Let’s start the day off with a cream puff.
Because I don’t know any other way to describe this very long read from The Washington Post Magazine profiling LA’s intrepid mayor, Eric Garcetti.
The story is very long — there’s that word again — on Garcetti’s background, extensive eduction, problem solving skills and ambition, and just what a great guy he is.
Which is not to say those things aren’t true. But what’s missing is any critical take whatsoever.
The reporter doesn’t talk with a single person who has a single bad thing to say about Garcetti, even in the context of constructive criticism. Let alone his repeated failure to follow through on his own ambitious agenda.
It’s a great puff piece for someone angling for higher office.
But journalism, it’s not.
Even if it does offer exactly one word about bicycling.
Photo from Wikipedia.
Writing for Bicycling, former LACBC Executive Director Tamika Butler pens a very hard-hitting piece about race and equity in bicycling, and the need to go far beyond what many of us may feel comfortable with.
Including sometimes giving up our bike lanes for the greater good.
Talking about things like gender, queerness, race, and white supremacy scares people. It makes them uncomfortable. Their resulting defensiveness makes them question your intelligence. Especially if being anti-racist means giving up their bike lane. Unfortunately, it rarely makes these same people dig deep and push beyond those questions towards understanding, compassion, being anti-racist, and confronting their own need to change. Because of that, I became used to the hate I received in various venues and formats…
Bicycling cannot solve systemic racism in the United States. But systemic racism can’t be fixed without tackling it within bicycling. With the rise of bicycling during this global health pandemic, this is the moment to educate the casual beach cruisers, fully-kitted weekend warriors, the urban planning students who can’t wait to ride back to campus—all of us—on the systemic oppression of Black people, Indigenous people, and all People of Color. This is the moment to look at the racism institutionalized in our companies, media publications, nonprofits, planning firms, and government agencies, and hire a workforce that reflects the diversity of our communities, at every level and in every position. This is the moment to invest in continual and consistent education of our employees. This is the moment to do more than issue a statement. A statement is the least that can be done. Those in power must change, relinquish some of their power, and get out of the way to make room for those who are ready to lead and are equipped to identify anti-black practices and policies.
Seriously, read it.
Because this is the moment when the curtains have been torn down, and everything is finally on the table.
Let’s not waste it.
Meanwhile, City Lab says safe streets aren’t safe for black lives, noting that redesigns without diverse public input can end up hurting the communities they’re meant to serve.
We’re still seeing the fallout from, and backlash to, the recent racial justice protests, as well as the heavy-handed response from the police.
Like this story from New York, where at least four cops beat a man in the middle of the street, apparently for the crime of riding his bicycle too slowly in front of their van. And even though he wasn’t resisting.
Bikes were on the front lines of the protests in Seattle, as well as other cities; Gear Patrol explains how your bike can play a critical role in the protests.
Police in Philadelphia arrested an accused looter for allegedly running over a bike cop, resulting in multiple surgeries to repair a broken arm, shattered shoulder, 12 broken ribs and a shattered sternum.
Michigan police busted a 41-year old white man for a hate crime, allegedly smacking an 18-year old black man in the mouth with a bike lock after calling him a racial slur; the victim lost three teeth in the attack.
A Virginia man recalls the terrifying moment an avowed racist and KKK leader intentionally rammed his Trump and Confederate flag-festooned pickup into his bike while targeting a group of protesters; the local prosecutor is pondering whether a hate crime charge is warranted. Gee, you think? Let’s hope he can find a hole deep enough.
Hundreds of people may have gotten a free Citi Bike membership over the weekend, after someone leaked a code intended for employees of the New York bikeshare so people could ride to and from the protests.
Smart move from Safe Routes to Schools, who responded to the threat of police violence by dropping Enforcement, and replacing it with Engagement in their framework list of 6E’s.
Someone defaced a mural of George Floyd on a Massachusetts bike path.
Closer to home, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton rides along on last Saturday’s Ride for Justice for George Floyd, and thankfully takes his camera with him.
Then there’s this from not-the-actor Morgan Freeman.
That fallout extends to the bicycles used by bike cops.
Legendary ‘cross champ Katie Compton decried police using their bicycles as weapons against protesters, and said bikemakers should only sell to police departments that pledge to follow the recommendations of Campaign Zero to reduce police brutality.
Katie’s sponsor, Trek, outlined a six-point plan to promote diversity in cycling and create 1,000 bike industry jobs for people of color; the company also decried the use of their bikes for violence, but failed to address calls to stop selling to police.
Cycling Savvy offers a lesson on how to pass a bus safely.
Maybe there’s a smarter way to do speed enforcement.
