Tag Archive for red lights

Wait a year to ride with the walk signal, bike rider critically injured in A Line crash, and new LA council committee announced

Let’s start with a quick correction to something we mentioned yesterday.

There have been a number of stories from a cross the state reporting that bike riders can now start off from a red light with the walk signal by taking advantage of the leading pedestrian interval, rather than waiting for the light to turn green.

While that head start can provide a significant safety upgrade for people on bicycles and other micromobility devices, the new law doesn’t actually take effect until January 1st of next year, as Andrew Goldstein and Bryan J. Blumberg pointed out to me.

Personally, I’d do it anyway if I thought the situation calls for it, and try to argue my case with the cop if I got caught.

But that’s just me.

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels.

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Speaking of yesterday’s post, I inadvertently left out the news that a man riding a bicycle was critically injured in a collision with a Metro train in Long Beach last weekend.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was crossing the A Line, formerly Blue Line, tracks on East Spring Street near Del Mar Avenue when he was struck by the train around 11:16 Saturday morning, after allegedly riding around the crossing gates.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been an update since the initial reports, which means we’re unlikely to ever learn what happened to him.

So let’s just hope and pray he makes a full and fast recovery.

And let this be a reminder to never ride or walk around railroad crossing gates, regardless of whether you think you can make it.

Because chances are, you just might.

Until you don’t.

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Committee assignments were announced for the upcoming city council session yesterday, which David Zahniser of the LA Times posted on Twitter.

The all-important Transportation Committee — at least for our purposes — will be helmed by interim CD10 Councilmember Heather Hutt, with newly elected CD11 Councilmember Traci Park servicing as vice chair.

New members Eunisses Hernandez (CD1) and Katy Yaroslavsky (CD5) fill out the roster, along with CD4 Councilmember Nithya Raman.

We’ll have to wait to see what this will mean for active transportation in the City of Angels, but there’s reason for hope with the three progressive at large members onboard.

It’s also worth noting that the all-female committee roster comes just a few short years after the council raised countless red flags when no women were elected to the board.

Here’s the full list of committee assignments, courtesy of Zahniser.

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Zahniser also reports that just two candidates have qualified for the special election to replace for Council President Nury Martinez in CD6.

Martinez resigned in the wake of the recording in which she was heard making racist and otherwise offensive comments, along with two other Latino councilmembers and a labor leader, who also resigned his post.

One of the councilmembers, CD1’s “Roadkill” Gil Cedillo left the council at the end of his term after losing to Eunisses Hernandez, while CD14’s Kevin de León still refuses to do the right thing and resign.

Meanwhile, de León continues to pat himself on the back for securing a $47.5 million state active transportation grant for DTLA’s Skid Row, as if that makes up for his role in the offensive recording.

https://twitter.com/DavidZahniser/status/1610443302935105542

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

Mother Jones rates cars parked in bike lanes as one of the monsters of the past year, noting that drivers aren’t gods, they just own a Toyota.

No bias here. Over 5,000 motorists have signed a petition calling for the removal of new Maryland bike lanes “without delay,” claiming they make the road more dangerous, even though two bike riders were killed there in recent years; a petition supporting the changes has drawn nearly 900 signatures.

No bias here, either. After a motorcyclist ran into a retired British pedestrian, Twitter users naturally pile on to blame bicycle riders.

A right-wing UK academic and media personality comes out firmly against livable communities, if it means he can’t go zoom, zoom in his car wherever he wants.

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

Breitbart piles on with the many other conservative media sources accusing a “self-righteous” San Francisco bike rider of becoming unhinged because she complained about an ambulance needlessly blocking a bike lane, when they could have stopped in the buffer just to the left.

A Tulsa OK man faces charges after trying, and failing, to outrun the cops on the bike he just stole; police found multiple illegal drugs and paraphernalia on him, as well.

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Local 

Streetsblog recommends the Schabarum Trail Peak, part of the nearly 30-mile Schabarum-Skyline Trail running from San Dimas to unincorporated Whittier, offering sweeping views of the San Gabriel Valley.

