Tag Archive for Peter Flax

“Coming out of nowhere” to get right hooked by clueless driver, Streets For All virtual Happy Hour, and classic bike ads

One quick personal note before we get started. 

You may recall an LA Times story from a couple years ago about how my wife and I took in a foster corgi for a homeless man for a few weeks after our corgi died, so he could get into a shelter and get back on his feet.

Those few weeks turned into nearly six months. But in the process, that little dog helped heal three lives. 

Sadly, the corgi — whose owner asked us to keep his name private — died on Friday, after suffering from cancer and doggie dementia. 

He was 15 years old. 

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SoCal bike writer Peter Flax was the victim of a right hook by a driver who cut in front of him after passing, then claimed he “came out of nowhere;” turning so close Flax actually brushed his shoulder against the moving SUV.

Which serves as yet another reminder that, in the entire history of cars and bikes, no one on a bicycle has ever come out of nowhere. Though it may sometime seems that way to careless and/or distracted drivers.

Click on the tweets below to read the whole thread.

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Streets For All will host their latest virtual Happy Hour a week from tomorrow, featuring my state assembly member.

Although probably not just because he’s my assembly member.

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Your periodic reminder that bike advertising was so much better back in the day.

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

No bias here. A writer for Vice responds to last week’s anti-ebike screed in The Atlantic by saying the lack of appropriate infrastructure for ebikes is making bicycling worse, and that we have an ebike problem that more ebikes won’t solve.

A DC bike rider was hit in the face with a metal water bottle thrown by a road raging driver, who then reversed into him and tried to run him over; fortunately, he escaped with a few bruises.

Former Canadian pro cyclist Marcel Zierfuss was the victim of a road raging driver in Toronto’s contentious High Park; the man started by driving erratically and swearing about entitled cyclists, before swerving towards Zierfuss and finally brake-checking him, leaving Zierfuss with a serious concussion, nose injury and whiplash. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up. 

An English city painted over a previously existing bike lane because drivers couldn’t manage to avoid a new pedestrian island without swerving into it.

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

Houston police are looking for a man who fled by bicycle after fatally shooting another man following an altercation outside a convenience store.

A bike-riding thief punched a student walking on an Illinois university campus before making off with the victim’s cellphone.

A 20-year old British man fled from police on his bike after showing up late for a court hearing, then hurling abuse at social workers.

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Local

Long Beach bike riders enjoyed a tour of new murals painted over the weekend as part of The Long Beach Walls and Art Renzei Festival.

 

State 

No news is good news, right?

 

National

Tour de Fat is back in my Colorado hometown after a two-year pandemic layoff.

A Colorado man got 16 years behind bars for his part in an organized bike theft ring that used stolen cars to break into 29 Boulder area bike shops, then shipping the stolen bikes to a Mexican bike shop for resale.

The Chicago Tribune offers photos from Sunday’s Bike the Drive open streets event on the city’s iconic Lake Shore Drive; a growing number of those riders were using ebikes.

Five kids from the Cleveland Boys & Girls Club hopped on new loaner bikes to help a videographer with the local paper finish the last three-tenths of a mile of his century ride — then are shocked when they get to keep the bikes, along with other gear.

They’re one of us. Or maybe four of us, as Kate Hudson and her fiancé Danny Fujikawa, and Sophie Turner and husband Joe Jonas go for separate bike rides in New York.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. After a Pennsylvania driver drifted onto the shoulder of a roadway, critically injuring a 61-year old bike rider, police gave him a pat on the wrist by writing a pair of traffic tickets. As someone noted on Twitter, that could cost the driver tens of dollars.

Hundreds of DC area bike riders turned out to honor a fallen bicyclist at her ghost bike ceremony; the veteran diplomat was killed by a driver while riding in Bethesda, Maryland last month.

 

International

A new book details the world’s largest collection of bicycle derailleurs.

Smart bike helmet maker Lumos has introduced a set of magnetic bike lights that can display red, white and yellow lights, which combine with an app to work as turn signals and brake lights; there’s still a few left at two for $65.

Wired likes Skarper’s new ebike conversion prototype, but questions why someone wouldn’t just buy an entire ebike for the $1,190 price tag. Although we’re getting closer to the Holy Grail of conversion kits, where they’re small enough to toss in a backpack and just clip on as needed.

Hats off to a four-year old Welsh girl, who has raised the equivalent of over $1,100 by riding her bicycle 93 miles over the past six weeks.

Once again, authorities managed to keep an elderly driver on the road until it’s too late, after a 70-year old English man was killed when he was run down on his bike by an 82-year old driver with failing eyesight, who couldn’t manage to read a license plate from ten yards away.

After a Bristol, England woman’s bikes were stolen, she spotted one of them when she went to the police station to file a report — and was mugged by the thief when she tried to reclaim it, even though they were right outside the doors of the cop shop.

Then there’s the Lancaster, England thief who denied stealing a bicycle when he was questioned by the police , but they saw him riding the purloined two wheeler the next day. Oops.

A UK woman says she made her two kids stop riding their bikes after it got too dangerous when officials started removing the pandemic popup bike infrastructure; a British bike advocacy group blames the removal of those bikeways for a drop in bicycling rates.

Good news, as Welsh decathlete Ben Gregory is breathing on his own and slowly coming out of a coma after suffering a fractured neck and skull, and multiple brain hemorrhages when he was struck by a driver in a near-fatal collision while riding his bicycle last month.

No bias here. Stuff says the data is inconclusive on whether Christchurch’s protected bike lanes are improving safety, with four of 13 planned major bikeways in operation — except the data is only inconclusive because it’s based on the entire city, with no specific safety information for the new bike lanes themselves. The website also asks why Christchurch lost its position as New Zealand’s bicycling city, where bikes outnumbered cars on the streets as late as the 1950s.

A drunk driver in Hunan, China could face a charge of intentional murder or injury for the hit-and-run crash where she ran down an ebike rider, then dragged the victim for more than one thousand yards after her clothes got caught on the car’s bumper. We could use a law like that here.

 

Competitive Cycling

Veteran Belgian cyclist Sep Vanmarcke won Baltimore’s inaugural Maryland Bicycle Classic, out-sprinting four other riders who survived a lengthy breakaway; more than 50,000 spectators turned out for a brief glimpse of the riders zooming by, with downhill speeds of up to 45 mph.

Things are getting more interesting in the Vuelta, where Remco Evenepoel is holding on to the red leader’s jersey by one minute 34 seconds over second place Primož Roglič, after the three-time winner shaved over a minute off Evenepoel’s lead in Sunday’s 15th stage.

Now you, too, can own your very own replica of Tadej Pogačar’s Tour de France-winning yellow Colnago V3Rs signed by the cyclist; the current bid is the equivalent of just over $550,000 — yes, over half a million bucks — with the proceeds going to a nonprofit that provides access to education for vulnerable children. Did I mention it’s a replica?

This is what a photo finish looked like in Monday’s Tour of Britain.

 

Finally…

Oddly, advice on how to treat common bike injuries doesn’t involve wrenches, spokes of bike lube. Seriously, who doesn’t need a 153-pound ebike with a sidecar?

And that feeling when a man decides to take up bicycling after a judge bans him from driving for the next year for driving while high.

Even though he couldn’t legally drive in the first place.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Metro picks cars over bikes in NoHo, Flax says bicyclists really are entitled, and bus/bike lanes proposed for SaMo Blvd

Happy International Winter Bike to Work Day!

Even if it goes completely unnoticed here in Southern California, where we don’t have to worry about chipping the ice and snow off our bikes. 

Let alone ourselves at the end of a sunny winter’s ride. 

Photo by photorama from Pixabay.

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Maybe it’s time to sound the alarm.

Last week, we mentioned that Metro’s renderings for a planned transit-oriented development at the North Hollywood station didn’t show the existing bikeways currently serving the area.

Apparently, there’s a reason for that.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton writes that a new presentation of the project — which would replace a huge surface parking lot with over 1,500 new housing units, as well as retail and office space — does show plans for bike lanes.

Just not as good as what’s there right now.

The massive project, which sits right next to the connecting point for the Burbank-Chandler and Orange Line multi-use paths, will erase a popular bike path connecting to the pathways. And replace it with a convoluted series of bike lanes that will encourage bicyclists to dangerously break the law by riding against traffic.

Here’s what Linton has to say.

Currently cyclists – including me and my daughter – heading from NoHo Station toward Burbank utilize the existing bus plaza sidewalk (which is going away) to get to Metro’s bike path (which is going away) that runs along the north side of Chandler Boulevard between Fair Avenue and Vineland Avenue.

LADOT expects eastbound bicyclists to go out of their way to cross four to five lanes of traffic on Chandler, then to make an uncomfortable left turn onto Vineland (where lots of drivers are turning right) to get to the Burbank-Chandler path. Cyclists will likely choose to salmon-ride against traffic in the westbound bike lane (or on the sidewalk), because that will be more direct and faster. (Similarly ridiculous circulation is shown on Chandler west of Lankershim. LADOT somehow expects cyclists to cross to the north side of Chandler at the station, then cross Chandler again in 500 feet to go to a median bikeway on the south side of Chandler.)

To make matters worse, the bike path is due to be replaced by, you guessed it, a parking garage.

And not just any parking garage, but a concrete behemoth with spaces for 3,300 drivers and their vehicles. Which would suggest that Metro has given up on getting Angelenos out of their cars, even as the world is literally burning.

It also suggests that Metro believes bike riders have a place on the road, but only if we don’t inconvenience all those important people in cars in any way.

Here’s Linton again.

Why wasn’t this path, a big active transportation priority, part of Metro’s site requirements? It sure looks like bike circulation was a non-priority – an afterthought – something to be half-assedly shoehorned in after cars took up lots of space.

(And, frankly, this is how Metro treats stations, bikeways, and transit-oriented development. With no public notice or input, Metro yanked an approved bikeway from its Rosa Parks Station revamp, while allowing drivers to speed through the middle of the station complex. The Expo Line bike path has an awful, dangerous gap at Culver City Station where cyclists are dumped out to onto busy streets just before they reach the station. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: “Nobody bikes to these stations anyway” because Metro makes them inhospitable to bicycling.)…

The project really should be re-worked to include a continuous bike path from Vineland to at least Tujunga Avenue. Ideally the path would bridge over Lankershim and Vineland. That continuous path was shown in renderings circulated in 2016. If Metro and (Councilmember Paul) Krekorian are serious about passing a habitable climate along to the next generation, this feature should be put back in.

We’ll look forward to future public meetings when we’ll have the chance to offer some very negative feedback.

In the meantime, maybe it’s time to tell Krekorian, who singlehandedly canceled shovel-ready plans for a lane reduction and bike lanes on Lankershim Blvd, he needs to do better.

A lot better.

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Surprisingly, longtime bike scribe Peter Flax agrees with all those people who say cyclists are entitled.

Except he says our primary entitlement is the right to get home alive.

And he’s got the t-shirt to prove it.

Here’s how it gets deployed. Someone sees a rider pedaling in the street and perhaps even gets delayed 15 seconds, and so cyclists are entitled. Or maybe 17 parking spaces were reapportioned to make room for a bike lane, and so cyclists are entitled. Or someone makes the quite novel observation that bike riders don’t pay registration fees or taxes on the gasoline they don’t use. Or somebody sees a rider roll through a stop sign or maybe filter past gridlocked traffic with a smile on their face. You all know the chorus: Cyclists are entitled.

