Tag Archive for road diets

Morning Links: AP e-scooter panic, LA is (not) famous for road diets, and Cedillo thinks people in CD1 don’t need scooters

Let’s start with this insightful look at the panicked Associated Press story we mentioned last week about the dangers of e-scooters, from someone who prefers to remain anonymous.

Here’s an excerpt from the AP story.

Andrew Hardy was crossing the street on an electric scooter in downtown Los Angeles when a car struck him at 50 miles per hour and flung him 15 feet in the air before he smacked his head on the pavement and fell unconscious.

And here’s what our anonymous commenter had to say in response.

The car was going 50 in DTLA, an area where it’s really hard and really illegal to drive 50 mph, and that is the last mention of an obviously speeding car. Instead, it gave 5 paragraphs to helmet use. It outlines the dangers of sidewalk riding (which are valid), but gives no space for discussion of weak infrastructure or vehicle speed that make people feel unsafe riding on the streets. It closes with a quote on how “companies are just dumping in scooters in cities” from Drew Howerton, a 19-year old who visited Austin last October and may not have the most informed view of municipal scooter regulation.

So, to sum it up, scooters are the problem, cars are never the problem and the reporter didn’t interview any subject matter experts. War on cars? Only in your dreams.

Since it is AP, this lazy reporting made its way into nearly every local media outlet in the country.

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In today’s laugh out loud moment, a Detroit paper says more road diets and bike lanes are coming to the metro area, with supporters saying it calms traffic and opponents trotting out the old war on cars canard.

And one commenter opposes the road diets by insisting “This isn’t LA…”

Never mind that road diets haven’t exactly been welcomed with open arms here, either.

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The LA City Council Transportation Committee will meet Wednesday afternoon, squeezing in discussion, amid all the micro-restrictions on truck parking and idling, of actually maybe doing something to close the Northvale Gap on the Expo Bike Path, along with banning dockless bikeshare and scooters in Gil Cedillo’s Council District 1.

Because evidently, only people in wealthier districts deserve inexpensive, convenient transportation options.

“Let them drive cars” seems to be Cedillo’s equivalent of “Let them eat cake.”

Meanwhile, Metro will host a series of meetings this week in the San Fernando Valley to consider what streets transit riders will use to get to the coming light rail line on Van Nuys Blvd — with the knowledge that more people are likely to arrive by bike or on foot than in cars.

The first meeting will take place tonight in San Fernando, followed by Van Nuys on Wednesday and Panorama City on Saturday.

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Tern is giving away a trip for two to to Los Angeles for the August Meet the Hollywoods CicLAvia.

Sorry Angelenos, you’re already here.

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Now here’s a bicycle tour to add to my own bike bucket list — a 550-mile ride to visit all six Belgian Trappist breweries.

Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.

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The war on bikes may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.

Anti-bike terrorists strike again, stringing a wire across a UK mountain bike trail at neck height — something that could be fatal if it caught an unsuspecting rider by surprise.

A British bike rider was lucky to stay on his bike and escape injury when he was the victim of an attack with a paintball fired by a slingshot from a passing car.

When I started writing about the war on bikes, stories like this came along maybe once or twice every few weeks; now they’re a daily occurrence. And like today, often more than one.

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Local

City officials have finally broken ground on the long-planned, 400-foot orange Taylor Yard Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge connecting Cypress Park and Elysian Valley across the L.A. River; the $20.6 million bridge has been in the works for three decades. And probably would have cost a lot less if they’d moved forward with it then.

A Venice writer tries all the e-scooters, and says most are awful. But Wheels wins, with Bird first runner-up.

CiclaValley takes a bike tour of LA landmarks. And yet, he rides right past my apartment and doesn’t bother to say hi.

A Duarte bike rider was shot in the elbow Saturday evening when a car pulled up next to him; he refused to cooperate with investigators.

 

State

California Streetsblog says it’s time to buy your tickets for the biennial California Bike Summit hosted by Calbike, which just happens to be in Los Angeles this time. I attended the first one, which was also in LA. And it was definitely worth it.

Kellen Winslow II has been convicted of rape, indecent exposure and lewd conduct in a series of San Diego assaults, while jurors remain deadlocked on eight other counts; the former NFL star was caught in part because Strava placed his bicycle near the site of one of the attacks

Santa Barbara police will be conducting yet another bike and pedestrian safety operation today. As always, ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limit line if you find yourself riding there.

Quartz says Lyft’s lawsuit against San Francisco shows they don’t care about reducing the number of cars on the road, despite talk from the company’s leadership.

 

National

No surprise here. Months after Seattle cancelled plan for a road diet and bike lanes on a dangerous street, complaints are piling up about unsafe driving and dangerous conditions for people on bicycles. It’s almost as if maybe there might have been a reason for the road diet in the first place.

Kansas officials say that with riders from the Trans American Bike Race passing through the state, it’s a reminder for people to drive safely around bike riders, after two Trans Am competitors were killed by Kansas motorists in the past two years.

A Dallas newspaper offers advice to the city’s newly elected mayor. And fixing sidewalks and building bike lanes top the list.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. A little girl in Fargo ND suffered non-life threatening injuries when a driver left-crossed the bike her mother was riding, and crashed into the bike trailer she was riding in, claiming he somehow didn’t see them. So the person behind the wheel drove off with a crappy $20 ticket for failing to yield.

A Milwaukee newspaper offers advice on how to keep your bike safe, including registering it for free with Bike Index.

Must have been an autonomous car. A Wisconsin TV station somehow manages to write 250 words about a hit-and-run that seriously injured a woman riding a bike, without ever mentioning the possibility, however remote, that the car may have had a driver.

Bike riders aren’t even protected on separated bike paths, as a Chicago driver was injured when his car flew off the roadway and onto the bike path along the city’s Lake Shore Drive. Fortunately, he appears to have missed anyone on the popular pathway.

The off-duty New York firefighter who deliberately attempted to run over the bike rider he nearly hit while running a red light has finally been arrested by the NYPD on charges of reckless endangerment and driving without a license. Although he should have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, which is what the crime really calls for, at a bare minimum.

A New York physician says the best way to prevent injuries is for kids to wear a helmet and obey the rules of the road when they ride a bike or scooter. Although giving them safer places to ride couldn’t hurt.

Brooklyn safety advocates say traffic violence has become an epidemic in the south part of the borough — as the next story illustrates.

A 22-year old Brooklyn driver faces charges for killing an ebike rider while allegedly speeding and driving under the influence — with her four-year old son in the back seat. The victim was a hard-working Bangladeshi refugee who had been granted political asylum in the US.

A 14-year old New Jersey girl was lucky to escape with a few scrapes when her bike was struck by a driver who was being pursued by police; police are still looking for him after he escaped following the crash.

A conservative Maryland podcast says “transit activists are just like cycling activists in their casual relationship with the truth and their meltdowns when somebody dare says ‘no.'” Something tells me those transit and bike advocates may have a better relationship to the truth than the people behind the podcast care to confess.

 

International

A Kiwi writer bikes Bolivia’s Death Road. Seriously, if the road had any other name, hardly anyone would bother, regardless of how scenic or challenging it might be.

Canadian Cycling Magazine provides warning signs that you may love your bike more than your partner. I may not love my bike more that my wife, but we have been together a lot longer.

Good question. A Vancouver city planner and urbanist asks if only experienced bicyclists feel safe in a painted bike lane, is it really a bike lane at all? Then again, as someone who lives in Hollywood, I’d settle for any bike lanes right now — good, bad or otherwise.

A Saskatchewan letter writer says separating bikes and motor vehicles is safer for everyone, because many drivers don’t follow the rules, either.

London author Jools Walker talks biking while black, and how her book is getting more women on bikes.

A British op-ed writer says it may seem radical, but calm down and try talking to teenagers like human beings for a change. And just leave the kids on ride-outs alone, already.

Life is cheap in Australia, where a truck driver walked without a single day behind bars for killing a bike rider because… wait for it… the sun was in his eyes, he was busy adjusting his visor, and he didn’t hear the ruble strips on the side of the road.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling examines how a former ultrarunner with limited bike racing experience and no cycling coach managed to win the world’s premier gravel race.

A new partnership has been established between The Cyclist’s Alliance and the HeadSmart Sports Concussion Programme to study the problem of concussions in the women’s pro cycling peloton.

Victories by Los Angeles-based cyclist Justin Williams in two of the stages of the Tulsa Tough cycling race has put his new Legion of Los Angeles team on the national map; the team is dedicated to “increasing diversity (and) encouraging inclusion” in elite cycling.

 

Finally…

No one likes when drivers park in bike lanes, but don’t whack their cars with your scooter. Apparently Kylie Jenner and friend are a few days late for the World Near-Naked Bike Ride — though someone should tell them bikes work better with just one person per seat.

And it says something when even one of LA’s most bike-friendly city councilmembers doesn’t feel safe riding on the street with his kids.

 

Morning Links: Cedillo pulls fast one on Eagle Rock Blvd, Metro Bike goes ebike, and USC prof gets it wrong on road diets

Looks like Gil Cedillo is up to his old tricks.

The CD1 Councilmember is notorious for sandbagging bicycle and safe streets advocates following his flip flop on promises to support a fully funded and shovel-ready road diet on North Figueroa.

Shortly after taking office, he sponsored a series of public meetings carefully crafted to make it look like opposition to the road diet outweighed support, when just the opposite was true.

Then ended up demanding that the city council remove all bike lanes in his district from the mobility plan.

An attempt that failed miserably.

Now he’s suddenly called a public meeting to discuss plans to improve safety on Eagle Rock Blvd on exceptionally short notice.

Neale Stokes reports that hand-scrawled posters have just gone up around Cedillo’s Verdugo field office, announcing a last minute public meeting to be held on Saturday to discuss crosswalks, bike lanes and traffic safety on the busy boulevard.

Never mind that no other notice mentioning a meeting regarding Eagle Rock Blvd has appeared online or in local publications to give more than a handful of people a chance to offer their input.

It’s almost like he wants to hold a public meeting without the public actually showing up.

Except for the ones who’ll support his predetermined position, of course.

It’s hard to read from the photo, but the Eagle Rock Blvd meeting will be held tomorrow from 10 am to noon at the Glassell Park Senior Center, 3650 Verdugo Road.

You owe it to yourself to attend if you live, work, walk or bike in the area round Eagle Rock Blvd to demand a safer street for everyone.

Or just accept whatever it is the city’s most notoriously anti-bike and anti-safety councilmember wants to shove down our throats.

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LA’s Metro Bike bikeshare will be adding over 300 ped-assist ebikes to its fleet to serve 20 new docking stations stretching from Exposition Park to Koreatown and Silver Lake.

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LA Times readers react to a recent article questioning the spending of gas tax money on road diets by pointing out the need for them.

Except for the director of USC’s Transportation Engineering Program, who argues that moving cars by maintaining the outdated Level of Service standard is more important than saving human lives.

