Tag Archive for Ralph Durham

Guest post: Biking in Munich, Germany isn’t perfect, but it beats just about anywhere in the US

Good news and bad news. 

The good news is my surgery went well last week. The bad news is I entered the hospital with compressed nerves in my wrist and elbow, and left with conjunctivitis, leaving me virtually blind for the past several days.

So I’ll be out the rest of the week to give me a few more days to type with both hands and see clearly with both eyes. 

Fortunately, we have a guest post today from our European correspondent Ralph Durham, who has shared his insights on biking in Germany and other nearby countries since moving there several years ago. 

And I’ll be back on Monday to get things rolling again. 

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Greetings from Munich Germany.

My name is Ralph and I have lived here for almost 7 years. My wife got a job here and allowed me to retire and move with her. She was a lifelong SF bay area person and I have lived in several states and 4 countries. Most of my serious cycling has been in and around the SF Bay area. I spent 12 or so years commuting by bike the 12 miles from my home to work so I have seen a lot. I spent 8 years on Sunnyvale’s Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Here we have no car. Between our bikes and public transit, we have almost no need for a car. If we need one for a trip, we will rent one. 

The purpose of this post is to talk about riding in the Munich area on a regular basis. In addition, I have ridden in different European countries to some extent. The cycling infrastructure in Munich is quite a bit different from the SF Bay area. Munich is not perfect for its cycling infrastructure. Munich does have some of the best, or at least the greatest total amount of bike infrastructure in Germany, which include 58 bike paths. Many of those skirt parks and are along rivers.

Germany has no real overarching bureaucracy to cover cycling nationwide. Each state has their own way of dealing with the problems and how to work it out. I live in München, in Freistaat Bayern, (Free state Bavaria.) I can’t speak about other city/states and their methods. The basics are likely to be the same based on my travels. The rules of the road are becoming more standardized in Europe. The new government may push to develop more commonality in how cyclists’ infrastructure is set up. And better yet, provide extra cash.

The German mentality, caution stereotype alert. This is one of the big differences from the US and it might be the most important. Generally, Germans will follow the rules, and expect others to do so. This is especially true in town where the risks of hurting others are greater. That is not to say that some drivers don’t act up. Drivers in towns rarely speed. Pedestrians rarely cross on a red light even with no cars present. You will almost always get the right of way when you have it when on your bike. Drivers won’t race you to a spot so they can get ahead or turn in front of you. They will wait behind you on narrow roads until it is safe to pass. 

Helmet use is not required unless you are under the age of 16, which is when you can drink beer or wine. Adults wearing helmets are in two groups. Parents with children or people riding road bikes. Most ride some sort of practical city bike with no helmet. I am seeing more helmet use with the greater penetration of the e-bikes as a market share. 

There is also a lot more wayfinding signage. Some of it can be sketchy, or in my opinion too far apart. Or perhaps I just miss some of the small signs. I seem to see them better now than when I was first here. Cities are not laid out on a grid. Straight down the road is almost meaningless. Follow the road is better.

All photos by Ralph Durham

You will see whole families out for rides even if just to and around parks, and the school run. Many kids are starting on balance bikes so seeing training wheels is a bit of a shock. I’ve seen kids that can’t be much over 2 riding pedal bikes with no training wheels. Most families seem to have a trailer so when the kid gets tired, they can get transported home. You will see families on major streets because there is usually separated infrastructure. Children can ride on the sidewalks until they are 8. The feeling of safety is key to get people out on bikes.

One of the big differences from the US, is the speed that vehicles are allowed to travel. What we would call residential, is 30 KPH, 18 mph. When you enter a town, you will see a yellow sign with the town name. That means 50 KPH, 30 mph, unless otherwise posted. The 30 zones have no bike lanes for the most part. Pretty much all 50 kph zones in Munich have bike provisions. 

Most 30 zones are two-way traffic.

However, they are only about 3 car widths wide. You can have parking on both sides of the road leaving one lane open and drivers need to negotiate who goes first with oncoming traffic. These streets usually don’t have any yield or stop signs. Priority is given to the vehicle, car, truck, bike coming from the right. Yes, drivers will give a cyclist right of way if they have it. I can tell you that is very scary when you are used to drivers just taking the right of way in the US.

