Tag Archive for protest

WaPo puff piece on Eric Garcetti, Tamika Butler talks race and equity in bicycling, and ongoing fallout from the protests

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.

………

Local

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.

 

State

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.

 

National

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.

 

International

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.

 

Competitive Cycling

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.

 

 

Finally…

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.

https://twitter.com/cctv_idiots/status/1270277470378475520?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1270277470378475520&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2Fcycling-live-blog-9-june-2020-274311

………

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

Bike rider busted in anti-BLM assault, killer hit-and-run bike rider busted in San Jose, and bike ride for justice in Leimert Park

They got him.

Police arrested the spandex-clad bike rider who assaulted a group of teens on a Maryland bike path.

The victims were putting up posters calling for the prosecution of killer cops when the man ripped them out of their hands, then rammed his bike into the young man filming it.

Anthony Brennan III faces three counts of second-degree assault after police searched his home and found what appeared to be the clothes he was allegedly wearing during the attack.

He was turned in by people in his own neighborhood, despite hiding his helmet under his porch and stashing his bike several blocks away in an attempt to hide his involvement.

Needless to say, he apologized profusely for his “abhorrent” behavior, saying he was “sick with remorse for the pain and fear” he caused.

But only after he was caught, of course.

And to top off his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, Brennan was fired from his job with a Pleasanton CA creative marketing job following his arrest.

Unfortunately, however, online efforts to identify the suspect led to at least three people being falsely accused, with threats against people who had nothing to do with the incident.

Something we saw here following the infamous Mandeville Canyon brake check, when online sleuths quickly posted the home address and phone number for Dr. Christopher Thompson, who was ultimately convicted for the assault.

Except it was the wrong Dr. Christopher Thompson, leading to threats against an innocent man.

Which should be a reminder to all of us to avoid pointing the finger without proof. And without being absolutely certain it’s the right person.

And don’t threaten anyone, even if you have the right person.

Just don’t.

Today’s photo from comes from David Drexler, who says that’s what the upscale Rapha bike store looks like following last week’s looting, noting the restaurant next door was firebombed.

………

Police have arrested a hit-and-run bike rider who fled the scene after a head-on collision with two other riders on a San Jose bike path, which killed one of the two victims.

It’s the second fatal crash San Jose bike path crash in as many weeks.

It’s also yet another reminder that people on bicycles have the same obligation to stop after a crash as someone in a car.

And just like with a driver, what might not have been a crime becomes one the moment you leave without exchanging information.

………

The fight for racial justice took to two wheels on Sunday, as hundreds of people turned out on bicycles for a ride through Leimert Park.

https://twitter.com/bRuc14/status/1269457396344033291

The LA Times offers a video report from the scene.

Then again, that wasn’t the only ride calling for justice in South LA on Sunday, with the Compton Cowboys taking their steeds to the streets.

And no, that’s not a bike club. Or a metaphor.

………

The good news, there are no cars parked in this DTLA protected bike lane.

The bad news…

………

This is who we share the roads with, protest edition.

A Seattle mother was shocked to be arrested for driving off after just “tapping” a group of bike cops with her car at a protest, injuring one officer; it probably didn’t help that she posted video of herself screaming “fuck the police” before the incident.

Then there’s the guy who smashed into a barricade on a Seattle street, and came out of his car swinging a gun around. Update: He did more than brandish his gun; he apparently shot a 27-year old man.

A New York driver forced his way through a group of bike-riding pedestrians, injuring one person.

………

New York police arrested a criminal intent on committing mayhem at a Bronx protest.

Or maybe just a bike mechanic.

https://twitter.com/ShaneDPhillips/status/1269078212249653248

………

Learn how to elevate black voices this Wednesday.

………

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

A Florida man faces charges for hurling racial slurs at a black bike rider, then threatening him with a socket wrench and a hockey stick.

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

An Eastvale bike rider faces an attempted murder charge after pulling out a gun out of a purse and shooting at a fleeing motorist, following an argument between them; no explanation of why he was riding with a purse.

………

Local

Crosstown takes a look at the dramatic drop in LA traffic that made our streets a veritable paradise for bike riders and pedestrians, and the gradual uptick that’s making our streets more dangerous. You’ll also find your humble host quoted there, but you’ll have to read it to see what I said.

Jennifer Love Hewitt is sort of one of us, buying a Peloton to learn how to ride a bike without fear of falling off after a bad experience as a kid; she also has an adult tricycle, or maybe a bicycle with training wheels. Or both.

 

State

Roughly 1,000 people turned out for San Francisco’s Critical Mass ride Friday evening to honor George Floyd and call for police reform.

