Tag Archive for safe streets

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

Let’s start the day off with a cream puff.

Because I don’t know any other way to describe this very long read from The Washington Post Magazine profiling LA’s intrepid mayor, Eric Garcetti.

The story is very long — there’s that word again — on Garcetti’s background, extensive eduction, problem solving skills and ambition, and just what a great guy he is.

Which is not to say those things aren’t true. But what’s missing is any critical take whatsoever.

The reporter doesn’t talk with a single person who has a single bad thing to say about Garcetti, even in the context of constructive criticism. Let alone his repeated failure to follow through on his own ambitious agenda.

It’s a great puff piece for someone angling for higher office.

But journalism, it’s not.

Even if it does offer exactly one word about bicycling.

Photo from Wikipedia

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Writing for Bicycling, former LACBC Executive Director Tamika Butler pens a very hard-hitting piece about race and equity in bicycling, and the need to go far beyond what many of us may feel comfortable with.

Including sometimes giving up our bike lanes for the greater good.

Talking about things like gender, queerness, race, and white supremacy scares people. It makes them uncomfortable. Their resulting defensiveness makes them question your intelligence. Especially if being anti-racist means giving up their bike lane. Unfortunately, it rarely makes these same people dig deep and push beyond those questions towards understanding, compassion, being anti-racist, and confronting their own need to change. Because of that, I became used to the hate I received in various venues and formats…

Bicycling cannot solve systemic racism in the United States. But systemic racism can’t be fixed without tackling it within bicycling. With the rise of bicycling during this global health pandemic, this is the moment to educate the casual beach cruisers, fully-kitted weekend warriors, the urban planning students who can’t wait to ride back to campus—all of us—on the systemic oppression of Black people, Indigenous people, and all People of Color. This is the moment to look at the racism institutionalized in our companies, media publications, nonprofits, planning firms, and government agencies, and hire a workforce that reflects the diversity of our communities, at every level and in every position. This is the moment to invest in continual and consistent education of our employees. This is the moment to do more than issue a statement. A statement is the least that can be done. Those in power must change, relinquish some of their power, and get out of the way to make room for those who are ready to lead and are equipped to identify anti-black practices and policies.

Seriously, read it.

Because this is the moment when the curtains have been torn down, and everything is finally on the table.

Let’s not waste it.

Meanwhile, City Lab says safe streets aren’t safe for black lives, noting that redesigns without diverse public input can end up hurting the communities they’re meant to serve.

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We’re still seeing the fallout from, and backlash to, the recent racial justice protests, as well as the heavy-handed response from the police.

Like this story from New York, where at least four cops beat a man in the middle of the street, apparently for the crime of riding his bicycle too slowly in front of their van. And even though he wasn’t resisting.

Bikes were on the front lines of the protests in Seattle, as well as other cities; Gear Patrol explains how your bike can play a critical role in the protests.

Police in Philadelphia arrested an accused looter for allegedly running over a bike cop, resulting in multiple surgeries to repair a broken arm, shattered shoulder, 12 broken ribs and a shattered sternum.

Michigan police busted a 41-year old white man for a hate crime, allegedly smacking an 18-year old black man in the mouth with a bike lock after calling him a racial slur; the victim lost three teeth in the attack.

A Virginia man recalls the terrifying moment an avowed racist and KKK leader intentionally rammed his Trump and Confederate flag-festooned pickup into his bike while targeting a group of protesters; the local prosecutor is pondering whether a hate crime charge is warranted. Gee, you think? Let’s hope he can find a hole deep enough. 

Hundreds of people may have gotten a free Citi Bike membership over the weekend, after someone leaked a code intended for employees of the New York bikeshare so people could ride to and from the protests.

Smart move from Safe Routes to Schools, who responded to the threat of police violence by dropping Enforcement, and replacing it with Engagement in their framework list of 6E’s.

Someone defaced a mural of George Floyd on a Massachusetts bike path.

Closer to home, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton rides along on last Saturday’s Ride for Justice for George Floyd, and thankfully takes his camera with him.

Then there’s this from not-the-actor Morgan Freeman.

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That fallout extends to the bicycles used by bike cops.

Legendary ‘cross champ Katie Compton decried police using their bicycles as weapons against protesters, and said bikemakers should only sell to police departments that pledge to follow the recommendations of Campaign Zero to reduce police brutality.

Katie’s sponsor, Trek, outlined a six-point plan to promote diversity in cycling and create 1,000 bike industry jobs for people of color; the company also decried the use of their bikes for violence, but failed to address calls to stop selling to police.

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Cycling Savvy offers a lesson on how to pass a bus safely.

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Maybe there’s a smarter way to do speed enforcement.

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GCN explains how to sell your bike for more money. Although that kind of defeats the purpose of N+1.

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

Police in Northamptonshire, England are looking for a man who spewed racist abuse at a bike rider before punching him the mouth, apparently for the crime of politely ringing his bell before passing him on a trail.

Also in the UK, police are looking for a pickup driver who threw a bottle at two bicyclists traveling in the opposite direction, injuring one by hitting him in the chest.

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Local

The crowdfunding campaign to support greater diversity in cycling through former road, crit and track national champ Justin William’s Legion of Los Angeles cycling team has raised over $87,000 in the first five days, far beyond the original $50,000 goal.

The ACLU is the latest to sue Los Angeles over the city’s data tracking requirement for dockless bikes and e-scooters.

 

State

A bill to encourage more bicycle parking in new housing developments has passed the state Assembly, and is moving on to the Senate. I’m reserving judgement on this one; too many building bike rooms just seem to present a greater opportunity for thieves. I’d rather see a bill requiring building owners and associations to allow residents to bring their bikes inside their apartments and condos. 

Surprisingly, San Luis Obispo topped PeopleForBikes’ annual list of North America’s best bicycling cities, while Santa Barbara checked in a surprising fourth. Los Angeles was an equally surprising 26th, which says everything you need to know about the credibility of the rankings. And not because it’s too low.

San Francisco and Santa Clara County could get approval for a five-year pilot program to see if automated speed cameras can slow traffic. Hopefully they won’t wait five years to try it in Los Angeles.

 

National

Get on your bike, already. A new study from the Mayo Clinic says exercise reduces your risk of death and leads to a longer life, even if you have significant plaque buildup in your arteries.

Bicycling explains how to avoid wrist pain when you ride, and after.

Writing for Fast Company, the technology director for Smart Design examines whether bike lanes really improve safety, and concludes it all depends on how well they’re designed. Which any bike rider could have told him.

Like bicycling, walking is making a major comeback. But just like bicycling, the commitment of cities to provide safe infrastructure will determine whether it continues.

Gear Junkie says a family bike ride along the 22-mile Rainbow Rim singletrack trail in Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park is the best adventure a dad could ask for.

A 91-year old Texas man was reunited with his stolen bicycle thanks to social media and the efforts of his granddaughter; he’s been a daily bike rider for 74 years, since joining the Air Force after WWII.

New York examines what it’s like to get doxxed for taking a bike ride in a case of mistaken identity, as online users rushed to identify the spandex-clad Maryland anti-BLM bicyclist. Thanks to Tim Rutt for the tip.

Once again, a bike rider is a hero, jumping off his bike to save a man who was on the verge of drowning in Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain.

A Savannah, Georgia paper considers the urgent need for safer streets, as well as the equally urgent need for equity on our streets.

 

International

British bike shops are enjoying the boom, but questioning how long it will last.

A letter writer in the UK accuses bike riders of thinking they’re always in the right and only seeing things from their perspective — while he only sees it from his own perspective.

European carmaker Skoda is introducing a new system to prevent doorings by detecting oncoming bike riders before the driver opens the door.

Road.cc explains why bikes have so many gears. Which is easy to understand if you’ve seen me trying to get up a hill these days.

Milan is rolling out one of the world’s most dramatic plans to redesign the roads to accommodate bike riders and pedestrians in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Police in Kolkata — formerly Calcutta — will allow bike riders to use everything but main arterials in the city while transit use is suspended.

Indian bikemakers are up in arms over a proposal to require them to put reflective tape on all their bikes, saying they can’t afford even that minimal cost after months of the coronavirus lockdown.

Japan is preparing to crack down on “dangerous” bike riders — like people who block other vehicles or ring their bells too much.

Davao City in the Philippines is taking a big step backward, approving plans for pop-up bike lanes, but requiring people to register their bicycles and display a visible license plate, as well as requiring mandatory helmets, side mirrors and bells.

Sad news from Australia’s Northern Territory, where a former Australian football star was killed when his bike was rear-ended by a pickup driver.

 

Competitive Cycling

The CCC cycling team is just the latest to lose its sponsorship in the last year, risking its further existence if a new sponsor can’t be lined up. More proof that pro cycling’s financial model is badly broken.

The women’s Colorado Classic will be held without spectators this year, pending approvals from local health officials, while using a made-for-TV model.

Rouleur profiles Giro d’Italia winner turned blueberry farmer Ivan Basso.

Then there’s the feeling when a wheelsucker does 27 mph on Rigoberto Urán’s heel, and turns out to be just some random guy in work boots and a backpack.

 

 

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to kick the patrol car — and a cop — when you get busted for biking while very drunk.

And yes, bikes really can fly.

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

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

Innocent victims pay price in Toluca Lake hit-and-run, zipping down GMR, and a sort-of group ride with Rahsaan Bahati

This is why we keep calling for closing streets to cars and opening safe Slow Streets.

And what happens when that doesn’t happen.

As Los Angeles enters its third month of the coronavirus shutdown, more people than ever are taking to the streets while leaving their cars behind. 