Of course this is total rubbish. The people who do all this moaning about cyclists are drivers who are oblivious to all the obscene entitlements that they enjoy. We are talking about trillions of dollars and decades of subsidies. We are talking about hundreds of millions of free parking spaces. We are talking about the most lurid fantasies of the petroleum and automotive industries being transmogrified into policy. Motorists have been lavished with VIP privileges for so long that they don’t even perceive them.

In order to reclaim that misused term, Flax says we need a bill of rights, including,

  • Cyclists are entitled to get home alive
  • Cyclists are entitled to safe places to ride
  • Cyclists are entitled to travel to work, schools, and local businesses just like everyone else
  • Cyclists are entitled to legal protections
  • Cyclists are entitles to have lawmakers, police departments, and the judicial system acknowledge and protect people who ride bikes
  • Cyclists are entitled to ride on the road

Like anything Flax writes, it’s a good piece. And more than worth a few minutes of your time.

And reminiscent of this Cyclists’ Bill of Rights we mentioned earlier this week, which nearly became law in Los Angeles, before it didn’t.

Oh, and about that t-shirt.

https://twitter.com/EntitledCycling/status/1491896038478675994

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This would be a huge improvement for the deadly, heavily congested corridor, where fallen bicyclist Frank Guzman was killed in 2018.

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Say goodbye to the Higuera Street Bridge over Ballona Creek, with a bigger, better replacement coming by the end of the year — complete with buffered bike lanes and a new ramp leading to the bike path.

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Former American pro Ted King says he’s a fan of fixing his own bike, despite the increasing complexity of modern bicycles.

https://twitter.com/iamtedking/status/1491587873128292353?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1491587873128292353%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2Fcycling-live-blog-10-february-2022-290211

Although as usual, it’s Phil Gaimon for the win.

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

Brits are getting out the torches and pitchforks over a new bike lane, which narrowed the road so much in some places that drivers aren’t able to pass slower traffic. Which is kind of the point, yes.

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Local

KCRW examines whether banning outdoor bike sales and repair will help stop LA’s bike theft epidemic, where 96% of bike thefts go unsolved. And those are only the ones that get reported to the police.

A Claremont student relates his tale of riding 240 miles from Torrance to Morro Bay on a whim while on winter break.

 

State

Fresno finally announced plans to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians trying to access a local park, after a bike rider was killed riding next to it last month.

A San Francisco judge says yes, the city did have the right to close the Great Highway to motor vehicles during the pandemic, quashing an effort to force them to reopen it right away.

 

National

A series of events and bike rides will take place across the US this summer to mark the 125th anniversary of the legendary Buffalo Soldiers great bicycle experiment, which culminated in a 1,900-mile expedition that proved the value of bikes as a military tool, before they were rudely shoved aside by motor vehicles.

Forbes offers their take on the best bike locks to help make sure your bike is still there when you come back for it.

The death of a Houston man who was killed when he was right hooked by a pickup driver may be the first case prosecuted under a new Texas law that requires drivers to stop and yield for someone in a crosswalk. Which was kind of the whole rationale for crosswalks to begin with.

A Florida lawyer with a keen sense of the obvious says the recent drawbridge accident that killed a 79-year old woman walking her bike across the span should never have happened.

 

International

Start saving your spare change. A bike tourism company is offering a 36-day, 2,300 mile tour from Paris to Tallinn, Estonia, which follows the route Napoleon took across Europe in the 1800s, for the low, low price of $17,208. Or you can do just eight days for a touch over four grand.

Bloomberg CityLab looks at the rise of bike buses from San Francisco to Barcelona, allowing kids to rule the roads on their way to and from school.

A British professional triathlete was crushed to find her $13,500 tri bike had been crushed on an EasyJet flight.

Happy birthday to legendary Italian framebuilder Ernesto Colnago, who turns 90 this week.

 

Competitive Cycling

Great news, as two-time Grand Tour winner Egan Bernal is back on his feet — literally — after suffering critical injuries when he slammed into a poorly parked bus while training in his native Colombia.

 

Finally…

Bike theft at the Beijing Olympics. Nothing like a company naming their new ebike for the sole purpose of getting free publicity on social media.

And that feeling when traffic engineers respond to complaints about a badly designed bikeway.

By adding a sign.

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

Metro motion rethinks bikeshare system, Flax says sharrows are bullshit, and McSweeney’s says fuck you, I’m a cyclist

Metro is rethinking their bikeshare program.

Which could be a good thing.

A board motion submitted LA Councilmember Paul Krekorian, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, County Supervisor Shiela Kuehl and Pomona Mayor Tim Sandoval proposes a number of changes to the Metro Bike system, in part to address theft of the bikes.

Currently, Metro only has 38% of the total original fleet remaining in operation. Metro Bikes have been targets of theft, and rates of fleet loss ebb and flow as new methods of theft are discovered and addressed. The Metro Bike Share team has increased efforts to recover lost and stolen bicycles but this is not sustaining the fleet and the program does not have an established fleet replenishment strategy. As a result, fewer Metro Bikes are available for use, which degrades the quality of service available to the public.

Although I’d think having nearly 40 percent of the original bikes still in operation after five years is pretty damn good.

Regardless, the five are requesting that the Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins report back in 90 days on a number of proposed changes, most of which have nothing to do with addressing bike theft.

A. An action plan to stabilize the current fleet size including actions for how to identify, prioritize, and address new mechanisms of theft as they arise.

B. An action plan to address equitable access in the current program and in any future form of the program. This plan shall include recommendations on issues such as serving people who may be unbanked, addressing the digital divide, and keeping fare cost low.

C. A plan to provide uninterrupted service as the next iteration of the program is determined and executed.

D. A plan to convene an industry forum (as was performed for Metro Micro) to bring together academics, cities with existing bike share programs, community stakeholders, and industry experts to provide recommendations on advancing Metro Bike Share beyond the current contract in one of several forms including but not limited to

  • Continuing Metro Bike Share as a contracted service,
  • Operating the program In-house with Metro employees,
  • A private-sector model with financial subsidy provided by Metro.

E. Performing a market survey to identify best practices and business models among existing bike-share systems in the US, and comparable global systems (e.g., Paris, London, Barcelona, Madrid, and Mexico City), and to develop comparative data on subsidy cost per ride, total ridership, size of fleet, vehicle technology, theft and damage loss and prevention, and alternative financing sources like sponsorship and advertising.

F. Recommendations for continuing and evolving the Metro Bike Share program to meet the goals of the agency, with countywide stakeholder engagement and consideration of cost-sharing, with the goal of expanding service area and local participation to all subregions in the County. These recommendations should include eligible local, state, and federal funding sources for capital and operations budgets, as well as legislative opportunities to expand such funding eligibility.

All of these should be positives, if they’re carried out with a clear intention to maintain the bikeshare system and improve service.

Especially finding better ways to equitably serve low income communities.

As it stands right now, there doesn’t appear to be reason for concern. The question will be what form the response takes when Wiggins reports back in February.

That’s when we’ll want to give her recommendations a close look. And make sure the program is moving forward, not back.

Thanks to an anonymous source for the heads-up. 

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Somehow I missed this one from our friend Peter Flax, who politely proclaims that sharrows are bullshit.

But we haven’t even gotten to the suckiest part yet. These days sharrows are deployed as a bad-faith alternative to actually making roads safer for bike riders. In recent years, sharrows have become increasingly popular as cities try to balance calls from safety advocates to install quality bike lanes — you know, so folks feel more encouraged to ride and get killed a little less often — and grumpy motorists who don’t want to relinquish driving lanes or parking spaces for bike infrastructure. To the politicians and engineers stuck in the middle, sharrows seem like a devilishly perfect compromise — a way to placate the pro-car populists while still being able to claim you did something.

In short, they are perfect for city officials who care enough about safety to do the very least. There’s only one problem: Sharrows are make believe safety infrastructure.

By now, you probably already know my take.

That sharrows are nothing more than an attempt by transportation agencies to thin the herd, with little arrows painted on the pavement to help drivers improve their aim.

The best you can say is they offer a placemaking guide for people on bicycles, while showing riders where they should position themselves to control the lane.

If they’re placed correctly, that is.

And if riders feel comfortable in the middle of the lane in front of too often impatient and angry drivers.

Instead, you usually see people riding next to them on the right, increasing the risk of unsafe passes. If you see them at all, since many riders seem to prefer other routes that place them in less risk of getting run over.

Which is probably smart. Because as Flax notes, a 2018 study found that sharrows are actually worse than nothing when it comes to safety.

It’s worth taking a few minutes to read the whole thing.

Because he’s right.

Sharrows really are bullshit.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the tip

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Then there’s this bizarre, incomprehensible, and supposedly tongue-in-cheek screed from McSweeney’s.

It gets worse.

That was followed by this tweet from McSweeney himself, justifying the piece.

It’s a sure sign you missed the mark when you have to tell people something is funny.

Or when you have to say, no, really, we ride bikes, too.

Because it ain’t satire if it’s not funny.

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When is a protected bike lane not a bike lane?

When it’s a parking lot for government cops.

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Recently retired pro Tejay van Garderen had his own bikes stolen recently while moving to Denver.

So if you’re in the Denver area, keep an eye out for them. And it wouldn’t hurt to watch out wherever you are, because high-end bikes like these could turn up anywhere.

According to Jonathan Vaughters, that second bike is the one that put van Garderen in the white jersey signifying the best young rider in the 2012 Tour de France.

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Love this photo that’s the very definition of fin de siècle style and cool.

https://twitter.com/PeterPeterbox/status/1460964802310938625

Here’s what the tweet says, for those of us who are Español challenged.

Bicycles have remained remarkably the same for over 100 years, elegant in their efficiency and simplicity; the look of the cyclists has not changed much either.

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Another reminder of the exceptional efficiency of bike lanes.

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Tonight would be great for a not-so-moonlit ride, with the eclipse starting around 9 pm on the West Coast, and reaching it’s peak around 1 am, if you can get away from the coastal fog and clouds.

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

Singapore police are looking for a hit-and-run bicyclist who fled the scene after crashing head-on into woman on a bicycle.

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Local

Long Beach’s multi-modal, bike-commuting captain of the annual floating Christmas tree display is retiring after 39 years on the job, without a single day driving to or from work.

 

State

A 75-year old man was seriously injured when he was run down from behind by a driver while riding his bike on Cushing Road near San Diego’s Liberty Station; fortunately, his injuries aren’t expected to be life threatening.

 

National

Talk about a misguided take. A writer for the New York Times calls out “obscure” “fringe, niche” measures and “special interest breaks” included in the Build Back Better bill currently under consideration in the US House — like the not-so-obscure $900 tax rebate program for ebike purchasers, which has been openly discussed and debated.

The hometown paper in Grand Junction, Colorado, when my former Iditarod-mushing brother lives and rides these days, says there’s plenty more the city could do to make riding a bike a safer and more enjoyable experience. Pretty much like everywhere else.

Colorado police have busted an eight man bike theft ring responsible for $1.5 million worth of stolen bicycles; they face a combination of more than 200 charges.

Chicago Streetsblog calls out a Chicago-style hot dog stand for banning bikes from its drive-through. Although another Windy City hot dog purveyor says bikes are more than welcome at theirs.