A feature which helps cyclists and pedestrians is that there is no right turn on red. There are a few locations where there is a slip lane to the autobahn, but it is rare. One part of this is the traffic light posts are on the entrance side of the intersection.

So, if you pull up past the limit line you can’t see the traffic light. Since there is nothing to gain from stopping in the crosswalk or bike lane, they are free for cyclists and pedestrians to cross the street. There are very few stop signs in Munich. There are signs letting you know if you are on a priority road or there is a yield sign.

Another big difference is in driver’s training and licensure. It is expensive and hard to get a driver’s license here in Germany, and in many EU countries. I have talked to people from England and Ireland and their process seems close. A beginning driver will be lucky to only have to spend $2,700. A lot of that goes to the required driving school. The base cost for a license is about $55 and is good now for 15 years. There is a first aid course, and an eye test. You pay for everything. The manual is 400 pages long. It includes the math for stopping distances and passing distances. The written test is about $110. You pay, every time you take the test, until you pass. I have heard there is a 30% failure rate. The driving test comes in around $340. You pay for the time for your driving teacher, their car and the test administrator. You pay each time you take it.

Drivers tend to be more careful in city driving. The largest vehicle has the most responsibility in the event of an accident. Insurance limits are high. Three million to 5 million Euro for cars. But not that expensive. People injured don’t need to worry about going bankrupt if a driver hits them, between the driver’s insurance and their own. It is not uncommon for drivers to have their licenses revoked for short periods of time for flagrant infractions, including speeding. At a set amount over the limit, it is automatic. Also, most people have ridden bikes or still ride bikes. This gives them heightened awareness to look for others using the facilities. I now am now shocked when a driver violates my right of way. When I first got here it was scarry to take the right of way. If you don’t the drivers will be annoyed that you didn’t follow the rules. The thinking is that you are using the roads that you know the rules.

In the city the facilities are a bit different.  In the center of town, you have the tight old areas and pedestrian malls. The old areas have no specific bike facilities for the most part. The speed limit is 30, if you are lucky to get a clear road. The pedestrian malls normally have signs which say no cycling except for late at night to early morning. There are too many pedestrians and tourists to ride safely. You can walk your bike. If you ride to the town center and decide to walk there never seems to be enough bike parking. So, you park with the rest of the bikes and pray for safety in numbers. Main roads into the center have space carved out. The car lanes are about 10 feet wide; parking is narrow and then the bike lanes are next to the pedestrian way.

Surprisingly enough, even with no real barrier between cyclists and pedestrians both parties stay in their area. Both parties generally keep a lookout if they must use the other’s space. 

The treatment of cycling and pedestrian facilities is different when there is construction. If building must go on for a while there are provisions made for pedestrians and cyclists. That can include covered walk/bike ways, lanes taken from drivers and or parking spaces. Since the mode share is high for commuters and families with children, provisions are made to reduce the impacts. One project that is crossing the river has a 4-lane bridge was necked down to 2 lanes, one in each direction so work could be done on half the roadway. The sidewalks/bike lanes closed but temporary covered bridges were set up for cyclists and pedestrians. 

When you leave the city and its suburbs the situation is a bit different. Many of the major roads have a mixed-use path on one side of the road.

Photo by Ralph Durham

This can move from side to side depending on where it was easiest to put in the path. It is not set up like Holland where it seems that they went out of their way to make the whole country connected. Just remember that it you hit a pedestrian it is almost always going to be your fault. Small winding country roads will generally not have bike lanes. Most tend to be narrow, almost 2 lanes wide, twisting along farms or forests. Drivers wanting to get somewhere generally stay off them. 

Towns of various sizes are close It is hard to go more than 20 kilometers without hitting another small town. Even if there is no specific bike lane traffic is slow, 50kph max, and they can have speed cameras. Some places have speed radar to inform you of your speed. If you are at or under the limit you get a green smiley face. Go over and it becomes a red frown face.

Cycling is done year-round. Winter cycling can be more treacherous because of balance issues. Some places the bike ways are kept clear and gritted better than others on the same street. My wife won’t let me ride in the snow without my spiked tires. I see a lot of riders without them. I am old and allergic to falling. 