Sad news from Stockton, where a 54-year old bike riders was murdered by a hit-and-run driver.

The news was just as bad from Sonoma, as a man was killed when his racing bike was knocked off the road by a hit-and-run driver.

 

National

Fuji Bicycles has responded to the protests by suspending sales of police bikes in the US, after police brandished bicycles as shields, weapons and crowd control devices. Meanwhile, Trek is taking heat for failing to take similar action.

Gear Patrol offers tips on how to buy a used bicycle online.

Maybe you should cut back on the long-distance riding if you’re trying to get pregnant; a new study shows high levels of exercise can result in miscarriages in early pregnancy.

A new study shows aerobic exercise — like bicycling — is your best bet for avoiding dementia.

Bike shops have had to adapt on the fly to a new way of doing business during the pandemic, even as demand for bikes has gone through the roof.

Kindhearted police and firefighters in Kansas City, Kansas surprised a nine-year old boy with a new bicycle after his was destroyed when an out of control driver plowed into his bedroom. Probably didn’t do his bedroom much good, either.

Over 700 Michigan bike riders turned out to support victims of police brutality.

A Massachusetts website recommends bikes and accessories for all kinds of riders. But hardly the “best,” despite the headline.

A Niagara Falls man lost his bike when he tried to stop a man from pissing on the sidewalk, and the other man pulled a knife on him and stole his bicycle.

The NYPD has been even more out of control than usual this past week, including arresting a bicycle delivery rider for violating the city’s curfew, even though delivery riders are considered essential workers and he was making deliveries at the time.

Yes, Spike Lee really is one of us, joining in on an NYC protest on his bike.

A New Jersey letter writer say put your damn mask on, already.

A bike rider was killed in Pennsylvania when a speeding, unlicensed driver blew through two stop signs and slammed into him.

A Charleston SC bike shop owner struggled to save a stash of vintage 1970s bicycles from looters and arson, even as they emptied out his retail storefront.

 

International

Former UFC fighter Wanderlei Silva is one of us, crediting his bike helmet with saving his life when he was hit by a driver while riding his bike; it was his second serious bike crash in four years.

No bias here. A Toronto car columnist says leaders should stop paying attention to what he alleges is the small bike lobby, and pay more attention to the “huge” car crowd. Which is the best way to ensure that traffic congestion, smog and climate change will keep getting worse.

Our neighbors to the north get it. Canada is installing bike lanes across the country on an urgent basis to accommodate commuters afraid to take public transit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A British fashion site recommends the best bikes, whether you’re commuting, running errands or exercising. And want to look good doing it.

Tragic news from the UK, where two men are likely to face a murder charge for beating another man to death on a public street, after an argument over a bicycle.

Bikes are really booming in Great Britain, where bicycle use shot up 300% during the coronavirus lockdown. Which may be why most Londoners support making the city’s temporary bike lanes permanent.

Lisbon, Portugal has unveiled a three million euro plan — the equivalent of $3.39 million — to increase bicycling, including nearly doubling the amount of bike paths over the next year, and offering incentives up to $564 to buy a bicycle.

Bicyclists are heroes in Kyrgyzstan, delivering desperately needed insulin to to diabetic patients in the country’s capital.

They get it. A New Delhi TV station says getting more people on bicycles can prevent a post-coronavirus lockdown traffic congestion crisis.

A single bicycle has helped four generations of a single Indian family get around for the past 70 years.

A Philippine city will now require bikes to be registered before they can be ridden, and will strongly recommend liability insurance.

Avanti has recalled their Corso and Giro models in Australia due to defective seat clamp bolts; no word on whether that recall extends to models sold in the US.

 

Competitive Cycling

If all those protests have inspired you to support greater diversity in cycling, you can start with a fundraiser for LA’s elite Legion of Los Angeles cycling team, which was founded by US track, road and crit champ Justin Williams to bring more people of color into the sport; the crowdfunding campaign has already topped the $50,000 goal, raising more than $52,000 in just two days.

Speaking of Williams, he has some suggestions on how to rethink cycling kits to make it easier for fans to follow their favorite teams and riders.

 

Finally…

Don’t throw your bike at horses, police or otherwise. Then again, don’t throw your bike, period.

And here’s your chance to own Peter Sagan’s papal bike.

Or better yet, just buy it for me.

………

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

LA/SaMo bike shops looted in aftermath of Floyd protests, some fine bikes on both sides, and more celebs on bikes

The rumors drifted in late Saturday night, carried on the acrid smoke from burning buildings.