No, really.

To the editor: Road diets are a travesty regardless of how we pay for them.

Proponents of reducing road capacity invariably claim that lane reductions can be executed with little impact on traffic volumes. They can, but traffic volumes do not describe level of service. A given traffic volume can be achieved with denser, lower speed flow; or with sparser, higher speed flow.

Initiatives like Vision Zero focus worthy attention on pedestrian safety but deliver far too few safety improvements in exchange for potentially crushing increases in network travel delays. Lives have value. Time has value. Mobility has value. Vision Zero mismanages the trade-offs.

Put fuel tax revenues into capacity, maintenance, repair and congestion pricing tools.

James E. Moore II, Los Angeles

The writer is a professor in USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering and Price School of Public Policy and director of USC’s Transportation Engineering Program.

Yet another reminder that the old, entrenched attitudes are hard to defeat.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.

A Pennsylvania mountain biker was lucky to avoid serious injuries when he crashed into a rope that someone had strung across a bike trail next to a steep embankment.

Apparently, someone doesn’t like bike races, either, tossing a broken bike into the path of the Giro riders in an apparent attempt to cause a mass pileup.

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Local

LA’s Exposition Park is in line for a people-friendly makeover, including plans to de-emphasize cars and build more bike racks.

LAist wonders what would happen if Los Angeles banned right turns on red lights. Meanwhile, a San Jose paper says right-on-red bans are spreading through the Bay Area, even as red light cameras are being removed.

A writer for the Daily Bruin says partnering with an e-scooter provider won’t save UCLA’s failing bikeshare system.

A bike-riding YouTube star competes in a Malibu beauty contest, and concludes they have some value, after all.

 

State

The rich get richer. San Francisco announces plans to extend the three-block parking protected bike lanes on Valencia Street another eight blocks.

A Bay Area bike rider lists all the specialized — or Specialized — gear you’ll need for your first bikepacking ride. Or you could just a sleeping bag and a tent, strap ’em onto the bike you already own, and just go.

A Stockton man was shot several times in an apparent robbery attempt while riding his bicycle on a local bike path.

 

National

Bike Snob makes the case that horns don’t belong on cars, either, calling them “inherently stupid and profoundly antisocial.”

Reno firefighters surprised a teenage boy with a new bike after they had to rescue him when his bike slipped off a path, and he got stuck in a culvert.

An Arizona history professor says the lowly bicycle has had an impact on labor, travel, technology, fashion and marriage.

Now that’s more like it. A Wisconsin bike shop is enticing people to get on their bikes with a Bike Week spread offering up fresh bacon and coffee, along with fruit, donuts and an unspecified vegan option. They had me at bacon and coffee.

Streetsblog New York complains about a road resurfacing project that removed all the markings for a protected bike lane, leaving riders to fend for themselves for weeks.

Your move, Los Angeles. New York passes an ordinance making it illegal to block bike lanes for construction work.

A Trenton, New Jersey columnist says the mayor’s Bike Month bicycle ride should have gone through the city’s impoverished neighborhoods, where 18 people have died from gun violence in recent days. A reminder that traffic violence isn’t the only risk far too many people face on a daily basis in this country.

DC decides that flexposts just aren’t good enough for protected bike lanes.

Baltimore is ripping out a section of a protected bike lane to restore twelve parking spaces in front of a church, while the city’s mayor denies remarks attributed to him saying that black people don’t ride bicycles.

A New Orleans writer argues that bike lanes make economic sense for the city.

 

International

A Costa Rican website considers what it will take to get the country’s people on bicycles.

Here’s a few more for your bike bucket list. A Canadian website lists what they consider the five best road bike rides in the western part of the country.

A pair of bike riders raised the equivalent of nearly $38,000 for charity by riding the length of Great Britain — although one man had to finish alone after his partner was seriously injured when he was run down by an older driver with a suspended license.

A travel writer bikes around Taiwan for just $29 a day.

The LA Times former Beijing bureau chief recalls riding his bicycle to witness the Chinese army crush the demonstrators at Tiananmen Square.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cyclocross Magazine offers a preview of this weekend’s 202-mile Dirty Kanza 200 gravel race.

Then there’s the 350-mile, unsupported, ultra endurance Dirty Kanza XL, featuring the 28-year old woman who won last year’s 2,745-mile Tour Divide — even she didn’t even learn how to ride a bike until she was 20.

 

Finally…

Your next bike tires could come from Russian dandelions. And now you can wear your sweaty bike shorts everywhere and be totally trendy.

Morning Links: Taking traffic safety deniers seriously, walking bikes on the Troutdale bridge, and Bruce Lee was one of us

Good to see you back after the long holiday weekend. 

Now grab your coffee and buckle in. We’ve got a lot of territory to cover, and a lot to catch up on.

Today’s photo captures an e-bakfiets used as an expensive marketing gimmick for a perfume pop-up at the Grove, photobombed by a hot and tired corgi.

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Call it a major misfire on this one.

A Sacramento-based reporter for the LA Times appears to take traffic safety deniers at face value, giving them a platform to complain about gas tax funds being used for active transportation.

Two years after state lawmakers boosted the gas tax with a promise to improve California streets, some cities have raised the ire of drivers by spending millions of the new dollars on “road diet” projects that reduce the number and size of lanes for motor vehicles.

Projects have touched off a debate as taxpayer advocates and motorists complain that the higher gas taxes they are paying for smoother trips will actually fund projects that increase traffic congestion.

Especially if those funds go towards reducing excess road capacity for motor vehicles, which increasing overall capacity by installing bike lanes.

Also known as the dreaded — to them — road diet.

Not to mention knee-jerk opposition from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn, which never met a tax they liked.

Gas tax money can legally go to such projects, but that does not mean it should, said David Wolfe, legislative director for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., which opposed the original gas tax increase and supported an unsuccessful statewide ballot measure last year to repeal it.It has since continued to watch and criticize how state and local governments are spending the money.

“When Proposition 6 was on the ballot, all voters heard was money would go to road repair and maintenance,” Wolfe said. “They want roads to be repaired. They don’t want roads to be taken away with their taxpayer dollars.”

Never mind that road diets have been shown to reduce overall crashes by 19% in the Golden State, and as much as 47% elsewhere.

So they’re complaining about using gas tax funds to save their own lives and repair bills.

Smart. Real smart.

Never mind also that $2.27 billion of the gas tax increase went to repair and maintain roads, while $750 million a year was set aside for transit projects.

And a paltry $100 million went to bike and pedestrian projects. Most of which benefit drivers, as well.

But try telling that to angry motorists and traffic safety deniers while they light their torches and sharpen their pitchforks.

“It’s creating gridlock on Venice Boulevard, which is then causing cut-through traffic into our neighborhoods,” said Selena Inouye, board president of the Westside Los Angeles Neighbors Network, a group formed in response to the project…

Inouye, a retired social worker, said having motorists pay higher gas taxes so the money can be used to reduce the capacity of roads is contradictory.

She and her husband are paying more than $4 a gallon for gas at her local service station, she said, a price that has been increased by the state gas tax.

“The money should be used to help with congestion overall, and I don’t think that road diets help congestion. I think they cause congestion,” Inouye said.

Even though no one else seems to be able to find that gridlock they keep complaining about. Or that only 12 cents of that $4-plus for a gallon of gas is due to the gas tax increase.

But those are just facts.

And facts just get in the way when you’re insisting on having yours.

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Malibu Hills resident Chris Willig forwards his observations on the absurd, and possibly illegal, attempts by LA County to force bike riders to walk over the newly reopened Troutdale bridge.

Mulholland Highway had been closed in Cornell for about 6-months since the Woolsey Fire which caused the Troutdale Bridge to melt. The catastrophe has vexed cyclists. They’ve been forced to use a detour of about 6 miles on Kanan Road to go around the closure.  And that route is plagued by increased traffic particularly 1,000’s of heavy debris laden trucks hauling the remains of burned out houses.

A temporary one-lane bridge opened Wednesday afternoon, but the celebration from the cycling community has been short lived. Cyclists have been banned from the main road bed with LA County officials trying to force people to walk their bikes on a pedestrian sidepath. This strange traffic configuration can been seen in the photo (viewing north from the south bank of Triunfo Creek) with all of the signage required to direct traffic. It seems ridiculous since the crossing is now controlled by a traffic light system to allow only oneway passage at a posted 10 MPH. As cyclists using this route are normally in road shoes, walking the 230 feet required seems dangerous. More importantly, if many cyclists take the detour trudging across the bridge as instructed, it is clear traffic will be interrupted by all the dismounting and remounting in the street, especially at the south terminus (pictured).

The safest and most convenient routing for road cyclists would be using exactly the same rules for auto traffic. Ironically, the only change from pre-fire norm would be we’d have to cut our speed in half to accommodate the cars slowed by the new speed limit.

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A ghost bike will be installed for fallen Valencia bicyclist Kori Sue Powers tonight.

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Bruce Lee was one of us.

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

And this time, the other side is armed.

A Boyle Heights bike rider was shot in the arm in an apparent gang shooting Friday night.

San Diego’s boardwalk turned into a shooting gallery when an emotionally troubled man pulled out a rifle after getting into an argument with a bike rider, shooting at him several times — and missing, thankfully. Then tried to order an Uber to make his escape.

After someone in a passing Mercedes shot an Oakland woman in the ass with a pellet gun as she was riding her bike, she waited on the side of the road for the police to show up. Then gave up and went home, and waited another 12 hours before they finally bothered to stop by to take a report.

An Iowa bike rider was lucky to remain upright when a driver internationally swerved onto the shoulder of the roadway to sideswipe him, as a passenger leaned out the window to scream insults. And he’s got the video and a hole in his glove to prove it.

After someone shot an Arkansas bike rider in the leg, he refused to go to the hospital because he was afraid someone would take his antique bike.

A road raging Florida driver is under arrest for shooting a man riding a bicycle — for the crime of riding in the traffic lane, just like he’s supposed to.

A road raging Aussie man was busted for apparently following a bike rider home after a collision, pulling out a rifle and shooting at the rider’s home. Then leaving and coming back to do it again. And again.

Then again, not all the drivers used guns.

Some used weapons weighing a couple tons or more.

A Winnipeg bike rider watched as a semi driver flattened his bike, running over it in a road rage incident; fortunately, the victim had already gotten off to confront the angry driver.

A road raging Australian driver got mad after following a group of bicyclists, then cut in front and brake-checked them before turning into a driveway.

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Then again, it’s not like people on bikes are automatic candidates for sainthood.

A Massachusetts man rode up to a convenience store on his bike, robbed it with a meat clever, and rode away again.

New York police are on the lookout for a bike-riding Bronx thief snatching smartphones from women.

You know we’re making progress when even an Irish mob hitman makes his getaway by bike.

And French authorities are searching for a bike-riding man who planted a nail-filled parcel bomb in Lyon, injuring 13 people.