People all across the city are walking and riding their bikes to get exercise and fresh air while maintaining social and physical distancing, often walking out into the street to avoid others on the sidewalk.

Unfortunately, though, the streets are just as dangerous as ever, as fewer cars on the road entice too many drivers to plant their right foot to the floor.

Case in point, two Toluca Lake pedestrians and a bike rider — or maybe the other way around — were injured when a speeding driver plowed into them around 8 pm yesterday, then fled the scene after stopping briefly.

An LAPD officer gave chase after spotting the driver speeding off, but lost him a short time later; police are looking for a silver Ford Fusion with Texas plates, last seen in the Universal Studios area.

Fortunately, at last report, none of the victims were seriously injured.

But it’s bad enough that Angelenos have to change our entire lives to keep ourselves and others safe from Covid-19 through social distancing.

We shouldn’t have to risk our lives just to get a little exercise and fresh air while doing it.

It’s long past time for LA’s city leaders to give us a little space to safely get outside — in every neighborhood.

Not at some vague, undisclosed time in a future that may never come, like most promises we’ve gotten in recent years.

But right now, when we need it most.

Because something like this will happen again. And we may not be so lucky next time.

Photo by Athena from Pexels.

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Speaking of CiclaValley’s Zachary Rynew, he’s going downhill these days. And recording it during a high speed five-mile descent on a closed Glendora Mountain Road.

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Here’s your chance to ride with South LA’s own former US crit champ Rahsaan Bahati. As long as you don’t, you know, actually want to go anywhere.

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Sunset for All is continuing their Bikes Mean Business campaign to show Sunset Blvd businesses just what they’re missing to gain support for protected bike lanes.

And lucky for us, this week’s pick is one of LA’s rare Chicago-style pizza joints.

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Mountain bike pro Christina Chappetta offers advice on how to ride safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Singletrack gathers “20 world champs, skills coaches and veteran amateurs” to teach you how to corner on a mountain bike.

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Local

LA County will reopen beaches for active uses on Wednesday, but the beachfront bike path will remain closed.

 

State

No news is good news, right?

 

National

A writer for Jalopnik discovers you can bend the chainstays on a metal frame bike. But it doesn’t necessarily do any good.

Lime’s purchase of Uber’s Jump dockless ebikes and scooters makes it the world’s largest micromobility company. But it could be short-lived, as Uber has an option to buy Lime in two years.

Someone spray painted a Portland bike path, telling users to wear a mask or stay home. But they also drew a cute little heart, so there’s that.

Authorities are looking for a 49-year old Colorado woman who never came home after going out for a bike ride.

Some Texas drivers aren’t fans of the extra bike riders out on the streets.

Bike trails could spur economic development in Southeast Michigan. And pretty much everywhere else.

There’s must be something good in the water in Massachusetts, where a kindhearted state trooper bought a new bike for a little girl after hers was stolen, complete with handlebar basket and training wheels. And a group of bighearted firefighters bought one for a five-year old girl after they had to damage her bike to free her ankle when it got stuck in the frame.

A Maryland TV station looks back at the first hour record, set in 1893. And no, it only seems like we’ve all been quarantined ever since.

The coronavirus bike boom could be saving a Florida bike shop, after the owner was forced to shut down everything but the store’s online sales.

A Florida writer asks who needs a boat to go fishing when you’ve got a bike?

 

International

Shimano wants to bring the equivalent of a check engine light to your bicycle.

Pez Cycling News offers a cyclist’s guide to surviving the Covid-19 quarantine.

Bike Radar examines the eternal question of how many calories do you burn on your bike? And concludes, it depends.

Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter says the actions cities take now will determine whether bikes or cars dominate the streets after the coronavirus crisis. At this point, it’s pretty clear which way Los Angeles is going, and why.

A Canadian man’s plan to bike across the country is back on after mounties recovered his bicycle eight months after it was stolen. Which is one more reminder to register your bike, and always report it to the police if it ever gets stolen, if you want any chance of getting it back.

Once again, a young bike rider has been impaled by his handlebars. A 17-year old British boy was lucky to survive after his brother put pressure on the wound when his leg was impaled when he fell off his BMX. It’s long past time bikemakers were forced to redesign handgrips to keep this from happening.

The Guardian asks if the coronavirus could cure Brussels, Belgium’s addiction to driving.

Melbourne, Australia is preparing to remove streetside parking spaces to make room for bike lanes, as residents chose bikes over transit during the coronavirus crisis.

Perth considers more bike lanes and wider sidewalks to reduce congestion on the city’s bike paths.

 

Competitive Cycling

Dutch Olympic road champ Anna van der Breggen announced she’ll retire after next year.

Former pro Phil Gaimon spent yesterday attempting to set a new world record for Everesting by riding up LA’s Mountaingate Drive over 60 times, to raise funds for No Kid Hungry.

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can own the steampunk ebike from Westworld, if you have an extra ten to thirteen grand lying around. Look like you just stepped off a turn of the century pro team.

And when you’re with a group, it’s a naked bike ride.

Alone, they usually call it indecent exposure.

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

LA skips worldwide Slow Streets movement, print your own Slow Street signs, and tackling Amazon in a cargo bike

Today’s common theme is the ongoing battle for Slow Streets and Open Streets — and what will follow post-pandemic — allowing people to safely get outside during the coronavirus crisis.

Something that seems to be sweeping the world. Except for Los Angeles, which is sweeping up the rear behind virtually everyone else.

As usual.

Mayor Robert Garcia wants Long Beach to repurpose some streets to provide more space for people. Funny how much more progressive Long Beach is when it comes public spaces and transportation than its ostensibly progressive neighbor to the north.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss wonders what happens when traffic comes back to our formerly quiet streets, warning we need to be prepared to hear a much-needed new normal is a luxury we can’t afford.

Houston’s chief transportation planner says coronavirus-quiet streets can’t just be for motor vehicle commuters. Could someone please give him LA Mayor Garcetti’s phone number?

It’s a sad commentary when the people of Bentonville Arkansas, the hometown of Walmart, get Slow Streets to provide safe space to exercise outdoors, and Los Angeles can’t.

Maine’s bike advocates think a more bike-centric culture could take hold in the state as a result of the pandemic. Unfortunately, that’s just wishful thinking unless steps are taken now to actively encourage bicycling while discouraging people from getting back into their cars.

Maybe someone should explain the concept of open streets to the NYPD, after the department sent 30 cops to shut one down in Brooklyn — despite an okay from New York’s Department of Transportation.

CNN says our cities may never look the same in a post-pandemic world, as they provide more space for biking and walking, and make other adaptations to adjust to the new reality.

A Vancouver newspaper suggests paying people to bike instead of driving to keep traffic from roaring back post pandemic. Which could be much more effective than congestion pricing, without the inevitable backlash.

No bias here. A London mayoral candidate says plans to encourage people to walk and bike to work are “madness,” and people shouldn’t have to choose between crowded trains and getting crushed by a truck on a bike. At least he’s got the last part right. But the solution is to tame traffic so we can encourage active transportation without posing a risk to human life.

After a Scottish columnist demanded that bike riders “do something” in return for pop-up bike lanes, the UK’s cycling organization wants to know why people on bikes have to meet some sort of special criteria just to be kept safe.

And these brilliant street signs from New York’s Transformation Dept gets the idea across better than just about anything else.

Maybe we should just print them out and start using them, instead of waiting for the city to finally get around to it.

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London’s Pedal Me e-cargo bike delivery service warns it’s coming for the world’s biggest retailer.

If they cross the Atlantic, I’m all in.

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Local

Assisted by a truck-driving stranger, a 17-year old South Pasadena boy tackled a bike thief as he tried riding away after snatching a bike out of the hands of the boy’s sister.

Long Beach is reopening parks and the beach bike and walking paths today, even as Covid-19 cases and deaths continue; however, face masks will not be required for “physically distanced exercise.”

Long Beach is partnering with bicycle community group Pedal Movement to offer virtual bike workshops, although you already missed the first one.

What it’s like to ride 55 miles on PCH from Long Beach to Crystal Cove along PCH in today’s Covid-19 world.

Yes, that could have been the former Governator’s oldest son you saw riding an elliptical bike through LA last week.

 

State

A 53-year old Spring Valley bike rider suffered major injuries when he was run down from behind by a hit-and-run driver in a dark sedan.

A San Jose nonprofit is using bicycles to distribute vegetable plants to people in need.

Sad news from Chico, where a 65-year old man was killed when his bike was rear-ended by a driver in a pickup. Note to CHP: When a bike rider gets run down by a motorist doing 55 mph, it doesn’t effing matter how fast the bike was going.

 

National

Take your dog with you on your next ride, with nine “unbiased” reviews on doggie bike trailers that just happen to link to Amazon pages where you can buy them. And only the Amazon pages.

A 68-year old lifelong bike rider says signs on Oregon mountain bike trails prohibiting ped-assist ebikes is just outright snobbery; meanwhile, Cycling Tips says ebikes are okay on gravel, but more fun in the company of other ebike riders.

The other Vancouver — no, the one in Washington— is forced to hit the pause button on a planned protected bike lane after stripping the city’s transportation budget due to the coronavirus crisis. Something we can look forward to just about everywhere in the days to come, including Los Angeles.

A 17-year old Colorado man is now a thriving triathlete, eight years after his mother made the heartrending decision to amputate his leg due to a congenital condition.

An Austin TX man faces charges for deliberately running down a man on a bike as the victim was attempting to escape following a domestic dispute.

Now that’s a real superhero. Chicago’s beer fairy is delivering craft beer by bicycle. And yes, with wings attached.

French BMX pro Matthias Dandois rides though an empty New York.

