charges against a Florida driver who aggressively drove into a crowd of protesters, then pulled a gun on them when they surrounded his car.

Police in Florida have arrested four men for the January, 2019 shooting death of a man riding his bike, who was apparently collateral damage in a shootout between the occupants of two cars.

 

International

The World Resources Institute says 80 percent of urban freight begins or ends in cities, and it’s time to take it seriously — including using e-cargo bikes to make deliveries.

A bike rider goes skitching, hanging on to a semi-truck trailer on a Toronto highway. Although someone should tell Narcity that there’s no need to pedal when you’re being pulled by a truck.

A Canadian woman explains how Covid-19 finally encouraged her to learn how to ride a bike at the ripe old age of 33.

Financial Times profiles famed British bike rider and designer Paul Smith, calling him the most loved man in fashion.

He gets it. An English cycling instructor says a new protected bike lane isn’t intended to make it easier to drive, but to improve safety for people on bicycles and in cars.

France ie encouraging more people to ride bikes by paying them the equivalent of nearly $60 to get their bikes repaired.

 

Competitive Cycling

Defending Tour de France champ Egan Bernal dropped out after Sunday’s 15th stage, complaining that he just didn’t have any power.

Cyclist looks at Slovenian cyclist Tadej Pogačar, calling him cycling’s newest sensation.

An excerpt from a new book examines the troubled legacy of cycling great Marco Pantani; the 1998 Tour de France winner died of a coke overdose just six years later.

Women’s cycling is still going strong, despite the media’s best efforts to ignore it, including the longest ever stage of the Giro Rosa.

 

Finally…

That feeling when the disabled parking is in the middle of the street. Your next bike could be a folding mountain ebike for just 600 bucks.

And what does it say when the streets aren’t safe enough for police to conduct a bike safety sting?

………

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

Koretz uses one-man rule to kill bike, business and pedestrian friendly Uplift Melrose project

He did it again.

Seven years after CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz blocked proposed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd, he singlehandedly killed a proposal for a much-needed makeover of Melrose Blvd.

One that had overwhelming community support, both from the general public and Melrose business owners.

A project that could have once again made Melrose the destination street it was decades ago. And one that excited virtually everyone who saw it, with a few notable NIMBY exceptions.

Starting with Koretz himself.

The self-proclaimed environmentalist and climate advocate caved to a NIMBY minority to stop a project that would improve safety on one of LA’s High Injury Network streets, while giving a significant boost to a once-thriving business district that has been in decline for decades.

Kind of like Westwood, where empty storefronts nearly outnumber occupied ones.

Yet in both cases, Koretz personally blocked bicycle and pedestrian improvements that could have revived them.

In this case, he cited his unsupported belief that the project wouldn’t get anyone out of their cars — as he drove the street in his own.

I have done much soul searching, and even driven down Melrose one more time to try and envision the results. Many factors contributed to my decision to not move forward with this process…

I don’t believe that this action will get anyone out of their cars, except for immediate neighbors on short trips who could walk or bicycle. However, it will make it more difficult for potential customers to access Melrose shops by car. The loss of parking could also reduce access by customers, unless the BID is able to cut long-term deals with several locations for large numbers of cars. This is likely to happen, but not a certainty.

I also believe that this will result in a short-term loss of more marginal businesses during construction. Longer term, I think it is likely to raise rents once it is completed, knocking out remaining smaller businesses that give Melrose its charm, for better funded, more chain-like businesses.

Maybe if he actually got out of his car, he could see what wonderful street it could be for walking. Even if it isn’t now.

But bottom line, he makes the anti-environmental, anti-climate choice to keep Melrose a sewer for pass-through drivers, while making it virtually impossible to access the area any other way.

It must be all those boarded up storefronts and Going Out of Business signs that pass for charm in his estimation.

He also ignores the fact that a project like this would once again make the street a draw for people from across the city, and not just out-of-town tourists relying on outdated guidebooks.

Not to mention that the plan actually results in a net increase in available parking, despite the loss of spaces on Melrose itself.

In a must-read story, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton examined the motivations consequences behind Koretz dictatorial decree.

L.A. City Councilmember Paul Koretz has effectively killed Uplift Melrose, a plan to invest in making Melrose Avenue greener, safer, and more welcoming. Uplift Melrose was initiated by the Melrose Business Improvement District and enjoyed broad local support, including from the Mid-City West Community Council and the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council.

