One quick note before we get started.
Last Friday, I had a very pleasant talk with Communications Director Dana Variano and new Executive Director Eli Akira Kaufman of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, aka LACBC.
I won’t go into details, since everything we discussed was off the record. But we had a very frank and open discussion about the state of bicycling in general, and the state of the LACBC in general.
Suffice it to say that Kaufman recognizes that he’s got a steep learning curve to get a firm grasp on LA bike culture and street safety.
And he’s well aware of the problems facing the LACBC after drifting far too long without effective leadership.
But he’s committed to listening and improving communications, which has been a major problem as long as I’ve been involved with the coalition, as a member and former board member.
And to making the hard decisions the LACBC will need to return to being an effective voice for LA bicyclists.
I left the meeting feeling like the LACBC is in good hands.
And with a little hope for the first time in a long time.
Disappointing news from Seal Beach, where Eric Dalton reports the ghost bike for Paul Smith has already been removed, less than three weeks after he was killed.
The popular church leader was riding on PCH at Seal Beach Blvd when he was run down from behind by an allegedly speeding driver.
At this point, there’s no word on who removed the ghost bike, or why.
But it’s heartbreaking that someone apparently didn’t think he was worth remembering for even a month.
Let alone reminding drivers of the dangers of SoCal’s killer highway.
Of the nearly 250 people treated by UCLA medical centers in Westwood and Santa Monica as a result of scooter injuries, the overwhelming majority of injuries were suffered by the people riding them — not pedestrians struck by them, as we are so often led to believe.
“In this study of a case series, 249 patients presented to the emergency department with injuries associated with electric scooter use during a 1-year period, with 10.8% of patients younger than 18 years,” says the January 25 paper by Tarak K. Trivedi, Charles Liu, and Anna Liza M. Antonio.
“The most common injuries were fractures (31.7%), head injuries (40.2%), and soft-tissue injuries (27.7%).”
“Only 10 riders were documented as wearing a helmet, constituting 4.4% of all riders,” the report notes. “Twelve patients (4.8%) had physician-documented intoxication or a blood alcohol level greater than 0.05%
Of course, there’s no word on the severity of the head injuries, which could have been anything from simple cuts to concussions, skull fractures or cranial bleeding.
And no way to know whether helmets could have prevented them.
Then there’s this from Forbes.
Not all of the injured patients had been riding scooters. Eleven had been hit by scooters, and five had tried to lift scooters. Another five had simply tripped over parked scooters, which is what can happen when there are Bird or Lime droppings on the sidewalk.
In other words, despite the panicked response to this study in the media, over 90% of the injuries were to the people riding them. So just like with bicyclists, even the most careless riders are a danger primarily to themselves.
Just wait until the study authors discover how many people get hurt by cars every day.
Which is not to say everyone shouldn’t ride safely, so they don’t pose a risk to themselves or anyone else.
And for chrissakes, don’t leave your damn scooter on the sidewalk, or anywhere else it can pose a danger to anyone.
Especially people with handicaps.
Thanks to David Drexler for the heads up.
Howard Valai forwards video of what it looks like when an LA Metro bus passes about a foot off your handlebar.
If anyone had opened the door on any of those cars, he could have seriously injured. Or worse.
Life is cheap when you ride a bicycle.
A Colorado truck driver gets an all-too-brief 90 days behind bars, and 120 days work release, for running down a 17-year old boy from behind as he rode in a bike lane, then fleeing the scene and leaving his victim seriously injured in the street.
A speeding hit-and-run Maryland driver got just 18 months behind bars for running a red light and killing a Smithsonian IT specialist who was riding his bike to work last September.
A teenage driver walked with community service for killing a bike rider in the UK by trying to pass on a narrow country road at 60 mph — which the driver’s lawyer wrote off as a simple misjudgment. One that cost an innocent man his life.
But sometimes justice gets done.
Like the Florida driver who got over 13 years behind bars for the drunken, high-speed crash that killed a man on a bicycle.
Or the Japanese man who got a well-deserved 18 years for the road rage death of a motorbike rider, intentionally slamming into him after briefly chasing his bike. Thanks to Norm Bradwell for the link.
I don’t even know what to make of this one.
In a video posted to an anti-bike group, an Aussie driver drove down a bike path to swear at a couple of cyclists for riding in the roadway instead of on the parallel path.
Needless to say, opinions on the auto-centric site ran in favor of the foulmouthed driver, with one poster calling for him to be named Australian of the year.