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Local

No surprise here, as The Eastsider says bridge construction has turned the LA River bike path into an obstacle course.

The LA Times looks at the latest gear and bikes for bikepacking, and examines the utter bliss of bikepacking in the backcountry.

CiclaValley concludes his Best Bike Weekend Ever trilogy with a look back at the recent 626 Golden Streets open streets event.

A Bakersfield man visits LA for the recent Culver City to Venice CicLAvia, and discovers the best part of traveling is the people and animals you meet, while learning that his pug really likes riding a bike.

The LAPD is introducing sand-riding fat tire ebikes and ATVs to Venice Beach in an attempt to stop running over any more people sunbathing on the beach.

Chris Pratt’s six-year old son is one of us, as the actor and fiancé Katherine Schwarzenegger bought him a fat tire bike in Santa Monica.

If you’re a fan of riding a bike without actually going anywhere, head to the Santa Monica pier on Sunday for the annual Pedal on the Pier fundraiser.

Fans of the long-running British soap East Enders will be happy to learn that Patsy Palmer is one of us, as the actress went for a bike ride with her husband in the ‘Bu.

 

State

Three cities in North San Diego County — Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar — will team together for a 500-bike docked e-bikeshare system.

Sad news from Santa Cruz, where a 66-year old man was killed when he was struck by three separate cars while riding his bike on the coast highway.

Great op-ed in the New York Times from a Berkeley man, who considers the “inconvenience” posed by a lifetime of riding bikes as a one-armed black man.

A San Francisco man live-streamed his confrontation with a bike thief who was using a loud power tool to cut a lock and snatch a bike in broad daylight; the thief gave up and walked away after being challenged.

 

National

People for Bikes says inclusiveness is the way to grow the bicycling community.

Your next MIPS helmet could be full of fluid. Or you could wear one that looks like a baseball cap and folds to the size of a water bottle. Meanwhile, Forbes points out the obvious, noting that bike helmets don’t do a lot to protect your face.

Your next fat tire ebike could have three wheels — with two tandem tires in front.

A former Seattle cop and bike rider gets it almost entirely wrong, arguing that motorists automatically have the right-of-way on sharrows. And insisting that road diets and efforts to get more people on bikes are just a leftist plot. Never mind that there’s a pretty good conservative argument for bikes, too.

Great idea. A Seattle program gives bicyclists discounts at over 150 businesses in the city after buying a $5 sticker to put on their helmets.

It takes a major schmuck to steal an adaptive adult tricycle a Phoenix man used as his only form of transportation following a pair of strokes.

The architect behind the proposed Tucson AZ bike ranch across from the entrance to Saguaro National Park explains his plan in the face of local opposition. 

Police have issued an arrest warrant for an Austin TX woman who left the scene after running down a bike rider earlier this year after the victim picked her out of a lineup; apparently thinking she was getting hit on in a singles bar, she gave the victim a fake phone number before driving off. Thanks to Stephen Katz for the heads-up.

Kansas will install a beautiful permanent memorial to honor a fallen bicyclist who was killed in a collision while participating in the annual Trans-Am cross-country bike race last year.

A Kansas teen jumped into swollen flood waters to save the life of a 12-year old boy who was swept away while riding his bicycle.

Five hundred Detroit second graders got new bicycles, thanks to Chevrolet and the NHL’s Red Wings.

A new community garden will honor the victims of the Mardi Gras parade crash in New Orleans, where a drunk driver killed two bike riders and injured seven other people.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole 10-year old autistic Florida boy’s $5,500 adaptive tricycle — and just the opposite for the Good Samaritans who replaced it.

 

International

Mark your calendar for Monday’s World Bicycle Day.

How to be a good citizen of the bike lane.

Bicycling looks back on how bicycles helped defeat the Kaiser and win the war to end all wars. Which sadly didn’t.

A new Canadian study suggests your best protection could be a high-vis vest with a left-pointing arrow to tell drivers to move over to pass. Although that doesn’t replace the need for safe infrastructure.

Canadian advice for anyone thinking about dating a hardcore cyclist. Or maybe it’s a warning.

A Canadian man got his hot bike back after someone bought it for $60, not realizing it was stolen; the original owner used it to traverse the length and breadth of Canada. No, literally.

They get it. A Vancouver paper says “no civic bureaucrat or politician should approve a bike lane they wouldn’t feel safe taking their kids for a ride on themselves.”

A Montreal op-ed explains how bike lanes benefit everyone.

While we were busy observing Memorial Day yesterday, Londoners celebrated their first-ever Bike to Work Day.

London is moving to protect bike riders and pedestrians by dropping the speed limit in the central financial district known as the Square Mile to just 15 mph. Your move, LA Mayor Garcetti.

Participants in an organized English ride complain about routing the ride onto a roadway with speed bumps on a steep descent and no warning signs — with predictable results.

Uber wants Brits to Jump.

After a Glasgow woman is killed riding her bike, a man does some soul searching, wondering whether bicycling is worth the risk. And concluding he may keep riding, but can’t recommend it to a friend.

A couple hundred people turned out for an interfaith bike ride to remember the victims of the Christchurch, New Zealand terrorist attacks, led at the start by one of the victims, who also lost his wife, in his new wheelchair.

I sort of want to be like him when I grow up. A Michigan man gave up his comfy retirement to ride his bike across the US, and in countries around the world. And spent New Years Day riding a fat tire bike on the ice and snow of Antarctica. No offense to our southernmost continent, but I’d prefer a more temperate climate. Which Antartica will probably be in a few years, if we all keep burning fossil fuels.

 

Competitive Cycling

Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic considers himself lucky to have lost just 40 seconds to Giro race leader Richard Carapaz, despite Sunday’s debacle when he crashed on a too-small bike borrowed from a teammate, because he just happened to have a mechanical when the team race director was relieving himself.

You, too, can be a hard man or woman, and ride the routes of the cobbled spring classics.

Big mistake. The largest promoter in bike racing is slowly backing away from supporting women’s cycling.

Lance says he did what he had to do to win, and he wouldn’t change a thing. Except, you know, maybe like getting caught and all that.

Cycling Tips talks with the inimitable Peter Sagan.

Cycling Weekly remembers the legendary Fausto Coppi, calling him a cycling icon like no other.

And seriously, don’t try to snatch a pro cyclist’s water bottle out of his face, no matter how much you want a souvenir.

 

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to ride a stolen bike to the courthouse to be sentenced for stealing another bike. The next driver to run you off the road might do it from above.

And we may have to worry about LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about bears.

Or, uh…Bigfoot.

Morning Links: Mad as hell drivers and they’re not going to take it anymore, and BOLO Alert for CA bike thief

Talk about not getting it.

A self-described “avid cyclist” — and, ahem, president and CEO of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association — just doesn’t get why the automobile has become a public enemy, arguing that a fundamentally American freedom is under attack.

You know, the freedom for drivers to spew smog into the air with your gas guzzling SUV, which is right up there with freedom of speech or religion.

Except virtually every argument he makes for why the state shouldn’t adopt California’s clean air standard works against him.

Maybe he’s never tried to breath Denver’s air during one of the city’s frequent winter temperature inversions. Let alone heard of climate change.

Then there’s this tired old myth.

Meanwhile, some cities have put their drivers on forced road diets. They are reducing lanes available to drivers on key arterial streets.

Part of the motivation is to increase bicycle and bus lanes. But again, this gift comes at a cost to drivers. The goal is to discourage driving by intentionally reducing capacity and creating traffic congestion by design. Backers say it’s more “people friendly” — at least for people who don’t need to drive.

The bottom line is they want to force more residents to use alternative transportation by making driving as unpleasant as possible.

Because those road diets couldn’t possibly be about slowing traffic and keeping those people in cars alive long enough to get back home.

Or reducing congestion so that people who need to drive, or simply choose to, can actually get where they’re going in a timely manner.

But maybe that’s what happens when you only see the world through the perspective of your own windshield while driving your bike hundreds of miles to that distant trailhead.

Not to mention when your own bank account depends on convincing other people to buy those bigass trucks and SUVs.

But hey, no bias there.

Right?

………

Then again, he’s not the only one.

A writer for a motorists’ website devoted to maintaining automobiles über alles says recreational roadies are okay, but those urban bike advocates are just Vision Zero zealots dedicated to forcing poor, innocent drivers like himself off the roads. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

And credit Peter Flax with uncovering gem from a guy who’s not going to let the sick tyranny of a small minority of anti-car extremists push him onto disease-filled public transit.

No, really.

………

Bike thief BOLO alert.

Fresno police are urging you to be on the lookout for 32-year old alleged bike thief Marlon Markham, who is wanted for buying bicycles with fraudulent credit cards under a variety of names throughout California.

He then reportedly sells the bikes online.

In addition to the Central Valley, he’s struck in the Bay Area, and in Burbank and Huntington Beach in SoCal.

Photo from Bicycle Retailer

………

Local

Metro Bike begins what so far is a very limited expansion into Koreatown.

State

Friends and family members gathered at the ghost bike for fallen Aliso Viejo bike rider Michael David Tomlinson for a candlelight vigil and to remember him, nearly a week after he was killed by a hit-and-run driver.

Over 40 military veterans took part in the annual Soldier Ride in Del Mar over the weekend, sponsored by the Wounded Warrior Project.

Berkeley plans a Complete Streets makeover of a popular bicycling route to support and grow the city’s 8.5% bike rate. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Streetsblog notes that Oakland has finally gotten it right on protecting bike riders in a construction zone. On one block, anyway.

A Richmond paper examines how the city’s Rich City Rides co-op helps transform lives one bike at a time — exemplified by a 15-year old homeless boy who searches the city for kids without bikes to help them earn one.

Once again, an independent student newspaper at UC Davis mistakenly thinks that violence against bike riders is funny, publishing what they believe passes for satire about someone kicking bikeshare riders off their ebikes.

A Davis judge rules that a bike seat can be a deadly weapon, after a father and son were attacked by a man who threw his bike at them after removing the seat, then used the seat as weapon.

National

Singletracks offers tips on how to reduce your risk of injuries from mountain bike crashes. The most effective way is just don’t ride mountain bikes, but that kind of defeats the purpose.

City Lab says the micromobility gold rush is just beginning.

In a move that really shouldn’t surprise anyone, Utah’s legislature hit the brakes on a proposal to legalize the Idaho Stop in the state.

In yet another example of keeping a dangerous driver on the road until it’s too late, an allegedly drunk San Antonio hit-and-run driver had a prior arrest for driving while intoxicated, but with no record of a trial or guilty plea; her victim was a local surgeon. Thanks to Stephen Katz for the tip.

A 72-year old Wisconsin driver faces a vehicular homicide charge for the death of a bike-riding pediatrician, claiming he couldn’t brake in time to prevent the crash — even though he rear-ended the victim while driving half off the road.