A Cleveland TV station talks with several bike commuters about their safety concerns, including better infrastructure and getting more respect from drivers.

A 22-year old hit-and-run driver will now face a murder charge after a preliminary investigation showed he was speeding on his way to work, and high on weed, when he slammed into a six-year old Detroit boy just riding his bike across the street.

The Philadelphia Inquirer joins a mounting chorus saying the recently signed infrastructure bill may be big, but it won’t change America’s misguided focus on cars.

‘Tis the season. Alabama’s 91-year old “Bicycle Man” rescued and repaired 30 discarded bicycles for a holiday giveaway program for children in need.

The mother of the 14-year old Palm Beach, Florida boy who was found dead hours after leaving for a bike ride says he lost control and flipped his bicycle, and there was no foul play involved.

 

International

Treehugger rates the best cargo bike trailers of 2021.

Cyclist offers a beginner’s guide to every part that makes up a road bike.

Smart move. Montreal is setting up an online reporting system just for pedestrian and bicycle crashes in the downtown area, where most such crashes occur. Something we could use here, where police too often don’t even want to take a report unless someone is seriously injured.

In another step backward, the Swiss government is calling for mandating bike helmets for anyone over the age of 12. Before anyone gets upset, I never ride my bike without a helmet. But helmet laws have repeatedly been shown to be counterproductive, while giving police an excuse to target people on bicycles. And too often people of color and homeless bike riders.

What to give your favorite Philippine bike rider this holiday season.

 

Competitive Cycling

Slovenia’s Primož Roglič says he’s not the cycling Terminator everyone thinks he is.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you rescue a bike from the trash because it has the weirdest, coolest brakes you’ve ever seen. Nothing like a casual bike ride up an 18,000 foot Peruvian peak through two feet of snow.

And what’s the underwater equivalent of Viking Biking?

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

Windshield-biased Ocean Beach victim blaming, PCH project back on Malibu agenda, and unsafe Venice bike lanes

This is who we share the road with.

In a truly awful piece, a writer in San Diego’s Ocean Beach neighborhood complains that bike advocates are lying about this years rash of bicycling deaths to foist an anti-car agenda on the car-driving public.

He has the shameless audacity to go through each death one by one, pointing out how the victims were, or could have been, at fault, but from his windshield-biased perspective.

Never mind that he’s relying on newspaper accounts for his information, which as we’ve seen, too often don’t contain the salient facts and leave far too many blanks to fill.

And all too often, are based on police reports, which can, and usually do, reflect the officer’s windshield bias, and a basic lack of training when it comes to bike laws.

I had intended to open today’s post with a lengthy rant dissecting his arguments. But soon discovered that Peter Flax had beaten me to the punch.

Writing for Medium, Flax took the writer — and the bike-unfriendly OB Rag, which published the shameful piece — to task for the obvious victim blaming.

Obvious to anyone but the author, anyway.

The central premise of Page’s story is that bike advocates and city leader in San Diego have dishonestly tried to leverage the spate of riders being killed there to get more bike lanes built — “to further the cycling agenda” as he puts it. In his argument, the connection between people dying and the need for better riding infrastructure is mostly fictious and totally overblown. And then to prove his hypothesis, Page does some light googling and sets out to demonstrate that nearly all the cycling deaths that have occurred in San Diego were likely the riders’ own fault. It’s an eye-opening exercise in victim blaming.

Above all, the story is inhumane and recklessly presumptive. Imagine thinking that you could spend an hour on Google, read a handful of day-one news stories, and then feel equipped to pronounce that strangers in your community have been killed because of their own errors or bad judgment. Imagine being an editor or publisher and thinking you want to publish that kind of a hot take on your site.

Then Flax did something remarkable.

He reached out to the man who penned that awful piece, and held a non-judgmental online discussion — nonjudgmental on his side, anyway — on why he wrote it.

Here’s just a brief sample of the conversation.

In your story, you state quite firmly that five of these deaths were the fault of the cyclists, and that several made “poor choices” and several more died in circumstances where blame cannot be assigned. This adds up to nearly all the deaths in San Diego. Can you see how many people felt like you were engaged in victim blaming?

I did not blame any victims. I recounted that the news stories on five of these clearly showed the cyclist was at fault, that was not me making a decision based on the facts. The facts in five more do not say who was at fault, not a conclusion I came to. I have responded to several comments asking for a specific instance of victim blaming in my article. Nothing.

It’s not victim blaming these folks are upset about. They are upset because I had the temerity to challenge the cycling narrative to the public by debunking their claim about what these 12 deaths meant. My target was dishonesty.

Unfortunately, the conversation accomplished exactly what you’d expect, with the author unbudging in his unbridled victim blaming, and accusations of some subversive cyclist agenda.

But you have to give Flax credit.

That could not have been an easy conversation to have. And he went out of his way to understand the other man, and to be fair.

But this kind of attitude is, sadly, all too common.

One where we are seen, not as ordinary people simply trying to stay safe on the streets, but as wild-eyed activists pushing a radical anti-car agenda to force the unwilling car-driving public onto bicycles.

When the truth is, we’re just trying to get from here to there in one piece.

And too often, failing.

Photo from the bike path in Santa Monica, which will have to stand in for Ocean Beach.  

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Malibu’s continually rescheduled discussion of a plan to widen the shoulder on a two-mile section of PCH, instead of building bike lanes, which will presumably put bike riders in the door zone — unless maybe they won’t — is back on the agenda for tomorrow night.

Unless it gets postponed once again.

Here’s the notice from Streets For All

Ask the City of Malibu to add safe, protected bike lanes to PCH

There is a special Planning Commission Meeting (RESCHEDULED) in Malibu this Wednesday at 630pm where they are going to discuss approving a plan to widen the shoulder on 2 miles of Pacific Coast Highway between Webb Way and Puerto Canyon Road to add MORE parking.

Their proposal really only benefits cars and puts people on bikes in the “door zone.” We need them to do better – it’s time for Caltrans and Malibu to add protected bike lanes to PCH.

EMAIL THE MALIBU PLANNING COMMISSION BY TUESDAY (9.7)

Maybe the ‘Bu is just hoping we’ll all stop paying attention if they postpone it enough times.

Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.

………

The author of this tweet sent it to my attention to point out a dangerous condition on the bike lanes on Venice Blvd.

To be honest, it’s hard for me to get too worked up about this simply because it’s been going on for so long.

Whether’s it’s RVs, illegally parked semis and construction trucks, or some other obstacle, the Venice bike lanes are frequently blocked in one place or another from one end to another, and have been for years.

Enforcement doesn’t seem to do any good. Ticketing or towing drivers for parking illegally only seems to work in the moment, until they come back a day or two later.

If not the same day.

The only solution I can see is to install protected bike lanes from Downtown to the coast. And preferably designed so drivers won’t just park in it anyway, like the LAPD and delivery drivers already do in DTLA.

Which should have been done already.

………

Sunset4All held a successful celebration of LA’s first public/private partnership to transform one of the city’s most dangerous streets.

………

Join Tern and New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie for a Reddit chat on the two-wheeled future of transportation.

………

Here’s your reminder that the annual worldwide Fancy Women Bike Ride will roll later this month.

Unfortunately, I haven’t heard anything about rides planned for Los Angeles, or anywhere in Southern California.

So let me know if you’re planning anything here.

………

A Scottish driver escaped a close call when a bicycle fell off the rack of another car on the highway, and lodge in his windshield.

Maybe there really is a war on cars, and the bikes are finally striking back.

………

GCN says you’re probably killing your ebike, if you have one. So stop it, already.

Meanwhile, a writer for Treehugger says she gets so many questions, she feels like a celebrity when she rides her ebike. And recommends getting one “a million times over.”

………

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

Nothing like an LA driver intent on sending a message. Or worse.

https://twitter.com/EntitledCycling/status/1434327524004163588

Evidently, there’s no such thing as a carfree event where drivers are concerned. Like the schmuck who decided to weave his car around participants in Chicago’s Bike the Drive on Sunday.

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

Probably not the best idea to repeatedly fire an antique gun for no apparent reason while riding along an Iowa bike path.

A New York State man is under arrest after using his bicycle as a weapon when police attempted to take him in on a couple outstanding warrants, before pulling a knife on them after a foot chase.

A Virginia bike rider refused to exchange information and demanded money from a driver after a minor collision; the driver wisely called the police instead, and the man on the bike rode off before they arrived.

………

Local

This is who we share the road with. A 22-year old Los Angeles man is dead following a road rage confrontation after a minor fender bender. He chased the other driver when she left the scene, then was thrown to the street after somehow ending up on her hood during a second confrontation.

Streets For All is hosting another virtual happy hour a week from tomorrow, with special guest LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds. Which makes it the perfect opportunity to ask why the bike plan is still just “aspirational,” and why Vision Zero and the city’s Green New Deal seem to have been pushed so far onto the back burner they’re in danger of falling off entirely.

Mark your calendar for the Los Angeles edition of the World Naked Bike Ride on September 18th, where you can go as bare as you dare except for your face, which will need a mask.

 

State

Police in La Jolla busted a suspected serial burglar and bike thief who had been raiding back yards and garages for months; he’s now being held on $300,000 bond.

After talking with other people who’d done it, a San Francisco writer decides to try riding a bike up the area’s steepest hill, with grades as stiff as 30%

A pair of looters were arrested for stealing bicycles from South Lake Tahoe homes after the town was evacuated because of the Caldor Fire.

Oops. A Chico man was busted after police stopped him riding a $5,000 mountain bike, then searched his home and found several stolen bike frames and parts, along with a few grams of meth.

 

National

Your next bike helmet could come loaded with an augmented reality and artificial intelligence-enhanced heads-up display, complete with a 360-degree camera.

After walking away from his IT job, a Portland man is devoting himself full-time to cleaning up the city’s pathways, collecting trash in a trailer towed behind his bike.

Reno bike advocates are up in arms after the city calls for a $100,000 study to reroute a planned bike lane, because the casinos complained that they don’t want one in front of their businesses. Apparently failing to grasp that bike riders are used to gambling, since we have to do it on a daily basis.

Nice gesture from Denver Bronco’s general manager, the rest of the front office and the coaching staff, as they built 75 bicycles for underprivileged second grade students at a local elementary school in honor of former Bronco’s coach Greg Knapp, who was killed in a Bay Area bicycling collision in July.

Kansas police insist they’ve got the right man now, after arresting a motorist for shooting and killing a man, apparently to steal his bicycle, after they’d both visited the same business; another man was cleared of the crime after being arrested earlier, but was still being held on outstanding warrants.

Sometimes, the sound of gunfire is just a bike tire popping in an Arkansas Walmart.

A Cincinnati student newspaper calls for keeping a popup bike lane that was installed in a weekend for just fifty grand.

A Connecticut congressman is riding his bike across the state to promote all the state has to offer. Which apparently isn’t much, since his ride will be just a hair over 91 miles. 

A New York man was rescued after spending anywhere from two to eight hours trapped down a shaft in the Queens woods when he somehow fell down it during a bike ride through the park.

New Yorkers are criticized for risking the lives of bicycle delivery riders, who somehow stayed on the job despite the incredible risks posed by the recent Hurricane Ida.

Sad news from New Jersey, where nationally recognized cyclist and triathlete Arland Macasieb was fighting for his life after being run down by the driver of a classic ’59 Corvette as he was riding his bike across a freeway onramp; Macasieb is also a repeat national trial champ and national record holder in the Philippines.

