Members of SAFE — Streets Are For Everyone — turned out in South LA yesterday to mark the World Day of Remembrance for traffic victims.
The group demonstrated at the intersection of Slauson and Western, one of the deadliest locations in all of Los Angeles, according to the city’s High Injury Network.
And one that has yet to see any significant attempt to make it safer.
In other words, pretty much like the rest of LA’s seemingly forgotten Vision Zero program.
According to CBS2/KCAL9,
…police say there has been a staggering 29% increase in traffic-caused fatalities and injuries in South L.A. this year so far in 2020 compared to 2019.
Additionally, there have been close to 5,000 hit-and-run collisions in 2020, police said.
There are few people who haven’t been touched by traffic violence in some way.
I’ve lost two people close to me, both at the hands of drunk drivers.
A friend I’d known since kindergarten was killed just weeks before our senior year of high school when a drunk woman somehow jumped the wide median on an interstate highway, and hit his car head-on, killing him and a friend instantly.
She walked away unharmed, with just a slap on the wrist for murdering two strangers.
The other was my cousin, who was killed when she was thrown from her own father’s car, and was run over by him.
And once again, there were no real consequences. Unless you consider the guilt and self-loathing he lived with for the rest of his life.
That’s not counting the hundred of people I’ve written about here who have needlessly lost their lives on the mean streets of Southern California — most at the hands and on the bumpers of drivers.
It has to stop.
It looked, for a short time, as if the City of Los Angeles was actually going to do something about it when Vision Zero was announced with great fanfare just five years ago.
But then it got hard when the city ran into resistance from auto-centric NIMBYs. And LA’s mayor got distracted by the shiny object of national ambitions, with far too many Wormtongues whispering in his ear.
And so Vision Zero was shoved onto a cold back burner, just another page on the LADOT website, with a handful of piecemeal projects here and there, rather than the massive road safety overhaul we were promised.
Never mind the now laughable goal of eliminating traffic deaths in the city by 2025.
Less than five years from now.
Which leaves us waiting for the mayor and the city’s recalcitrant councilmembers to be termed out, so we can finally replace them with leaders who will hopefully have the courage and political will to make the hard decisions necessary to save lives.
And not just talk about it, for a change.
LA Bike Dad offers photos from the demonstration at Slauson and Western.
Click on the tweets for more photos.
— LA Bike Dad (@LA_Bike_Dad) November 16, 2020
The LAPD’s looking for the heartless coward who ran down a pedestrian in DTLA while driving on the wrong side of the road, then got out to check his own car for damage before driving away, ignoring the victim.
There’s a $25,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.
Warning — The video is graphic, so be sure you really want to see it before you click the link because you can’t unsee it.
@KTLAnewsdesk @ABC7 @TheEastsiderLA @FOXLA @bikinginla @TELEMUNDO52 @UniNoticias @Noticias62TV @latimes @LaOpinionLA @LapdWoodyard @LAPDBlakechow @TrafficRacing @LapdTrfg @SgtFlanaganLAPD pic.twitter.com/3VPQVVgIyN
— LAPDCTD (@LAPDCTD24) November 16, 2020
President Elect Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden take a bike ride in Rehoboth Beach, DE. He told us he’s closer to selecting a cabinet. pic.twitter.com/J9f0z0MrKe
— Brittany Shepherd (@brittanys) November 14, 2020
This is what happens when the NIMBYs win.
A pedestrian was killed last night on Pasadena's Orange Grove Blvd. An effort to create a traffic-calming road diet there was killed by NIMBYs aligned with Keep LA Moving. This death is on John Russo and his team. https://t.co/NxsoJ9HZ8X pic.twitter.com/36o3F9np5c
— Peter Flax (@Pflax1) November 14, 2020
Tell your favorite LBS the news. And register your own bike if you haven’t already.
CALLING ALL LOS ANGELES AREA BIKE SHOPS! Did you know we are now partnering with LAPD? You can provide your customers the extra security of a bike registration in case of theft. And it's free. https://t.co/3FcwQjvDr3
— Bike Index (@BikeIndex) November 13, 2020
At least one LA-area city is moving forward with safer streets.
But it ain’t Los Angeles.
Christmas is coming early!!! https://t.co/ngV2or47Bl
— Santa Monica Spoke (@SMSpoke) November 15, 2020
Here’s today’s stunt biking break, with a short film from Dutch BMX rider Niels Bensink, as he moves to Canada to immerse himself in mountain biking.
The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.
No bias here. An Edmonton columnist is outraged that the city plans to install more bike lanes to fight climate change.
No bias here, either. London’s Sunday Mail claims bike lanes and low traffic neighborhoods are delaying ambulances and paramedics; the UK’s national cycling organization responds that the paper is relying on “alternative facts.”
A lawyer in the UK says bike riders should be limited to just a small space on the side of the road, if that.
But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.
A Florida man was busted after attempting to flee on foot when police stopped him while riding his bike in a “known narcotics area,” and found a white rock in his pocket.
Someone using the Citizen app captured video of up to 500 people riding bikes through Chinatown in DTLA. Although they may not have thought it was a good thing.