 

International

The Guardian offers ten reasons now is a great time to start riding a bike. All of which apply wherever you are.

He gets it. A writer for a sports and development website says bicycling should be considered a form of public transportation in a post Covid-19 world, once we finally get there.

Tragic news from Argentina, where soccer legend Tomás Carlovich died after slipping into a coma when he was mugged by a thief who stole his bicycle; Argentine great Maradona called Carlovich the greatest of all time, even though he never played for the national team, by choice.

A British Columbia city shows how easy it is to make a protected intersection.

Montreal residents are “desperate” for bicycles, as local shops sell out due to the coronavirus bike boom.

A London letter writer complains that “aggressive” cyclists should look out for pedestrians in bike lanes, not the other way around.

Madonna’s 19-year old son is one of us, going for a ride through London dressed like Oliver Twist.

A six-year old English girl raised £1,000 for Britain’s National Health Service — the equivalent of $1,234 — by riding 100 miles on her bike in ten days.

Britain’s government is encouraging people to get out on their bikes as the country begins lifting its coronavirus lockdown, including a surprise announcement that it is investing £2 billion — the equivalent of nearly $2.5 billion — to “put cycling and walking at the heart” of the country’s transportation policy.

A writer for The Guardian debates whether we’re entering a golden age of bicycling, or if it’s just another empty promise. And says riding a bike does more to help the UK’s National Health Service than clapping once a week.

Once again, a Brit medical worker has been targeted by a heartless bike thief, after an intensive care nurse got off work to find all three locks on her bike had been cut.

The coronavirus bike boom has cleared British bike shops of virtually all their available bicycles, with foldie maker Brompton seeing a five-time increase in online sales.

Thousands of Slovenian bike riders took over the streets of the capital city, Ljubljana, to protest allegations of coronavirus purchasing corruption; a smaller protest was held in Maribor, the country’s next-largest city.

Once again, an Indian migrant worker has been killed by a driver while bicycling over 700 miles back home during the coronavirus lockdown.

 

Finally…

Otters help bring bike thieves to justice. How about a new Ferrari that weighs less than an unabridged dictionary?

And no. Just…no.

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

LA pulls plug hours after approving Del Rey Slow Streets, San Diego shows how it’s done, and proof bikes mean business

My apologies if you got a premature draft of today’s post. Evidently, I somehow inadvertently posted this while I was still working on it.

Either that, or I’ve got a bad case of cyber gremlins. 

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In a dramatic reversal, Los Angeles approved plans to install the city’s first Slow Streets on several streets in the Del Rey neighborhood, which would have allowed people to get out to walk or bike while maintaining a safe social distance.

Then the city changed its mind, pulling the approval just hours before it was supposed to go into effect.

Never mind that any delay defeats the entire purpose of the program, which is intended to help people get out now for fresh air and exercise when they need it most to maintain their mental and physical health.

But even if it hadn’t been cancelled, this is exactly what’s wrong with Los Angeles.

One small area would have gotten desperately needed slow streets to allow for social distancing. But only because one neighborhood council asked for them, and one councilmember cared enough to — almost — get it done.

We need citywide leadership in a time of crisis, not 15 fiefdoms with widely varying commitments to safer streets.

As in, none at all in some cases.

Let’s hope LA city leaders get their figurative heads out of their collective asses, and start giving Angelenos safe places to get outside and move around, like the World Health Organization calls for.

Not in one small neighborhood, but in all of them.

And if it sounds like I’m pissed off, that’s only because I am.

Especially after Portland committed to 100 miles of slow streets.

Meanwhile, BIKAS — Bicycle Infrastructure Knowledge Activism and Safety — calls for an email campaign to demand quick-build safety improvements on LA’s Fourth Street during the Covid-19 pandemic.

And Streetsblog say LA’s new program to accelerate repaving during the coronavirus slowdown is ignoring the city’s previously approved Mobility Plan.

Photo by Athena from Pexels.

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San Diego continues to show LA how it’s done, closing part of four streets to motor vehicles to provide space to walk or bike while maintaining social distancing.

Meanwhile, San Diego County has reopened the SR-56 commuter bikeway between Solana Beach and Rancho Bernardo to pedestrians and bike riders.

As Robert Leone points out, it’s true that the pathway gets a lot of recreational use. But no one is stopping drivers to ask if their trips are necessary.

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Yet another study shows that bikes are good for business.

Researchers from Portland State University studied fourteen economic corridors in six cities with and without bike lanes.

And discovered that most businesses saw improvements in sales and employment as a result of bike lanes, with restaurants showing the greatest growth.

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PeopleForBikes is hosting a virtual Draft Meetup for San Diego-area bike riders this evening; you can RSVP here.

Thanks to Robert Leone for the heads-up.

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When you absolutely, positively have to pass the person on the bike, road dividers be damned.

Note: I missed the date on this before posting it. Not the date of the tweet, but the May 14, 2015 on the video itself. So either the bicyclist didn’t set the date properly, or I need to apologize for posting a five year old video. Thanks to Aurelio Jose Barrera for the catch.

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Phillip Young forwards a full-length film about the glory days of Detroit’s Wolverine Sports Club, dedicated, as their site says, to promoting cycling, speedskating and cross-country skiing at all levels.

And no, I haven’t had a chance to see it myself yet, so let us know what you think.

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

Police in the UK are looking for the motorcycle-riding schmuck who pushed a bicyclist off his bike for no apparent reason.

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

An Alabama man with an outstanding warrant for domestic abuse faces additional charges after leading police on a slow speed bike pursuit.

An “extremely intoxicated” Florida man faces multiple charges for attacking his former roommates while demanding to know where his bicycle was.

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Local

The LA County Sheriff’s Department says even though we’re all under safer at home orders, May is still Bicycle and Motorcycle Safety Month.

According to a new plan, LA County beaches could reopen on the 18th, but the beach bike path will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

Good idea. An LA Times op-ed calls for turning streets in front of restaurants into expanded seating areas, allowing them to reopen while maintaining social distancing.

The owners of Pure Cycles have sold the Burbank-based bikemaker to Florida bicycle distributor J&B Importers; however, founders Michael Fishman and Jordan Schau will continue to operate it as a standalone company.

Against all evidence, Pasadena somehow decides yellow “traffic calming’ signs will get drivers to take their foot off the gas pedal, while a Pasadena writer explains why red lights don’t prioritize people and still make you push a button to cross. Hint: Older red lights are hard to reprogram, and cars matter more than people in the Rose City.

Lime has pulled up stakes and ridden their scooters out of Santa Monica for the last time.

After Ocean Drive was flooded with people exercising when the beachfront Strand pathway was closed, Manhattan Beach residents call for banning bikes and skateboards, and restricting it to residents only. Which is only slightly illegal, since bikes are legally allowed on any street cars are allowed on. 

Coldplay’s Chris Martin is one of us, as he goes for a mountain bike ride through the ‘Bu, while Ryan Phillppe rides his mountain bike in LA.

Prodigal Son actress Bellamy Young is one of us now, after she had two weeks to learn how to ride a racing bike for a part on Criminal Minds. And had to film the scene with a chipped a tooth from grinding her teeth out of fear of falling off.

 

State

Once again, the CHP accuses a bike rider of a SWSS,* insisting the victim swerved in front of a Fresno County driver and suffered “moderate to major” injuries. *For the uninitiated, SWSS refers to a single witness suicide swerve, which is a bike meme referring to the fact that bike riders usually get blamed for riding in front of drivers in the absence of independent witnesses, when it’s often the driver who doesn’t hold his or her lane.

Palo Alto transportation planners say we need to plan for more bicycling and walking after the pandemic, expecting both to be in greater demand.

Great idea. A UC Berkeley grad student is analyzing San Francisco blocked bike reports to determine where protected bike lanes should be installed.

A Stockton man was busted for violating his probation by towing a rifle hidden in a guitar case on his bike trailer.

 

National

Gear Patrol complains that Canyon’s new roadie ebike isn’t available in the US; service isn’t available here for the bike’s Fazua motor. They kinda like Rapha’s new lightweight summer jersey, too.

Pink Bike rates riding glasses. My personal recommendation remains giving San Diego’s Sport RX a call, and let them fix you up with prescription bike glasses, including progressive lenses.

A local website asks whether Denver has what it takes to be a great bike city.

Burglars stole over $35,000 worth of bicycles from a Colorado bike shop.

Chicago finally gets around to repainting faded bike lanes, six months too late to save the life of a bike-riding woman.

Michigan bike shops reopened Tuesday after the governor lifted the state’s strict coronavirus lockdown.

A kindhearted Niagara Falls nurse bought a 12-year old boy a new bike after reading about his stolen bike on Facebook.

A Brooklyn thief faces charges for punching a man in the face to steal his bicycle, then attacking him with it.

A writer for Forbes says ebikes are cooler than you think, praising a chunky looking 30 mph bike from a Boston startup. Even though the article says it’s suited for bike lanes, its speed makes it illegal to ride in one in many states, including California. And you’ll need a helmet and a driver’s license.

DC bike riders stage a rolling protest with a musical soundtrack to highlight inequality exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

A North Carolina high school principal is honoring her school’s graduating seniors by riding her bike around the campus ten times every day this week.

Take a virtual bike ride through the streets of Atlanta, without the inconvenience of actually going there.

Atlanta is getting serious about Vision Zero, cutting speed limits on most city streets to 25 mph.

 

International

Road.cc recounts ten brilliant inventions that changed the bicycle forever, including, yes, pedals.

Cyclist has advice on how to buy a gravel bike.

Regina, Saskatchewan city leaders overwhelmingly defeated a proposal to require bike helmets for all riders, instead opting for an education program to make them less needed.