A Philadelphia magazine profiles North Philly’s Bilenky Cycle Works and their high-end, handmade bicycles.

 

International

The shortage of bicycles and parts fueled by the pandemic bike boom is now expected to last through the end of next year.

Credit the Romans with the first Low Traffic Neighborhoods — or Slow Streets, as we call them on this side of the Atlantic.

He gets it. A British writer says there are no winners in the debate over cars versus bikes.

Inspiring story from a 14-year old English boy who was told he could never ride a bicycle due to his autism and hydrocephalus, and not only learned to ride, but raised the equivalent of nearly $14,000 for his scout troop by riding 1,000 mile across the length of the UK. And had to overcome the theft of his bike just days before he started.

What does it say about our streets that there’s even a need for a $1,000 German made backpack that becomes a full torso airbag in the event of a crash?

BMW wants to put you on a ped-assist ebike with a whopping 186-mile range — and a top speed of 37 mph, which would appear to make it illegal under California law. And would require a driver’s license and motorcycle helmet even if it’s not.

Gee, it’s such a relief to know there’s no suspicion of foul play in the death of a Singapore man who was dragged more than 100 feet under a bus, after he allegedly ran a red light on his bicycle and was right hooked by the driver, who claims he never saw him.

Speaking of Singapore, a woman had a far too close call when she fell off her bike and nearly landed in the path of a large truck. Although all the commenters seemed to care about is that the group of bicyclists she was with wasn’t supposed to be on that highway to begin with.

Still in Singapore, a bike delivery rider says why bother with handlebars, and builds an AI chip that can steer his bike for him.

 

Competitive Cycling

To the surprise of no one, Primož Roglič won the Vuelta by a whopping margin of 4 minutes and 42 seconds, after taking four stages in the process.

Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez apologized for giving up and quitting in the middle of the penultimate Vuelta stage, after falling off a possible podium finish when he was dropped in an attack, slipping from third to sixth before abandoning.

Pez Cycling News shares their final rant from, and about, the Vuelta.

For reasons known only to them, media outlets across the US suddenly decided to share a 2013 CNN piece offering fast facts about Lance Armstrong, as if the seven-time ex-Tour de France winner was somehow once again relevant. Which he’s not.

Sad news from Spain, where a competitor in a Córdoba mountain bike race was found dead a short distance off the road after going missing during the race; the cause of his death was unknown.

 

Finally…

You don’t have to wear spandex when you ride, but try not to look like the Michelin man. If you’re carrying a baggie full of crack on your bike — and have an outstanding warrant for murder — put a damn light on it, already.

And if drivers keep blocking the bike lane, just move it to the other side of the street to keep them out.

Right?

………

L’shanah tovah to everyone celebrating 5782 today!

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

No protection for bike riders in bike lanes, more on horrific Las Vegas bike crash, and New York driver injures 6 protesters

It’s the last full week of the 6th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Thanks to Dan G, Sketch Productions and Kenneth R for their generous donations to help keep SoCal’s best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day!

While we accept donations year round, this is the only time of year we ask —okay, beg —  for your help to keep this site going. 

So don’t wait. Give to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive today!

………

Bike scribe Peter Flax is back with a piece in Outside, warning about the lack of legal protections for riders in bike lanes.

Experienced cyclists already know that a conventional bike lane—where government officials paint stripes on the road to demarcate a dedicated space for riders—offers few real physical protections from motor vehicles. But the case in Bend offers a window into how the legal protections they offer are extremely limited, too.

The problem extends outside of Oregon. After the October ruling, I spoke with two attorneys who specialize in cycling-related law—one based in Colorado and the other in Ohio—and both said that existing laws in their states do almost nothing to define cyclists’ right of way in bike lanes or protect them in a crash…

Both attorneys expressed considerable frustration that cyclists don’t yet have more rational, legal protections. “If we are going to spend the time and money building bike lanes for cyclists, they must come with some level of protection,” says Hottman. “If bike lanes are where city planners want us riding, and if we agree that collisions and tensions tend to decrease when cyclists get dedicated places to ride, then we have to be granted some level of protection when we ride in them. My perfect world would be a state statute that says motorists turning across a bike lane must yield to bikes in bike lane.”

It seems like a no brainer. Bike riders should have the right-of-way in the only piece of pavement dedicated to our use.

But we don’t.

Anyone who has ridden most SoCal bike lanes can tell you that we’re still subject to swinging car doors, drivers using bike lanes to pull in or out of parking spaces or cruise of a parking spot, or cutting across the bike lane to make a turn — which is illegal in California, where drivers are required to merge into a bike lane before turning right.

And for which we too often get the blame, despite being exactly where we’re supposed to be.

The simple solution is to make drivers fully liable for any collision with someone on a bicycle who is riding legally in the bike lane.

Period.

………

More on the horrific crash that killed five Las Vegas bicyclists last week and injured four others, one critically.

The Las Vegas coroner identified the five victims Friday afternoon.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the victims were described as key fixtures in the local bicycling scene, and in the top 10% of area bicyclists. Note: if the paper’s paywall blocks you, trying opening the link with another browser or a private window.

One of the victims was a member of the national triathlon team, while another was described as someone who lived on on his bike and would help anyone — including cyclists on a competing team.

A third victim was called a kind, caring man of faith who loved bike racing.

Hundreds of community members gathered around a ghost bike sculpture in front of a local bike shop to remember the victims and call for safer streets.

NBC News somehow gets the crash sequence backwards, saying the truck driver hit the car that was chaperoning the ride before crashing into the bicyclists. The five riders killed were actually trailing the car, and were pinned between the two vehicles, although some of the injured may have been riding in front of the car.

Seriously? Las Vegas police are reminding drivers to obey Nevada’s three-foot passing law in the wake of the crash.

As if that would have kept the driver from plowing into nine people on bicycles, as well as a car leading them.

………

The Nevada crash wasn’t the only bloodbath involving bike riders last week.

After a 52-year old New York woman found her car surrounded by people protesting ICE, she floored it and crashed into the protesters in front of her, injuring six people, including bike riders attempting to protect the protest.

For a change, though, the NYPD appears to have taken the crash seriously, charging her with reckless endangerment.

………

This is the future we could have in Los Angeles.

………

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

You’ve got to be kidding. Bike riders in a Philippines town will now be required to wear a helmet and reflectorized vest, keep both hands on the handlebars except to signal, and only carry minimal loads “because bicycles are not designed to carry much cargo.” The new rules were put in place to “support our bike enthusiasts.” Sure, let’s go with that.

………

………

Local

The two LA County sheriff’s deputies accused of shooting 18-year old Andres Guardado were relieved of duty after crashing their patrol car while chasing a man on a bicycle, even though they had a suspect in custody in the back of their cruiser.

Streets for All has set up a new Twitter account to raise awareness of traffic violence in and around the City of Angels, sending out an alert when a bike rider or pedestrian is involved in a crash. Which is pretty damned often, unfortunately.

Former pro wrestler and actor Tommy “Tiny” Lister was found dead in his Marina Del Rey home on Thursday; he was best known for playing bike-thieving neighborhood bully Deebo in the Friday movie franchise. Series star Ice Cube called him a born entertainer with a big heart, who could pop into character at the drop of a hat.

 

State

A Bakersfield collector donated the sign from the sporting goods store where he bought his first bicycle to a local neon museum.

San Francisco bike advocates have long called for a fix to a dangerous chokepoint on the popular crosstown Wiggle bike route, which forces bike riders to cross traffic turning into a gas station; after the latest crash involving someone on a bike, a city supervisor has joined the call.

 

National

Writing for Outside, bike scribe Joe Lindsey says the new Tesla ebike concept makes no sense. Which is being kind.

This is what an adaptive e-mountain bike looks like, allowing paraplegic riders to hit the trails.

Heartbreaking story from Arizona, where doctors discovered a malignant brain tumor in a three-year old boy after he fell down the stairs while learning to ride a bike; a crowdfunding page has raised a little over ten grand to help his single mom pay for his surgery.

A bighearted Boston-area man bought a new bike and a lock for an 11-year old neighbor boy after his was stolen.

South Carolina officials have filed hit-and-run charges against a 30-year old woman who killed a four-year old boy — and his dog — as the boy was riding with his uncle.

Life is cheap in Louisiana, where a hit-and-run driver who ran down two kids as they were riding bikes in their own neighborhood will serve just two years home vacation arrest, followed by a lousy three years probation. Even though a year later, his seven-year old victim still has no sense of taste or smell, and struggles with schoolwork, while his 13-year old sister faces another round of plastic surgery to repair damage from the crash.

 

International

No bias here. London’s Daily Mail says British prime minister Boris Johnson has lost the support of nearly 25% of his Conservative Party over Johnson’s support for popup bike lanes during the pandemic. Which means that nearly three quarters of the party are just fine with it, thank you.

Police in an English town confiscated the bicycle belonging to a 15-year old boy, accusing him of riding in a “dangerous manner.” Want to bet they’ve never confiscated a car from a driver for the same offense?

A UK bike advocacy group is considering legal action to prevent local governments from ripping out bike lanes, calling the removals “unreasonable.”

A driving website examines the new Italian-made Ducati ebike.

A climate website says Germany needs to look beyond cars and de-emphasize driving, while boosting trains, bicycling and walking.

The once and future Bicycle Kingdom is back, as bicycling booms in China while the pandemic is restricting movement.

When the trains stopped running in Manila due to the coronavirus pandemic, commuters jumped on their bikes, fighting for space on some of the world’s most congested streets.

 

Competitive Cycling

A new Irish film looks at the role of the domestique in pro cycling, set in the the start of 1998 Tour de France in Ireland.

Cycling Weekly considers why so many elite cyclists have a background in rowing.

 

Finally…

Who knew? Evidently, bike riders and horse people can actually get along.

And let’s hope they at least gave him free coffee and donuts.

………

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

“Slight recovery” for Ramona’s Michelle Scott in 2019 hit-and-run, NYPD blames victim, and Tamika talks bikes & racism

The news on Ramona bike rider Michelle Scott is heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time.

According to the Ramona Sentinel, Scott is showing slight progress towards recovery even as she remains confined to a rehab facility, seven months after she was severely injured by a hit-and-run driver while riding to work last October.

The driver who put her there, 35-year old Chase Richard, faces trial on multiple charges next month, including two felony hit-and-run counts, and remains in custody on a $2 million bond.

But even if Richard is found guilty, he likely faces just four years behind bars.

Yet another example of the failure of our society to take traffic violence seriously.

………

Peter Flax examines what he calls the “infuriating” conclusion of the NYPD’s investigation into the death of Robyn Hightman, who was killed by a truck driver who claimed he never saw the victim.

And never stopped, despite witness reports that he had to know he’d hit someone.

Not surprisingly, the decidedly bike-unfriendly NYPD blamed the victim for the crash, even though the 20-year old bike messenger was an experienced bicyclist, and a New York bike lawyer says Hightman was probably doing everything right.

Which sadly doesn’t count for much in the auto-centric city.

Flax had written about Hightman’s life and needless death for Bicycling shortly after the fatal crash.

………

Boston public radio station WGBH will host a webinar with former LACBC Executive Director and social justice advocate Tamika Butler, among others, to discuss “how cycling, transit, and other systems and infrastructure in our cities and neighborhoods perpetuate the excessive monitoring and policing of Black and Brown bodies in public spaces.”