A South Bay writer calls for better bike paths, safer streets and fewer cars after she gets right hooked by an SUV driver.
Ojai received a $450,000 grant to conduct a road diet and install a quick build parking protected bike lane on a 3/4 mile stretch of Maricopa Highway, connecting a restored wetlands with an existing bike trail and a high school.
Sad news from Fresno, where a bike-riding man was killed by a speeding hit-and-run driver. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.
A clown was caught on video stealing a little girl’s bike in Hayward. Yes, a clown.
Bicycling continues their conversation about race and equity with a rare non-paywalled piece by former LACBC Executive Director Tamika Butler, who says she won’t call herself a cyclist, even though she loves to ride her bike.
Apparently, jorts are socially acceptable again, as long as they’re made of technical denim and intended for mountain biking.
Wall Street thinks the bike boom is over, as bike stocks fall while automotive stocks are going up.
In a story every LA area leader should read, Bike Portland’s Jonathan Maus says we’ll never have safe streets if we continue to make safe choices.
Dallas-area residents mourn yet another victim of traffic violence after a paletero was killed by a driver as he pedaled his cart, following two decades of selling ice cream and chicharrones. Thanks to John Clary for the link.
This is who we share the road with. An Oklahoma state senator faces a first-degree manslaughter charge after she skidded off a rain-slicked road while driving nearly 100 mph, and killed a man whose car was stalled on the side of the road. Thanks to Robert Leone for the tip.
Life is cheap in Ohio, where a 73-year old woman got a whole 30 days behind bars for killing a local Teacher of the Year as he was riding his bike. But at least she’ll lose her license for five years. Although at her age, that should be permanently.
I want to be like him when I grow up. A Massachusetts man rode his bike 77 miles to celebrate his 77th birthday.
Another Massachusetts man reminds bike riders to warn slower riders and pedestrians before you pass. Seriously, call it out or use a bike bell. “Passing on your left” works better than “on your left,” which tends to confuse some people.
Dune star Timothee Chalamet is one of us, going for a hooded ride through NYC.
A group of Black New Jersey husbands and fathers are taking advantage of their bikes and the area’s open roadways to form a fraternal bond to cope with the struggles of 2020.
Bighearted Virginia bike riders scoured local grocery stores to deliver food donations for a local rescue mission and weekend school food program.
A North Carolina nonprofit is preparing a bike giveaway to make the holidays brighter for hundreds of kids.
A sports psychologist explains how to face down your bicycling fears and stay safe on the roads.
British Columbia’s Human Right Tribunal concludes that Victoria’s floating bus stops on a new two-way cycle track discriminates against blind and visually impaired pedestrians.
An Edmonton, Alberta bike shop owner offers advice on how to bike through winter snow. Which is seldom a problem here in Los Angeles, but we can hope.
Hats off to a London man who rode his bike around the city for an hour to corral a stray dog and return it to its owner.
A Scottish charity has put over 1,000 refugees and asylum seekers on two wheels, calling it the key to helping them settle into a new community, develop new friends, and access essential services.
Brit bike hero Chris Boardman calls for banning cars from residential streets for the sake of the country’s children.
A new British subscription service allows people to get a Brompton for the equivalent of less than $1.32 a day.
Bike Radar takes a deep dive into the UK’s current state of diversity in bicycling, or the lack thereof. And the importance of inclusion and representation in biking, whether for sport or transportation.
A British travel writer takes an easy ebike bikeshare tour of Jersey.
A bicycling group in Nagpur, India lights their bikes to celebrate an eco-friendly Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights also celebrated by Jains, Sikhs and Newar Buddhists.
A Mumbai man is using his indoor cycling studio to help people scarred by traffic violence rediscover the joys of bicycling.
Fifty-seven percent of the residents of the Indian city of Gurugram would rather bike to work — but only if they have safe streets and bikeways.
She gets it. Kenya’s Second Lady — the wife of the country’s 1st Deputy President — takes to her bike, and mourns the needless deaths of people riding bicycles.
Malaysia takes a step towards a greener future with the nation’s first bicycle messenger service.
Cycling Tips traces the birth and growth of Aussie bikepacking and adventure racing brand Curve Cycling.
More racial and trans insensitivity from America’s young pro cyclists, as former world track champ Chloe Dygert had to apologize for liking a number of biased tweets. This is what Black cyclist Ayesha McGowan had to say about it.
Tour de France champ Tadej Pogačar’s winning bike will live on at the Colnago museum in Cambiago, Italy, joining bikes ridden by the legendary Eddy Merckx and Johan Museeuw, aka The Cannibal and The Lion of Flanders.
A writer for Rouleur says the nine-month ban given Dutch cyclist Dylan Groenewegen for his role in the crash in the final sprint at Stage 1 of this year’s Tour of Poland is cruel and unusual punishment, and sets a dangerous precedent.
Surprise Giro winner Tao Geoghegan Hart had to buy his brother a new car to pay off a bet that he wouldn’t end up winning the race.
And that feeling when your foot is run over by Albus Dumbledore.
Well, the second one, anyway.
Happy Diwali to everyone celebrating this year. May the divine light spread into your life and bring peace, prosperity, happiness, good health and grand success.
Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already.