The takeaway from this is that cycling infrastructure can be done. Even in tight European cities. Traffic speeds need to be cut down. England has a push for 20 (mph) is plenty. We don’t need streets that have freeway width lanes in residential areas. The fire departments will have to get used to lanes which aren’t as wide. You get more riding when people know that it is safe to ride. You get more riders when they can get to the places they want to go. Be that work or the park, or the next suburb over. It must be done. It is hard. I spent 8 years on my California city’s BPAC. Every paint stripe and loss of parking space was a fight. 

Too many developments aren’t set up for cyclists or pedestrians to get through them. Developments are huge blocks that force traffic out to arterial streets, car sewers, that encourage high speeds and leave limited space for cyclists and minimum width pedestrian facilities, should anyone wish to walk along a 6-lane road baren of life. No, Munich isn’t perfect or cycling Shangri-la. But it is better than anywhere I have ridden in the US. 

I know people are busy. Family, children, jobs. Try to provide input into the process. Letters to the paper. Letters/email to council, boards of supervisors. Your state representative and senator. Every bit helps. If you have the time volunteer for your local BPAC (bike ped advisory committee). Look at the city agendas, BPAC, Planning, Council. Find out how to contact members of those groups and explain what you like and don’t like. Attend meetings. Don’t be mean when you state your case. Research the city/county plans that they have approved. 

In the words of a radio newsman from San Francisco in the last century, Scoop Nisker, “If you don’t like the news; go out and make some of your own.”

San Diego’s transformative new transportation plan, and Munich shows how bike lane bypasses should be done

It’s Day 8 of the 7th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Thanks to Dongyi L, Alan C, Gregory S and Todd T for their generous donations to keep all the best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day.

So take a moment to give now via PayPal, or with Zelle to ted @ bikinginla.com.

Any amount, no matter how large or small, is truly and deeply appreciated. 

Seriously, go ahead and do it right now. We’ll wait. 

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San Diego is about to show California how its done.

San Diego Forward, a new 30-year plan presented by the San Diego Association of Governments, better known as SANDAG, offers a transformational vision of what the city can, and should, be.

Here’s how Streetsblog explains it.

It is unlike any previous regional plan in San Diego, or in California. That’s in part because SANDAG got into a bit of trouble over its last, very inadequate draft plan, which pretended to be forward-looking but, like many regional transportation plans, was mostly a warmed-over rehash of previous plans that prioritize freeways. The previous SANDAG plan included some transit and bike improvements, but those investments were all put on the back burner, and highway expansions came first.

Not this time. The new draft plan – written under new SANDAG leadership – presents a utopian vision of what a connected, equitable, easy-to-navigate transportation system could be, focusing on new technologies for managing vehicle traffic, improving transit, and building streetscapes that work for people on foot and on bike.

Although the 3o-year timeline is about 20 years too late for the planet, which needs to see drastic shifts in how we get around in the next ten years to avoid catastrophic climate changes.

The other challenge is the cost, with an unfunded $160 billion price tag — yes, with a b — to build out.

And as we’ve learned the hard way here in Los Angeles, the key to its success is actually building it, rather than letting it turn into dust sitting on the shelf, like LA’s mobility plan.

Which so far hasn’t been worth the silicon it’s printed on.

However, San Diego leaders have actually shown a willingness to live up to their commitments, such as the city’s climate action plan.

So maybe there’s hope of real change down there, even if it may take too long.

Now if they could just show the rest of us how it’s done.

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Ralph Durham offers a followup to Monday’s photo of a spacious bike lane bypass through a Munich construction zone, protected by a sturdy metal barricade.

It gets better.

We were walking towards the intersection where I took pictures of the detour at the intersection. This time we tried to cross the bridge. The bridge is undergoing major construction and is down to two lanes from four. No sidewalk use either. However, on both sides there are temporary bike ped bridges. Four in total because there is a small island in the river.

Here is a picture of one of the temporary bridges. Yes that is snow.

Photo by Ralph Durham

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That feeling when an anti-bike British lawyer demands his God-given right to dangerously pass a group of bicyclists who are legally riding two abreast to control a narrow lane.

