We’re taking a little different format today, after dealing with last night’s breaking news left too little time for the usual links.
But with far too much news to ignore.
Meanwhile, Friday means we’re finally on the cusp of the summer’s first three-day weekend.
So assuming you’re still here reading this, remember that holidays typically mean more drunks on the road, as people barrel into their cars after outdoor gatherings, or to make another drunken beer run.
So get out and enjoy the great weather. And by all means, ride your bike.
Just ride defensively, and assume ever driver you see after noon today has had a few. Or more than a few.
Chances are, you won’t be too far off.
Call it much ado about nothing.
Or how to look like you’re doing something to improve bike and micromobility safety, while actually doing as little as possible.
And maybe even making things worse.
According to a presentation by the South Bay Council of Governments, the regional body plans to install a network consisting of 243 miles of sharrows throughout the region, for no apparent reason.
As we’ve pointed out before, sharrows serve little or no actual purpose, failing to grant riders a single right or inch of pavement to which they weren’t already entitled.
People on bicycles are already legally allowed to ride in the full lane in any substandard lane. Which means any that isn’t wide enough for a bike rider to safely share the lane with a motor vehicle, while remaining outside the door zone.
A definition that applies to most right lanes in Southern California.
At best, sharrows remind riders to position themselves in the center of the lane, while providing wayfinding and directing riders to presumably safer streets.
At worst — which is usually how they work — they merely position unsuspecting people directly in the path of angry drivers who fail to comprehend what the strange chevron-shaped symbols are for, while the little arrows simply serve to help them improve their aim.
In this case, the sharrows appear to be an attempt to shunt bike riders and micromobility users onto quieter side streets, and get them out of the way of entitled motorists on larger arterials, while providing more space for parking.
Yes, they want us out of the way so they can store more of the cars they aren’t using.
South Bay COG even pats themselves on the back, saying the network is likely to win an award of innovation.
Apparently forgetting that sharrows ain’t infrastructure, and don’t improve safety.
In fact, studies show that streets with sharrows do little or nothing to improve safety, and can actually increase the risk to people on bicycles.
Streetsblog’s Joe Linton forwards news that a resolution calling for creation of the network was approved at last night’s board meeting of the South Bay COG.
But the already weak network was weakened even further when representatives from Torrance and other cities were assured that participation in the plan was strictly voluntary.
You can see maps of the proposed Local Traffic Network here.
Seriously, it’s nice that they are trying to do something, even if their motives are highly questionable.
But in this case, it seems like it really is the least they could do.
Illustration from South Bay COG.
Speaking of Linton, he forwards news that long-suffering users of the LA River bike path will have to keep on suffering.
After years of closures due to flood control measures by the Army Corps of Engineers — and the damage they caused — as well as multiple bridge construction projects, the pathway north of the LA Zoo is closed once again.
The section from Victory to Zoo Drive will be shut down until future notice to repair damage and deterioration to the path.
Which is apparently engineer speak for “don’t hold your breath.”
According to an email from LADOT, the agency must first find funding for the project before a timeline can be announced.
Let’s just hope the work can be finished before next winter’s rains cause further damage, or put a halt to construction work.
Assuming we get any rain, which is far from guaranteed.
In the meantime, LADOT will once again be putting up signs to mark yet another detour.
Phillip Young forwards news that an arrest has finally been made in the heartbreaking hit-and-run death of 46-year-old Branden Finley in Downtown Los Angeles earlier this year.
Finley was on his way to join the Ride For Black Lives on January 16th of this year, when he became the victim of a horrific careening crash as a speeding carjacker tried to make his escape through DTLA.
Following the collision, the thief simply walked away, bizarrely carrying the truck’s steering wheel, as the popular father of two lay dying in the street.
Now LAPD investigators have used DNA evidence to identify 36-year old Ronald Earl Kenebrew Jr. as the suspect, charging him with murder for Finley’s death.
They didn’t have to look far to find Kenebrew once they got a hit on DNA collected from the truck; he’s been in the custody of the Sheriff’s Department since February on suspicion of robbery.
He was also identified from security videos of the suspect as he walked away.
Normally, I say something like let’s hope they lock him up for a long time.
But that seems pretty assured in this case.
This is who we share the road with.
Ted Faber forwards news of an anti-tax auto-borne terrorist who slammed her car through a Marysville, Tennessee vaccination site.
Thirty-six-year old Virginia Christine Lewis Brown was arrested after speeding through a through a vaccine tent in a mall parking lot, yelling “No vaccine!” as workers dove out of her way.
Witnesses described her as driving at a high rate of speed, while she somehow claimed she was only doing a sedate 5 mph.
If convicted on all counts and sentenced to the max — which is unlikely — she could face up to 105 years behind bars.
Which somehow seems slightly worse than getting a little jab in the arm.
Just a couple more quick items.
A Pennsylvania man was busted after he hopped on his bike and pedaled toward’s his daughter’s house with a rifle in hand, after a drunken threat to kill blow his son-in-law’s head off.
Although he told police he was just “varmint hunting.” Which is an odd way to describe your daughter’s husband.
He faces charges of “simple assault, making terroristic threats and possession of drug paraphernalia, as well as with the summary offenses of public drunkenness, harassment, criminal mischief and hunting without a license.”
I think we all know what he was hunting.
Bike racing fan Peter Flax recommends Indiana University’s iconic Little 500 — the race made famous in Breaking Away — if you just can get enough.
— Peter Flax (@Pflax1) May 27, 2021
And yes, that’s still the best damn bike movie ever made.
Gravel Bike California gets a tour of gravel riding trails in California’s Great Not-So-White North.
— Gravel Bike California (@GravelBikeCal) May 27, 2021
And finally, our last item of the day comes from Erik Griswold, who says don’t be like Kevin.
— Bike Is Best (@BikeIsBestHQ) May 28, 2021
Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask.
And get vaccinated, already.