 

State

Planetizen argues that San Diego needs to improve its bike infrastructure if it wants to have any chance of meeting its climate goals. Oddly, the city seems to take such things seriously, rather than calling their goals merely “aspirational” like their larger neighbor to the north.

San Francisco Streetsblog argues that drivers can park their vehicles on the street, so ebike buyers should be able to, as well.

Police in Concord continue to search for the pickup driver who fled the scene after running down a 57-year old man riding a bicycle last month, sending the victim to the hospital.

 

National

Travel & Leisure makes their picks for the best bike lock. And not surprisingly, chooses a Kryptonite as their overall favorite.

Road.cc looks at the best bicycling gadgets at this year’s CES Consumer Electronics Show, including airless metal bike tires and an all-in-one rear light, brake light and anti-theft alarm.

Intelligent Living offers three reasons to ride your bike to work. But fails to mention how much faster it can be than driving congested streets, and how much more fun you’ll have.

Cory Mortensen’s book The Buddha and the Bee, which recounts his unplanned and unsupported bike ride from Chaska, Minnesota to Truckee, California, won the 2022 Best Indie Book Award for non-fiction.

Portland’s bicycle and pedestrian advisory committees are raising red flags over a freeway widening and capping project that would compromise one of the city’s most heavily used bikeways, as well as increasing emissions and greenhouse gasses.

This is how it’s supposed to be done. Seattle is using orange cones to mark out temporary protected bike lanes on two streets, after one of two bridges with bike infrastructure was forced to close due to storm damage, requiring riders to use “hostile and deadly” streets to get to the other one.

A Colorado Springs CO paper profiles a carfree retired couple who use their three-wheeled ‘bents as their sole form of transportation.

Colorado’s governor is calling for a $120 million tax credit to encourage residents to buy electric cars and lawnmowers, as well as ebikes; the proposed program would offer a $500 tax rebate for ebike purchasers, rising to $1,000 for low income residents. Although the state could save a lot of money, and do more to improve air quality and fight climate change, if they designed the program to simply replace cars with ebikes, instead.

Massachusetts approved a new four-foot passing law, as well as a requirement to track collisions involving vulnerable road users.

She gets it. A Connecticut writer says the lack of Hoboken, New Jersey traffic deaths over the last four years shows that traffic violence isn’t inevitable.

A Virginia man is looking for a new lawyer after police arrested him with 327 pieces of allegedly stolen merchandise, including power tools and tens of thousands of dollars worth of stolen bikes.

Atlanta is the latest city to consider offering rebates for ebike purchasers. Meanwhile, Los Angeles remains firmly among the vast majority of cities that haven’t even discussed an ebike rebate program, while potential California buyer continue to wait with baited breath for the state’s long-delayed ebike rebate program to finally roll out.

 

International

Bike advocates in Toronto are accusing the city of falling short on its promise to build 20 miles of bike lanes each year by opening just 8.1 miles last year, while failing to build “critical bikeways,” as well.

A website accuses European countries of misusing the equivalent of $2.12 billion in funding appropriated by the EU for bicycle infrastructure.

They get it. A Glasgow nonprofit says it’s never too late to learn to ride a bicycle.

Sad news from the UK, where the man who designed the iconic 1970’s Raleigh Chopper bicycle has died; 96-year old Tom Karen also designed the two-seat, three-wheeled Bond Bug car, and the popular Marble Run game.

More sad news, this time from Spain, where former Spanish and world master’s champ Agustín “Guti” Navarro was found dead on New Years Eve, apparently from natural causes; he was just 44.

 

Competitive Cycling

Nineteen-year-old pro Madis Mihkels suffered a deep cut to his back when he was run down by a driver while training near his Estonian hometown.

 

Finally…

No, bike paths aren’t car lanes, even if they’re frozen. The iconic Hollywood Sign is being moved — the one in Ireland, that is.

And seriously, who doesn’t jump rope while riding their bike in a Culver City protected bike lane?

That tweet translates to “You know you have good bike infrastructure when…”

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

Bike law change #12: Turn stop signs into yields, and red lights into stop signs

We’ve all been there.

Maybe you have the good sense to take a back street through a quiet neighborhood, rather than ride on a busy, traffic-choked thoroughfare. Except then you have to stop for a stop sign on every corner.