And the cops politely say not today, Satan.

Although the police use a painful analogy to correct him on another one.

Unfortunately, we can only imagine what it would be like to have police back us up like that in this country.

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

The California Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of a man who killed an off-duty LA County Sheriff’s deputy along with another man over 15 years ago, and left his bicycle at the scene as he fled afterwards.

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Local

Santa Monica will be building protected bike lanes on 17th and Steward Streets in the Pico Neighborhood on the eastern part of the city, along with improved crosswalks and safe routes to school for the area’s Edison Language Academy.

 

State

San Diego officials confirmed the identity of a man who was murdered by a driver as he was riding his bike near the Silverwing Recreation Center; police say 40-year old Octavio Mendoza was intentionally run down as the hit-and-ru driver apparently chased him across a grass field with his SUV. Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up.

An Escondido bike shop owner is a repeat winner of the National Gingerbread House Competition, despite only recently taking up competitive baking, as opposed to biking.

A 43-year old Oakland mother suffered major injuries when she was doored while riding her bike in Berkeley, then immediately struck by another motorist as she fell to the street.

A Sonoma paper looks back fondly to bicycling’s local heyday in the ’80s and ’90s. No, the 1880s.

 

National

Fast Company says electric cars won’t be enough to save our cities.

A planned Portland lawsuit over the city’s decision not to build a bike lane is up in the air, after the ostensible plaintiff moved to Amsterdam despite crowdfunding $13,000 to fund the suit.

Tragic news from Arkansas, where a bike-riding paramedic was killed during the Little Rock Marathon when he grabbed onto a utility vehicle to respond to an injured runner and was pulled under the vehicle’s wheels; the state governor ordered flags flown at half-staff for two days in his honor.

Talk about a life well-lived. A developmentally disabled Wisconsin man spent 12 years riding his bike to raise funds for a local food bank, covering more than 75,000 miles and raising over $42,000 before his death last week at 75. We should all have a heart that big.

Chicago rolls out Lyft’s new ebikes as part of its bikeshare system.

A Michigan man faces up to 30 years behind bars after admitting to using meth and weed, and using Facebook Messenger while driving at highway speeds when he fatally ran down a woman riding her bike earlier this year.

The bike boom is straining New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare system, which is struggling to keep up with demand in some areas.

Philadelphia solves two problems at once by installing bike corrals to keep drivers from parking in front of fire hydrants.

Heartbreaking news from Florida, where police revealed that the 14-year old Palm Beach boy who was murdered while riding his bike had been stabbed repeatedly in the head by a homeless man, in a totally senseless random attack; his killer had recently spent time in a mental institution after a similarly random attack on an Atlanta man.

 

International

Road.cc recommends essential tools for bike riders who do their own maintenance. And yes, I had all of those. Even if my wife won’t let me work on my bike in our apartment any more.

Vancouver is a little more colorful after installing artwork designed by university art students at five bike parking facilities near rail stations around the city.

Twin British brothers have been charged with murder in the death of a 63-year old man, whose body was found earlier this year after disappearing four years ago during a charity ride in Scotland; there’s no word on why he was killed, however.

Israel’s Knesset has given preliminary approval to a bill that would require license plates on ebike and e-scooters.

The former chairman of Fly6 and Fly12 maker Cycliq discovered the hard way that bike cams don’t stop thieves, after burglars made off with a trio of rare racing bikes from his garage.

 

Competitive Cycling

The reluctance of Quick-Step GM Patrick Lefevere to form a women’s cycling team was behind sponsor Deceuninck switching its alliance to the Alpecin-Fenix team next year.

Twenty-five-year old American ‘cross cyclist and mountain biker Ellen Noble is stepping away from racing indefinitely to deal with health issues caused by an auto-immune disorder and a crash that fractured her spine in three places.

If you’re not doing anything tonight, here’s your chance to dip a toe into track cycling.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you hope someone else buys a 20-year old custom-made cycling team bike so you don’t have to. Your next ebike could be a Porsche — and priced like it, too.

And people on bicycles hardly ever threaten anyone with a gun over bike parking.

Just saying.