Someone should tell Bowling Green, Ohio that sharrows aren’t Complete Streets.

Two years later, Pittsburgh bike riders and pedestrians still feel safer sharing the road with self-driving vehicles than with human drivers, whether or not they’ve actually encountered one.

Bikeshare continues its spread across the US, as Portland — no, the one in Maine — moves towards establishing their own system.

DC moves to protect pedestrians and bicyclists by banning right turns on red lights at 100 intersections.

A University of Florida study shows that Strava really can be used to help city planners design better bikeways.

International

Cycling Weekly offers advice on how to avoid back and shoulder pain caused by riding a bike.

Seriously? A Canadian judge acquits a truck driver, saying sure, he had to have seen the bike rider he killed before he right hooked her, but that doesn’t mean he actually, you know, noticed her. Oh, and that failure to signal or wait for the green turn arrow? No biggie.

Calgary’s winter bicyclists get new bike racks that are part bike parking, part public art. I’ll settle for anything that actually keeps my bike safe. Like maybe a fully operational tank.

A Hamilton, Ontario columnist misses the point, saying you can’t redesign roads to get rid of reflexive carelessness or stupidity. Even though that’s exactly the idea behind Vision Zero, to engineer roads so careless mistakes don’t lead to needless tragedies.

Life is cheap in Canada, where a careless driver who killed one bike rider and injured two others walks with a lousy $1,800 fine.

A British 14-time Paralympic gold medallist gets it, saying build bike lanes that are fit for everyone, and not just the brave.

The family of a fallen UK bike rider complain about the six-year sentence given to the driver who killed her while “extremely drunk” and high on coke.

An Irish driver will face charges for plowing into a club ride in 2017, killing one rider and critically injuring another.

Kiwi bicyclists complained about over 100 close passes by bus drivers last year. Although it’s not so easy to complain about getting knocked over when you can’t find out what bus company did it.

The Philippine legislature is considering the equivalent of a nearly five-foot passing law, with penalties starting at $95 for the first offense, and increasing with each additional violation.

Speaking of the Philippines, is anyone really in the mood to bike the full route of the infamous Bataan Death March? Didn’t think so.

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews offers their thoughts on the upcoming Amgen Tour of California, saying the men’s side will come down to Peter Sagan versus Fernando Gaviria, while the women will face their first hors categorie climb with the Mt. Baldy finish.

Former world champion mountain biker Hans Rey has helped provide more than 11,000 free bicycles to people in 30 countries through his Wheels4Life charity.

Finally…

Try taking your bike off the roof rack before going through a drive-thru next time. Sure, he may be an armed robber — and a Chargers fan — but anyone who makes his getaway by bike can’t be all bad.

And the SaMo PD posse was in full pursuit of a stolen car.

Morning Links: Fight over road diets goes national, flooding closes GMR, and Emperor Norton was one of us

Let’s start with an important piece from Streetsblog’s Joe Linton about the efforts of traffic safety deniers Keep LA Moving to take their crackpot anti-road diet fight national.

Advocates, alert: “Keep L.A. Moving,” a small, vindictive group of well-heeled westsiders with little regard for the safety of L.A.’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged residents, is now pushing its disinformation to a national audience – or, at least, attempting to – by rebranding itself as “Keep The U.S. Moving…”

As bicycle advocate Peter Flax has noted, KLAM’s work seems to thrive best in closed-door conservative echo chambers, like Nextdoor and closed Facebook groups. From there, they work to seed aligned broadcast media, including right-wing radio, where their claims are not questioned. When their dubious assertions, for example “[road diets cause] more accidents, more pollution, more gridlock, heavy traffic,” are actually aired in public debate, or studied using actual real world data, they just don’t hold up.

Like climate change deniers, these “Keep Moving” groups deny data-based studies showing that speed kills and that road diets work

Behind all their crackpot assertions is the empowerment of drivers in well-to-do communities. These ideologues push for unfettered driver access at the expense of safety for all road users, particularly those who have the fewest mobility choices available to them and who are most at-risk to harm. The “right” of this handful of disgruntled drivers to speed is costing the lives of tens of thousands of people in the U.S. every year. Unfortunately, this is a double whammy to low-income communities of color, whose residents continue to die at higher rates. And as Rutgers’ Charles Brown points out, minority communities overlooked for road diet safety improvements “receive enforcement” instead.

It’s well worth clicking the link to read all of Linton’s hard-hitting story.

Because these are the people who, so far at least, have succeeded in halting road diets and other vital safety measures in Los Angeles, keeping our streets dangerous and deadly so people like them can continue to drive unimpeded.

At least until LA’s inevitable encroaching gridlock forces them to a full stop.

And if they have their way, everywhere.

………

Popular riding route Glendora Mountain Road is closed until further notice due to flooding.

………

Robs Muir sends us photographic proof that San Francisco’s beloved Emperor Norton was one of us, too.

Bancroft Library, U.C. Berkeley

………

Anyone planning to ride to work this Friday for International Winter Bike to Work Day?

If you want to discuss it with a reporter for the new Spectrum News 1 channel, email Jada Montemarano at jada.montemarano@charter.com.

………

Local

Speaking of Spectrum News 1, they offer a nice piece on South LA’s Black Kids on Bikes, which isn’t just for kids. Or African-Americans.

UCLA is offering a week-long, 550-mile bike tour along the California coast to learn firsthand about the impacts of climate change, and possible solutions. Solution #1 — ditch the car, and ride a bike. Thanks to Audrey Kopp for the heads-up.

A Pasadena neighborhood association says the city’s proposed Cordova Street traffic calming project has a lot to like, even if it doesn’t connect with the Gold Line.

The Signal takes a look at Santa Clarita’s new Pace docked bikeshare system.

State

Can you say, duh? A San Diego TV station reports a sharp increase in traffic tickets issued to scooter riders last year — which makes sense, since it was the first full year they were in operation.

Work is almost finished on San Francisco’s newest protected bike lane.

Sonoma officials identify the homeless man who was beaten to death by two other men in a dispute over bicycle; he had served as a mentor to other people who were new to the streets.

Sacramento is the next California city to get e-scooters.

National

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says chill out about that scary sounding medical study on e-scooter injuries, noting that only 15 of the 249 victims were injured seriously enough to require hospitalization.

Outside examines how energy bars became America’s favorite snack food.

A writer for Fast Company takes a spin in a 300-pound e-trike, and pronounces it the future of urban deliveries.

A driving website calls the micromobility movement part revolution and part gold rush, naming 2018 the Year of the Scooter.

No surprise here. Denver’s docked bikeshare system is losing riders to the convenience of e-scooters.

The mayor of a Chicago suburb threatens to ticket every member of a group ride if they don’t stop for every stop sign. Yes, they are legally required to stop. Even though it would piss off every driver on the street street when they proceed through every intersection one at a time.

Chicago Streetsblog looks back on the life of a bike courier in the 1990s. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the link.

A Massachusetts town wants to become a bicycling city, building on a bike heritage that goes back over 100 years. Although honestly, just about every city and town can say that; it’s what happened in the past 50 or 60 years that matters.

David Drexler forwards a Bloomberg piece about the reasons for a sudden uptick in New York Uber and taxi fares, which ends with “Have you considered biking?”

Great idea. Bike riders in Athens, Georgia can get discounts at participating businesses by attaching a $5 sticker to their helmets.

No bias here. A Georgia college student gets the blame in the local media for hitting a bus with his bike, when he was actually right-hooked as he came off the sidewalk. Yes, he should have slowed or stopped before riding out into the crosswalk, and probably shouldn’t have been on the sidewalk in the first place. But the driver bears responsibility for apparently not noticing him on the sidewalk and pausing to let him cross the street.

International

Cycling Weekly offers 13 inspirational cycling quotes to live your life by. Personally, I like the one from South African Bishop Desmond Tutu.

A British Columbia high school student returned home from an international environmental engineering competition with a bronze medal for her solar-powered e-trike.

A Hamilton, Ontario safety advocate says the city’s Vision Zero plan is a lot of fluff. Not that Los Angeles bike riders and pedestrians can relate that or anything.

This is who we share the roads with. A London motorist suffered serious injuries when a road raging driver intentionally plowed into him as he stood next to his car following a minor collision; no word on whether the other driver was arrested.

A British food delivery rider faces a charge of willful misconduct for a bike crash that left an eight-year old girl with a fractured skull.

Scraping the bottom of the ethical barrel, a driver in the UK faked brain damage to avoid doing jail time for killing a man on a bike while driving at twice the speed limit on the wrong side of the road; he’s now doing six and a half well-deserved years.

London’s Telegraph recommends Dubai’s “surprisingly mountainous” bicycling routes.

Some drivers continue to say bike riders are hard to see. Apparently, so are Australian garbage trucks.

Aussie medical professionals are sounding the alarm about dangerous aggression from motorists directed towards people on bicycles. Or as we call that in Los Angeles, Tuesday. Or any other day, for that matter.

Competitive Cycling

British pro cyclist Scott Auld was lucky to escape with a broken collarbone and various other injuries when he was the victim of a car crash while training in Spain; he was riding on the inside of a double pace line when the rider next to him was clipped by a driver on the wrong side of the road, crashing into him and sending him flying down a ravine.

Finally…

Who needs wheels when you’ve got skis? When you’re semi-royal, love dogs and the press has no idea what a cargo bike is.

And if you’re on parole with outstanding warrants, carrying an illegal weapon and ghost riding another bike along with yours, put a damn light on it — 

Your bike, not the other one.

Or maybe both.

Vision Zero is not a fad — and it’s not making our streets more deadly

A traffic safety denying op-ed in the Wall Street Journal claims both. And couldn’t be more wrong.

………

No Morning Links today.

I had planned to take Martin Luther King Jr. Day off, and post some inspirational words to remind us all to treat everyone like our own brothers and sisters, especially in these turbulent times.

But I felt it was necessary to address an op-ed that was inexplicably published in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, without the apparent benefit of senior editors or fact checkers.

We’ll be back tomorrow with a massive four days worth of links to the latest bike news stories from over the weekend.

Today we’re going to discuss Vision Zero, road diets and traffic safety deniers.

Because sometimes, these people just piss me off.

………

Awhile back, I coined the term traffic safety deniers to describe people who reject the well-established science of traffic safety.

Just like climate change deniers reject the established science behind climate change, for no other reason than they choose not to believe it, or the experts in the field, evidence be damned.

Like lawyer and writer Christopher D. LeGras, who penned a virtually fact free, alternative universe op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, claiming that Vision Zero is nothing but a “road diet fad.” And that it’s having the opposite effect of what is intended, by somehow magically increasing the death toll on our streets.

Or I should say former lawyer, since he apparently gave up his membership in the bar to write full time, resulting in a collection of short fiction published by the small LA-based imprint Rare Bird Books.

Unfortunately, his op-ed reads like a work of fiction, as well.