By morning, they were confirmed.

On a night when we could smell the smoke from the fires on TV, and social media was filled with looters in LA’s normally sedate and formerly kosher Fairfax District, fears grew that local bike shops may have been among the victims.

Along with anyone who may have left their bikes with them for service.

Because it wasn’t just the shoe stores, computer stores, Whole Foods and Nordstrom that got looted.

It was bike shops like Spokes ‘N Stuff, I. Martin and later, Santa Monica’s REI.

My Sunday with a pair of emailed photos, above and below, that hit like a punch in the gut, revealing the front gates ripped off Spokes ‘N Stuff, with anything of value gone.

The LA Times spoke with the shop’s owner.

He’s had his store on Melrose for 20 years. It stayed open during the pandemic because it was considered an essential business. But, now, he estimates his losses from one night of looting could total $100,000.

“They not only took my bikes, they took customers’ bikes as well,” he said.

The owners of I. Martin could probably cite a similar figure.

I’m told looters broke in through the back door and emptied the bike shop in a matter of minutes.

Although in their case, the shop had been closed since March, so hopefully there were no customer’s bicycles still inside.

Then Sunday afternoon, as people peacefully protested near Santa Monica’s Tongva Park, looters were busting into businesses just a few blocks away.

REI seemed to be saved when some of the legitimate protesters stood in front of the store to turn looters away.

Except the looters came back. Later images showed the store had been ransacked, with racks and shelves emptied.

Presumably, the store’s bikes went out the door, as well; it’s not clear if REI was open for service or if any bikes belonging to customers were inside.

It’s also not clear when, or if, these stores will reopen.

Just like hundreds of other businesses, owned by major corporations and individual, often immigrant, proprietors through this troubled city.

………

Needless to say, bicycling took a back seat to the protests for many people across the US this weekend.

Apparently forgetting what started the protests to begin with, a Seattle bike cop puts a protester in a chokehold after attempting, and failing, to squeeze by on his right on a sidewalk.

Turns out John Cusack is one of us, too. His bike took a beating from Chicago cops during the protests over the death of George Floyd, even if he didn’t.

And even if you can only hear it on the video.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for both of those.

When an Atlanta bike cop shoved a black woman with his bicycle during a protest, a white woman defended her by shoving him right back.

This is who we share the roads with. A Denver driver responds to a protester jumping on the hood of his car by intentionally trying to run him down. Thanks to Robert Leone for the tip.

A Philly bike cop was injured when he was run over while attempting to stop looters.

And a concierge doctor is setting aside his practice for now, responding on his bike to triage pepper spray victims during the DC police protests.

………

LA bike clubs team up with advice to help keep you safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thanks to David Huntsman for the link.

………

Tobey Maguire is one of us, doing a little offroad riding in the hills above Brentwood with his girlfriend, model Tatiana Dieteman.

Aussie actress Isla Fisher is back on her bike on the streets of Los Angeles, though it’s hard to tell who’s behind that mask.

Soccer great Christiano Ronaldo is one of us, going for a family bike ride under blue Italian skies.

Turns out Crocodile Hunter scion Robert Irwin is one of us, most likely to his mother’s chagrin, after separating his shoulder in a “massive” mountain bike crash.

LeBron James took advantage of LA’s Covid-light streets to get in a bike ride, accompanied by fellow NBA stars Anthony Davis and J. R. Smith. Thanks to Jeff Vaughn for the heads-up.

https://twitter.com/ESPNNBA/status/1266839721914912769?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1266839721914912769&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fbleacherreport.com%2Farticles%2F2894158-lakers-lebron-james-anthony-davis-spotted-riding-bikes-with-jr-smith-in-la

Although J.R. seemed a tad less relaxed later as he beat the crap out of someone for breaking his truck window.

………

GCN takes a long look back to a forgotten age of bicycling before Strava, GPS and power meters.

………

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

An English letter writer describes a punishment pass by a speeding driver, accompanied by a shout to get out of the way.

A 15-year old Irish boy was chased down by a BMW driver and pushed off his bike, which the driver then threw at him.

Pro cyclists have to deal with punishment-passing jerks, too.

………

Local

Streetsblog looks at the slow expansion of Slow Streets throughout Southern California, as well as repurposing streets for outdoor dining and retail.

A Pasadena writer warns about increased dangers on Angeles Crest Highway as traffic increases and parking lots reopen.

Zagster has pulled the plug on Santa Clarita’s Pace bikeshare program.

The experimental app that turned traffic lights to green for Santa Clarita bike riders has proven successful, and is now being rolled out nationally.