An Ontario man set a new world record by riding 626 miles in 24 hours on his Zwift stationary bike.

The BBC questions whether we’re witnessing the death of the car, as cities around the world hope to keep many motor vehicles off the road long after the lockdowns end. Except in Los Angeles, of course, where city leaders seem committed to doing nothing.

Apparently, Los Angeles drivers aren’t the only ones taking advantage of empty streets by gluing their feet to the gas pedal. London has seen an eight fold increase in speeding compared to this time last year.

No bias here. A London writer describes bicyclists as irritating little wasps that you can’t run down without fear of maiming one, yet gives riding a try anyway, on an ebike the size of a small motorcycle. However, most of the article is hidden behind the damn paywall.

It’s two years behind bars for a pair of bike thieves who targeted workers at a Nottingham, England medical center.

The British tabloids clearly have celebrity chef and reality TV star Gordon Ramsey in their sights, accusing him of running a red light and nearly causing a crash on his latest ride from his Welsh home.

A Belgian bike path across a huge pond creates the illusion of riding through water.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 79-year old Dutch man chased down a bike thief on his ebike — with a passenger on the back.

 

Competitive Cycling

Despite being rescheduled for August, the Tour de France is once again in jeopardy after the French prime minister extends a ban on sporting events through September. Am I the only one who says just pull the plug on 2020 and try again next year?

The Vuelta has nixed its planned Dutch start, and will cut back to just 18 stages this year. Assuming the race happens at all, of course.

The cancellation of the pro tour has put a crimp in anti-doping labs and testing. Not that anyone would take advantage of that, of course.

VeloNews talks with women’s cyclist Kasia Niewiadoma and recently retired cycling scion Taylor Phinney, who got stuck in Girona, Spain while on a bikepacking trip after the pro tours were cancelled.

Kiwi cyclist Ella Harris is spending her lockdown time baking bread and working on her degree in food marketing.

 

Finally…

Seriously, don’t ride your bike past a store and spit on the window — let alone five times. Yes, you’ll probably want a seat on your bike for long distance rides.

And watch out for gators on the bike path.

………

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

Vehicular cycling founder John Forester has died, toxic car culture, fighting for street space, and courteous CA drivers

Sad news from San Diego.

CABO President Jim Baross writes that John Forester, author of Effective Cycling and the father of America’s vehicular cycling movement, passed away last week.

Reported to me today by his son Jeff Forester

John died April 14, 2020 at 90 years of age

He was Born Oct. 1929

I have known John primarily related to bicycling and CABO. Some things I know about him off the cuff:

Author of Effective Cycling now in a 7th edition, former League of American Bicyclists Board member (was he board chair at one time?), instrumental in the formation of CABO, certainly the Father of the concepts and trainings of vehicular cycling, an early outspoken advocate for the rights of people to use bicycles on public roads, etc. etc.

Whatever your opinion of vehicular cycling, Forester was hugely influential in the ’70s and ’80s, and throughout the past 50 years. Both in affirming the place of bicyclists on our streets, and blocking the growth of separated bikeways.

He fought for what he believed right up to the end, long after most modern advocates and planners had left his philosophies behind.

But in his day, his work was a revelation, creating the framework most road cyclists employed through the last decades of the past century.

Myself included.

Thanks to Richard Masoner for the heads-up.

Cover image from MIT Press

………

Let’s talk about a great opinion piece from today’s LA Times.

Senior digital editor Matthew Fleischer writes that the coronavirus shutdowns are making it clear just how toxic car culture really is.

The coronavirus is making it abundantly clear that cars are their own kind of plague. And, in many ways, our lives are better when we don’t have to use them.

Some city leaders have come to this realization and are refusing to allow their automotive status quos to return after the lockdowns end. In Milan, Italy — one of the hardest-hit cities in the world by coronavirus — planners have already begun preparations to permanently transform 22 miles of streets for non-automobile use after witnessing reductions in air pollution of up to 70% during lockdowns.

Then there’s this.

Frankly, the idea that we can transport ourselves sustainably en masse in toxic 4,000-pound battering rams is just as delusional, entitled and self-destructive as the “liberate” protestors who are demanding a premature end to coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders…

There is no herd immunity from the damage caused by millions of personal automobiles roaming the streets at all hours.

Seriously, this will probably be the most insightful thing you read today. If not, it’s still a damn good way to spend the next few minutes.

Let’s hope Mayor Garcetti reads it.

Because he can let coronavirus derail his ambitious plans to reimagine our streets as part of an LA Green New Deal.

Or he can use this as a rare opportunity to actually make it happen.

………

Closing or narrowing streets for cars in response to Covid-19 continues to make news here in LA, across the US and around the world.

Los Angeles political advocacy group Streets For All has forged a powerful coalition of LA-area groups to lead the call to keep Angelenos physically and mentally healthy during the COVID-19 crisis.

And expressed that call in a strongly worded letter to leaders of the City of Angels.

The road space in Los Angeles is now dramatically overbuilt for the current vehicle traffic volume, causing vehicles to travel at dangerous speeds – average speeds are up 30% on our wide open roads according to LADOT. At the same time, the average width of our sidewalks is 4.4’, too narrow to allow people to pass each other while maintaining 6’ of distance. As a result, people are forced to be in close proximity with each other, risking proliferating the virus or walking, running, scooting, or biking in the street next to speeding cars. This isn’t just a street safety issue, but a public health issue as well…

While the top priority is limiting COVID-19 spread and saving lives and livelihoods, there must be a long term plan to sustain the mental and physical well being of Angelenos. Isolation and inactivity can lead to increases in chronic health conditions like heart disease and obesity and pose other mental and physical health risks that we may pay for as a society for years to come.

Therefore, for the critical reasons of equity, mental health, safety, and the physical well-being of Angelenos, we ask you to authorize the creation of an emergency people street network – using cones or other temporary infrastructure – to create additional sidewalk and open space for people to walk, run, scoot, and bike in, while maintaining 6’ of distancing. ​On neighborhood streets, this could be as simple as a few cones and a “slow down” sign taking up some of the street, calming traffic but still allowing local and emergency vehicle access. On major arteries, this could be redistributing a parking lane and/or single vehicle traffic lane on each side of the street, while taking care not to interfere with bus stops​. These treatments may also advance the Mayor’s goals under L.A.’s Green New Deal to “Activate Streets” and “Prioritize Land Use and the Right-of-Way” in ​Executive Directive 25​. All of this can be accomplished inexpensively and without the need of distracting our police or fire departments with enforcement during this critical time.

It’s worth taking the time to read the full letter. And voice your own support.

Meanwhile, KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis talks with Curbed’s Alissa Walker about closing some roads to cars so people have more space to walk, run or bike.

Salt Lake City joins the growing movement to convert streets to bike and pedestrian use.

Berlin is the latest world capital to carve out more space on the streets for active transportation in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown.

And Paris trumps everyone by readying the equivalent of 400 miles of permanent and temporary bikeways for use when the city reawakens.

………

No surprise here.

The Governors Highway Safety Association says speeding is up around the country on streets emptied by the coronavirus crisis, which means crashes are more serious, too.

Case in point, the CHP reports that tickets for speeding in excess of 100 mph have jumped 87% over the past month.

Which can either mean that more drivers are speeding. Or that more are just getting caught.

Or maybe both.

………

New York City’s mayor demonstrates that he’s never been to California by bizarrely insisting that California drivers are so courteous, they stop on every block — even when they don’t have to.

https://twitter.com/laura_nelson/status/1252979892846645248?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1252979892846645248&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fnyc.streetsblog.org%2F2020%2F04%2F22%2Fstill-defiant-now-mayor-de-blasio-wrongly-claims-california-can-have-open-space-because-its-drivers-are-better%2F

………

The LACBC and Sunset For All are teaming up tomorrow to show that bikes mean business.

………

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

A “furious” English man demands that bike riders be banned from a multi-use path along the coast for the alleged crime of failing to maintain social distancing.

………

Local

Khloé Kardashian’s two-year old daughter is one of us.

 

State

A San Diego columnist questions whether it’s time to reopen parts of the city, arguing that the fitness of residents helped it avoid the worst of the coronavirus.

I want to be like them when I grow up. A group of San Diego men up to 80 years old are still taking long rides along the SoCal coast. And the coast of Normandy.

After losing his job in a San Francisco restaurant, a Venezuelan chef turns to his native cuisine, and starts a new business delivering homemade arepas by bike. Which is literally what he named it.

Once again, a Bay Area bicyclist posts a nearly one-hour video of a ride through Oakland and San Leandro. And once again, an Oakland News blogger freaks out over his scofflaw behavior.

They get it. A pair of Sacramento mayors agree this is no time to back down on climate change, coronavirus or not.

 

National

PeopleForBikes aims to support bike shops by encouraging responsible riding during the Covid-19 crisis, along with virtual cycling.

How to turn your kid into a mini mountain bike shredder.

A pair of Idaho bike commuters are credited with helping the environment by trading gas pedals for bike pedals; one was inspired to get on her bike by attending CicLAvia when she was a student at USC.

Evidently, Texas trail users don’t like being told which way to go.

Wisconsin wrenches are raising old bikes from the dead at a record pace.

Security cam video shows a St. Louis hit-and-run driver plowing into a bike rider, hurling him into the air before flooring it and fleeing the scene; despite the head-on crash, the victim only suffered minor injuries. This video is just as disturbing as it sounds, so be sure you really want to see it before you click on the link.

Three friends from Maine end up driving 2,000 miles home when their fundraising cross-country bike trip ground to a halt in Texas after the coronavirus shut down much of the country.