He starts innocently enough, telling the tale of a 65-year old woman who broke her leg falling on the sidewalk in Mar Vista, suffering a compound fracture. And says it took the fire department paramedics ten minutes to get there, even though the station was just five blocks away.

But in which direction, he doesn’t say.

Yet somehow extrapolates that to blame the road diet on Venice Blvd — and every road diet everywhere else — and Vision Zero in general.

Los Angeles, like cities nationwide, is transforming its streets. In July 2017 the city installed a “road diet” on a 0.8-mile stretch of Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista, reducing four lanes to two and adding bike lanes separated from traffic by parking buffers. The project is part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities in the city by 2025. Launched in 2015, Vision Zero is the most radical transformation of how people move through Los Angeles since the dawn of the freeway era 75 years ago.

By almost any metric it’s been a disaster. Pedestrian deaths have nearly doubled, from 74 in 2015 to 135 in 2017, the last year for which data are available. After years of improvement, Los Angeles again has the world’s worst traffic, according to the transportation research firm Inrix. Miles of vehicles idling in gridlock have reduced air quality to 1980s levels.

Well, it ain’t necessarily so

Problem is, the road diet on Venice was part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets program. A community driven project that had been in the works since 2015, and had nothing to do with LA’s Vision Zero, which was only announced in August of the same year.

In fact, Vision Zero in Los Angeles was just vaporware until the Vision Zero Action Plan was released in January, 2017 — two years after community groups began work on a Complete Streets makeover of Venice Blvd, and the same year the Mar Vista Great Streets project was installed.

Never mind that the road diet on Venice reduced it from a massive six lanes to a more manageable four, to reduce crossing distances to improve safety for pedestrians and increase livability.

Not two lanes, as LeGras inexplicably claimed.

Then there’s the claim that pedestrian deaths spiked in 2017, two years after Mayor Garcetti announced the Vision Zero program.

But somehow, before any significant work had been done on Vision Zero, because the action plan, and the High Injury Network it’s based upon, weren’t even released until that year.

Not to mention that none of those pedestrians were killed on streets where Vision Zero improvements had already been installed. So rather than being the fault of Vision Zero in some vague, unidentified way, they can be blamed on the dangerous, deadly LA streets that Vision Zero is intended to fix.

Which is about like blaming the vet because your cat got pregnant after he fixed your dog.

And don’t get me started on LeGras’ laughable implication that Vision Zero is somehow responsible for LA’s worsening traffic and air pollution.

Traffic is bad on streets throughout the LA area, including the other 85 or so other cities in LA County that don’t have Vision Zero programs. Let alone on the streets that haven’t seen any Vision Zero improvements at all. Which is most of them.

Oddly, traffic also sucks on most, if not all, LA-area freeways, which have yet to see a single bike lane or road diet.

The reason LA traffic is getting worse is a population that’s growing by an estimated 50,000 a year, with most of the new arrivals bringing cars with them, or buying one as soon as they get here.

Along with countless kids who receive or buy a car as soon as they’re old enough to drive, resulting in four or five cars cramming the driveways of many family homes. When they’re not out helping to cram the streets.

Combine all that with a record number of miles driven in the US last year, as lower gas prices encouraged more people to drive more. Something that’s reflected in dropping ridership on LA Metro, as more people switch from buses and trains to private vehicles — adding to the traffic LeGras complains about.

And no, LA air quality is nowhere near 1980 levels.

Then again, he also seems to confuse normal traffic congestion with gridlock — defined as a situation in which drivers are unable to move in any direction.

If you can get through a traffic light in two or three cycles, or turn in any direction to get out of it, it ain’t gridlock.

It’s traffic.

By my count, that’s six false statements in just two paragraphs. Unfortunately, he didn’t stop there.

Nothing succeeds like the successes of Vision Zero

Like the next paragraph, where he somehow concludes that light rail lines have anything to do with Vision Zero. (Hint: they don’t.)

Or the following one, where he implies that Vision Zero projects in the Big Apple have failed to make significant improvements. Even though, after five years of Vision Zero, and countless road diets and other safety projects, New York traffic fatalities are at their lowest level since motor vehicles took over the streets. And pedestrian deaths are at their lowest level since 1910.

While bicycling fatalities have gone up in New York, that’s more reflective of a massive 150% increase in ridership as more people feel safer on the streets.

And rather than leading to increased traffic congestion, the changes have actually improved traffic flow.

While individual firefighters may complain that bike lanes delay response in emergencies, as LaGras claims, the facts don’t bear that out.

In fact, more fire departments are realizing that safety improvements on the streets reduce the need for dangerous emergency responses. Which means fewer people they have to scrape up off the streets and try to patch back together.

Meanwhile, more enlightened cities are deciding that is better to build fire engines that fit the streets, rather than widen streets to fit the fire engines.

The myth of the Foothill Blvd evacuation disaster

Then there’s this.

During the 2017 La Tuna Fire, the biggest in Los Angeles in half a century, a road diet on Foothill Boulevard the in Sunland-Tujunga neighborhood bottlenecked evacuations. After the fire a neighborhood association voted to go off the road diet. The city ignored the request and instead added another one to La Tuna Canyon Road.

That’s a myth that has been circulating in the anti-road diet, traffic safety denier community for some time.

While the road diet on Foothill has unfairly gotten the blame, the real problem stemmed from the closure of the 210 Freeway further up the road. Traffic backed up from that closure down to, and through, Foothill Blvd — not from Foothill back.

Officials never considered it a serious enough problem to remove the bollards protecting the bike lanes, or to introduce other emergency measures, including contraflow lanes, on Foothill.

I’m told that an engineer involved in the evacuations said that people on Foothill were never in danger. And fire officials said they had no problem getting through.

With or without a road diet, relying on private motor vehicles to evacuate any population center will always be problematic, as cars break down and run out of gas, and fallible human drivers try to squeeze in and turn around without sufficient space to do so.

LeGras is correct, however, that a road diet was implemented on deadly La Tuna Canyon, following the near fatal crash that left Keith Jackson in a coma for three weeks.

One of the few things he got right.

But rather than reducing road space, it merely reduced the amount of traffic lanes in places — leaving exactly the same amount of space available in the event of an emergency as there was before.

He closes this way,

It’s noble to want to make America’s streets as safe as they can be. But government officials shouldn’t impose projects on communities that don’t work, inconvenience residents, hurt businesses and impede emergency responders in the process.

Had he bothered to do the slighted bit of research, he might have discovered that most people like the Complete Streets that result from the implementation of road diets and bike lanes.

And that road diets and bike lanes have proven good for businesses across the US. And Canada, too.

Emergency response times tell the real tale

As for impeding emergency responders, let’s go back to that 65-year old Mar Vista woman with the broken leg.

A ten minute response time in any emergency should be unacceptable. But countless things can take place to delay emergency responders that have nothing to do with road diets.

It took far longer than that for paramedics to arrive when my father-in-law suffered a fatal heart attack. And that was in a residential neighborhood, in the afternoon, before Vision Zero and road diets were a gleam in Eric Garcetti’s eye.

Responders can be delayed by the same sort of traffic congestion you’ll find on any other major street in Los Angeles, with or without road diets or any other form of traffic calming or safety improvements.

Never mind motorists who don’t have the sense to pull to the right like the law requires. Which seems to be the majority of LA drivers these days.

But if there was a significant problem, it would show up in the fire department’s response times. Yet the average response for Mar Vista’s Station 62 is just four seconds slower than the average EMS response for the city as a whole.

Four seconds.

I sincerely hope Renee Khoury’s mother Rebecca recovers completely from her broken leg.

As for Mr. LeGras, it’s probably a good thing he’s not practicing law anymore, if he built his cases on such flimsy, easily disproven evidence.

But I do hope he continues to write.

Judging from this op-ed, he should have a fine future in fiction.

Thanks to Alissa Walker and Felicia G for their help in researching this piece.

Morning Links: Battle over LA streets, bike events, e-scooter legislation, and new bike lanes in Beverly Hills

The battle for LA’s streets made it into the pages of Los Angeles Magazine.

Writer Andy Hermann examines the fight over road diets, or what traffic safety deniers describe as “lane theft.”

“It’s just created havoc,” says John Russo of KeepLAMoving, an organization that sued the city to remove the Playa del Rey bike lanes. That Venice Boulevard already had a bike lane (albeit an unprotected one) and hadn’t seen a cyclist death since 2010 has only added to the outrage. “I don’t think we’ve ever gotten a good explanation as for why Venice Boulevard needed a road diet,” says Selena Inouye of Restore Venice Blvd., a neighborhood group opposed to what it calls the L.A. Department of Transportation’s “lane theft.”

Which suggest that drivers do, in fact, own the roads. Or at least think they do.

However, there is another side to the argument.

In a region with the world’s worst traffic congestion (for six years running, according to transportation analytics firm INRIX), it’s hard to fault people who would rather drive than bike for being impatient. But it’s also hard to blame people who opt out of driving and choose to pedal. “Our streets are already built out,” says Rogers. “There’s no room to expand them. So the only way to guarantee the failure of our streets is to do nothing. If you keep doing exactly what we’re doing now, we will reach a dystopian future where our streets are so gridlocked that nobody can move at all.”

 

And yes, that’s me he’s quoting there.

It’s worth reading the full piece.

Then maybe get mad, and demand that the lives of human beings start taking priority over the convenience of selfish drivers.

And do something to save our lives, and our city, while we still can.

………

Let’s catch up with a few upcoming events to add to your calendar.

Pure Cycles is hosting a Bike Metro Back to Basics bicycle education class at their Burbank headquarters tomorrow.

Also on Saturday, Metro Bike Share is hosting Pedals and Pitstops — Back to the Beach along the Venice canals and the Artists & Fleas LA on Abbot Kinney.

On Sunday, join with the Street Librarians Ride to replenish little street libraries in Echo Park and Silver Lake.

Metro presents the Pride of the Valley open streets event on September 16th in Baldwin Park and Irwindale.

The ultimate CicLAvia rolls on September 30th to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the LA Phil with a massive, eight-mile street party connecting Walt Disney Hall in DTLA with the Hollywood Bowl.

BikeSGV is hosting their annual Noche de las Luminarias awards bash on December 1st.

………

A bill currently under consideration in the state legislature could make it considerably easier to use an e-scooter.

AB 2989 would still require a driver’s license to use a motorized scooter, but it would eliminate the requirement for a helmet for anyone over 18.

It would also allow scooters to be legally used on streets with speed limits up to 35 mph, or on higher limit streets that have bike lanes.

They’re currently limited to streets with bike lanes, or a speed limit of just 25 mph.

………

It’s official. Hell has frozen over.

………

A new study says not so fast on the bike helmets.

According to the study, four times as many drivers and five times as many pedestrians died of head injuries, compared to bike riders.

While head injuries accounted for 46% of bicycle deaths, 25% of drivers killed in traffic collisions died of head injuries, as did 42% of pedestrians.