 

State

Tragic news from Tulare, as a woman became collateral damage when a murder suspect rolled his car during a police chase, striking her as she rode her bike.

Sad news from San Francisco, where a 31-year old bike rider was killed when he was doored by one driver, then hit by another.

 

National

Vogue offers a beginner’s guide to buying the right bike for the ultimate two-wheeled fashion accessory.

Forbes lists six relatively cheap bikes you can buy online right now. Actually, with a foldie starting at just $269, they can lose the “relatively” part.

A writer for HuffPo says the bike boom offers less obvious benefits for cities, including boosting business, greater efficiency and increasing sales for everyone.

Bicycling and trampoline injuries have spiked during the coronavirus crisis, as kids stay active while they’re home from school. Although hopefully not doing both at the same time, although that would explain the injuries.

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay says bikes are so hot right now, you’ll probably ride one this year. If you can get past the paper’s paywall, that is.

Red Bull wants you to build mountain bike jumps like a pro.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever painted swastikas on a Lincoln, Nebraska bike path and nearby trees.

Boston experts offer advice on how to fit a big bike into a small apartment.

When a kindhearted Mississippi sheriff’s deputy and the other deacons at his church raised $250 to buy a new bike for a young boy after his bike was stolen, a bike shop owner stepped up to donate one.

 

International

The Guardian offers tips on how to make bicycling a delight.

Canadian network CTV says yes, bicycling is one of the safest things you can do outside during the pandemic.

Kindhearted officials with a Calgary towing company raised $1,000 to buy an adaptive bicycle for a special needs girl after the one she received from the local cerebral palsy association was stolen.

A new Brit rider says pop-up bike lanes aren’t so great for beginners.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a judge took pity on an unlicensed and uninsured driver, rather than the person he sent to the hospital for two weeks.

The British edition of GQ offers their list of the best helmets to keep you stylish and protected. Because all that really matters is how good you look on a bike, right?

A Scottish secondhand bike charity is changing lives by donating bicycles to employees of the National Health Service and other key workers.

The UK edition of Wired recommends their picks for the best bike helmets.

Cycle chic is reinvented Down Under as CLOB — Chic Lady on a Bike — as “cute” 1950’s inspired bikes fly out the door. Unlike LA, where bikes are flying out of doors and windows that are supposed to be locked.

Some people collect bikes. This Aussie collects cycling kits, with 250 and counting.

 

Competitive Cycling

The group that oversees the unofficial Everesting record says we almost had yet another new world’s record, but German pro Emanuel Buchmann fell just short of mountain biker Keegan Swenson’s record, which just beat Phil Gaimon’s record.

That feeling when you’re trying to outride that woman on the bike, without realizing she’s a former Olympic champ.

 

Finally…

When you get back up after falling off your bike, try to take all your fingers with you. It looks like a little mountain biking is in the cards — and on the board.

And we all have to work from home these days.

………

Thanks to Matthew R for his monthly donation to help keep this site coming your way every day.

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

Morning Links: Vision Zero protest at City Hall today, SCAG is hiring, and Chinese TV network discovers CicLAvia

Someone’s finally taking the fight to City Hall.

A trio of “concerned citizens” are fed up with LA’s continuing failure to implement Vision Zero, and the rising death toll that has resulted.

And calling for a protest on the steps of the building this morning.

Unfortunately, I didn’t receive notice until yesterday afternoon. So it may be over by the time you read this.

But here’s what they have to say.

What Happened to Vision Zero?

A protest in front of City Hall

LOS ANGELES, OCTOBER 17, 2019–On Friday, October 18th, at 8am, safe streets advocates, parents, community leaders and concerned Angelinos will gather on the steps of City Hall to send a strong message to Mayor Garcetti, the City Council, and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT): Enough is enough! 

We estimate over a hundred people have died walking or biking in our city since 2019 at the hands of motorists. On Wednesday, Alexa, a 4-year old girl, was killed in the crosswalk while walking to preschool with her mother.

Graphic by tomexploresla

 

In 2015, Mayor Eric Garcetti committed to the popular Vision Zero initiative, aimed at ending all traffic deaths by increasing safe and equitable mobility for all. The ultimate goal is to reduce traffic related deaths to zero by 2025. Yet rather than decline, fatal traffic collisions have risen by more than 32% in Los Angeles (LATIMES) despite reported measures taken by LADOT and the Mayor’s office.  