After an MIT researcher blamed New York’s transit system for spreading Covid-19, a researcher from George Mason University reminds him that correlation isn’t causation, noting that restaurants and bikeshare showed the same curve — and points the finger for spreading the disease at motor vehicle use, instead.

Streetsblog says the empty streets have turned New York’s Third Ave into a dangerous speedway.

A writer for Rolling Stone takes a desolate and desultory ride through the city, feeling anger towards people flaunting social distancing rules and mourning places that may not return.

A Philly radio station says bicycle couriers have had to change their strategies to avoid spreading Covid-19. Or getting exposed to it.

 

International

She gets it. A writer for Forbes says our planet needs cities to prioritize people over cars, and this is the perfect time to do it.

The Pinkbike Podcast discusses why every new bike now seems to be a trail bike.

Cycling News says you can save time and money by learning to fit your own bike chain. Meanwhile, Bike Radar offers a beginner’s guide to road bike shifting.

Bike-riding British Columbia mounties stop a man for riding without a helmet, which is against the law there. And end up busting him for stealing the bike he was riding.

Dutch model Lilly Becker is one of us, too, going for a socially distant ride through London’s Wimbledon neighborhood.

Tragic news from the Netherlands, where an 18-year old man was stabbed to death in an apparent random attack while riding his bike; police arrested a “known troublemaker” immigrant with mental health problems.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews talks with five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault about his 50-mile solo breakaway through a brutal snowstorm to win the 1980 Liège-Bastogne-Liège

 

Finally…

Who needs a BMX track when you’ve got a Tribeca apartment with an awesome view of the waterfront? Why move over when you’ve got a six-foot social distancing stick?

And no, bikes aren’t “the new toilet paper.

You can actually get a bicycle.

………

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

Improve mobility and open space access during Covid-19 shutdown, CA crashes down by half, and bike shops are essential

Los Angeles leaders are focused on fighting the coronavirus.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t provide safer transportation and exercise options for LA residents during the shutdown.

That’s the case nonprofit group Streets for All has been making with city councilmembers and the mayor’s office in recent days.

Here’s what they have to say.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on Los Angeles; tens of thousands are out of work, hundreds of thousands are working from home, and millions have been ordered to only leave their homes if absolutely necessary.

Because of these changes, our road space far exceeds the required amount for vehicle traffic. At the same time, for their own physical and mental health, many Angelenos need to get to/from work if they are an essential employee, need to go to the market or a doctor’s office, or perhaps just need to go for a run, bike ride, or go play with their kids. It isn’t possible to do this and maintain 6’ of space on our current transit, sidewalk, and bike lane infrastructure.

Proposals to enhance mobility and open space access in Los Angeles during COVID-19:
  1. Pilot a temporary emergency safe streets network to slow down speeding cars and give residents a safe 6’ distanced option for active transportation while reinforcing connections to grocery stores, hospitals, LAUSD food centers, delivery services, parks, and other essential resources. View our potential network.

  2. Create an accelerated path for street closure requests to increase local access to open space, especially in neighborhoods with limited park access. Potentially using the framework studied with Play Streets. These could be hard closures block by block, or maintaining local access for parking.

    Specifically we suggest:

    • Waiving fees and insurance requirements

    • Giving Neighborhood Councils the same request exception as council offices

    • Increasing application turnaround to 10 days

    • Allowing option for LADOT to install barricades

There’s more, as they make a solid case for why it should be done. And done now.

Check it out, and get involved.

………

No surprise here, as California traffic collisions — not accidents, please — have been cut in half as the entire state shuts down for the coronavirus, thanks to a 60% drop in traffic volume.

However, there’s no word on the severity of those crashes, as the lighter traffic has meant higher average speeds on the roadways.

………

New Mexico finally came to its senses and joined most other states in allowing bike shops to reopen as essential businesses, in response to outrage from the local bicycling community.

But only under extremely limited circumstances.

Under the new orders, customers can’t enter the bicycle shops, retail sales are banned, payments are to be made by credit card or debit card remotely; customers must leave and pick up bicycles outside the store; and the bikes have to be disinfected before being brought inside. Staff must also wear protective equipment and the stores have to be routinely disinfected.

But despite the restrictions, it’s not the strictest regulations in the country, according to Bicycle Retailer.

In Michigan retailers are allowed to service bikes only if the bikes are used by workers to get to a job that is considered essential.

Meanwhile, bike shops got the nod as an essential business in Nebraska. And in Louisiana, too.

Hopefully with less draconian restrictions.

And advocacy groups from the US to Russia and Japan call for bike shops to be recognized as essential businesses during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Thanks to Bike Santa Fe’s Brian Kreimendahl for the New Mexico heads-up.

………

Bike Index reports they’ve helped recover over 7,000 stolen bikes worth nearly $10 million.

Which seems like a pretty good reminder to register your bike for free right now, before you need it.

Thanks to Brandi D’Amore for the tip.

………

Here’s your chance to work in SoCal transportation social justice.

………

This should get your heart going if you can’t get out for a ride.

………

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

An apparent road raging driver faces an attempted second-degree murder charge for getting out of his car and shooting several times at a group of bike riders; fortunately, he seems to be a bad shot.

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

Texas police bust a man who rode away on his bicycle after a fatal stabbing.

………

Local

SoCal Cycling mourns the death of cyclist Randy Houston, who died peacefully on March 17th; no cause of death was given.

A cargo bike-riding street vendor in South LA was attacked in a shameful strong arm robbery; the attack was caught on low-res video.

It looks like the popular Rose Bowl Loop is only sort of closed right now.

A Santa Clarita man was busted for assault with a deadly bicycle rim after he was allegedly caught burglarizing a garage.

Reese Witherspoon is one of us, and so is her seven-year old son.

 

State

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition says right now, while we’re all sheltering in place, is the perfect time to convince non-riding friends to give bicycling a try. Thanks to Robert Leone for the link.

San Francisco’s MTA head it’s time to build cities for buses, bikes and feet, not cars.

Yes, you can still walk or ride your bike in the Bay Area even after coronavirus restrictions are tightened, though you’re asked to consider if your trip is really essential.

A Roseville man describes touring the state by bike, including four trips to Yosemite and an epic Sonora Pass bonk that ended in the ER.

 

National

In case you missed it last month, Jeff Vaughn reminds us that bicycling is the best way to get around during the pandemic.

An automotive website says now is the time to take advantage of the empty streets to get into bicycling.

NPR says double your distance from others to protect yourself from coronavirus while safely exercising outside.

VeloNews picks the year’s best mountain bike gear, and offers a look at some of the best bikes from their virtual North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

Streetsblog points out that no one forced scooter companies to pull them off the streets because of Covid-19.

After getting laid-off from his job as a sous chef, a Tacoma WA man channels his anger into a new business riding his bike around town and shouting messages to people sheltering inside their homes.

A Washington man builds a Victorian era safety bike for a new period drama airing on HBO. Which is as good a reason as any to tune in once the show airs.

A very sad Aspen CO girl writes a letter to the local paper asking for her stolen bicycle back.

A local magazine recommends six bike paths to try out on your next trip to Austin, Texas.

The president of an Illinois advocacy group says it’s time to get back on your bike and shift the perception of bicycling from a sport to transportation.

A Minnesota man gets his bike back six years after it was stolen, after a bike shop owner with a long memory finds it in a pawn shop when it was advertised on Craigslist.

Inspired by Stephen Colbert fixing a flat on his bike, a Cleveland columnist gets his bike tuned and starts riding again to save what’s left of his sanity.

New York state eliminates an entire criminal class by finally getting around to legalizing ebikes.

Great idea. A new DC program matches people who have an extra bicycle or two lying around with essential workers who need one for safe transportation.

Fox Racing’s enduro/ebike helmet scored the highest in the latest bike helmet ratings from Virginia Tech.

 

International

Road.cc readers explain how their bicycling habits have changed due to the pandemic.

British Columbia’s Whistler ski area is still on track to open a bike park this May despite the coronavirus crisis, though the situation remains fluid.

Where to get the best online bike deals if you live in the UK. Hint: Email or call your favorite local bike shop before you buy anything online. They need the business, and will appreciate it more.

A British triathlete defends his nine hour, 201-mile bike ride in violation of the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

A 78-year old former Irish amateur cycling champ calls himself an unrepentant sinner for defying the country’s restrictions and getting out on his bike, insisting he never touches anyone when he’s riding.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling says Covid-19 will deal a serious blow to pro cycling, as teams fold and the sport may never be the same. Pro cycling never recovered from the doping scandals, and many teams have for been circling the drain for years now; this will only speed the process.

 

Finally…

Surprisingly, it turns out a $550 stolen bike is worth around…$550. Which means that a $50 Craigslist Gary Fisher bike is worth…more, evidently.

And get out the crayons to pass the time until we can all ride again.

………

Thanks to Matthew R for his very generous donation to help keep SoCal’s best bike news coming your way every day. Contributions of any amount are always appreciated, especially in times like this.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy.

 

91-year old actor killed on Venice Blvd, LA Times endorses Ryu in CD4, trash cans in bike lanes, and bike videos

Is this really the Los Angeles traffic safety deniers want?

According to the LA Times, 91-year old actor Orson Bean was killed crossing dangerous Venice Blvd near the Pacific Resident Theatre Friday night when he was struck by first one, then another, driver.

The longtime television star was crossing to the theater, where his wife was volunteering as an usher.

“Many of us do this, including the audience,” (theater publicist Judith) Borne said. “The crosswalk is out of the way. Many people … just cross” the lanes.

And there’s the problem.

The street is designed to maximize traffic flow, with pedestrians expected to walk at least a full block in either direction to use a crosswalk to cross the wide, four-lane street.