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

 

 

My Ride: Bicycling the friendlier streets of Munich, Germany

Unfortunately, there won’t be any Morning Links today; dealing health issues — my wife’s and my own — kept me from being able to work yesterday. I’ll try to make up for it with a special Weekend Links tomorrow.

Instead, we’re reviving the Describe Your Ride feature, now retitled simply My Ride, with a special guest post and videos from Ralph Durham, a longtime friend of this site who moved from the Bay Area to Munich, Germany. And found the riding experience much different from the US.

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Well, hallo from München (Munich). Yes the home of Oktoberfest.

I’ve been following Ted’s blog for several years and always find it enlightening. I said I would send him some pictures and video if he wanted them or had space to put them up.

I’ve been living in München for 2 years now. My wife took a position here and was nice enough to allow me to join her. She just wants ‘ein Hausmann’. I am getting around the town more and more. Getting to play tour guide to guests and the like. We are on the Warm Showers list so have met some very interesting cyclists.

I’m now retired so this will not be my commute ride. Back in the SF Bay area I commuted almost daily the 12 miles into work. I’m no stranger to busy streets and highspeed roads. I must say that the cycling facilities are much better than I’m used to having. It’s not Holland where my wife and I rode around for 10 days a while ago. This is a slightly modified version of the route I took last year to my German classes.

The video(s) linked are from my house to the center of town. Comes in at about 8 Km. One video is 36 minutes long and is the whole thing. I have also cut it up into 3 sections. Just in case you don’t have over half an hour to take from your day at one time. I intend to put up on Youtube the other variations of the route. This route is a bit longer and slower than the fast way. The fastest way for me involves staying on the major streets (with separated bike provision) more than other options. The traffic here doesn’t bother me.

Cycling in München and around is quite easy if you know your way…. Very little is on any kind of grid. The interior, inner ring, is old and there isn’t much in the way of direct provision. The speed limit where there is no provision shown is normally 30 KPH (18 mph). I’m currently getting my driver’s license. The book is thick. The tests expensive. If you fail you pay again. They really pound road safety into you. Residential sections are 30. Very limited signs as to right of way. The rule is car on the right has priority. No signs, car on the right has priority. That goes for cyclists also. If I have the priority position the driver must give way. And they do. Which I found very disconcerting. And they found very annoying when I tried to give the right of way.

Traffic signals. There is essentially no right turn on red. The lights are on the near side of the intersection. If you pull up into the crosswalk and bike lane you won’t see the light. There is no benefit to do so because you can’t turn right anyway. Drivers turning right are expected to go part way around the corner so that trailing drivers can pass and then they can see down the bike path/sidewalk for oncoming traffic. Did this scare me to death a few times? Yes. I’m better at it now but still check to see that they will stop for my priority. If streets are single lane one way normally a cyclist can ride contra flow. This is indicated with a sign just under the don’t enter sign.

Please excuse the audio and video. I’m still dealing with my learning flat line (a curve implies improvement).

Full version:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

This video starts from the entrance path to our apartment. Right away you will see that my street has 2 vehicle lanes, parking, trees and or parking, the bike way, and a sidewalk. Both sides of the road. This in Grosshadern and this planned community of high-rises was built up 1970 and on. Underneath is the subway line U6. U6 runs right into the center of town and up past Alliance Arena, home of Bayern München. When I cross the main street further along there are entrances to the U6. One on each corner plus a lift. Two of the entrances have escalators which can go both directions depending on who gets there first. After the intersection the road necks down because the area is older. We pass another U station then a main junction under construction. This used to be the outer ring road but just after we arrived they opened a 4 Km tunnel, 400 million euro. This must have been fun to install when you had to keep the U6 running while you put in a 6 car/truck lane freeway tunnel. They are changing the top to become more of a boulevard. Then we head on to Partnachplatz another U station.

Here I diverge from the U route. A right left at the station will allow you to follow the U and is more riding beside a busy street. So instead I sweep to the left. I will then turn right at the eastern entrance of Westpark. I missed the turn by one short block in the video but that means I also missed a few hundred meters of cobble stones….. We then go back onto the route that has a bike ped tunnel under the S-bahn. This is the suburban train. This system runs though München but goes further out.