The sad reality is that in Los Angeles County, the leading cause of death for children ages 5-14, is traffic collisions – with poor neighborhoods being disproportionately affected. Nationwide vulnerable road users die every 90 minutes. (LATIMES) Therefore, we ask Mayor Garcetti, City Council, and other responsible parties for safe streets now.

This protest is a grassroots event organized by Andres Quinche, Bob Frederick and Tom Carroll and is not sponsored by any specific entity, we are just three concerned citizens who are tired of standing by. 

Let’s move our public discourse out of the binary debates between more or less freedom and start humanizing our streets.

PROTEST DETAILS

WHEN: Friday October 18, at 8 AM-9 AM

WHERE: LA City Hall Steps (Spring St side)

 

Hopefully, more than just the three of them will turn out on such short notice.

But it’s heartening to see that people are finally getting fed up. And willing to take to the streets to do something about it.

Protest graphics by Victor Hugo Cuevas.

………

If anyone with solid communication and community engagement skills needs a new job, the Southern California Association of Governments is looking for you.

………

A Chinese TV network discover’s CicLAvia, and says the open streets event promotes greener, healthier policies.

………

Nothing like going for a morning drive. On a bike path.

………

Local

A Metro committee has approved plans for two new bike and pedestrian bridges connecting with the L.A. River Glendale Narrows bike/walk path in Glendale.

Santa Clarita’s mayor pro tem led a group of people attending Calbike’s three-day California Bicycle Summit on a tour of the city’s bike paths.

Brian Addison of the Long Beach Post looks back to the days when the greater LA area was the urban rail capital of the world. Imagine how safe bicycling would be today if we still had a world-class rail system running on every major boulevard.

Speaking of which, Metro’s erstwhile Blue Line will reopen next month as the newly renamed A Line. And not, unfortunately, the A Train.

 

State

Congratulations to UC Santa Barbara for achieving the elite platinum-level Bicycle Friendly University designation.

Police in Morro Bay are looking for a heartless coward who left a critically injured 55-year old man bleeding in a bike lane after slamming into him as he was riding his bike home from work.

School kids in the tiny coastal town of Oceano turned out to welcome dozens of veterans participating in the annual Project Hero California Challenge ride from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara.

A new glowing map shows San Francisco’s most popular streets for bicycling, as shown by the people riding them. It would be nice to see the same map for Los Angeles, although it would probably look very different.

The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for the woman charged with fleeing the scene after killing a 71-year old man riding his bike; she reportedly hit him head-on while driving on the wrong side of the road. The FBI became involved after she fled the state, possibly to Mexico.

 

National

Jalopnik considers how the bicycle changed the world for women.

Life is cheap in Hawaii, where a drift-racing driver got just one year behind bars for slamming into a triathlete participating in a group ride, leaving her with serious injuries that have already required a number of operations, with more on the way.

St. George, Utah will host a pop-up protected bike lane next week, to demonstrate what residents could enjoy, paid for by Spin.

Hundreds of kindhearted Texans dug into their own pockets to help an Army vet who suffers from seizures get a new, and better, bicycle just one day after his was stolen.

The Chicago Tribune considers bicycle seats, and says go with the classic and get a Brooks saddle, while a writer for the same paper tries to assemble a Thule bike rack, and makes call a friend her final answer.

An Indiana website talks with Dennis Christopher, the star of Breaking Away. And yes, that movie was why I started bicycling again, after selling my 10-speed to attend college.

A Pittsburgh advocacy group counted 123 drivers stopped in just four city bike lanes during the morning, noon and evening rush hours.

After initially blaming the victim, as usual, the NYPD quietly changed a police report to reflect that a fallen cyclist was not at fault in the crash that killed him, after all.

A Philadelphia bicycle delivery rider was acquitted of most charges for fatally stabbing a road-raging driver who attacked him after he tried to intervene in the man’s dispute with another driver; the white victim, a former Penn State quarterback, had threatened to “beat the black off” the delivery rider.

This is why you should let the police handle it. An Atlanta-area father and his ten-year old son were both shot in a bikejacking when they interrupted a burglar going through their garage.

 

International

Cycling Tips looks back at the more than 130-year history of anti-bike bias.

A podcast featuring a global panel discusses future of road bikes, asking how new tech can make cycling better. Meanwhile, Road.cc looks back at ten retro tech inventions that changed bicycling for the better.

Promising to keep you safer on the streets, a new app has launched that will turn your smartphone into a crash detector and call for help if you don’t tell it you’re okay.

Castelli’s relatively new clothing line promises to keep you cool on hot days, yet be virtually waterproof in the rain.

A writer for a UK style magazine says she’s tired of being verbally abused when she rides London streets.