Yes, studies have shown that bike helmets are effective in reducing the risk of head injuries.

But no one suggests that pedestrians should wear them, let alone people in cars, where they could theoretically save far more lives.

………

Local

The East Side Bike Club is raising funds to provide bicycle safety eduction to kids in South LA.

Former LA pro Phil Gaiman offers his insights on seventeen pieces of awesome summer cycling gear in the latest Men’s Journal.

A 10-year old junior Jonathan Gold reviews Culver City’s new bike themed Super Domestic Coffee.

Pasadena bought new Complete Streets software to identify gaps in the street networks, and design solutions while keeping the public involved, in hopes of avoiding more disastrous meetings like the one that killed plans for a lane reduction on Orange Grove Blvd.

Long Beach gets nearly $1 million dollars in Caltrans grants to make zoning changes and create complete streets on the city’s north side.

 

State

After this year, you can be charged with hit-and-run if you leave the scene of a crash on an off-road bike path. Governor Brown signed AB 1755 last week, which removes any question of whether hit-and-run laws apply to bike riders on trails; the law takes effect Jan 1st.

CiclaValley explores California’s Central Coast by bike.

A 28-year old woman has been arrested in the hit-and-run death of a bicyclist in Crockett on Tuesday.

If you live or ride in the East Bay Area, take a few minutes to sign a petition calling for the Major Taylor Bike Park and Velodrome in Richmond.

 

National

A new study that should surprise absolutely no one shows UberPool and Lyft Line are making traffic congestion worse, and helping to creat a hostile environment for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Portland’s famed Velo Cult bike shop is closing its doors, six years after moving from San Diego. The shop, which was unable to keep up with requirements to maintain it’s license to serve beer, will now focus exclusively on e-commerce, which does not require a local liquor license. Thanks to brer bear for the heads-up.

Nevada has its first official US Bicycle Route.

A Flagstaff AZ public radio reporter goes for a ride with a pair of experienced women’s mountain bikers who are mentoring the next generation of riders.

Houston PD is the latest big city police department to use an electronic device to measure precisely when drivers come too close to people on bicycles. Meanwhile, the LAPD doesn’t.

A 77-year old Texas man has put together his own guide on how bicyclists and motorists can share the road. Although it would help if you can read upside down if you want to know what it says.

Once again, a state department of transportation does the right thing once it’s too late, as Rhode Island officials study the lack of effective safety measures on a bike path after a six-year old boy was killed in a collision.

A bike path around DC’s National Zoo is closed for the next year after heavy rains cause the pathway to crumble and tumble into a creek.

If you know a diocese that’s looking for a killer bishop with a drinking problem — who apparently still refuses to take responsibility for her actions — former Baltimore Episcopal bishop Heather Cook has applied for work release from her well-deserved sentence for the drunken hit-and-run death of a bike rider in 2014.

This month’s Miami Critical Mass will be dedicated to Miami native Patrick Wanninkhof, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver on an Oklahoma highway in 2015; his childhood friend Janna Belle says her latest music video was inspired by the crash.

 

International

Police in Hamilton, Ontario are looking for witnesses in a five year old murder case, where someone in a pickup chased down a bike rider before running him over.

Montreal bikeshare bikes will soon come equipped with lasers that project an image of a bicycle on the pavement ahead.

London announces plans to eliminate traffic deaths by 2041, after already reducing fatalities 50% over the past decade.

The war on cars is a myth, but the war on bikes goes on, as a British rider was clotheslined by a rope strung across a bike path at chest level.

Police in the UK are looking for two young mountain bikers who punched a driver after blocking his car. As usual, no word on what the driver might have done to encourage the assault. Which does not make it right in any way.

British schools are starting to prohibit parents from using motor vehicles to drop their kids off at school in the name of safety. Doing that here would not only improve safety, but the health of the students, while dramatically reducing morning traffic congestion and improving air quality.

An English woman was rescued by four strangers who lifted a car off her after the driver hit her bike.

The UK’s growth in cycling is being driven by experienced bicyclists riding more and further, rather than more people taking it up.

Never mind that ban on bicycles in Prague’s city center; a city court has overturned a law prohibiting bike riding in pedestrian zones.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling discusses what it’s like to drive a race moto in the Tour de France. Hopefully without putting any more cyclists in the hospital.

What it’s like to have someone grab your arm while leading the Tour.

Pro cyclists debate whether the super tuck position on descents should be banned.

The New York Times considers the Tour de France’s continued insistence on maintaining the sexist and outdated tradition of having podium girls.

 

Finally…

Canadians love separated bike lanes, as long as they’re in someone else’s neighborhood. And Lance wants your love.

 

Morning Links: More Venice Blvd disinformation, study says road diets save lives, and East Side Riders video

Sometimes I don’t even know where to start.

In his latest column, the Mar Vista Community Council’s self-appointed traffic planner/dermatologist Kenneth Alpern says it’s time to stop all the lies and abuse on Venice Blvd.

Which I assume means he won’t be writing anymore.

Especially since he doesn’t seem to have a problem co-opting the #TimesUp movement for something that has nothing to do with sexual harassment.

Never mind that he’s the one who’s been dishing out abuse towards anyone who disagrees with him, particularly Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Mike Bonin.

Then again, that comes with their jobs.

But it doesn’t — or at least shouldn’t — be part of the job description for LADOT Principal Project Coordinator Nat Gale, who has been subjected to repeated accusations and character assassination at Alpern’s hands.

Simply because, like the other traffic safety deniers who’ve been fighting the Mar Vista Great Streets project for the past year, Alpern chooses not to accept the established science behind road diets and protected bike lanes.

They also reject out-of-hand any stats that come from LADOT. Not because they have any credible evidence to refute them, but simply because the facts don’t align with their pre-established biases.

So let’s look at just a few of the inaccuracies in his latest screed.

Because it would be rude to call them lies, even though that’s what they are.

So …TIME’S UP! Enough of listening to the hundreds of taxpaying citizens, and overwhelming majority of the community, have their good will and patience and collective voice snuffed out because of a few activists who believe in crushing the voices, safety, and quality of life of that overwhelming majority (which includes the overwhelming number of bicyclists who do NOT support this project).

Seriously, show me one survey that supports his argument that the overwhelming majority of the community opposes the road diet on Venice Blvd. Especially since public opinion at his own community council meetings has been evenly split on the subject.

And never mind that he has absolutely zero basis to claim that most bicyclists, let alone an overwhelming majority, don’t support the project. I’ve personally heard from a few bike riders who oppose the project, compared to dozens who support it.

TIME’S UP! Enough of the false LIE that half of the community wants the Venice Blvd. Road Diet, when at best only 10-20% want it and everyone else hates it, and wants it reversed NOW.

To the best of my knowledge, there has been no survey of the general public to determine how many support or oppose the project. If he has any valid stats to back up his claim, let him produce it.

TIME’S UP! Enough of the constant and daily accidents and near-accidents that endanger motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists, including and especially children!

Again, if he has valid stats to back up his claim, let’s see them. Otherwise, let’s wait until LADOT releases the actual, factual stats at the end of the full year of the pilot project, which concludes this week.

And I have to wonder just how many people have been killed or injured as a result of those constant near-accidents.

TIME’S UP! Enough of a reconfiguration that was not done in compliance with ADA/disability community laws and legal requirements!

If any of that is true, the city would be required to make any necessary changes to bring the project into compliance. And probably subject to numerous lawsuits already.

TIME’S UP! Enough of a reconfiguration that shredded over a decade of community input for what was supposed to be a beautification effort on Mar Vista, and which was (despite the LIES to the contrary) imposed in the dead of night without ANY true input or debate!

We’ll let Streetsblog’s Damien Newton refute that.

Bonin and a band of neighborhood and business advocates have used the Great Streets Plan for Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista (roughly between the 405 and Lincoln Boulevard) as a sort of Livable Streets master class to educate people about what a street can be if it is reimagined as something new. The presentation of the image boards showing the various Great Street options at both the “usual suspect” locations (Farmers’ Markets, the Mar Vista Community Council, and Mar Vista Chamber of Commerce) and high schools, libraries, coffee shops, and markets allowed a wider range of stakeholders to weigh in on the proposed changes.

That was written nearly three years ago. And a full 21 months before the road diet was installed.

You would think that a community council member like Alpern would know what’s going on in his own community. But evidently, you’d be wrong.

Then again, you’d also think Alpern would know what the hell is going on with his own community council, since LADOT lists 12 community events where the project was discussed prior to installation — including two years of attending the Mar Vista Community Council’s Great Streets Ad Hoc Committee meetings.

TIME’S UP! The number of bicyclists using the “protected” (but with lots of blind intersections) bike lane is very small, while both commuters and bicyclists avoiding Venice Blvd. in Downtown Mar Vista is very high, and stop pretending it’s otherwise!

So show us the bike counts. Or any other factual basis for this claim.

Then again, if commuters are avoiding the street, why do traffic safety deniers continue to claim it suffers from soul crushing congestion?

As Yogi Berra famously said, “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”

Of course, the question is why Alpern and Restore Venice Blvd’s Selena Inouye are using such false and unsupported claims to demand the removal of the road diet before the official stats for the project have even been released.

For some reason, they seem to be unable to wait a few more weeks for the stats to be compiled.

Possibly because they suspect the real statistics won’t support their claims. And want to poison the waters before LADOT can tell us what’s really going on.

So let me be clear.

If the facts back them up, and the road diet has actually made the street less safe for bicyclists and pedestrians, I will be the first to demand changes.

Even if that means acceding to their wishes, and restoring the boulevard to its original dangerous and destructive configuration.

But I suspect they won’t.

And I suspect they suspect that, too.

………

A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety examines the rapid increase in pedestrian deaths in the US, which have gone up 40% more than other traffic deaths in recent years.

However, it’s unlikely that Ken Alpern or the rest of the Restore Venice Blvd/Keep LA Moving crowd will like their conclusions.

Pedestrian fatalities have increased precipitously since reaching their lowest point in 2009. To have the largest effect in halting the escalation in pedestrian fatalities, countermeasures should be implemented where the rise in fatalities has been greatest. Specifically, transportation agencies can concentrate efforts on improving urban arterials, which represented nearly two thirds of the increase in fatalities during 2009–2016 and on which about half of pedestrian fatalities occurred in 2016.

And…

Transportation agencies can improve urban arterials by investing in proven countermeasures, such as road diets, median crossing islands, pedestrian hybrid beacons, and automated speed enforcement. Better road lighting and vehicle headlights could improve pedestrian visibility at night.

Of course, that will only work if our council members have the courage to ignore the traffic safety deniers to make those changes.

And automated speed enforcement, aka speed cameras, are currently illegal in California. Which is something that has to change.

Thanks to Peter Flax for the heads-up.