Except people usually won’t do that.

Most people tend to take the most direct and convenient route. Which in Bean’s case, meant crossing without a crosswalk.

And no, that’s not jaywalking.

Under California law, every intersection has a crosswalk, whether or not it’s marked on the pavement.

Which is often what it means when the police say, as they did in this case, that someone was crossing outside a marked crosswalk.

However, it’s also perfectly legal to cross in the middle of the block, as long as it’s not controlled by a traffic signal on both ends; in this case, the only traffic signal is on Oakwood Ave on the east end of the block.

What’s missing from the street are the safe, convenient crosswalks, and narrowed streets at intersections to slow speeds and reduce crossing distances, that advocates have long been calling for.

And which are exactly the sort of safety improvements that groups like Keep LA Moving and Restore Venice Blvd have been fighting, in an attempt to prioritize the convenience of drivers over the lives and safety of human beings.

If something like this had been in place on every block, rather than just some parallel painted lines where they pose the least inconvenience to drivers, Orson Bean might have lived to see his 92nd birthday.

And if that’s not a tragic waste, I don’t know what is.

Bean deserved better. So do the rest of us.

………

The LA Times endorsed incumbent David Ryu for re-election in my council district, despite the presence of two candidates with better safety and planning credentials in Sarah Kate Levy and Nithya Raman.

Even though, like our current president, Ryu apparently likes to take credit for work done by the previous office holder.

He is also responsible for blocking a desperately needed, shovel-ready road diet and bike lanes on 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea, despite the support of the local neighborhood council, because it would have inconvenienced drivers who use the narrow street as a bypass for busy Wilshire Blvd.

Both Levy and Raman have been endorsed by Bike the Vote LA. And either would be a better choice in next month’s election.

However, the Times did at least endorse Loraine Lundquist in CD12.

………

If you have any questions about your vote in the March 3rd election, Bike the Vote LA will help answer them tonight.

………

Yes, placing trash cans in a bike lane is illegal under state law. But good luck trying to find someone to enforce it.

………

Let’s hope LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, the new world climate mayor, understands French.

Then again, you don’t need to read it to get this one from the current Paris mayor and previous climate mayor.

https://twitter.com/Anne_Hidalgo/status/1225776654213144577

………

Like Volvo’s misguided glow-in-the-dark spray paint, Ford thinks we’ll all be better off with happy face emojis and turn signals on our jackets. Instead of, say, building safer trucks and SUVs that aren’t designed to kill on impact.

https://twitter.com/FordEu/status/1225364514289352704

………

How about a little music for your next ride?

And yes, the lyrics seem to sum it up pretty well. Just don’t wear earbuds in both ears.

………

Looks like someone is fed up with cops parking in bike lanes.

Although, while I appreciate the anger, the wording on that one seems to go a little too.

Thanks to Erik Griswold and W Corylus for the heads-up.

………

As Horace Greeley might have said, “go left, young man.”

………

A new video suggests maybe Los Angeles doesn’t suck for cycling, after all.

………

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

Police in the UK are looking for a driver who intentionally knocked a teenage boy off his bike. Note to Southern Daily Echo: The car didn’t “nudge” the victim’s tire, the driver did using his car as a weapon.

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

After leading a Washington deputy on a slow speed chase when he refused to pull over for a traffic stop, a Minnesota man threw his bicycle at the officer, took a fighting stance, and said he was baddest man in the world and was going to beat the cop up, then threatened to burn the cop’s home down and kill him after the deputy tased him. But other than that, he seems like a perfect ambassador for the sport, right?

………

Local

The San Francisco bike rider who was convicted for killing a pedestrian in a crosswalk while allegedly racing through the streets trying to claim a Strava KOM is now running attack ads against George Gascón, the DA who charged him, as Gascón runs for the same post in Los Angeles. Which seems like a damn good reason to vote for Gascón, if you ask me.

LAist examines the push to reform the deadly 85th Percentile Law and lower speed limits to safer levels in the City of Angels. Although maybe the City of Angeles could just stop making so many of them.

CicLAvia points out some of the high points on historic Central Avenue through South Central, Florence-Firestone and Watts, site of the next CicLAvia on February 23rd. Meanwhile, an op-ed in the Times discusses the importance of the area once known as the Eastside to the black community. Which explains how the East Side Riders got their name, even though they’re nowhere near East LA.

Classy move by Duarte, which renamed a bike and pedestrian path in the city for the San Gabriel Valley’s first African American council member and mayor, and his wife.

Tonight’s Malibu City Council meeting will include discussion of proposed bike and pedestrian paths to improve safety on Civic Center Way, along with the possibility of adding a traffic lane.

 

State

Baby steps. The first state bill in response to a recent study criticizing the outdated and deadly 85th Percentile Law would merely extend the time between required traffic surveys, while creating a statewide traffic safety program to monitor pedestrian and bicycle crashes. Meanwhile, speed surveys have finally been completed on all LA streets, allowing full speed enforcement for the first time in several years.

Evidently, Cleveland isn’t the only place where rivers catch on fire; Riverside firefighters were mopping up the remains of a 64-acre blaze that ignited on the Santa Ana River bottom, forcing the closure of the bike path that parallels the river.

The thoroughly discredited concept of bike licenses and registration once again rears its ugly head in San Francisco, thanks to a candidate for city supervisor. Most people who call for it are really far less interested in licensing than they are in just getting bikes off the streets.

It only took one day for bike ridership to boom on San Francisco’s newly carfree Market Street.

A Bay Area bike rider describes how he gladly broke the law by riding an ebike on a trail through the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

A trio of Marin mountain bikers face prosecution for building an illegal trail though an open space reserve, allegedly causing $72,000 in damage.

 

National

Harley Davidson’s new $30,000 electric motorcycle could face unexpected competition from more modest ebikes.

Finally, someone gets around to the really important stuff, as the Chicago Tribune examines what to look for in a dog bike trailer and offers their picks.

The VP of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy says America will need bicycling and walking included to pass a major transportation bill.

Tragic news, as the president of the Utah-based Children’s Miracle Network of hospitals was killed in a bicycling crash; unfortunately, there’s no word on where or how the crash occurred.

A British tabloid gets it right, saying the breathtaking views of Colorado’s Crested Butte is best seen from the seat of a mountain bike.

A kindhearted Colorado man is using his spare time to turn “junk into jewels’ by refurbishing bicycles to give to homeless people.

An Iowa woman wants to know why her husband was killed in a violent fall when the experienced bicyclist was wearing a helmet and riding uphill. And why police discount evidence that he may have been clipped by a passing driver.

Actress Selma Blair bought a $2,000 mobility bike for a Massachusetts stroke victim when the woman couldn’t afford to get it herself.

An Alabama man lay dying in a ditch for over an hour after his bike was struck by a hit-and-run driver who didn’t call 911. And neither did a state legislator or the local police chief, who both knew about the crash but didn’t bother to call for medical help.

The Montgomery, Alabama Bicycle Club will host a bike ride from Selma-to-Montgomery later this month, following in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King on his historic march.

Nothing to worry about in this Orlando, Florida neighborhood, where an eleven-year old neighborhood watch captain patrols the streets by bicycle.

Newly released bodycam video shows a Florida cop tasing a teenage bike rider for the crime of popping wheelies last year; the cop was censured for his actions.

 

International

They’re some of us, too. The Spanish language edition of GQ looks at the bikes preferred by Barack Obama, Brad Pitt, Jude Law, Justin Timberlake and Matt Damon; the first two were also Oscar winners last night.

In a case of life sort of imitating art, an unidentified Reddit user says she stopped speaking to her fiancé when he bought her a Peloton bike, after pleading with him not to get her one.

A Kiwi woman is bicycling 1,250 miles across the length of Mexico, accompanied by a man riding from Alaska to Argentina.

A British Columbia lawyer warns that a switch to no-fault insurance in the province could harm bike riders involved in crashes.

Saskatoon, Canada considers axing a must-use requirement for bike lanes, allowing bicyclists to ride in traffic lanes and make left turns, almost like real people.

An Englishman offers advice on how to ride a unicycle 21,000 miles around the world in three years, which is exactly how he did it. Step one: Don’t fall off.

It takes a real schmuck to steal a Scottish doctor’s bicycle as she was making a house call to visit an elderly patient.

Who says bike riders aren’t tough? A 72-year old British man got back on his bike and rode nine miles home after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver — despite suffering four broken ribs, a fractured hip and a head injury.

A Tunisian woman rode her bike to the Saudi Arabian holy city of Mecca, becoming the first woman to make the pilgrimage by bike; she was allowed into the city, even though she wasn’t accompanied by a male guardian on the 53-day journey, as required by Saudi law.

The former chief-of-staff for Guyana’s defense forces was arrested for a crash that killed a well-known bicyclist; the retired rear admiral failed a roadside Breathalyzer test.

 

Competitive Cycling

Riders in the Netherlands pick an appropriate time to hold the Dutch Headwind Cycling Championships, with no drop bars allowed, as Winter Storm Ciara pummels Europe.

VeloNews discusses why American bike racing needed the late, great Amgen Tour of California; the race is on the sort of one-year hiatus from which most bike races and other events never seem to return.

 

Finally…

If you insist on riding inside, skip the two-grand Peloton and build your own DIY version. Your next Lyft driver could be a 15-time Grammy winner.

And if dinosaurs had just worn helmets and hi-viz, they might still be here today.

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Thanks to Domus Press for a very generous and unexpected donation to help keep this site coming your way every day. Donations are always welcome, in any amount and for any reason. 