The ancient city of Hue, Vietnam, is launching a bicycle tourism service that sounds a lot like bikeshare by another name.

Life is cheap in Singapore, where a cab driver got a whole week behind bars for crashing into a woman on a bicycle, leaving her with serious injuries, including lingering damage to one eye. On the other hand, the driver did get a two-year driving ban, which will force her to find another line of work when she gets out.

 

Competitive Cycling

More heartbreaking news from the world of pro cycling, as 19-year old Dutch cyclist Edo Maas has been told he will likely never walk again. The promising Sunweb rider was descending at around 44 mph when he crashed into a car that had somehow gotten on a race course earlier this month. In a tragic irony, the crash that left him a paraplegic occurred on Italy’s Madonna del Ghisallo hill, named after the patron saint of bicycling.

More on the retirement of former cycling scion Taylor Phinney, who leaves professional cycling to pursue art. Best take so far, is that Phinney never let one horrible crash define him. And Phinney offers a powerful comment that there’s power in recognizing you no longer have passion for what you do.

A 27-year old San Diego man became the first person with both legs amputated above the knee to complete in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, using a kneeling handcycle for the 112-mile bicycling leg and running blades for the marathon-length running portion.

Katusha-Alpecin bites the dust, as the Israel Cycling Academy takes over their WorldTour team, leaving many Katusha riders wondering if they’ll have jobs next year.

Twenty-two-year old American world time trial champ Chloé Dygert says she plans on competing in the next six Olympics, which would make her 45 when she finally retires.

 

Finally…

Build your next bike by dumpster diving. Bike-riding dogs in the rain.

And your BMX bike is now the most sought after retro toy.

Except it isn’t. A toy, that is.

 

A not-so-brief lesson in social protest.

Let’s spend just one more day discussing the recent crosswalk protest in Santa Monica. Or more precisely, the reasons behind the protest and what can be done about them.

As Alex points out in his post about the crosswalk protest, the Santa Monica CM riders have tried everything they could think of to get the city manager, council members and police to work with them to in finding solutions that would work to everyone’s benefit. The only result was more tickets, and more ham-handed police tactics, as if this was the most important item on their agenda.

So what can be done, if nothing has worked?

Start by thinking like a politician. While there are some elected officials who really do want to do the right thing, what matters most to most pols these days are A) the votes they need to get re-elected, and B) the money they need to get those votes. Yes, it sucks, and yes, we all like to pretend that’s not the case, but that’s the system we’re living with these days. So deal with it, already.

And judging by the reaction, the city is more concerned about the people who complain about Critical Mass, than they are about the votes they might lose from CM riders — many of whom live outside the city.

So that leaves money. If one or more of those C.M. rider have extra-deep pockets, it’s game over. Just make the maximum donation allowed under law to the re-election funds of every council member, and drop a hint that it would be nice if the police backed off a little. Then just wait a reasonable amount of time, and the council will decide that maybe Critical Mass isn’t so bad after all.

On the other hand, no deep pockets means you’ve got to get a little more creative.

Get the public on your side. People love underdogs in this country, and want to support those who are being treated unfairly by government — especially in a left-leaning community like Santa Monica.

So why aren’t the people on the cyclists side here? After all, the cyclists are the victims here, at least in terms of being unfairly — and possibly, illegally — ticketed. (Hint: protests that keep them from getting home to their families don’t usually help.)

Get some publicity. Tell your side of the story to anyone who will listen. Talk about why Critical Mass exists, and why you ride like relatively well-behaved hooligans through the streets of Santa Monica once a month. And tell everyone who’ll listen about how unfair the city is being.

While Santa Monica doesn’t have a local newspaper anymore, this is a story that’s tailor made for one of the alternative weeklies. You might also be able to get someone at the Times interested, such as Steve Hyman at the Bottleneck Blog.

Call every TV station. Call the radio stations and see if anyone will put you on the air to tell your story — especially Santa Monica’s public radio station, KCRW. Go to the 3rd Street Promenade and the Farmer’s Market and pass out handbills explaining the police harassment, and the city’s refusal to meet with you.

In other words, use every opportunity and forum you can think of to get your side of the story out there — without pissing people off at the same time.

Document your ride. Equip as many riders as you can with small digital video recorders. That way, you will have proof of what really happens if the police crack down again. Just remember, though — they can use it for proof, too.

Invite guest riders. Invite the press to ride along, and bring their notebooks and cameras. Let them see for themselves how harmless the ride is — and how heavy-handed the police reaction. If they see you getting tickets for violations that didn’t happen, they’ll report on it. And the public is a lot more likely to believe them than a group of rowdy riders.