But you’ll have to register in advance. And get up early, because it starts at 9:30 am Eastern Time on Friday.

That’s 6:30 am here.

………

For once, the people South LA aren’t being forgotten as the city moves forward with implementing the Slow Streets program.

………

Local

The LA Times says a guided multi-day bike tour could be your safest vacation bet this summer.

Gear Patrol says the new MIPS helmet from LA-based Thousand will actually make you want to wear your helmet.

The South Bay’s Easy Reader asks whether the current bike boom will outlast the pandemic.

 

State

California ski resorts are open for mountain biking, with the usual post-pandemic restrictions.

One-legged bicyclist Leo Rodgers is moving to Costa Mesa to pursue his dream of “influencing and inspiring people,” while a crowdfunding page for his new foundation has raised just over $2,300 of the $10,000 goal; Rodgers was featured on the cover of the latest issue of Bicycling.

The Daily Pilot looks at Newport Beach-based ebike maker Electric Bike Co, whose first brick-and-mortar location is opening in the city on the 4th of July.

Work is continuing on San Diego’s Rose Creek Bikeway, but no estimate was given for completion of the construction project. Thanks to Robert Leone for the heads-up.

Bonita’s new bike park is finally back open, but with a mask requirement to get in, and riders have to stay at least six feet apart.

Supporters of Vision Zero ask if opponents of San Jose’s plan are really that selfish. Yes, they are

 

National

Bicycling says stats on aerodynamics are great, but what really matters is how much they affect how you ride. On the other hand, Road.cc says forget wheel weight and just focus on getting more aero.

Bicycling considers just what it takes to stay safe on your bike in the age of Covid-19.

A hand and wrist physiotherapist explains the causes and treatment of cyclist palsy, the nerve irritation caused by gripping your handlebars for extended periods.

Brit+Co says we’re all riding bikes now, so you need some bike gear that’s actually cute. Assuming you’re a woman, that is; evidently, men don’t need cute bikewear.

Yahoo says this tiny folding e-scooter is the future of bicycling. Hint: It’s not.

A free Colorado e-bikeshare program is helping chronically homeless people get back on their feet.

A St. Louis man and woman were busted for riding bikes that were stolen during the looting that followed the death of George Floyd.

Document Journal examines the New York social justice cycling collective that brought 10,000 bike riders out to the streets of Gotham to support Black Lives Matter. Which is about 9,900 more than have ever turned out in Los Angeles, with the exception of Critical Mass.

A former New York transportation commissioner is proposing a new carfree bridge to connect Manhattan and Queens to accommodate the boom in bike riding; although some advocates aren’t exactly thrilled with the idea.

New York is doubling the amount of temporary protected bike lanes in the city in response to the jump in bike ridership, although that’s still just an increase from nine miles to 18. However, that’s 18 miles more than LA has installed.

Two New Jersey men were busted for mugging a bike rider, just hours following their release after getting busted as porch pirates.

Kindhearted Pennsylvania cops gave a new bike and pump to a man who was saving up to buy a bicycle, while riding multiple buses to two jobs to support his five kids.

A South Florida bike shop teamed with a local foundation to donate a new tandem bike to a blind nine-year old boy so he can ride with his father for the first time.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett is teaming with community leaders and police in his Florida hometown for a two-day bike ride to build stronger community bonds. However, the wisdom of doing that in the middle of a pandemic, in a state with surging Covid-19 cases, is highly debatable.

 

International

The Conversation considers how cities can keep the new riders create by the Covid-19 bike boom on their bicycles.

She gets it. A Canadian columnist says if a Toronto woman is convicted of DUI, while already on parole and a ten-year driving ban for the drunken hit-and-run that took the life of a bike-riding man, she should never be allowed to drive again. Then again, she wasn’t supposed to be driving now, so the question is what are they willing to do to stop her.

How to fix a bent derailleur.

The BBC examines whether the coronavirus crisis has brought us any closer to tackling climate change.

A Scottish bike rider is dead because an 84-year old man with failing eyesight ignored his doctor’s instructions not to drive.

A British man convicted of stealing a nurse’s bicycle while she was at work treating Covid-19 patients gets a slap on the wrist with less than four months behind bars.

A Dutch traveler’s association is calling for lower speed limits on bike paths, as more people are taking to bicycles to avoid public transit during the coronavirus pandemic; bicyclists are currently allowed to ride up to 27 mph.

Flanders, Belgium is giving away 10,000 free bikeshare rides in an effort get more people on bicycles during the pandemic.

The bike boom is exploding across Germany, too.

Taiwan’s “Pokémon Go grandpa” now has 64 smartphones spread out like peacock feathers on his handlebars to help him play the game. Although that means he probably can’t see the road right in front of him.

 

Competitive Cycling

Pro cycling will look different this year in the wake of Covid-19, and here won’t be any hugs or kisses on the podium at this year’s Tour de France. Which means this is the perfect opportunity to get rid of podium girls once and for all.

NPR considers the ups and downs of Everesting in the wake of Lachlan Morton’s new record, set just outside my hometown.

 

Finally…

If your life’s dream is to own a Segway, you’d better hurry. Who needs a hotel when you can tow your own RV?

And how not to wash your bike.

………

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

LA blames Vision Zero fail on texting drivers, anti-bike bias on Bay Area bridge, and Arroyo Seco repairs underway

The Los Angeles Times pretty well sums up LA’s Vision Zero failure in two short paragraphs.

Last year, 244 people were killed in traffic collisions on city streets, a decrease of 0.8% compared to 2018, according to preliminary figures from the city. The victims included 134 people who were walking and 19 people biking.

The data may change slightly with additional analysis, officials said. But the early figures suggest another year of lackluster progress for Vision Zero, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s initiative to eliminate traffic deaths on city streets by 2025.

That’s two more bicycling deaths than I showed in my records. Which isn’t too surprising, since too many fatal crashes never make the news.

But instead of placing blame on the city’s insistence at nibbling on the edges of traffic safety, rather than making the wholesale changes to LA streets that define a true Vision Zero program, the city insists on pointing the finger at texting drivers.

Which is a major problem, of course.

But Vision Zero is supposed to be about accepting that people will always make mistakes behind the wheel — like texting, for instance. And designing roadways in such a way that those mistakes don’t become fatalities.

According to the story,

The Transportation Department made more changes to streets in L.A. in 2019 than in the prior two years combined, said spokeswoman Connie Llanos. Those 1,529 modifications to crosswalks, traffic signals, intersections and other elements of the street are designed to improve the safety of the street.

Yet none of those modifications included a single road diet or protected intersection.

Or, to the best of my recollection, a single new protected bike lane.

Rather than making simple changes to intersections, the city needs to take aim at changing the city’s car culture, said John Yi, the executive director of Los Angeles Walks, a pedestrian advocacy group.

If zero deaths is really the city’s goal, “we need to have a visionary plan that matches the scope of that goal,” Yi said. “We have failed to do that.”

There is every argument for making those kinds of wholesale changes to the streets, from saving lives to reducing traffic congestion and fighting climate change.

And only one reason not to — city leadership that fears angry voters, and lacks the political will to do what they know must be done if this city, and the people in it, are to survive and prosper.

As exemplified in the mayor’s action in unceremoniously ripping out the Playa del Rey road diets and bikes lanes less than a month after they went in, before they had a chance to prove themselves and drivers could adjust to the changes.

Yet they were elected, not to follow the will of those who scream the loudest, but to actually lead their constituents by making the hard choices to do the right thing, and build a city that works for all of us.

Not just impatient drivers. Or wealthy homeowners.

And not one that continues to kill too many of it’s most vulnerable road users.

Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush from Pexels.

………

Just in case anyone wants to argue that Vision Zero doesn’t work, Helsinki, Finland didn’t have single pedestrian death last year, following a slow decline from a high of 60 in 1970.

………

He gets it.

Then again, Peter Flax always does.

This time, the former editor-in-chief of Bicycling and near-daily bike commuter goes on a polite rant over a recent highly biased article blaming bike lanes on the Bay Area’s Richmond–San Raphael Bridge for making poor, suffering teachers late for work.

Not, say, all those other drivers on the bridge.

This is how efforts to build safe and convenient places for cyclists are demonized—as something that screws up the lives of motorists struggling to get somewhere important. This is how American car culture operates in 2020, when record numbers of cyclists are killed by drivers and efforts to do something about it are viewed as impractical and an attack on the driving public’s way of life.

Swan’s story is better reported than its clickbait headline might suggest, but upon close examination it reads like inadvertent propaganda. Though she name-checks the real problems plaguing miserable commuters, the central premise of her piece lends credibility to the absurd idea that the basic needs of embattled, working-class commuters are being trampled upon by people riding bikes…

He goes on to point the finger where it really belongs.

Let’s be frank. The congestion on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (and roadways in every U.S. city) can really suck. But it doesn’t suck because of cyclists or bike lanes. The traffic sucks because of sprawl and cheap gas and Americans’ love of cars. The traffic sucks because cities and states don’t put enough effort into housing, carpooling, telecommuting, micromobility, and financial tools like congestion pricing (in which motorists pay a modest surcharge to use roads at busy times, a tactic that has decreased traffic in European cities). These systemic problems—less suited to cranky populist headlines—are the real cause of traffic.

As with anything Flax writes, it’s a good read.

But more to the point, it’s an important one. Because we face this same sort of seemingly innocuous bias on a daily basis, with drivers failing to the real traffic problem is facing them back in the mirror.

And it’s not caused by bikes, bike lanes, or the people who use them.

………

Repairs are finally underway on a storm damaged section of the Arroyo Seco Bike Path.

………

The LA Daily News is hosting another candidate forum in CD12 on the 17th.

………

The 2020 Regional Bike Summit kicks off today, hosted by the San Diego Bike Coalition. The mayor of Encinitas, in North San Diego County, will be taking part.

Then again, so should every other mayor in the area.

………

A beautiful handmade lowrider bike takes first place in a bent wood competition.

………

Sometimes, though, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

Edinburgh, Scotland police are looking for a sidewalk-riding “bike thug” who got off his bike and beat a total stranger for no apparent reason, sending him to the hospital with facial injuries.

………

Local

Congratulations to Sunset For All, after the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council voted to support protected bike lanes on dangerous Sunset Blvd.

Voice your opposition to plans to widen deadly Magnolia Blvd — one of the city’s Vision Zero High Injury Network streets — next Monday at the North Hollywood Neighborhood Council meeting

 

State

Uber’s self-driving cars are on their way back to California, three years after the company got its hand slapped by the DMV for unleashing them in San Francisco without permits.

As we noted earlier, San Diego’s popular Ocean Beach bike path will be closed for construction work for the remainder of this month.

Nice gesture by a Santa Maria man, who returned a Kobe Bryant jersey that belonged to a fallen teenage bike rider to the boy’s mother nearly 13 years after he was killed in a collision; the boy had left it at the man’s apartment shortly before his death.

The Vallejo police union blames the victim after a cop is cleared in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager who fled a traffic stop.

A new San Francisco report contradicts the usual narrative from motorists, finding that drivers were responsible for two-thirds of collisions with pedestrians in the city last year.

Lime Bike wants to make a comeback in the Bay Area, despite pulling out of other cities in favor of e-scooter rentals.