Of course, you could do what so many other riders do, and just blow through it as if it wasn’t there — which could result in a sizable ticket if you don’t happen to notice the cop parked around the corner. Or maybe you make the same compromise I do, and brake just enough to stop most, if not all, your forward momentum, then roll through the intersection before you have to clip out of your pedals.

Or maybe you find yourself at a deserted intersection in the middle of the night, enduring a seemingly interminable wait for a red light to change — even though it should have detected the presence of a cyclist.

Fortunately, there’s an easy — and obvious — solution that’s been proven to work in the state of Idaho for over a quarter of a century.

Of course, California isn’t Idaho. And what works there won’t necessarily work here with our heavy traffic and angry, indignorant drivers. But given some very minor modifications, it could be a very effective solution for our state, as well.

So follow the Idaho solution for stop signs, and allow cyclists to treat them as if they were yield signs — slow down, look around carefully, and in the absence of any conflicting traffic, proceed through the intersection.

For red lights, just come to a complete stop, ceasing all forward momentum, though not necessarily stopping so long that you have to put your foot down. If there is other traffic at the intersection — whether cross traffic or other vehicles on the same street waiting for the light to change — remain stopped and wait for the green light.

Because frankly, too many California drivers would get pissed off if they had to wait and you didn’t. Which means either they’d go through the light as well, or take out their anger on the next rider they see.

But if you’re the only one waiting at the light, you should be able to treat it like a stop sign. And once any cross traffic has passed, continue on your way without having to sit an wait for the light to change.

 

Damien Newton has recently discussed misleading press reports that make cyclists seem responsible for accidents that their fault (here and here); the Bicycling Lawyer addresses the same theme in his most recent column. The Times’ sister publication discusses how to get back on a bike if you haven’t ridden in years. And a tribute to a fallen cyclist is held in Kentucky — as the police investigate yet another cycling accident.

What goes around…

There’s an intersection near my home, with a short, steep hill leading down on one side, and an equally short, steep hill leading back up the other.

And a stop sign in between.

If there’s no cross traffic, you can gain enough speed on the way down to blow through the stop sign and roll up the next hill without having to pedal — which comes in pretty handy at the end of a long, hard ride.

That’s what I always did, anyway. Until one time there was a little boy waiting on the corner with his father. And as I blew through the intersection, he pointed at me and said, “I want to be just like him.”

And I realized that I’d just taught a little kid to run stop signs.

So that was the last time I ever did that. Sure, I may roll through an intersection after braking almost to a stop — the same way most drivers do in this town. But blast through a stop sign like it isn’t even there?

No mas.

Then again, I also stop for red lights. As a driver, as well as a cyclist, I know how annoying it is to see a cyclist blow through a light while I’m stuck there waiting for it to change. And I’ve seen too many close calls when cross traffic suddenly appears out of nowhere.

I wave cars through the intersection if there’s any question over who has the right of way — or if it looks like they won’t let me have it — and wave them around me if they’re reluctant to pass when I can see it’s safe to do so.

I try to stay out of the way of traffic as much as possible, whether by riding in a bike lane or sticking as close to the right as I think is safe under the circumstances. And if I need to take a lane, I’ll signal my intention and cut over once someone makes room for me, then try to match the speed of traffic and move back over as soon as possible — and give the driver behind me a wave to thank him for following safely.

Do I ride this way because I’m some goody-two-shoes who doesn’t have the, uh…guts to ride more aggressively?

Yeah, right. I have X-rays that would argue otherwise.

No, I do it because I’ve learned that discretion really is the better part of valor, and that riding is more fun when you get back home in the same condition you were in when you left. Or reasonably close to it, anyway.

And because I hope that by showing a little courtesy and respect to the drivers around me, they may show the same consideration to the next rider they meet.

And that might just be you.

A couple quick links: The L.A. Times encourages drivers to share the road (thanks to Mike Wally for posting the link; I missed somehow it the first time around). Our cycling troubles make news across the pond. Hizzoner blows off Damien Newton and Joe Linton, along with our lousy 1% — we need to remind him that cyclists vote, too. And according to LAist, skateboarders do the crime, cyclists do the time.

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