 

Morning Links: $25,000 reward for Boyle Heights hit-and-run, new candidate for LA CD8, and bike stolen every 15 seconds

LAPD Central Traffic detectives are looking for a hit-and-run driver who left a Boyle Heights man lying in the street with severe injuries.

And the city is offering a $25,000 reward to bring the heartless coward to justice.

The victim was riding his bike east on Whittier Boulevard near Calzona Street around 10:20 pm last Thursday, when a speeding pickup driver traveling in the opposite direction lost control and swerved onto the wrong side of the road, hitting him head-on.

The man, identified by KNBC-4 as Gabriel Lopez, a 53-year old father of five, was pulling a kid’s bike trailer behind his bike. Fortunately, no one was in it.

Lopez was released after just four days in the hospital, despite suffering a fractured back, blood clot and numerous scrapes and bruises. And can’t feed his family until he can get back to work as a construction worker.

Which is likely to take a very long time.

Police are looking for a distinctive white 2011-2018 Chevrolet/GMC full-size pickup with a red front bumper and lower valance air deflector, black rims and a black bed cover. The truck may have a custom white rear bumper, and possible aftermarket headlamps and tail lamps.

The crash was caught on security cameras from two separate angles. However, be sure you really want to see it before you click play, because they’re not easy to watch. And you can’t unsee it once you do.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD Central Traffic Division at 213/833-3713, or LAPD Detective Juan Campos at 213/486-0755; you can also email Det. Campos at 31480@lapd.online.

Let’s hope Lopez makes a full and fast recovery.

And the cops catch the jerk who did this to him.

Photo of suspect hit-and-run vehicle from LAPD. Thanks to John Damman and the LAPD Central Traffic Division for the heads-up. 

………

As long as we’re talking hit-and-run, City News Service offers more details on the march to honor 15-year old hit-and-run victim Roberto Diaz and call for safe streets in South LA.

Remarkably, Diaz has forgiven the hit-and-run driver who nearly killed him as he rode his bike in a crosswalk.

Which doesn’t mean he should escape justice, as the heartless coward is still missing, with a $25,000 bounty on his or her head, as well.

………

Which brings to someone who wants to help make those safer streets a reality.

Denise Francis Woods recently announced her campaign to represent South LA’s CD8 in the Los Angeles City Council, replacing Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

I offered her the chance to introduce herself to the bicycling community. Here’s what she had to say.

I am a life long resident of District 8 in Los Angeles, better known as South LA. I became aware of your site not along ago when Fredrick Woon Frazier was killed. I participated in a lot of the demands for change on several busy streets here, such as Manchester, to add efficient bike lanes. During those times I hadn’t even considered becoming a candidate, but over time, after not seeing any change in my community on many levels, I decided to take on the fight for social and economic justice for my fellow constituents.

I do not know a lot about the biking world. What I do know is that I’m an activist for doing the right things and fighting injustice for all. In regards to the biking world, I see a serious injustice in our local biking community here in South LA, where the bikers have not been given what is required in order to be safe while riding. As the councilwoman for the this district, I will make sure bike lanes are added to our major streets, in particular to Manchester, in honor of “Woon” and the other gentleman whom was also killed on Manchester recently.

Sounds like we could do a lot worse. Especially with someone who seems willing to listen and learn.

Then actually do something about it.

………

A new study from the Project 529 bike registry shows a bicycle is stolen in North America every 15 seconds — which works out to two million to bikes every year.

It also shows only 20% of those thefts are reported to the police. One reason just 5% of stolen bikes are ever returned to their owners.

Meanwhile, fellow bike registry Bike Index says they’ve helped recover over $8 million in stolen bicycles since 2013. And now they’re promoting stolen bike alerts on Facebook to help get more people on the lookout, and more bikes back home where they belong.

You can get free lifetime registration with Bike Index’s nationwide database right here on this site; Project 529 also offers free registration, though I don’t know what, if any, restrictions apply.

Best advice is to register your bike with every service you can to maximize your chances of getting your it back.

Especially if it doesn’t cost you a cent.

………

Be careful scanning those QR or bar codes for dockless bikes or scooters.

………

CiclaValley’s Zachary Rynew is looking for help fixing up a ghost bike and honoring 15-year old Sebastian Montero, who was killed by a speeding driver on Easter Sunday last year.

………

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

Company officials gave the “psychotic” driver of a Mr. Softee ice cream truck a stern talking to after he reportedly parked in a bridge bike lane and threatened riders who complained, telling him to “knock off the stupid stuff.” Yeah, that ought to do it. Sure.

………

Local

Streetsblog says the new ultra-modern suspension bridge over the LA River is nearing completion.

A new map shows block-by-block and hour-by-hour how Los Angeles belches smog into the air — and into your lungs. But sure, let’s keep fighting bikeways and alternative transportation, and demanding our God-given right to drive until we all die and take the Earth with us.

Area residents call for protected bike lanes on Sunset Blvd from East Hollywood to Dodger Stadium; the Sunset4All proposal would replace painted lanes with protective devices, improving safety while creating a prime bicycling corridor — and keeping parked trucks out. Thanks to Jeff Vaughn for the tip.

 

State

It was a rough summer at Orange County’s Chapman University, as three students died during the break — including Pablo Valdez, who was killed by a pickup driver while riding on Oso Parkway in Las Flores last month.

This is why you shouldn’t try to intervene if you see someone stealing a bicycle. A woman is on trial for first-degree murder for shooting a Bakersfield man who tried to stop her from stealing a bike. Call the police and let them deal with it. And take pictures or video if you can do it safely.

Maybe Facebook isn’t entirely evil, after all. Robert Leone sends word that the massive Menlo Park company held a free bike repair clinic over the weekend to get kids and adults rolling again.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 73-year old bike rider successfully tackles a hill climb challenge on NorCal’s Old Priest Road, a road so steep even the Amgen Tour of California said no thanks — and boasting an elevation gain of 1,630 feet in 2.5 miles, with a grade of up to 15.4%.

 

National

Writing for Bicycling, Peter Flax turns fashion critic, concluding he was wrong about Primal’s bike jerseys being the Nickelback of cycling apparel. Although they have some new competition coming from Australia.

A new study shows spending time in urban green space — aka parks and trails — can make you as happy as Christmas Day. But is that Christmas as a kid when you got exactly what you wanted, or sad adult Christmas when your significant other dumps you and all you get is underwear from your folks?

Denver votes to boot e-scooters off the sidewalk and onto the streets, reversing the previous rules that required them to be ridden on sidewalks.

After officials posted notices urging bicyclists to use caution on a Denver-area trail, someone trolled them with their own — and better — signs.

A Kansas man was a one man crime wave, stealing a man’s car, cellphone and wallet, followed by making off with a woman’s bicycle, assaulting a police officer, and threatening to shoot up a bar.

In what may be the best video you see today, a 12-year old Oklahoma boy with cerebral palsy rides an adaptive bike for the first time, thanks to a Tulsa nonprofit.

Now that’s a good kid. A Northern Michigan girl is collecting cans to buy new bikes for less fortunate kids.

After a Columbus, Ohio boy’s bike was stolen from a friend’s porch after the first day of school, bighearted teachers at the school pitched in to buy him a new one.

A New York condo owner says a lawsuit from the building’s board intended to halt a Central Park West bike lane is out of order, because the board violated the building’s by-laws — and possibly state law — in not one, not two, but three distinct ways.

An ebike rider was critically injured in a collision with a 72-year old pedestrian  in New York’s Central Park; the pedestrian, who wasn’t seriously injured, was in a crosswalk, though it was unclear who had the right of way. Three other bike riders were injured within feet of the first crash site, suggesting the problem goes way beyond mere carelessness. Which didn’t stop a local TV station for blaming bike riders for an “alarming rise” in collisions with people on foot. Never mind who’s actually at fault. Thanks to Mike Cane for the tip.

A Lafayette, Louisiana man started a bike kitchen to keep fixable bikes out of landfills, after turning to one in Oakland when he was the victim of a home invasion and mugging.

 

International

Seriously? A Canadian driver insists there are no written rules for what bike riders are supposed to do when bike lanes end before intersections, apparently never having studied the rules of right-of-way. And that bicyclists put drivers in harms way by traumatizing them when we make them kill us.

He gets it. The founder and executive director of a Canadian transportation policy institute says “There is no war on cars. Everybody, including motorists, benefits from a more diverse and efficient transportation system.”

The Brits do have a way with words. An English bike rider calls new barriers blocking the entrance to a pathway a “potentially lethal abomination.”

Norway proposes spending $1 billion on bike highways through the hilly country.

Add this one to your coming bike bucket list. The European Union is helping to fund a 437-mile bike path though “the Amazon of Europe,” connecting Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary and Serbia. Hopefully this one isn’t on fire, unlike its Brazilian counterpart.

As long as we’re in the Balkans, Slovenia is creating the country’s first e-mountain bike bikeshare network in the mountainous Upper Sava Valley. If it’s a pretty as the picture, why the hell aren’t we all there already?

A Taipei, Taiwan paper calls for educating bicyclists, noting that half of all crashes involving bicycles are the riders’ fault. Which means that half of them aren’t. But oddly, they don’t call for re-educating drivers, too.

 

Competitive Cycling

Sad news from Colombia, where a 16-year old junior cyclist was killed when she was hit by a truck driver while riding home from a training ride with six other cyclists.

A Boulder CO paper offers a trio of photos — and a few more photos — of the “iconic mountains and cityscapes” from the recent Colorado Classic, calling it the only standalone women’s pro cycling race in the Western Hemisphere.

Retired Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi received a two-year ban for his role in a doping ring run by a German doctor; Austrian cyclists Stefan Denifl and Georg Preidler both got four-year bans earlier this year for their involvement in the ring. But thank goodness the doping era is over, right?