Plans are underway to link 15 towns in Sierra, Plumas, Lassen and Butte County with more than 300 miles of new motorized and non-motorized trail bike trails in the Lost Sierra region.

 

National

The New York Times says new digital data streams are driving new approaches to transportation, using LA’s data-sharing requirement for e-scooters and dockless bikeshare as a prime example.

On the topic of bikes going nowhere, Flywheel cops to ripping off Peloton’s patented streaming technology.

Specialized has a new e-mountain bike for you, if you’re willing to fork out $6,500 — or $16,500 for the carbon model.

Life is cheap in Washington, where a man walked with time served after copping a plea to vehicular homicide for fatally right-hooking a 75-year old bike rider while driving stoned, despite a commitment to never drive after using medical cannabis for a bad neck. Evidently, DUI and homicide is just no big deal up there.

This is why I love the bicycling community. When the owner of a Cincinnati mom-and-pop bike shop had to go to the hospital, ten bike mechanics from other shops offered to fill in for him. And a crowdfunding page raised over $9,000 since Sunday night — nearly double the modest $5,000 goal.

Chicago Streetsblog says the city needs a Rapid Response Team, arguing that inaction in the wake of tragic crashes is unacceptable. Which is exactly what I argued for before and after Los Angeles announced its Vision Zero program; every death should be immediately investigated by a multi-disciplinary team to determine contributory causes and prevent another one.

Speaking of the Windy City, the Department of DIY struck once again, spray painting bike lane markings at a Chicago intersection where a woman was killed, after the city failed to maintain them.

New York City could soon require side guards on large trucks to prevent bike riders and pedestrians from being pulled underneath. These should be mandatory everywhere, for reasons that should be obvious.

Pennsylvania votes to allow protected bike and pedestrian lanes on state roadways.

A DC website questions whether “war on cars” is a useful term, after a WaPo reporter insists the district is waging one. Probably not, considering only one side is dying, and it ain’t the people in motor vehicles.

A local website discovers that some people actually like an Alexandrian VA road diet that’s being maligned by very vocal opponents.

 

International

Treehugger confronts the recurring myth that fuel for a bike rider causes as much CO2 emissions as someone in car. Short answer, no. Longer answer, hell no.

They get it. A column in Cycling Industry News says if the bike industry wants to draw new customers, people need to feel safe riding their bikes. Which is the best argument for why bikemakers and bike shops should get involved in local advocacy. But few do.

Even the Cayman Islands need better bike lanes.

Bicycling offers five tips from the world’s coldest bike ride, Canada’s Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra, to help keep you warm here in frigid Southern California.

Saskatoon, Canada, could soon remove a requirement for bicyclists to ride in bike lanes, arguing that faster riders should be allowed to ride in traffic lanes if they feel more comfortable.

Great Britain is debating whether to allow e-scooters in the country, where they are currently banned; a Swedish professor argues that cities should embrace them.

One place you can cross off your bike bucket list — the mean streets of Gaborone, Botswana, where bicycles are unwanted and unwelcome, along with the people who ride them.

A teenage Aussie driver faces multiple charges for killing two men out for their usual early morning bike ride while driving on the wrong side of the road.

 

Competitive Cycling

The San Diego Union-Tribune says USA Cycling CEO Rob DeMartini is taking the organization in bold new directions after years as an afterthought, as the sport went its own way without its help or oversight.

VeloNews says they already miss the Amgen Tour of California, which was cancelled this year after a 14-year run.

 

Finally…

If one shade of bikeshare doesn’t work, just keep going through the colors until one catches on. If you’re going to steal a bikeshare bike, at least be casual about it.

And world famous bike rider LeBron James wants to get you on a bicycle; rumor has it he also plays basketball or something.

 

Morning Links: Cars killing progress on CA climate goals, Flax debunks call for helmet laws, and what a bike thief looks like

As things stand now, California is likely to miss its climate goals.

By a century.

That’s according to a report from MIT Technology Review, which says that despite significant reductions in the energy sector, the state is making little or no progress in other areas.

They point the finger at rising auto emissions, as car ownership climbs while transit use declines.

Transportation emissions, the state’s largest source, have steadily risen since 2013, as the improving economy put more cars on the road and planes in the sky. Emissions from waste dumped into landfills have also been ticking up since the recovery took hold. Meanwhile, highly potent greenhouse gases from the aerosols, foams, and solvents used in refrigeration and air conditioning are rising sharply…

At the same time, overall car ownership rates are rising, public-transit use is falling, and consumers are still shifting toward gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. And the 92% of vehicles sold last year that weren’t EVs will, on average, still be on the roads more than a decade from now.

Accelerating the shift to cleaner vehicles is likely to require far stricter policies, far more generous subsidies, cheaper EVs, and a massive build-out of charging infrastructure. And even California’s efforts to boost the average fuel efficiency of cars sold in the state have been complicated by the Trump administration’s legal challenges.

And while San Francisco and San Diego have been making progress in building out bicycle networks to entice people out of their cars, it’s ground to a near halt in the state’s largest city.

Yes Los Angeles, we’re talking about you.

Maybe one day, the so-called progressives, environmentalists and other assorted climate activists at city hall will stop talking about the problem, and actually do something.

But sadly, that day is not today.

………

Bike scribe Peter Flax is up to his old tricks.

If you can call insightful writing and consistently hitting the nail on the head a trick.

Writing for Bicycling, Flax examines the extremely flawed recommendations from NTBS — the National Transportation Safety Board, which usually concerns itself with plane and train crashes — to reduce the climbing rate of bicycle deaths.

Starting, and nearly ending, with bike helmets and high viz.

And yet the top-line proposals from the NTSB largely shifted responsibility to solve this deadly crisis onto cyclists themselves. Two of the three key recommendations focused on the need for riders to wear helmets and be more conspicuous. (The third was about improving road design, which is awesome because poor cycling infrastructure is an actual cause of cycling fatalities.)

He goes on to sum up exactly what the agency failed to address that’s actually killing people on bicycles, in one brilliant paragraph.

Now let’s talk about all the important stuff that the NTSB report passed over to focus on helmets and high vis and scold renegade riders. Like the problem of distracted driving—where four in 10 motorists admit using social media (and one in 10 say they watch YouTube videos) on their phone when they’re on the road. Or the nation’s pernicious problem with speed limit violations, a widely tolerated illegal behavior that is a known killer. They could urge the auto industry and tech sectors to work together to solve these entirely fixable problems. They could ask out loud how or why many states still don’t have 3-foot safe-passing laws or regulations banning handheld phone use, and how or why these laws are rarely enforced in those that do. They could demand that American trucks and passenger cars match the far superior standards set in Europe and Japan to keep vulnerable road users safe—why don’t our garbage and box trucks have side guards to protect pedestrians and cyclists from the wheels, for instance? They could address an epidemic of fatal hit-and-run crashes and the shifting complexion of impaired driving and America’s love affair with 5,000-pound SUVs. Rather than scold naughty cyclists, agency researchers could have examined the carnage caused by negligent and reckless motorists—and offered commentary on what to do about it.

It’s today’s must read.

So go ahead and click the link. We’ll wait.

Meanwhile, here’s the full two hours and forty-eight minutes of the woefully misguided NTSB meeting.

Thanks to Mike Cane for forwarding the video.

Photo of the ghost bike for the still unidentified Hollywood hit-and-run victim by Healthy Activest via Instagram.

………

This is what it looks like when someone steals a bike from a San Marcos CA garage.

Hopefully, that video shows enough of his face to bring the jerk to justice.

Meanwhile, after a Georgia woman chased down the thief stealing her bike and demanded it back, the bighearted victim is offering to give him a bike to help him get a fresh start.

………

This is what a passenger-side dooring looks like. Toronto bike riders are justifiably outraged.

………

We’ve mentioned Malaysia’s basikal lajaks several times in the past two years, ever since eight riders of the modified bikes were killed when a driver plowed into them.

This response to my tweet shows exactly what the bikes are, and how they’re ridden.

A website calls them a menace to society, but the nation’s sports minister says the riders can be redeemed and represent the county in international competitions with the proper training.

Thanks to kirin for the heads-up.

………

The Los Angeles Handmade Bicycle Show takes place tomorrow…somewhere.

Maybe LA bikewear maker Swrve knows, since they plan to be there.

………

Sometimes it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

A New York man faces two counts of reckless endangerment for killing a 67-year old woman when he ran a red-light on his bicycle, and slammed into her as she walked in a crosswalk with the light; he faces charges from the same DA who routinely lets drivers off the hook. This is wrong in so many ways. So just…don’t.

………

Local

Streetsblog talks with Michael Schneider, the founder of Streets for All, LA’s first, and only, political action group, aka PAC, dedicated to changing city hall to change the city’s streets; the group is meeting in Hollywood next Saturday to discuss pedestrianizing Hollywood Blvd.

KCBS-2 reports nearly a third of the Metro Bike bikeshare bikes get stolen or stripped for parts.

A USC op-ed says students should be discouraged from driving to campus. Or looking at it another way, the school should do more to encourage students to bike or walk to class.

Beverly Hills received a $90,000 traffic enforcement grant from the state, which will allow them to do bike and pedestrian safety crackdowns, among other things. Even if their police department doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being bike and pedestrian friendly.

 

State

The California Transportation Commission is holding a workshop in Sacramento this Tuesday to kickoff discussion of the 2021 Active Transportation Program. Thanks to Robert Leone for the tip.

Call it a good time for a good cause. San Diego’s annual 20-mile Bike for Boobs bike ride and dinner takes place tomorrow to raise funds for a local charity to help women experiencing financial difficulties due to breast cancer.

The Coachella Valley Bicycle Coalition held a ghost bike memorial for Raymundo “Ray-Ray” Jaime; sadly, the 30-year old hit-and-run victim left behind his wife and four-year old daughter, who will now grow up without a father.

Thousands Oaks has opened an expansion to the city’s bike park.

Santa Cruz has identified the bike rider who died after riding off a cliff as the owner of a Salinas bike shop.

This is who we share the roads with. Just hours after a Modesto man got out of jail on a DUI conviction for driving while stoned, he got drunk and drove again, killing a bike rider while driving with a BAC nearly two and a half times the legal limit; his trial was delayed five years when he was institutionalized for mental illness.

Lyft is returning their bikeshare ebikes to the streets of San Francisco; hopefully they won’t burst into flames this time. However, you won’t see them in London anytime soon.

 

National

An Omaha bike rider says bicyclists should have to pay the same fees drivers do and have to have a license to ride just like drivers do, saying he knows other cities require that. No, they don’t. I’m not aware of any city in the US that tests and licenses people on bicycles. Never mind that bike riders already pay more than our share.

Chicago bicyclists respond to the death of a woman killed by a dump truck driver by protesting along the bike lane she was riding in.

Now that’s more like it. Instead of warning bike riders when cars get too close, researchers at the University of Minnesota designed a system to warn drivers when they get too close to someone on a bike. Seriously, take my money, already.

A Minnesota advocate refutes common objections to riding a bicycle, calling it carbon-free transportation using the original two-stroke engine. 

An Indiana cycling club shows that yes, it is possible for a riding club to get involved in advocacy and help teach people how to drive around bicyclists. Just in case any LA-area clubs want to give it a shot. Thanks to Melissa for the link. 

Bicycle Retailer dives into the history of Ross Bicycles, calling it the Schwinn of New York.