Turn left at the Kirche and follow the route until we join the road I normally take for speed. Through the little park, along another road and then duck under a slow intersection into the space where Oktoberfest is held. Theresienwiese, 4.5 million square feet largely used for the 16 day party. On the left side is the Statue Bavaria. Bronze 60 ft high and you can climb up into her head. Not for hot sunny days… We go along the tree lined side of the park and then turn into the older wealthy central area of town. Past the construction at the hospital and we meet up with Lindwurmstrasse. This street is the one I would take had I not gone on the more scenic route.

This is just before Sendlingertor. It is one of the original gates to the city. The only other original gate is Isartor. There is a crazy amount of construction going on here. S-tor has 6 U-bahn lines, 5 tram lines (streetcars), and 2 bus lines meet here. They are rebuilding and enlarging parts of the underground station and revamping the water handling system. The U-bahns are under the water table. Of course all lines will be kept running. München is 1.5 million people. Though S-tor the U-bahn runs 1500 trains per day, each train is over 300 ft long.

From S-tor we drop into the city center and then to the Viktuelmarkt. Good place to pick up lunch from a variety of vendors or other eating places. This has a biergarten also so you can kick up your heels and meet all kinds of people from who knows where at eh communal tables. The road through is a pedestrian zone so vehicle traffic is quite limited (and just horrible to drive through) I turn at the end and go under the building which was the Altenrathaus (old) to show you the Neuerathaus (new) (1907) City offices and main square. The Glockenspiel is also there. It plays 3 times a day, plus you can go up into the tower. Then I head back and turn to Isartor. If you continue through you end up at the Isar river.

Hope you enjoy the video. If you want more info I’ll give Ted my email and you can contact direct or use his handy comments section. I will be putting more up onto Youtube at some point. I’m hoping to learn how to strip the audio but that might mean buying software other than the camera companies free one.

Keep riding. Enjoy life.

Ralph

As an added bonus, he also shared this short clip riding on a bike and pedestrian bridge suspended under railroad tracks over the Isar River.

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My Ride is about your own experiences riding a bike — where and how you ride, whether good or bad, or anything in between. It can be a rant or rave, a description of your favorite route or how riding makes you feel. And any way you want, in words or pictures, bike cam video, or any other format you think tells the story best, wherever you happen to ride.

If you’d like to share your story, just send an email to the address on the About BikinginLA page.

Let’s keep the conversation going.

Morning Links: Munich bike traffic jam, an award for a recent guest post, and teams announced for this years AToC

Just a couple quick notes before we get started.

Ralph Durham forwards a photo from his new home in Munich, Germany. Note the long line of people on bikes waiting in the bike lane for the traffic light.

And Mike Wilkinson is now an award-winning author for the guest post he recently submitted about OC’s bike-riding Todd the Volunteer.

A while ago my wife and I helped our neighbor buy a three-wheel bike. She hadn’t ridden for decades, but now she loves it!

On a whim I sent her a link to your February 24 blog that included my submission about Todd the Volunteer. She told me she was moved to tears. In fact, she was so impressed that tonight she presented me with a plaque and a pop-up bicycle card.

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The Amgen Tour of California announces the teams that will compete in this May’s edition, including defending women’s champ Megan Guarnier and 2015 men’s winner Peter Sagan.

The Guardian says British Cycling’s reputation is in tatters after a damning report was leaked, accusing it of a culture of fear and dysfunctional leadership.

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Local

LAPD officers issue 45 tickets in just 90 minutes during a Lake Balboa crosswalk sting; police will look at ways to reduce speeds on the Valley’s four most dangerous corridors for bicyclists and pedestrians. Too bad we haven’t been able to get them to do a similar sting for safe passing violations. And not for lack of trying.

Pasadena police are looking for a man on a bike who repeatedly stabbed a homeless man after arguing with the victim’s girlfriend; the attacker is described as a Latino man between 30 and 35 years old, 6 feet tall and 170 to 180 pounds, with very short dark hair.

The San Marino Tribune looks at last Sunday’s 626 Golden Streets ciclovía, which drew thousands of people to the three-mile segment within the city. And probably a lot more than that.