………

Great new video about how South LA’s East Side Riders Bike Club is using bikes to make a positive difference in the community, and maybe even break the color barrier in Olympic and pro cycling.

And about founder John Jones III, who pays most of the expenses out of his own pocket.

Seriously, take a few minutes to watch it. It may be the best four minutes of your day.

………

CiclaValley informs us that the new 7th Street semi-protected bike lanes are proving popular as parking spots for Uber drivers.

………

This is who we share the roads with.

Parody Twitter account @realJohnBoehner forwards video of a British woman calmly removing a barricade, then driving through hundreds of runners taking part in a half marathon.

………

Local

A Hispanic man in his 20s was shot and killed while riding his bike in South LA early yesterday morning; police said there was no initial indication the killing was gang related.

CicLAvia is hosting a community meeting in Panorama City tomorrow to discuss plans for the June 24th open streets event in the north San Fernando Valley.

Pasadena police will be cracking down on traffic violations that endanger bicyclists and pedestrians this Friday and Saturday, even if they only endanger themselves. You know the drill, ride to the letter of the law until you’re outside their jurisdiction. Thanks to Megan Lynch and The Preven Report for the tip.

Bike friendly Santa Monica continues to show Los Angeles how it’s done, as the city planning commission approves plans for a protected bike lane on 17th Street; their only complaint was that federal funding requirements mean it won’t be completed until 2021.

Now the Santa Clarita Cycling Bear sculpture makes a little more sense, as the local paper explains more about it. Although I’m very disappointed that the bear isn’t actually riding a bike.

 

State

San Diego is attempting to put a permanent stop to a DIY pump track in Ocean Beach by building housing on property that was originally deeded as a park for the children of San Diego.

San Luis Obispo County bicyclists celebrate the completion of a road safety project that began in 1974.

There’s a special place in hell for the driver who crashed into a four-year old girl as she rode her bicycle in Stockton last week, then drove off and left her bleeding in the street.

A Redding driver complains about closing a little-used street to improve safety for a bike path because it will inconvenience him personally, and because he seldom sees a bike rider using it. Remarkable how many drivers take the time to perform bike counts while they zoom by. And how rarely bike riders happen to go by at that exact moment.

 

National

Marketplace discusses whether Uber is disrupting itself by moving into bikeshare.

A governing website explains why Seattle paid $3.8 million to build a one-mile bike lane, while the city’s protected bike lanes will cost $12 million per mile — four times the national average. And it ain’t because they paid too much for paint.

Meanwhile, a Seattle website says the war on pedestrians is already underway, because ebikes are now allowed on sidewalks. Maybe they could cite the number of pedestrians killed by bicycles, electric or otherwise, and contrast that with the number killed by motor vehicles each year, and determine which one really poses a problem.

Streetsblog Denver wonders why the local alternative weekly is pedaling anti-bike propaganda.

A Houston sports writer offers ten tips for bicyclists and motorists on how to share the roads with each other, and pathways with pedestrians. Bizarrely, it’s apparently legal to park on a dedicated bike path in the Texas city.

A Texas writer says safer streets will result in more people on bikes.

Work on Detroit’s rapidly expanding bike lane network could go on hold as bike riders complain about poor design and a lack of maintenance on the city’s first protected bike lane.

The road raging driver caught on video deliberately running down a cyclist on Tennessee’s Natchez Trace Parkway has copped a plea to significantly reduced charges that will result in just 10 months behind bars and three years probation. The conviction is credited to the crash being caught on bike cam, which put the lie to the driver’s ever-changing excuses. Thanks to Victor Bale for the tip.

Delaware bike riders complain about a lack of safety, even on back roads.

A Miami commissioner holds a “Dead Serious” meeting to reduce bicycling deaths.

 

International

Toronto residents are still waiting after a newspaper declared it the Year of the Bicycle. In 1975.

A study of 13 European cities reveals London is next to last in air quality, behind only Moscow, and is one of the most dangerous cities to walk or bike. The former may have a lot to do with the latter.

Sad news from the UK, where a bike rider who was killed in a collision with a truck was still setting records at 86 years old, and belonged to the same bike club he founded just after after WWII.

Horrifying story from Australia, where one of the country’s top masters racers died of ovarian cancer after falling under the influence of a self-described healer, who claimed to have cured cancer in hundreds of others.

Caught on video: A Kiwi bicyclist captures a bus driver, who didn’t know the law, nearly merging into him. Followed by another doing the same thing.

In a story that could have been written nearly anywhere, an Aussie writer bemoans the rise of the entitled motorist.

 

Competitive Cycling

It’s split results for Britain’s Yates brothers, as Adam Yates missed the Amgen Tour of California podium by two seconds, while his twin brother Simon continues to lead the Giro. And no, that’s not a spoiler, since the Giro had a rest day on Monday.

Bicycling looks at a day in the life of a bike mechanic.

Outside profiles the incredible Marianne Vos, calling her the greatest cyclist you’ve never heard of. Unless of course you have, in which case she may just be a greatest cyclist, period.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could cost less than 2,000 rupees, which works out to around 30 bucks. Co-existance on the roads is easier when bicyclists follow the rules they’d follow as drivers, if only drivers actually followed them.

And this is why dogs should always wear helmets when they mountain bike.

Thanks to LA bike lawyer and BikinginLA sponsor Cohen Law Partners for the link.

 

Morning Links: Driver arrested in South LA hit-and-run, and fake news from Venice Blvd traffic safety denier

Before we start, don’t miss Doug Moore’s open letter to the LA city council if you didn’t read it yesterday.

You’ll also find instructions at the end on how to submit your own letter to the council if you can’t join us to #CrashCityHall this Friday.

Or even if you can.

These are the gifts we’ll have for the mayor and city councilmembers on Friday. Think they’ll get the message?

………

You can run, but you can’t always hide.

The Chief Lunes bike ride reports that the hit-and-run driver who killed Frederick “Woon” Frazier in South LA last month has finally been arrested.

In addition, charges are pending for her two passengers, who encouraged her to flee and helped in the coverup that followed.

We’ll let them tell the story.

Let’s hope his family gets the justice they deserve.

Thanks to Sean Meredith for the heads-up.

………

No bias here.

Writing on City Watch, where facts go to die, Selena Inouye, the “chief grassroots organizer” for Restore Venice Blvd, calls the Mar Vista Great Streets project an “epic fail.”

She demands that Mayor Eric Garcetti and Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin keep their promise to remove the road diet if the data shows it’s not working after a year.

Even though that year won’t be up for another week. And the data for that full year probably hasn’t even been compiled, let alone released yet.

Not that any decent traffic safety denier would let an inconvenient little fact like that get in the way.

Instead, she relies on — and distorts — the stats released at the six-month point to make her case, noting that collisions and injury collisions both went up.

Although what she presents as a dramatic increase, the city says was statistically insignificant.

In fact, there were just two — yes, two — more minor injury collisions during the first six months of the trial period than in the same six months the year before.

And let’s not forget that the purpose of the often misconstrued Vision Zero is not to prevent collisions, but to keep those collisions from resulting in serious injuries or death.

Which, based strictly on the data she’s using, the Venice road diet seems have done pretty well.

Or that any major change, to any street, is likely to result in an increase in collisions until drivers get used to it.

Then there’s her bizarre — and demonstrably false — statement that the $91 million devoted to street safety improvements in the mayor’s budget will be spent on road diets.

While Garcetti had initially stated that the budget for Vision Zero would increase to $91 million, he later corrected himself to say that figure referred to the city’s entire street safety improvement program.

Improvements to Vision Zero’s High Injury Network would only get a boost to a relatively paltry $37 million. With none of that specifically budgeted for road diets.

And with the way the city council has been cowed by the angry drivers Restore Venice Blvd and Keep LA Moving purport to represent, there’s not much chance of any many road diets getting installed in the near future.

Then there’s her claim that reducing the number of traffic lanes by one-third on Venice has resulted in gridlock, reflected by a nearly one-third drop in vehicles per day.

Yes, according to her, a substantial drop in vehicle in vehicle usage somehow managed to cause the entire street to become so congested that movement in any direction is impossible.

Or maybe she just doesn’t understand what gridlock means.

Never mind that those same six month figures show that average driver speeds remained unchanged from before the road diet. Yet miraculously, drivers still managed to exceed the speed limit, despite being unable to move at all.

But why let a little thing like facts get in the way?

Although I’d seriously like to know what kind of a person quotes herself in her own opinion piece.

Clearly, when you want to get the quote right, you go right to the source.

Unless you are the source, then you can write whatever the hell you want.

………

Caltrans is looking for applicants for its new California Walk and Bike Technical Advisory Committee to help guide staff decisions about walking and biking design and policies.

Thanks to Marvin Davis for the tip.

………

Metro offers their take on Bike Week activities.

MetroLink is hosting a Twitter party in honor of Bike Week tonight.

Tomorrow night is the worldwide observance of the Ride of Silence, with local RoS rides in the San Fernando Valley, the Rose Bowl, the Conejo Valley, and Orange County. My goal is to one day have a Ride of Silence that goes straight down Wilshire Blvd from Santa Monica to DTLA.

And it turns out that this isn’t just Bike Week, it’s also Infrastructure Week. Or as Treehugger suggests, let’s make it Bike Infrastructure Week.

Please.

………

Local

Los Angeles finally broke ground on the long-promised bike, foot and equestrian bridge over the LA River, connecting Atwater Village to Griffith Park and the LA River bike path.

Mar Vista bike co-op Bikerowave is hosting a bicycle travel meet-up on June 17th, along with bike maintenance workshops this Saturday and May 27th.

When marketing your lightweight German ebike, always include a photo from the Santa Monica Expo Line station.

Best wishes to Santa Monica Next editor Jason Islas, who is scooting off to work for Bird.

 

State

Two guided bike rides will be held Sunday in honor of Grossmont College political science professor Brian Jennings, who was killed in a collision with a sleeping driver last month.

A bicyclist was seriously injured in a collision in Palm Desert yesterday morning; as usual, no information is available.

VeloNews looks at how the Montecito cycling community is coping with loss following the recent fires and mudslides.

A local paper offers ten reasons why you should ride your bike in Sonoma.

 

National

Bicycling says hill yes!

Life is cheap in Oregon, where the local DA determines that a FedEx driver didn’t commit a crime when he killed a bike rider by failing to yield, because he wasn’t drunk or distracted at the time. So go ahead and turn in front of that person on the bike; the worst you’ll get is a traffic ticket.

The local paper says Spokane WA has come a long way in the last decade, but still has a long way to go to be safe and inviting for people on bikes.

Sadly, bike theft is nothing new, as this Arkansas story shows.

An Indiana endurance cyclist talks about how her riding season ended when an aggressive driver tried to pass her on the left as she and a riding companion were trying to make a left turn, after already claiming the left turn lane.

More proof bike riders just can’t win. A Massachusetts bus driver calls the police because a bike rider was tying up traffic trying to save a turtle in the roadway.