American mountain bike world champ Kate Courtney looks back at her year in the rainbow jersey.

VeloNews says former elite runner Leigh Ann Ganzar has enjoyed a remarkable rise through the ranks of women’s pro cycling.

 

Finally…

Apparently, mediation is the ebike of the business world. No, you don’t have to lose your driver’s license to get an ebike, but it helps.

And forget Peter Sagan. It takes major skills to whack off while you’re riding.

Not to mention a callus indifference to going blind.

………

Thanks to Denice H for her very generous donation to help defray the Corgi’s vet bills.

Your support is always welcome and appreciated, whether to help maintain this site, pay down massive corgi vet bills, or help get a new one…someday.

 

Morning Links: Eliminating car culture amid Vision Zero fail, and bike greenways at tonight’s Pasadena council meeting

Good essay by James Ramsey for Gothamist, questioning whether New York City should completely eliminate car culture.

It’s debatable whether New York City is a car town. On one hand, it’s obviously not — the majority of us take public transportation to work, cycling is at an all-time high, and there are people walking around at all hours of the day and night.

But the recent death of Jose Alzorriz, a 52-year-old cyclist from Park Slope, highlights a different reality about how the city is designed, and for whom…

But as economist and longtime cyclist Charles Komanoff wrote this week in an op-ed for Gothamist, the individual decisions of reckless drivers are merely the “proximate causes” of these tragedies.

“The wellspring of cycle fatalities lies deeper, in driving’s culture and sheer volume,” Komanoff writes.

Which is why he’s joining several prominent officials, most notably City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, in saying we need to “break the car culture.” That means making it far more expensive to drive in the city; less placating of reactionary community boards (see the cases of the 14th Street busway, or the Central Park West bike lane); and taking away huge chunks of space currently devoted to free or cheap parking.

Komanoff goes on to add that ending car culture also means “placing public transit, biking, and walking at the center of all city planning decisions.”

Incrementalism isn’t enough, he argues. Adding a few bike lanes won’t “change the cultural assumption that cars reign supreme” in New York.

The same holds true for Los Angeles.

When the city was looking for public input on Vision Zero, several of us argued for the urgent need to break attitude that LA streets are for cars and the people in them.

And that Vision Zero would never succeed as long as the city’s longtime philosophy of autos über alles was allowed to continue.

Which was quickly agreed with. And then, like most bold steps in the City of Angels, promptly forgotten.

Instead, we got a weak-kneed call for drivers to watch their speed from the punter for the Rams.

Evidently, the city concluded the best way to change driver attitudes was to bore them to death, and start over with the next generation.

Like New York, we’re long past the point where incremental changes will make a damn bit of difference.

It’s time for bold action and real change from a mayor and council who seem afraid of both. Or more accurately, afraid of angry windshield-biased NIMBY voters.

That’s where genuine leadership and political courage must come in. Elected leaders willing to stand up and take the heat for changes the city must make if we’re going to survive the coming decades.

And that’s exactly what the city lacks right now.

………

If you live or ride in the Pasadena area, drop whatever you were planning to do tonight and head to the meeting of the Pasadena city council, where officials will discuss proposals for four bicycle greenways, aka bike boulevards.

  • El Molino Ave between Atchison Street and Bonita Drive
  • Wilson Ave between Washington Blvd and California Blvd
  • Sierra Bonita Ave between Washington Blvd and Colorado Blvd
  • Craig Ave between Orange Grove Blvd and Del Mar Blvd

Unless you were already planning to be at the meeting.

In which case, carry on.

………

Over a hundred people turned out for yesterday’s march to demand safer streets in response to a hit-and-run that has left a 15-year old bike rider hospitalized for the past three weeks.

At least it now looks like he’s going to survive.

………

Not only is former NBA star Reggie Miller one of us, he got a new gravel grinder for his birthday.

………

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

Toronto bicyclists are turning to civil courts to confront road raging drivers after the criminal court system lets them down.

Three British teenagers have been charged with murder for ramming a popular, 18-year old taekwondo star and role model as he rode his bike in southwest London, then getting out and beating him as he lay on the ground.

Two Irish thieves rammed a rider to knock off his bicycle and into a ditch, then got out of their car and mugged him before taking off with his bike.

………

Local

The number of e-scooter riders ticketed by the LAPD is soaring, mostly for riding on the sidewalk — even before the Paul Koretz-inspired crackdown on sidewalk scooter riders began.

Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies ticketed 74 people during their recent crackdown on traffic violations that endanger bicyclists and pedestrians, half of which were for distracted driving.

When Pomona police officers tried to return a young boy’s cellphone after it was stolen by older kids as he walked to school, they learned he was afraid to walk to class anymore. So the kindhearted cops surprised him a new bicycle, helmet and lock so he could ride to school, instead.

Active SGV considers LA County’s plans for protected bike lanes.

 

State

Yes, those cars with dark tinted windows are illegal in California. Which doesn’t mean they’re not out there threatening your life and safety on a daily basis.

Police are investigating a crash between a bicyclist and a motorcyclist in Rancho Santa Margarita that left one man dead; for a change, it was the man with the motor. Which does not make it any less tragic.

Sadly, a 48-year old San Diego man suffered life-threatening injuries when he crashed his motorized bicycle into the side of a car while attempting to ride across a street; no word on whether he was on an ebike or one with a gasoline engine.

A Clovis woman apparently broke both arms and legs when she allegedly ran a red light and was struck by a driver.

The San Francisco Chronicle accuses Caltrans of trying to steamroll SB127, the Complete Streets bill that would force the state agency to consider the needs of all street users.

 

National

After the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed claiming “new left urbanists” want to use infrastructure to “make the masses conform to one vision of how to live — which unfortunately is hidden behind their paywall — a writer for Jalopnik responds that he never knew an op-ed could be so stupid.

A writer for the LA Times takes an ebike-aided bike tour of the Oregon Cascades. Which just happens to be where my brother is now on his solo bike tour across the west, except he’s currently on the coast.

Police, fire and EMS personnel rode 650 miles across Texas in eight days to honor fallen first responders.

After a homeless man stole a $10,000 road bike off a car rack, Tulsa OK police quickly mobilized to track him down, busting him a few hours later riding the purloined bike while carrying bolt cutters.

A Michigan man with muscular dystrophy will have to start over after his coast-to-coast fundraising bike ride to fight the disease was interrupted when a careless driver slammed into him and his riding partner with just 800 miles to go, leaving both with several broken bones; the driver played the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, claiming he just didn’t see them. Which should be seen as a confession rather than an excuse, but seldom is.

A Maine man is suing Ford for $1 million over a crash when he was riding his bike with his son. Not over the gardening truck that passed them, but for the the 50-year old Ford lawn mower in the back whose blade came off and nearly severed his leg.

If you’re riding a bike in Boston with a loaded gun in your pocket, try not to act so damn suspicious.

Hundreds of New Yorkers rode to honor a fallen rider and demand safer streets. And called for the city’s mayor to stop running for president and come back to deal with the recent rash of bicycling deaths.

A Philadelphia op-ed says taking steps to hold drivers accountable signals a change in the city’s pervasive car culture.

Philly goes all out for the city’s annual naked bike ride, and they’ve got the photos to prove it.

A Palm Beach FL columnist inadvertently shows how windshield bias can determine who gets blamed for bike and motorcycle crashes, pointing out that drivers get most of the blame in one county, and people on two wheels in the next. Even though studies show drivers are to blame in the majority of crashes.

A Florida woman is under arrest after slamming into a bike rider during her morning commute, then driving to work to begin her shift; she called her husband and asked him to return to the crash scene for her, but never bothered to call the police.

Seriously? After an older person complained about bikes in a Florida park, a city department ordered signs from — from Amazon, no less — banning bicycles in the park, knowing they weren’t official and couldn’t be enforced.

 

International

A pair of British Columbia bike thieves broke into a parking garage and made off with an $11,000 Yeti mountain bike, as well as another as-yet unidentified bicycle.

A 73-year old Victoria BC letter writer says he just rode in a new bike lane, and contrary to the usual hysterical reports, didn’t crash into any pedestrians, get hit by wobbly bike riders or run over by cars coming from a parking lot.

After a drunk, half-naked man got tossed out of an English supermarket, he grabbed a bicycle and tried to smash his way back in through the glass.

A British couple are riding over 3,700 miles to draw a bicycle across the face of Europe to call attention to the environmental impact of traveling by motor vehicle.

The breathless UK media freaks out over a man riding his bicycle on a “busy” street carrying a baby in one arm. For a change, they’ve got a point; a kid should always be in a child’s seat or some other type of safe child carrier on a bike.

An Irish government committee calls on the country to legalize e-scooters. Which means you could soon take a Bird to the Blarney Stone, or a Lime to Limerick.

Cargo bikes are becoming status symbols in Deutschland, as Germans turn away from electric cars in the switch to greener transport.

A Taipei, Taiwan committee calls on the transport ministry to prevent bike crashes, which they mostly blame on the people on two wheels.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling News lists ten cyclists to keep your eye on in this year’s Vuelta, which kicked off on Saturday — including a rising young American rider for a change.

Twenty-two-year old American cyclist Chloe Dygert-Owen dominated the inaugural women’s Colorado Classic, winning all four stages, as her husband was 5,000 miles away in Spain competing in his first Grand Tour.

 

Finally…

Anyone can go biking on a mountain, but try riding a third of a mile under one. Are you a biker or a cyclist — or just someone who rides a bicycle?

And why ebikes burn like Jimi Hendrix’ guitar.

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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