Santa Clarita is still looking for input on a proposed bikeshare program.

The Santa Monica Daily Press quotes one of the artists who helped design the gates for the Ballona Creek bike path as saying there are plans to eventually extend the bike path from Griffith Park to the ocean. Wrong bike path; that’s the plan for the LA River bike path, which will eventually extend 51 miles from the San Fernando Valley to the coast, not Ballona Creek, which doesn’t reach that far inland.

Santa Monica police are conducting another of their periotic bike and pedestrian safety crackdowns today and Monday. Standard protocol applies; ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits.

Long Beach’s Beach Streets will hold a community meeting this Wednesday to prepare for the city’s next open streets event.

 

State

UC Santa Barbara students will get their bike path back in a few weeks once the school finishes repairing the sewer line underneath.

Bay Area bike riders are complaining that the Bay Bridge bike path, which was supposed to be open 24 hours a day, every day, is still only open during the day on weekends.

 

National

American bikeshare riders took 28 million trips in 2016, up from just 320,000 in 2010.

Some people just don’t get it. A pair of San Antonio TX politicians want to slice $200 million in projects they describe as pure pork from a bond package, including several road diets intended to add bike lanes and pedestrian safety improvements.

Chicago stats show women are more likely to be killed in bicycle crashes than men. In addition, most fatal bike wrecks in the city occur during morning rush hour, mostly in collisions with large commercial trucks, while only one rider was killed in a marked bike lane.

Nice piece from a Minnesota physician, who says drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians all have to know the rules of the road. And suggests stressed out motorists should slow down and try walking or biking instead.

A Columbus OH newspaper calls on drivers and bike riders to both obey the law and share the road safely.

The lawyer for an accused New York hit-and-run driver says a plea offer of 15 years reflects political pressure on the DA’s office. Not the fact that he’s accused of fleeing the scene after running a red light, veering into a bike lane and killing a man on his bike. Which makes 15 years sound about right.

It takes a lot to forgive the person who killed someone you love. But that’s what a New York man did when the drunk driver who took his wife’s life as she rode her bike was sentenced to up to four years in jail.

A New York woman was critically injured when she stepped out from between two parked cars and into the path of a bike rider. As we touched on yesterday, bikes don’t pose anywhere near the risk to others that cars do. But a bicycle can still do a lot of damage if you’re not careful around them. Or on them.

They get it. An Alabama city has eliminated its requirement that adults wear bike helmets when they ride in order to prepare for a planned bikeshare system. Whatever your opinions on helmets — I never ride without one, myself — mandating their use has been shown to depress riding rates, and has been blamed for the failure of bikeshare programs in Seattle, Brisbane and Melbourne.

 

International

A Vancouver company will fit you with a bike and take you on cycling trip the next time you visit the city.

Calgary bicyclists explain why they ride all winter, even at 20 degrees below zero.

For once, a driver’s claim that the sun was in her eyes failed to sway a jury, as a Canadian driver was convicted of dangerous driving in the death of a bicyclist.

A British campaign is looking to replicate nationwide the success of the West Midlands police in educating drivers on how to pass bicyclists safely; using a mat to demonstrate safe passing distances, they managed to cut close passing offenses 50% in just the first three months.

The city of Punjab makes 90% of the bicycles in India, but doesn’t offer bicyclists a single safe place to ride.

Not only is Bollywood star Salman Kahn one of us, he’s also a bikemaker, as he takes the lane on a Mumbai street riding one of his own company’s six-spoked ebikes.

Evidently, New Zealand is no better at keeping dangerous drivers off the roads than we are. A driver with five major traffic convictions in the last ten years was convicted of critically injuring a bike rider — and still got off with community service and a lousy 10-month suspended license.

Aussie cyclists plan to ride bareheaded to protest the country’s mandatory helmet laws.

A tech writer says China’s bikeshare boom is creating an unsustainable demand for bicycles.

Singapore is poised to be the next battleground for Chinese bikeshare startups.

 

Finally…

Until they make a bike with a built-in keg, this will have to do. No, seriously, keep your head up when you’re riding.

And when a bike rider tells you to back up, listen.

 

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