A Brooklyn driver gets three to nine years for the drunken, high-speed crash that killed a teenager riding his bike; the driver was at twice the legal limit after drinking all day, and doing 80 miles an hour on a surface street when he hit the victim head on. You have to really fuck up to get nine years behind bars, and make it seem like it’s not enough.

A viral video shows a Philadelphia driver appearing to run down a cyclist from behind in a bike lane, apparently on purpose. Although the police question the validity of the video, in part because the rider doesn’t seem to have any hands.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A Florida woman calls for an end to distracted driving after the March crash that killed her husband; remarkably, she asked that the driver not be prosecuted, because living with what he did was punishment enough.

The head of a Florida rehab facility calls for Complete Streets so his clinic will get fewer customers.

Continuing our Florida traffic safety trifecta, a woman wins her decade-plus fight for red light cameras in the state. Los Angeles cancelled its red light camera program, caving to drivers who claimed it increased the risk of collisions when drivers jammed on their brakes to stop. Because they couldn’t, you know, just drive at a safe speed that would allow them to stop for red lights, or anything.

 

International

The CBC offers six reasons to ride a bike.

Bicyclists hope that the century-old traffic laws in Nova Scotia, Canada, will be rewritten with them in mind, for once.

The BBC, with its keen grasp of the obvious, says cheap dockless bikeshare bikes are flooding the world. Although that’s not exactly how they say it, being British and all.

A Chinese website asks if the country’s polluted cities can leave the car behind.

 

Competitive Cycling

No bias here, either. A writer for the Press-Telegram says the Long Beach start of the Amgen Tour of California on Sunday ruined Mother’s Day business for local restaurants. Or maybe some local restaurants. Or maybe having the race there was good for business after all. Seriously, there may be a good story about the effect the race had on local businesses, for better or worse, but this wasn’t it.

Cycling Weekly features highlights from stage one of the AToC, while the Long Beach Post offers photos of Sunday’s race. But sadly, none showing the countless mothers staying away from empty restaurants in droves.

Thousands turned out to see the riders off on yesterday’s Ventura start, which was won by a rookie rider on the WorldTour who may be destined for great things.

Now you, too, can own a bike ridden by the Rally Cycling team in the Tour of California, while you raise funds for the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation.

And yes, there is still another race going on over in Italy.

 

Finally…

What kind of grownup attitude is saying if you break the law, I will too? So there. No, seriously, if you want safer streets, just stick a seat post up your ass.

And sometimes you just need the right motivation to set an even faster record.

Like making it to the royal wedding on time.

Morning Links: LA area bikelash spreads, free Bike Hub memberships, and SUVs are built to kill

In the fight for safe streets, the streets are fighting back.

Or at least, the people trying to keep them dangerous are.

According to City Lab, the bikelash against redesigning streets to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians is spreading nationwide.

And Pasadena and Los Angeles are prime bad examples.

For several hours, opponents voiced their objections into the auditorium’s sound system. Shedding lanes, one said, would be an “unmitigated traffic disaster.” Not only would residents who live along the road never again be able to back out of their driveways, bicycle accidents would increase (because the new lanes would attract more riders). At one point, a city councilmember decided to hold a “voice vote” on the issue. Though several dozen shouted their support for the reconfiguration, their cries were drowned out by hundreds who bellowed their opposition.

The next day, the City of Pasadena announced that a second scheduled meeting on the issue was cancelled. And so ended the road diet of Orange Grove Boulevard.

And then there’s this from the City of Angels.

John Russo, one of Keep LA Moving’s organizers, bristles at this safety argument. “It makes me laugh when people say we’re anti-safety. You’d have to be a psychopath to be anti-safety,” he said. “We’re here to remind the city how most Angelenos use the road. Overall, we don’t think it’s a bad idea to take a step back and think long and hard about how Vision Zero is being implemented in Los Angeles…”

In addition to these kinds of grassroots efforts, UCLA’s Brozen is looking for more assertive leadership from the city’s political class. And so far, she’s not seeing it. “There’s a little bit of a void in the pro-transportation change space in L.A., and it seems like this anti-change backlash is filling that void,” she said. “There’s a lack of understanding as to why these projects are needed. Without that understanding, it gets really personal and very nasty very quickly.”

That is why I’m crashing city hall on May 18th to demand safer streets.

Far too often, our elected leaders listen to traffic safety deniers like Russo, and forget that some of their constituents are drivers. But all of them are people, everyone of whom use the streets in some way.

And it’s long past time we prioritized the needs and safety of people before cars, to create a safe, livable and prosperous city that benefits everyone.

I hope you’ll join me as we crash the 10 am city council meeting one week from tomorrow, and ask our elected officials to have the courage to do the right thing.

Because they already know what that is. We just have to make them to do it.

Photo from FHWA.

………

If you can’t join me on the 18th — or even if you can — feel free to send a letter demanding for safer streets for you, me and everyone else. Just email your letter by Wednesday, May 16th to ted at bikinginla dot com.

I’ll print them out and include them with the packages we’re giving each councilmember and the mayor, containing copies of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing.

A couple quick tips if you plan to write a letter.

  • If you can, try to work in the theme of our protest by asking them to have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Mention what council districts you live, work or ride in.
  • Stress that safer streets benefit everyone, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars.
  • Feel free to (politely) express whatever anger or fear you may be feeling
  • Demand they take immediate action to protect us all

And let me know if it’s okay to share your letter. I’ll be happy to put it on here as a guest post leading up to Friday’s meeting.

………

Now here’s a great deal.

To celebrate Bike Month, Metro is offering free one-year Bike Hub memberships through the end of this month.

It’s worth signing up if only to have a safe, free place to lock your bike when you take transit or ride to DTLA, Hollywood or El Monte.

………

More fallout from the Insurance Institute study we mentioned yesterday, which blames SUV design, as well as bad road design, for the dramatic increase in pedestrian deaths.

The study suggests that the high, flat grills on most SUVs strike a person higher, with greater force and trauma than most cars would.

In other words, those massive SUVs we share the road with are just as deadly as you thought they were.

Never mind the distracted drivers in them.

………

Speaking of Bike Month, there’s no better way to celebrate than watching the start of the Amgen Tour of California in Long Beach this Sunday.

Except for getting out and riding your own bike there, of course.

………

Local

13th CD Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell is hosting a community conference this Saturday, which will discuss pedestrian safety among other issues. Apparently he forgot to include a workshop on bike safety; maybe you should go and remind him. And tell him that cancelling the Temple Street road diet hurts everyone.

LA’s Jewish Journal asks if the Giro’s Jerusalem start makes Israelis the People of the Bike.

Santa Clarita’s mayor pro tem invites everyone to come out and enjoy Bike Month on the city’s 63 miles of trails.

A Streetsblog Op-Ed says that Santa Monica officials and employees have to start paying for parking if the city is serious about using it to discourage driving.

 

State

Today is Bike to Work Day by the Bay, as NorCal celebrates a week earlier than we do.

San Franciscans will now be able to rent ebikes through the Ford Go Bikes docked bikeshare. Let’s hope LA’s Metro Bike catches up soon.

San Francisco’s effort to allow people to report traffic and parking violations through a 311 app turns out to be a disappointment. We tried to get a similar program going here in LA several years ago, but couldn’t get approval from the LAPD and city attorney.

Larkspur is using eminent domain to close a gap in a bike path and make the “path to nowhere” actually go somewhere.

No surprise that San Raphael bike riders and business owners are split over a pilot protected bike lane, since business people usually seem to prefer parking spaces to customers. Although I’ve never heard anyone say “Why do we need a road here, since there’s another one just a block over.”

A Stockton ministry is using bicycles to help people find jobs and housing.

 

National

Ebikes are now free to roam county trails surrounding Aspen CO.

More on the two German bike riders who were run down from behind on a Kansas highway; authorities are still trying to inform their next of kin. There’s something seriously wrong when people can’t visit this country without being sent back home in a box, just because they chose to ride a bicycle.

You have to give this Michigan letter writer credit. It takes skill to turn a proposed $10 annual fee on kayaks and canoes into an attack on bicycles.

Apparently not understanding how westerns work, Nashville tells Bird scooters they’ve got 15 days to get out of town, Although some people want to save the Birds. Any fan of cowboy movies could tell you they’re supposed get out of town by sunset.

A small New Jersey town has restricted access to a number of its streets during rush hour to keep New York-bound Waze users off them. Although a better solution would be to install traffic diverters and convert the streets to bike boulevards, which would eliminate cut-through traffic while preserving local access.

Curbed features a one-week diary from a multi-modal Boston city councilor and mom. Show that to the next person who tells you every mom needs a minivan.

 

International

Nice piece from Singletrack, as a writer uses elderly neighbor as an example to make the point that planners should talk about walking, bicycling and driving, rather than pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers, because each is a choice that should be an option for everyone, rather than who we are.

Bike Radar examines the six great mysteries of cycling, including why do bicyclists litter — which I’ve often wondered myself — and is it all just a cover for cake addicts?

My favorite story of the day: Costa Rica’s new president rides to his inauguration in a hydrogen powered bus, escorted by people on bicycles, including the new head of the national assembly. And with another bike on the bus rack for good measure.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A Montreal mother pleads for drivers to show a little patience, be polite and take responsibility for their actions, as spokeswoman for the city’s Ride of Silence just seven months after her teenage son was killed in a collision with a U-turning driver. Needless to say, the driver wasn’t charged.

HuffPo UK says bicycling can improve mental health. Which anyone who has ever started a bike ride in a bad mood can probably attest to.

London’s hugely successful Mini Holland bikeway has been shortlisted for a people’s choice civil engineering award, even if opponents consider the recognition a joke.

Glasgow is planning to turn a fashionable district into the city’s first bicycle village.

So much for being bike friendly. A bike-riding Indian actor is turned away from six out of seven luxury hotels in Mumbai, which evidently didn’t want bicycles besmirching their parking.

After a two-year trial period, violations of the 1.5 meter passing law in Australia’s New South Wales state — the equivalent of a 3-foot passing law in the US — will now result in a $330 fine and two points off a driver’s license. That compares to just $35 in California, although that rises to $235 once all the court and admin fees are tacked on.

You can now rent an ebike all over Tokyo, as well as reserve maps, guidebooks and helmets in advance.

 

Competitive Cycling

It was Italian day in the Giro d’Italia.

The Giro remembered Wouter Weylandt on Wednesday’s stage of the race, seven years after he was killed in a tragic crash.

Lance says cycling shouldn’t try so hard to stop doping, because it isn’t working. Problem is, he’s probably right; while pro cycling brags about ending the doping era, it’s more likely teams have just gotten better at hiding it.

 

Finally…

If you can’t go swimming with the dolphins, try riding with the emus. When a bike helmet turns into an attack ad.

And doesn’t everyone warm up for a WorldTour race by hosting a gravel gran fondo?

 

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