Besides, wouldn’t you just love to see Paul Moyer on a Critical Mass ride?

Or invite a celebrity to join in. There’s no shortage of successful actors, musicians, models, etc., around here, and some of them love to ride. In this town, it often takes a lot less than six degrees of separation to find someone who knows them.

Just the presence of someone famous may be enough to get the police to back off. Let’s hope not, though. Because if you get a ticket, chances are, no one will really care. But if someone like that gets a ticket, it’s the lead story on Entertainment Tonight.

Contact the City Attorney. If the police really are acting illegally, the city attorney’s not likely to be very happy about it. And if you don’t get any traction there, go over her head.

Get a good lawyer. This is America, where litigation — or the threat of litigation — trumps all. There’s no shortage of cycling attorney’s around here; you may be able to find one willing to represent you pro bono through one of the cycling clubs, like Velo LaGrange. Or you might be able to get the ACLU or Common Cause interested; if not, they should be able to refer you to someone who will be.

Apply pressure. While a couple hundred CM cyclists probably aren’t enough to get the city’s attention, a couple thousand angry cyclists will — and that’s still just a small fraction of the riders who live in Santa Monica, let alone the tens of thousands who pass through every day.

So start a letter writing campaign. Ask everyone you know — and everyone they know — to write the Santa Monica city government and demand that they work with you to find a solution that will allow CM to go on, without causing undue inconvenience to city residents.

There’s always a comprise, if the city and the riders are motivated to find it.

Or go viral. Start an email campaign explaining your position, and asking people to email the city government. Then send it to every rider you know, and ask them to pass it on to every rider they know, as well as contacting every CM group in the country. When the city starts getting angry emails from Des Moines and Kalamazoo — potentially effecting their tourist trade — they’ll pay attention.

Use economic pressure. Again, if a few hundred CM riders stop shopping in Santa Monica, no one’s going to notice. But if a few thousand riders stop spending money in the city, people will pay attention — and the threat of a boycott is often more effective than the boycott itself.

So start an online petition. Ask people to sign a statement saying that unless the city stops writing illegal tickets and negotiates a reasonable accommodation allowing the rides to continue, they will stop spending any money in Santa Monica. No nightclubs, no restaurants, no (gasp!) Starbucks, no REI, no boutiques on Main or Montana.

Ask them to estimate the amount of money they spend in Santa Monica each week when they sign, as well. When the city sees the amount of money local merchants could lose, and the amount they could lose in taxes, they will pay attention.

And I’ll be one of the first to sign it.

Sometimes, a protest is justified

 

Feel free to copy & use this image. Or make a better one, and I'll post it here

Feel free to copy & use this image. Or make a better one, and I'll post it here.

Let’s go back to Alex Thompson’s report on the recent crosswalk protest in Santa Monica for a bit.

Whether or not you agree with their tactics — and judging by the comments, many don’t — or with Critical Mass in general, the key point to me is what lead up to the protest. Because Alex describes a rising level of frustration, as they repeatedly tried to deal with the local government, but were rebuffed and ignored at every turn.

From city council members who failed to speak to a single cyclist after promising to explore ways to accommodate the Critical Mass rides, to a scheduled meeting with the chief of police — at the urging of the city manager — which lasted all of 30 seconds before the chief excused himself.

Then there’s the matter of the apparent deliberate writing of false tickets by the S.M.P.D. Alex reports that the police issued over 30 tickets for “no light” violations, then repeatedly checked the box indicating that this was not a correctable violation — resulting in a significant increase in the cost of the ticket, from $10 to $100.

Or this, from a recent post on LAist about the latest Santa Monica Critical Mass ride:

“Santa Monica Police Officers were out in full force, riding motorcycles alongside the Santa Monica Critical Mass and citing cyclists for leaving the bike lane (not a violation of the law – CVC 21208), taking control of a traffic lane (not a violation of the law – CVC 21202) and turning left from a left turn lane. (again, not a violation of the law- CVC 22100).”

In other words, the local police were writing tickets for supposed violations that were not against the law. And they wonder why the Crimanimalz felt a need to protest?

Call me crazy, but when the police break the law in order to enforce it, something is seriously wrong.

Now, as a certified Angeleno, I may not live in Santa Monica, but I do spend a lot of time there. More to the point, I also spend a lot of money there — as do many other cyclists, I’m sure.
Which means that we help support the city’s many restaurants, retailers and nightclubs, as well as making a significant contribution to the city coffers.