Kindhearted New Jersey residents passed the hat to buy a new bike for a teenage boy after his was stolen.

New York’s non-helmet wearing mayor and failed presidential candidate is seriously considering making everyone else wear one.

Al Pacino is one of us; he worked as a bike messenger to support his sick mother before finding success on stage, then film. And yes, he still rides.

DC approves plans for a two-way, curb-protected bike lane even though it’s opposed by a neighborhood commission. And even though it means removing parking spaces.

As we noted before, New Orleans Saints backup QB Teddy Bridgewater is one of us. Even if he has to tweet for someone to drive his broken bike to the shop, because he refuses to get to his games any other way. Thanks to BikeLosFeliz for the link.

 

International

The co-founder of Lumos Helmet discusses how they’re creating what they consider the next generation of bike helmets to help bicyclists feel safer.

Once again, the Mounties got their man, busting an 18-year old man for being a bike-riding serial butt slapper.

Twenty-five Montreal bike riders will be allowed to ride a bike path across an otherwise closed bridge to try out various snow clearing methods, as long as they wear a special vest and sign a waiver.

London’s Daily Mail suggests giving your child a bike for Christmas, saying you never forget your first bike. Good advice, even if it is an ad for a British retailer.

A British military vet who lost three limbs in Afghanistan was lucky to survive when he had a blowout on his handcycle and slammed into a truck at 25 mph, shattering what’s left of his right leg.

A Belgian city has managed to cut car motor vehicle traffic by 12% at rush hour, and 40% on key bicycling routes — resulting in a 25% jump in bicycling rates.

Here’s one for my own bike bucket list — a beer hall bike tour along Germany’s Danube River.

 

Finally…

Your next Harley Davidson could have pedals. Forget the family SUV, your new kid hauler could have three wheels with child seats up front.

And UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup gets animated.

No, literally.

 

Morning Links: A friendly talk with the father of vehicular cycling, gap closure on SaMo Blvd, and Popeye Doyle is one of us

Sorry about that. 

My brother Eric decided to spend a few more days than expected to rest up on his bike tour of the Western US. And after 74 days and 3,500 miles, with at least another 1,000 mile to go, he certainly had the right. 

But now that he’s safely on the road again, we’ve got a lot to catch up on. 

So grab you coffee and settle in. You may need a refill before we’re done. 

………

Bike scribe Peter Flax sat down for a surprisingly friendly conversation with John Forester, honored and derided as the father of vehicular cycling.

It’s a good read, presenting the human side of a man often seen as dogmatic and cantankerous.

PF: Well, as someone who presently lives and rides in Los Angeles, I’m curious what it was like to ride a bike in LA in the 50s and 60s

JF: Well, when I was with Los Angeles Wheelmen, we published a newsletter that got posted in bike shops, and some rides would start at a corner of Venice Boulevard somewhere in West LA. Or else they would car start — go in a car to a certain location and unload your bike and go off for the ride. Even then we knew that Los Angeles was just too damn big — if you wanted to get out of town, about the only way you could do it was on the coast highway. On any other route it a long, long time to get out of town, other than the mountains just behind Los Angeles. And the same sort of mix took place in Northern California — some rides starting at a local place, but for Marin rides I’d go up by car.

PF: So talk to me about this period, you’ll probably know the exact start of it better than I do, the late 60s and early 70s, when this bike boom finally came to the US.

JF: What I noticed toward the end of the 60s — I was still in Los Angeles in this time — was that there were road people, meaning Americans who drove sports cars, showing up with bicycles aboard. Good bicycles — I mean semi-racing or racing bikes. I’d upgraded my equipment by that time, too. I ordered a Holdsworth bicycle and parts to make up an all-Campy bike, and I switched to tubulars because they rolled easier. So I saw more people coming in cycling and they were not poor people, they did it because they enjoyed doing things on the road — driving cars and riding bikes.

Yet Forrester is someone who has probably had a greater influence on bicycling infrastructure, or the lack thereof, and how we’ve ridden for the past 50 years than anyone else.

And continues to defend his perspective.

PF: They put in a protected bike lane on Venice Boulevard for a mile a couple years ago, and I ride that stretch often. And what I perceive as a rider is that probably more than before I have to be more attentive when I get to intersections, but when I’m on the mid-block portion, I feel more relaxed because I feel protected. Perhaps it’s rearranged the risk, but my perception is that when you look at both the US and abroad, the data indicates that there are fewer fatal crashes when that kind of infrastructure is put in. That there are instances — like just a couple months ago in San Francisco where a young woman who works in the tech industry had someone open a car door in front of her and she swerved to avoid the door and got hit by a delivery truck. People see those kinds of incidents happening and then when protected lanes go in, they feel like that particular kind of risk has been erased for that kind of rider.

JF: Well, in the first place, don’t ride in the door zone. That’s one of the early rules of the game. And also, what you’re reading is people killed; you don’t read about broken ankles, concussed brains, cracked ribs, they don’t make the news. Only 2% of car-bike collisions are fatal; you’re making the tail wag the dog. And not only are just 2% of car-bike collisions fatal — they’re much more likely to occur during darkness and on rural roads than other car-bike collisions. Furthermore, as I’ve said only 5 percent of car-bike collisions are caused by same-direction motor traffic; 95 percent by turning and crossing movements. In other words, the people who you are quoting are making the tail wag the dog. And doing that because they are more frightened of traffic from behind than they are of anything else. That’s their phobia; it is a phobia because it is an unrealistic fear contrary to scientific knowledge.

It’s a long read.

But worth it to understand how we got where we are today.

For better or worse.

………

The good news is Los Angeles has finally closed the gap between the Santa Monica Blvd bike lanes that previously ended in Century City, and the relatively new bike lanes through Beverly Hills.

The bad news should be pretty obvious.

Meanwhile, West Hollywood leaders showed a little more political courage, voting to remove parking on one side of Santa Monica Blvd to connect their long-time bike lanes with the ones in Beverly Hills.

………

Gene Hackman is one of us.

Patrick Dempsey is one of us, too. But you knew that, right?

………

A writer for the Orange County Register considers why almost no one wears a bike helmet in the Netherlands.

But like most who tackle the topic, he neglects to consider the benefits of a step-through frame on a typical Dutch bike, which allows riders to simply step off in the event of a fall.

Sort of like this.

https://twitter.com/ritaxben/status/1177676740220637185

………

‘Nuff said.

https://twitter.com/GreavsieE17/status/1173926051468206080

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Call me crazy, but maybe they’re taking this “shrink it and pink it” thing for women’s bikes a little too far.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.

The road-raging Singaporean truck driver caught on video squabbling with a bicyclist swears he only swerved his truck at the man to avoid a taxi. Because when you’re faced with a crash with something hard, like a taxi, always aim for something soft. Like a person.

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

Police in Santa Clara are looking for the vicious jerk who attacked a 91-year old man with a rock while he was visiting his wife’s grave, then made off on a bicycle with the victim’s belongings.

Police are looking for a bike rider who smashed the drive-through window on a Bronx Burger King with a bike chain when they refused to serve him because he wasn’t in a car.

………

Local

CD4 Councilmember David Ryu unveils a new HAWK beacon — short for High-intensity Activated crossWalK — to protect pedestrians on 6th Street, where local residents fought to have a life-saving road diet installed instead. And lost.

UCLA looks forward to this Sunday’s Heart of LA CicLAvia, which celebrates the 100th birthday of the university in its former Downtown location.

CiclaValley is a fan of the new Euro-style raised crosswalks in Beverly Hills.

Santa Monica has begun a project to improve the beachfront Marvin Braude Bike Trail from Muscle Beach to the city limit north of the Annenberg Beach House to widen the current path and build a separate walkway; bicyclists will be required to get off their bikes and walk them along a temporary trail through the construction zones.

Brooks McKinney talks with Frank Ching, Metro’s head of alternative mobility and transportation demand management programs.

 

State

A newspaper in Santa Clarita recommends what they call the great eight California bike trails, including LA County’s Marvin Braude Bike Trail, as well as bike paths in Ventura and Santa Barbara.

Tragic news from Orange, where a man died from multiple stab wounds after falling off his bicycle; he was apparently riding his bike to get help when he collapsed.

The Coast Highway in Encinitas will soon get buffered bike lanes. Unfortunately, it comes several years too late to save the life of Encino randonneur Jim Swartzman.

More bad news, as a 28-year old man was killed in a drive-by shooting while walking his bike in San Diego’s Mountain View neighborhood, after exchanging words with the men in the car.

A Victorville man was hospitalized in grave condition after he was struck by a driver while riding his bike. Although judging by the headline, what really mattered was the road closure that followed.

It was a bad week in Fresno County. A bike-riding man from India was killed in Selma by a 19-year old woman who was allegedly driving without a valid license, and reportedly has other undisclosed traffic crimes on her record. Three days later, a 76-year old man was killed in nearby Reedley when he reportedly rode out of an orchard into the path of another 19-year old driver.

Things weren’t much better in neighboring Merced County, where a man was killed when his bike was right hooked by a truck driver.

It takes a major schmuck to steal an entire truckload of donated bicycles intended for a class of Alameda 4th graders.

Megan Lynch forwards more on Cal Poly’s successful effort to set a new collegiate human-powered vehicle record, with a former Davis High grad manning the pedals.

 

National

CBS looks at the great scooter backlash.

CityLab celebrated my birthday with a ranking of the best and worst places to live carfree. Not surprisingly, San Francisco topped the list; shockingly, the LA metro area checked in at number ten. On the flip side, better keep your car if you live in San Bernardino or Riverside counties.

CityLab also says yes, a mass switch to electric vehicles could help bring down planet-killing emissions, but the real solution is for Americans to cut back on their driving right now. And Sacramento is ground zero in the fight.

A Seattle woman wants to know what happened to her ten years ago, when she was found next to her bike on the side of the road with a burst spleen and 22 broken bones, and no memory of what happened. Naturally, police blamed a fall caused by bad pavement, instead the far more likely possibility of a hit-and-run.

A Washington woman proves the old axiom, if you want to place high in a half-marathon, cheat by riding a bike.

Apparently order in the courtroom doesn’t extend to the streets, as a New Mexico judge slammed her car into a pair of bicyclists, killing one person and injuring the other.

A formerly homeless man in my hometown lifted himself off the streets, and turned his hard luck into a nonprofit dedicated to providing bicycles to those in need. Thanks to Tim Rutt for the link.

A Kansas man is suing the police for unlawful arrest after he refused to give his birthdate when he was stopped for riding on the sidewalk without a headlight. He served three months of a 17-month sentence when police found meth on his bike after the arrest; his conviction was later thrown out on appeal when the court ruled he was under no obligation to tell them, and that it’s against the law to arrest anyone suspected of committing a traffic violation.

In yet another example of authorities keeping a dangerous driver on the road until it’s too late, a Wisconsin driver faces charges for killing a 43-year old bike-riding teacher while driving at nearly three-times the legal alcohol limit; it was his third DUI in just three years.

Chicago police are writing fewer tickets to bike riders. But most are still going to people in predominantly black neighborhoods.

A Kentucky cop flipped his police cruiser during a chase. So naturally, someone on a bike gets the blame.

Authorities in Long Island continue their assault on teenage ride outs, monitoring social media to crack down on planned rides, impounding kids’ bikes and fining their parents up to $100 to get them back; advocates describe the ride outs as an effort to escape poverty and drugs, while opponents call it the most dangerous subculture on two wheels.

A Brooklyn town hall called by a bike lane opponent devolved into angry pushing and shoving, accompanied by a lot of shouting. Proof that LA public bike lane meetings can get worse. But not much. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up. 

A New York driver faces life in prison for allegedly murdering a bike rider by running him down with his SUV after the man allegedly tried to break into his SUV, then cut a woman with a screwdriver.

Apparently, a call to kill people on bicycles is what passes for satire at Penn State. Unfortunately, it’s an independent publication, so the unfunny schmuck who wrote it can’t get the F he so richly deserves.

The speeding driver who killed longtime DC bike advocate Dave Salovesh while attempting to evade police last April has been sentenced to eight and a half years behind bars in a plea bargain; he had faced up to 30 years if the case had gone to trial.

Video from Florida shows why you should always inspect a dockless bike or scooter before riding, as a man is seen tampering with two scooters in Fort Lauderdale.

This is who we share the roads with. A Florida man looks almost overjoyed to get his fifth DUI and 12th ticket for driving with a suspended license. Seriously, this is why people keep dying on the streets. Just taking away someone’s license doesn’t do a damn bit of good if they keep driving anyway. We need to impound their cars, and send the drivers to jail for repeat violations. Thanks to Robert Leone for the link. 

 

International

A 12-year old Montreal boy has a new bicycle thanks to Canadian pro cyclist James Piccoli, who replaced his stolen bike after reading the boy’s angry social media post.

They get it. A UK organization for disabled bicyclists introduces a campaign to promote bicycles as mobility solutions. Which should be required viewing for everyone who claims handicapped people can’t ride bikes, and bike lanes are a barrier for them. Because it ain’t necessarily so.

A British designer insists this is a bicycle. Something tells me you might not want to ride it, though.

No bias here. An English writer accuses “ultra-slick, leg-shaved, aerodynamic-obsessed Lycra louts” of being “yobs in tight shorts” who keep other people from riding bikes with their bad behavior.

Dubliners question why it should cost more to park a bike than it does to park a car. Or why it should cost anything, period.

Sexual harassment on the streets is one reason only one in 250 teenage girls bike to school in Ireland.

The prime minister of the Netherlands explains why he rides his bike to work.

Belgian bike riders can now get back to nature on a circular elevated bike path through the woods. Thanks to Fred Davis for the tip.

Horrifying story as a woman on a bicycle was dragged by a German train at 75 mph after she got her hand stuck in the door helping someone else board; remarkably, she only suffered cuts and bruises.

Here’s another one to add to your bike bucket list — a ride through Italy’s Tuscan countryside from Florence to Siena.

Residents of the former Indian principality of Gondal needed a license to ride a bicycle. And continued to renew their licenses for a decade after the law and principality came to an end with Indian independence in 1948.

More proof that some drivers think they own every inch of the road, as a road raging Brisbane driver screamed at a bike rider to get out of his way — while he was illegally driving in the bike lane.

An Aussie opposition leader trots out the ultimate insult, saying an underground highway project will turn Sydney’s west communities into a “Little Los Angeles.” Even though Los Angeles doesn’t have any buried highway junctions like that; all our misery-inducing freeway intersections stand proudly above ground.

 

Competitive Cycling

The women’s worlds were a Dutch affair, as Annemiek van Vleuten finished first in a 65-mile breakaway, while her fellow countrywoman Anna van der Breggen finished second, a little over two minutes later.

American Chloe Dygert prevented total Dutch women’s world domination, winning the rainbow jersey in the individual time trial, and beating van Der Breggen by over a minute to become the youngest ever women’s world champ at just 22 years old.

Twenty-three-year old Dane Mads Pedersen became the youngest men’s world champ in 20 years, when the favorites floundered after a soggy six and a half hours riding in the rain.

An 18-year old Columbian cyclist broke down in tears on the side of the road after losing a tire, as any hope of winning evaporated when the team car couldn’t get to him. Meanwhile, the drama continued as the apparent winner of the men’s U23 race was disqualified for drafting a team car while fighting his way back to the peloton after suffering a mechanical.

The era of doping may be officially over, but someone forgot to tell the Columbian cyclists.

An African website considers the story of legendary cyclist Major Taylor, who became America’s first black sports hero.

 

Finally…

Maybe a fish needs a bicycle after all. If you’re going to ride a bike topless after shoplifting a pair of flip flops, always take the lane.

And if there’s a bear in your way, just jump it.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B20Oue7AU6C/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=dlfix

………

L’Shanah Tovah Umetukah to everyone observing Rosh Hashanah today.

 

Morning Links: Jeff Jones Memorial Sunday, the cost of traffic violence, and biking through a 6-year old’s eyes

Before we move on to today’s news, I received word yesterday that a memorial service will be held this Sunday for Jeff Jones.

The popular photographer was killed in collision while riding his bike on Griffith Park Blvd last month.

Exactly the kind of residential street so many people insist we should ride on. And one that was supposed to get new bike lanes under the LA bike plan passed nearly a decade ago.

See larger version of memorial flyer below.

………

Sigh.

Another brilliantly heartbreaking piece from Peter Flaxabout a young New York bike messenger who lived to ride.

And the effect their — as the victim preferred to be called — death had on the people left behind.

It’s definitely a must read piece.

One that also reflects the marginalization too many people experience when they decide to get on a bike.

Even in New York, which has done far more than most major cities to tame its streets.

There remains a public perception that most cyclists are entitled hobbyists, but even normally privileged individuals who get on a bike can experience what it feels like to exist in the margins of society, where one’s right to exist without threats is frequently challenged by systematic animosity, flawed infrastructure, and inadequate legal protections. And for someone like Robyn Hightman—who had struggled to find stability in their daily life and who rode a bike as their primary mode of transportation and employment—that marginalization was exponentially more intense. Robyn had endeavored to find a safe place through riding and was denied in the most extreme way possible.

As I did the reporting for this story—talking to more than 30 people who knew Robyn well—one unexpected theme emerged: Every single person who rides a bike told me about getting hit.

And it’s far worse here in Los Angeles, where little has been done in recent years to make our streets safer and more inviting for anyone who chooses not to drive.

We all deserve better.

………

This is the cost of traffic violence.

Rising country singer Kylie Rae Harris was killed in a collision while making her way to her next gig in a tiny Texas town; she was just 30 years old. For someone I’d never heard of before yesterday, she was pretty damn good.

A Milwaukee mother teaching her teenage son to drive was shot to death by a road raging driver because of a fender bender with the killer’s van — after he had cut her son off by making a left turn from the wrong lane.

………

Take a couple minutes to see an urban bike ride through the eyes of a six-year old.

………

Local

Los Angeles officially opened a new half-mile segment of the Los Angeles River Greenway, better known as the LA River bike path, in Studio City yesterday; eventually the pathway should extend the entire length of the LA River.

A two-block section of Glendale’s Artsakh Avenue is scheduled to get a $7.3 million pedestrian-friendly makeover. Now if LA would just do the same with Hollywood Blvd at Highland, which is begging to be a pedestrian plaza.

CiclaValley conquers Topanga State Park on the Send It Sunday gravel ride. Although it should be noted that the park was unarmed, and refused to fight back.

Hermosa Beach’s bicycle traffic school allows bike riders to attend bicycle education classes in lieu of paying a traffic ticket, just like the people in cars have been doing for decades.

A man was critically injured while apparently trying to cross dangerous Los Coyotes Diagonal in Long Beach on his bicycle; for a change, the driver stuck around. If LCD isn’t the deadliest street in the city, it’s pretty damn close.

 

State

Governor Newsom signs a bill that will allow bike riders to go straight through marked left or right turn lanes, rather than having to “thread the needle” between turn lanes and high-traffic through lanes.

The New York Times visits San Diego, and can’t see the ocean for the scooters.

A 22-year old San Diego woman suffered life-threatening injuries when she allegedly made a left turn on her bike in front of a driver traveling in the same direction.

A domestic violence suspect accused of trying to escape police by riding his bicycle into a Martinez Home Depot armed with a sawed-off shotgun has pled not guilty to felony counts of assault with a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a short-barreled shotgun.

A local paper calls on car-centric Petaluma to do a lot more to encourage bicycling to fight climate change.

 

National

Former Chicago and DC DOT director Gabe Klein examines the stats, and says cities should focus on Vision Zero and traffic safety to fight crime affecting every resident on a personal level.

Bicycling offers advice on how to get your confidence back after crashing your bike. My approach has always been to get back on my bike, and ride the same route I crashed on to drive that fear out of my head.

Kindhearted Portland police and 911 dispatchers buy a 12-year old girl a new bike to ride to school after the one her grandmother had saved up for was stolen.

The Sierra Club magazine goes riding on what they call the “American Serengeti” in Montana, where ranches have been combined and fences torn down to form the American Prairie Reserve at the edge of the Great Plains.

A retired marine living in Milwaukee says bicycling saved his life, losing 141 pounds after his doctor warned he could be dead in ten years.

A New York condo and co-op site says a building’s failure to securely maintain a bike room is just a lawsuit waiting to happen, regardless of any warning signs.

Curbed NY says, despite Mayor De Blasio’s musings, more regulations aimed at bicyclists won’t make New York’s streets any safer.

A DC protected bike lane is on hold because the sergeant-at-arms for the US Senate doesn’t want to give up 37 street parking spaces, even though there are roughly 12,000 more surrounding the capital building.

A writer for City Lab takes one of DC’s new 30 mph dockless electric mopeds out for a spin. And likes it.

In an apparent effort to increase traffic congestion on a new Maryland bridge, a letter writer says bicyclists and pedestrians should pay their fair share and be subject to the same tolls drivers are. Because Lord knows you wouldn’t want to encourage people to walk or bike across the bridge instead of getting back in their cars and making traffic worse for everyone. Besides, if bike riders and pedestrians were charged our fair share, they’d have to pay us to cross. 

Life is cheap in Florida, where a driver walks with loving caress on the wrist for killing a nine-year old boy riding his bike, after the judge gives her a lousy $1,000 fine and suspends her license for a whole six months. It’s hard to call that justice when it was her carelessness that sentenced an innocent little kid to death.

 

International

Streetsblog looks at people of color expressing themselves through bikes, art and music, from Philly to Chile.

A recent British Columbia design school graduate won a bronze award at an international conference by placing barcodes on a bike jacket to keep bicyclists from getting run over by autonomous cars. Which, however well intended, is just another way of making humans subservient to motor vehicles, autonomous or otherwise.

Someone in Hamilton, Ontario could be getting their bicycle back, after police bust a man on a failure to appear warrant, and discover the bike he was riding had been stolen four years earlier. Which is why you need to register your bike now, and report it to the police if it ever gets stolen.

A Montreal city councilmember wants to require all bike riders younger than 18 to wear helmets.

A 78-year old Australian man was forced to lie on the side of the road for over 90 minutes after he fell on his bike and broke his hip, while people passing by ignored his cries for help.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews catches up with lifelong bike racer and industry veteran Andrew Bernstein, who was nearly killed by a hit-and-run driver in Boulder CO in July.

 

Finally…

Who says you can’t ride on water? Probably not the most effective move to try to escape police by setting a kid’s bicycle on fire.

And it takes a special kind of person to say offensive things about people on bicycles, then get offended when they take offense.

 

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