He goes on to cite bizarre opposition from representatives of both the police and fire departments.

LAPD Wilshire Area Commanding Officer Shannon Paulson’s August 25 email to Koretz staff states that Uplift Melrose “would undeniably have a direct impact on the ability of PD to respond along this (previously) primary accessway to emergency locations on this stretch of Melrose, as well as… emergencies in adjacent residential neighborhoods.” She asserts that the proposed Melrose lane reduction would “undeniably” create “traffic congestion and delays” on Melrose and “this would also result in more north/south traffic in those nice residential streets north and south of Melrose” where she forecasts “more calls for unsafe speed… and a higher likelihood of vehicle vs pedestrian accidents, stop sign violations, more people feeling not as safe walking their dogs and pushing their strollers on those streets.”

Never mind that the project was still in the early discussion phase, and that most, if not all, of those objections could have been easily mitigated.

She went on to offer this doozy, making her anti-bike windshield bias even more apparent, while broadly dismissing bike lanes all over Los Angeles:

I would also suggest a comprehensive study of the bike lanes. I have seen a lot of money and energy and planning go into some of these bike lanes in the City– which are fantastic for those who use them. But I think in many LA communities the use of these bike lanes have been exceptionally minimal (to almost zero) – this after surrendering very valuable vehicle traffic lanes to create them. I have also been part of conversations regarding their safety, as they design the lanes to be “two way” which results in some dangerous scenarios. I think immediately of the “two way” bike lane currently on Main Street downtown – where you have City Hall employees pulling out of that CH garage near Temple and they look right only as the traditional vehicle traffic on Main St is northbound, yet that bike lane along the curb is two -way. So you have a southbound bicycle coming along at 25 mph crossing them that the driver never see.

Evidently, in addition to being a cop, Paulson is also an expert in traffic engineering and urban planning.

Or at least thinks she is.

And as Linton points out, we’re still waiting for all that money for bike lanes she talks about. Maybe it got diverted into the LAPD’s coffee and donut fund.

As for the objections from the fire department,

Koretz’ staff received Streets L.A. Landscape Architect Alexander Caiozzo’s response to all of the points raised by Getuiza. Caiozzo’s September 3 email emphasizes that the Melrose design represents a “preliminary plan” and, when funding is secured, further refined designs will address all the specific Fire Department concerns.

Never mind that Linton explains that much of the objections raised by the fire department were the result of a fundamental misreading of what was being proposed.

He goes on to point the finger at a self-proclaimed watchdog group that has worked to block progress throughout the city.

One source is the “notorious Nimby” group Fix the City. In 2015, Fix the City filed a lawsuit to block L.A.’s multi-modal Mobility Plan, asserting that the city was “stealing” lanes from drivers, who do not “have the luxury of being able to ride to work on a bike or bus.” The lawsuit was settled by an agreementbetween L.A. City and Fix the City that mandates extensive outreach and analysis before safety improvements can be implemented. Fix the City then uses this agreement to kill safety projects.

The settlement requires the city to evaluate LAFD response times at the station level for all mobility projects of significant scale. If safety improvements degrade LAFD response times, then Fix the City boardmember Jim O’Sullivan waves the settlement around, badgers the city Transportation Department (LADOT) and City Council, and threatens further lawsuits.

Personally, I’d take it a step further, and question whether it’s the soft corruption of campaign contributions and promises of support for the career politician’s next run for office.

Or something worse.

In the aftermath of the Jose Huizar and Englander bribery scandals, any single-handed action like this is immediately suspect. So the question becomes, not just whether someone inappropriately influenced Koretz, but who might have, how and why.

It could be as simple as Linton’s suggestion that Koretz kowtowed to the notorious NIMBYs at Fix the City.

Or it could be something much worse.

The real problem is that Los Angeles has a failed system of government in which each councilmember rules as a king or queen in his or her own district, enjoying near dictatorial power over what gets built, from upscale condo towers to streetscape improvements.

Something we’ll have to change if we ever want to see real progress in the city.

Meanwhile, Mid City West Community Council President Scott Epstein — leader of one of the city’s better neighborhood councils — offers his own insights into the project, and Koretz’ open betrayal of the community.

Bike Talk will be discussing the whole Melrose mess tonight.

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