GCN explains how to sell your bike for more money. Although that kind of defeats the purpose of N+1.
The war on cars is a myth, but the war on bikes goes on.
Police in Northamptonshire, England are looking for a man who spewed racist abuse at a bike rider before punching him the mouth, apparently for the crime of politely ringing his bell before passing him on a trail.
Also in the UK, police are looking for a pickup driver who threw a bottle at two bicyclists traveling in the opposite direction, injuring one by hitting him in the chest.
The crowdfunding campaign to support greater diversity in cycling through former road, crit and track national champ Justin William’s Legion of Los Angeles cycling team has raised over $87,000 in the first five days, far beyond the original $50,000 goal.
The ACLU is the latest to sue Los Angeles over the city’s data tracking requirement for dockless bikes and e-scooters.
A bill to encourage more bicycle parking in new housing developments has passed the state Assembly, and is moving on to the Senate. I’m reserving judgement on this one; too many building bike rooms just seem to present a greater opportunity for thieves. I’d rather see a bill requiring building owners and associations to allow residents to bring their bikes inside their apartments and condos.
Surprisingly, San Luis Obispo topped PeopleForBikes’ annual list of North America’s best bicycling cities, while Santa Barbara checked in a surprising fourth. Los Angeles was an equally surprising 26th, which says everything you need to know about the credibility of the rankings. And not because it’s too low.
San Francisco and Santa Clara County could get approval for a five-year pilot program to see if automated speed cameras can slow traffic. Hopefully they won’t wait five years to try it in Los Angeles.
Get on your bike, already. A new study from the Mayo Clinic says exercise reduces your risk of death and leads to a longer life, even if you have significant plaque buildup in your arteries.
Bicycling explains how to avoid wrist pain when you ride, and after.
Writing for Fast Company, the technology director for Smart Design examines whether bike lanes really improve safety, and concludes it all depends on how well they’re designed. Which any bike rider could have told him.
Like bicycling, walking is making a major comeback. But just like bicycling, the commitment of cities to provide safe infrastructure will determine whether it continues.
Gear Junkie says a family bike ride along the 22-mile Rainbow Rim singletrack trail in Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park is the best adventure a dad could ask for.
A 91-year old Texas man was reunited with his stolen bicycle thanks to social media and the efforts of his granddaughter; he’s been a daily bike rider for 74 years, since joining the Air Force after WWII.
New York examines what it’s like to get doxxed for taking a bike ride in a case of mistaken identity, as online users rushed to identify the spandex-clad Maryland anti-BLM bicyclist. Thanks to Tim Rutt for the tip.
Once again, a bike rider is a hero, jumping off his bike to save a man who was on the verge of drowning in Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain.
A Savannah, Georgia paper considers the urgent need for safer streets, as well as the equally urgent need for equity on our streets.
British bike shops are enjoying the boom, but questioning how long it will last.
A letter writer in the UK accuses bike riders of thinking they’re always in the right and only seeing things from their perspective — while he only sees it from his own perspective.
European carmaker Skoda is introducing a new system to prevent doorings by detecting oncoming bike riders before the driver opens the door.
Road.cc explains why bikes have so many gears. Which is easy to understand if you’ve seen me trying to get up a hill these days.
Milan is rolling out one of the world’s most dramatic plans to redesign the roads to accommodate bike riders and pedestrians in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Police in Kolkata — formerly Calcutta — will allow bike riders to use everything but main arterials in the city while transit use is suspended.
Indian bikemakers are up in arms over a proposal to require them to put reflective tape on all their bikes, saying they can’t afford even that minimal cost after months of the coronavirus lockdown.
Japan is preparing to crack down on “dangerous” bike riders — like people who block other vehicles or ring their bells too much.
Davao City in the Philippines is taking a big step backward, approving plans for pop-up bike lanes, but requiring people to register their bicycles and display a visible license plate, as well as requiring mandatory helmets, side mirrors and bells.
Sad news from Australia’s Northern Territory, where a former Australian football star was killed when his bike was rear-ended by a pickup driver.
The CCC cycling team is just the latest to lose its sponsorship in the last year, risking its further existence if a new sponsor can’t be lined up. More proof that pro cycling’s financial model is badly broken.
The women’s Colorado Classic will be held without spectators this year, pending approvals from local health officials, while using a made-for-TV model.
Rouleur profiles Giro d’Italia winner turned blueberry farmer Ivan Basso.
Then there’s the feeling when a wheelsucker does 27 mph on Rigoberto Urán’s heel, and turns out to be just some random guy in work boots and a backpack.
Probably not the best idea to kick the patrol car — and a cop — when you get busted for biking while very drunk.
And yes, bikes really can fly.
Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already.