And while I am not a fan of the tactics employed by Critical Mass — as I’ve said before, I find them counterproductive — I can’t see myself economically supporting a city that would ignore any group of citizens, cyclists or otherwise, who actively reach out for dialogue with city officials. Or who would allow the local police make up their own laws in order to rein in an activity they clearly disagree with.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting a boycott of local businesses. Not yet, anyway.

But the government in Santa Monica needs to wake up, start a dialogue, and stop the heavy handed tactics. And local business owners need to pressure their political leaders to find a way to accommodate everyone who lives in, or does business in, their city — without violating the law themselves.

Maybe the Crimanimalz and S.M. Critical Mass should hire a good lawyer. And start to consider tactics that could be far more effective than delaying traffic for awhile.

 

The Daily News says things aren’t so bad for cyclists in Los Angeles, and getting better. But I wonder if those 1,252 miles of bike routes, lanes and paths in L.A. County they refer to include un-ridable sections like sign for the designated bike route I saw on eastbound Pico at Sepulveda yesterday — which I would only recommend to someone with a death wish.

Meanwhile, Chicago’s bike meister tells Canadians to share the road. But the interesting part of the article in buried inside, where they mention new laws that prohibit “…opening a car door on a cyclist, parking or driving in a bike lane, passing within three feet of a bike, and turning left or right into the path of a cyclist…” with fines ranging from $150 to $500. And a minimum fine of $12,500 and up to a year in jail if careless driving results in the death of a cyclist or pedestrian. When we get laws like that, then our local pols can claim to support cyclist.

And finally, Bike Girl inspires Gary to rhapsodize on locking up.

The ugly side of an ugly incident

It was a shocking, disturbing and hideous case of road rage that sent two local cyclists to the Emergency Room — one made worse by the realization it could just as easily have happened to any of us.

But surprisingly, some good has come out of the good doctor’s Mandeville Canyon brake test. The Cyclist’s Bill of Rights has gained some traction as a result, in the hope that we can keep things like this from happening in the future. A real dialogue has finally begun between cyclists and Canyon residents. And for the first time, we saw an overwhelming response from our new-found biking community.

Unfortunately, we also saw how ugly that community can be.

As you may have noticed, I go out of my way not to name of the doctor who cause the injuries to those riders — and who reportedly refused to offer any medical assistance afterwards.

There’s a reason for that.

It’s not like it’s hard to find his name online. And as outraged as I was when I read about the incident, I was just as  sickened to read on LAist’s followup to the incident: *Note: There are other Dr. (name deleted)s in the Los Angeles area who work in medicine and unfortunately some are being wrongly threatened.

And this from the moderator of the Socal Bike Forum’s thread on the Mandeville Incident:

Just to clarify on the “name” issue. We all know who the guy is now, where he lives and where he works… but there is no good reason for posting his personal information on a public board. On another bike site, his name and phone number was displayed and some yokels thought it would be fun to start systematic harassment. Turns out, they posted the number of the wrong guy. (EDIT: LAist just closed their “Comments” feature because a number of men with the same name have been threatened.) Similarly, the hospital where the doctor works undoubtedly has more pressing issues than dealing with phone calls from a bunch of angry cyclists. That is why we do not want such information posted. The two riders have asked that no one take matters into their own hands, and to let the police do their job…

As my friend, and author of the excellent Altadena Blog that covers life in Pasadena’s less pretentious northern neighbor, put it, “…but it’s OK the threaten the RIGHT one? Anonymous phone calls to HIS mailbox are OK? I’m with the bikers on this one, but…let the cops do the threatening! That’s what they’re paid for!”

I wonder what the doctors who were mistakenly threatened think about cyclists now? Our public perception is bad enough in this town without going around threatening innocent people.

If you’ve been following the story online, like I have, you’ve undoubtedly seen countless comments threatening the doctor, or vowing retaliation against other drivers — just as there have been comments that the riders had it coming. And countless others vowing mass traffic disruptions if the charges are dropped, or if the good doctor should somehow be acquitted.

This isn’t the time for violence — as if there ever is a right time — or aggressive civil disobedience. That would only undo the progress our community has made over the past two weeks.

No, this is a time for action.

Contact the mayor’s office and your local council member to support passage of the Cyclist’s Bill of Rights, and demand prosecution of all violent acts against cyclists, as well as an end to police bias in favor of motorists. Contact the governor’s office, as well as your local representatives in the state legislature, and ask them to take real action to protect cyclists and encourage safe cycling everywhere in California.

And while you’re at it, remind them that you bike.

And you vote.

%d bloggers like this: