Tag Archive for Pedal on Parliament

Morning Links: Dismal turnout but bike friendly results, and a new video says safer streets can make a big difference

Once again, a handful of Angelenos decide the future of the city, as less than 9% of registered voters bothered to cast a ballot on Tuesday.

Nine percent.

With a dismal turnout like that, bike riders could rule this city. Except most of us stayed home, too.

However, it looks like it will be bike friendly Carlolyn Ramsay vs David Ryu in a runoff to replace Tom LaBonge in CD4. Third place Tomas O’Grady, who finished just 61 votes behind Ryu, could still sneak in after outstanding ballots are counted.

And incumbent Jose Huizar rolls to an easy victory over Gloria “Where will we all park?” Molina.

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A new video from Scotland’s Pedal on Parliament illustrates how investing in safe spaces for bicycling can bring big changes for everyone.

Although the doctor who said Katie’s stick-thin father needs to lose weight should go back to medical school.

Thanks to my favorite Scottish blogger and bike advocate for the heads-up.

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LA bike advocate, bikewear maker and bike blogger Richard Risemberg has released the e-book version of his first novel, The Dust Will Answer, described as an urban noir mystery. It’s available at Amazon and Smashwords; use the code PZ82G on Smashwords through March 28th to get a $1 discount.

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Local

Metro is expected to award a contract for LA’s long delayed bike share program in June, with the first bikes hitting the street a year later. Although for some reason, there won’t be any stations in Chinatown, the Fashion District or City West; no station on Skid Row makes a little more sense.

Just 2.8% of UCLA employees bike to the campus, a figure that could rise dramatically if they just had a safe way to get there.

Santa Monica’s California Incline connecting the city with PCH will close for one year for reconstruction beginning in April; the new ramp will include bike and pedestrian lanes for those willing to tackle the steep slope.

Helen’s Cycles host their monthly group ride for intermediate and advanced riders this Saturday.

The traditional Marathon Crash Ride looks like a go for Sunday, March 15th, though final approvals are still pending.

 

State

Streetsblog looks at bills affecting Livable Streets in the state legislature — including one stealth bill about bikeways.

The Oxnard Fire Department raises $34,000 to distribute new bike helmets to kids. That would be a far better approach than mandating them for adults, too.

Clearly, there’s more to this story than they’re telling us. Police investigate the case as an assault with a deadly weapon after a Porterville boy is struck by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike.

Palo Alto approves the first two segments of the city’s new bike and pedestrian plan. Don’t hold your breath, though; it will take 30 years to build out the 24 planned projects.

Cupertino moves to improve bike safety near schools by restricting trucks and requiring early morning trash pickup.

A compromise plan is finally reached to place protected bike lanes on San Francisco’s Polk Street, though not to everyone’s satisfaction.

 

National

No surprise here, as fear of being hit by a vehicle is the biggest obstacle keeping Americans off their bikes.

A bill in the Oregon legislature would require cyclists to wear a reflective coat or vest after dark.

A DC writer explains why some bicyclists ride outside of the city’s bike lanes, such as the risk of being turned into a toad. He said it, not me.

 

International

CNN looks at London’s bike superhighway proposals — practical and otherwise — calling bicycles an old technology with a very bright future.

A UK TV station says every moment spent on a bike is a judgment call. And the consequences can be catastrophic when someone gets it wrong.

 

Finally…

Let’s hope it’s just a bad translation, as a Dutch cyclist on a stolen bike drove off after hitting a baby and her money; no really, that’s what it says. Levi’s finally gets around to making bikewear for women.

And it has nothing to do with bicycling, but this Kickstarter project for a film about African American cowboys in Compton looks too cool for words.

 

A polite response to a very wrong safety campaign, and blocking the bikeway in Manhattan Beach

Don’t get me wrong.

It’s nice when government agencies try to bring a little peace to our streets. Let alone when they respond to the demands of bike riders to do something — anything — to improve safety when too damn many people are dying just for riding a bike.

But it would be even nicer if they actually made things better instead worse.

Take Scotland’s new Nice Way Code, which tells drivers to think of bike riders like horses — without the requisite crap on the roadway, hopefully — and blames every bike rider for the actions of others.

Not so nice, actually.

That’s why a group of well-mannered Scot bike riders have written a very polite response asking the Scottish government to pull the campaign and put it where the sun don’t shine.

Okay, so I might have added that last part.

The Nice Way Code is failing in its own terms

At the launch of the Nice Way Code, Transport Minister Keith Brown said, “The Nice Way Code campaign seeks to build a culture of tolerance and patience between cyclists, motorists, pedestrians and all other road users across Scotland.” However, everything that has come out of this campaign – which was paid for out of the active travel budget – seems likely instead to create conflict, reinforcing divisions between people based merely on their mode of transport. One advert encourages cyclists not to run red lights simply in order not to give other cyclists a bad name (and not because it’s dangerous and discourteous, not least to pedestrians) – lumping all cyclists together and implying bad behaviour by a tiny minority justifies hostility to everyone who chooses to ride a bike.

As cyclists we are used to hearing from a few uninformed drivers that ‘all’ cyclists run red lights, ride on the pavement, hold up traffic and generally deserve to be treated like obstacles on the road. But we never expected our own government to run adverts saying the same thing. As nine cyclists have died on Scotland’s roads already this year, it’s unsurprising that this campaign seems to have angered almost everyone who regularly rides a bike.

Safer roads will not come from lecturing people and pandering to stereotypes. We believe they will come from rethinking our current emphasis on designing roads purely for motor traffic and redesigning them to remove the sort of conflicts these adverts reflect. Pending that, it’s clear that many people who don’t ride bikes themselves are unaware of the needs of cyclists on the road. A campaign that really aimed to build a culture of patience and tolerance could have helped to educate them about these things, and to get cyclists, drivers and pedestrians to see things from each others’ point of view. Calling cyclists names is not it.

We urge the Scottish government to recognise that it has made a mistake and to pull this campaign before it ramps up tensions on the road even further. We suggest that it takes this opportunity to start a real dialogue between road users about how we can recognise that we are all people, and behave accordingly.

The letter was signed by over 85 people.

If I lived in Scotland, or thought I might find myself riding there anytime soon, you’d find my name on that list, as well.

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Photo by Don Hayashi

Photo by Don Hayashi

Don Hayashi emailed this photo of an apparently legally blocked Marvin Braude bike path in Manhattan Beach, writing:

I’ve always wondered what the criteria was for forcing the bicyclist to walk their bikes at the pier was.

In this case a Manhattan Beach camp employee has set up the barrier so that his charges can cross safely during their lunch break. He said his boss told him he could.

Funny thing he only set up the barrier on one side of the pier. So bikes were still riding from the other direction. I guess it was to inconvenient to set up the other sign.

The municipal code actually says that a public safety officer has to make the decision.

Apparently legal, that is, under CVC 21211(b):

21211.   (a) No person may stop, stand, sit, or loiter upon any class I bikeway, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public or private bicycle path or trail, if the stopping, standing, sitting, or loitering impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist.

(b) No person may place or park any bicycle, vehicle, or any other object upon any bikeway or bicycle path or trail, as specified in subdivision (a), which impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist unless the placement or parking is necessary for safe operation or is otherwise in compliance with the law.

It’s that damned “safe operation” clause that gets you, which seems to give local governments the authority to shut down bikeways anytime they think it’s appropriate.

As well as write local ordinances like the one linked to above.

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Cyclelicious offers a detailed update on all the bike-related bills before the California legislature, including the state’s third attempt to get a three-foot passing law past our bike-unfriendly governor’s veto pen.

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Amelie Le Moullac, the 24-year old bike rider killed in a San Francisco right hook yesterday, was a 2011 graduate of USC. CicLAvia unveils the official route for October’s Heart of LA event. The LACBC needs your help for this years bike and pedestrian count; scroll up for a chance to win a free trip to San Diego’s Tour de Fat when you become a member or renew your membership. A bank of full bike racks at one of the city’s leading hospitals is a good problem to have. Helen’s Cycles is inaugurating a no-drop, womens-only ride this Saturday. Streetsblog’s new SaMo edition goes online Monday. Santa Monica hosts a meeting to discuss the proposed Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greeway this Saturday. San Marino talks bikeways at Monday’s meeting of the Traffic Advisory Commission. The SoCal Cross Prestige Series announces their fall and winter racing schedule.

A 45-year old Costa Mesa bike rider was injured when she allegedly ran a red light; unfortunately, the details are hidden behind the Register’s paywall. A young Temecula city employee is given a bike to commute to work. A 68-year old Oxnard rider was seriously injured in a SWSS when he reportedly drifted out of a bike lane. I Bike Kern offers a graphic look at a 100-year tradition of bicycling. San Jose readers argue over whether bikes belong on local roadways. A 56-year old Freemont cyclist remains in a coma in critical condition a week after he was injured in a hit-and-run. After a blind Los Altos man invents a high-tech bike for sightless riders, some colossal jerk steals it. An 18-year old Pleasanton driver faces a murder charge for killing a cyclist after tweeting about going on a death ride; thanks to murphstahoe for the heads-up. San Francisco cyclist Chris Bucchere was formerly sentenced to three years probation and 1000 hours of community service for the death of a pedestrian. Get to know the co-founder of Public Bikes. San Francisco police are shaming bike thieves on Twitter. How to ride safely around trucks and buses. Should bikes be treated like cars, pedestrians or something in between? Grist calls MonkeyLectric the world’s coolest lights for bike wheels; might be fun to have those cartoon dogs light up the night.

A Las Vegas man with cerebral palsy is still riding his bike 45 years after doctors said he was going to be six foot under. Greg LeMond, now America’s only Tour de France winner, talks bikes and doping in Portland. A new Seattle road diet and bike lanes helped boost business 400%, or at least didn’t hurt it. Boulder CO is becoming a living bike lab. My hometown considers adopting a stop as yield law for bike riders. An Evansville firefighter is handcuffed and threatened with a stun gun after waving at a cop while riding through a stop sign. Michigan State University opens new secure bike parking facilities; I’m looking at you, USC. Long planned Jersey City bike lanes are still coming, cross their heart. New York police continue their crackdown on all those dangerous bicyclists, including writing tickets for supposed infractions they didn’t actually observe. The NY Times considers the problem of keeping the city’s bikeshare racks in balance. A DC church fights a long-planned cross-city separated bike lane, claiming “the slaves who built the church were not thinking about bike lanes;” then again, they probably weren’t thinking about cars speeding past every day, either.

After saying no one should jump to quick conclusions, a Canadian paper does exactly that by calling for a mandatory helmet law for adults. In a completely wrong-headed approach to traffic congestion, a UK city fines cyclists for violating a ban on bikes in the city center. Brit cyclists and drivers fight it out over Twitter. This is why you never ride with your head down, as a British rider competing in a time trial dies after rear-ending a stopped trailer. Evidently, hit-and-run isn’t just an LA problem, or even an American one, as two Irish riders are lucky to be alive when a driver flees the scene after running them down.

Finally, there’s a fatal loophole in an Aussie territory’s hit-and-run law, as it turns out drivers are free to flee if they actually kill their victims instead of merely injuring them.

Then again, in LA you just have to be a celebrity.

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