If you haven’t already, mark your calendar for International Winter Bike to Work Day on February 8th. We should be able to show a good turnout here in Southern California, where Viking Biking means you might have to put fenders on your bike.
UCLA will host a panel discussion on Transportation as a Public Health Issue this Wednesday, with Dr. Muntu Davis of the LA County Department of Public Health, Juan Matute of UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies, and LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds.
The LACBC will hold a historic tour of San Fernando and Pacoima Sunday morning as part of their monthly Sunday Funday rides, which promises to get you home in time for the Super Bowl.
Cycling scion and three-time national time trial champ Taylor Phinney takes his new team on a tour of the City of Angels and prove he knows it well, including stops at Bicycle Coffee and Golden Saddle Cyclery.
The editor of USC’s Daily Trojan takes a very auto-centric view of Metro’s proposed congestion pricing, saying transportation will always be a citywide struggle. Meanwhile, that Metro proposal also includes possible ride-hailing fees on Uber and Lyft, and shared-mobility fees on dockless bikeshare and e-scooters.
South Pasadena has accepted $332,000 from Metro to pay for the upcoming 626 Golden Streets open streets event through South Pas, Alhambra and San Gabriel this May.
A Santa Clarita letter writer says please leave your bikeshare bikes in the racks where you’re supposed to, rather than abandon them anywhere.
Long Beach police are looking for a serial groper on a distinctive lime green bicycle who’s attacked four women in separate assaults.
Former pro cyclist and current Long Beach Bike Ambassador Tony Cruz had his bicycle stolen last week; be on the lookout for an $8,000 Felt FR1 carbon bike with Sram e-Tap shifters and $1,300 Mavic Carbon Cosmics wheels.
State workers can now get reimbursed for their dockless ebike and scooter rides.
Some things never change. Nice to see the OC Register is still giving voice to ridiculously conservative anti-transit op-eds, despite layoffs and ownership changes, and a Congressional map that’s turned solid blue. The paper also says drivers probably don’t know what a sharrow is, which is probably true.
Bike advocate Roberta Walker has begun a rehab program after suffering extensive brain and spinal injuries when she was run down by a driver on PCH in Leucadia last month, while Encinitas has begun rehabbing the roadway to keep it from happening to someone else. A crowdfunding page has raised over $97,000 of the $125,000 goal to help pay her hospital and rehabilitation expenses.
Camarillo police are looking for a man in his 20s who assaulted a woman who was walking on a bike path; fortunately, she was able to fight them off.
An Oakland woman has been charged in the hit-and-run crash that critically injured a 14-year old boy, who was dragged three blocks under her car after she hit his bike; she was already on probation for a DUI conviction last fall.
As we mentioned last week, Marin transportation officials want to cut the four-year pilot program for a bike and pedestrian lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to just six months, so they can declare it a failure and turn it back over to people in cars.
There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole 24 bikes from a bicycling club at a Modesto elementary school. And just the opposite for a kindhearted people who replaced 20 of them.
The CHP does more than catch speeders on the freeway. A Redding mountain biker was airlifted to a hospital after apparently breaking his leg in a fall.
Great. The plague of LA-based traffic safety deniers has gone national, forming the new agitprop group Keep the US Moving to spread their virtually fact-free campaign to keep our streets deadly and halt all road diets, anywhere. Thanks to Peter Flax for the tip.
Okay, now I’m impressed. Idris Elba is one of us, going for a casual bike ride with his fiancé in Hawaii.
The route has been announced for this year’s 450-mile Ride the Rockies, featuring 28,000 feet of elevation gain through the Colorado high country.
A Minnesota singer found the inspiration for her debut album in the hum of her bike chain.
She gets it. A columnist for the New York Post says drivers are getting away with murder.
Big Apple Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city doesn’t have the resources to go after drivers who block bike lanes. Which is odd, since most of them seem to be NYPD cops.
Mississippi bicyclists ride 6.6 miles in honor of fallen cyclists.
Drivers and doors aren’t the only things we have to worry about. A Vancouver bicyclist was killed when he somehow collided with the friend he was riding with, and fell into the path of a truck.
Canada has cancelled plans for a $65.9 million bike path paralleling a scenic highway through the Rocky Mountains due to environmental concerns and high costs. But all those cars spewing smog are just fine, thank you.
Calgary’s new e-assist bikeshare is a huge hit, even in the winter cold and snow.
The UK could save the equivalent of over $420 million if bicycling could be made as popular in the rest of the country as it is in London.
Well deserved. A British triathlete was fined the equivalent of more than $1200 for aggressively passing a horse and rider on the curb side, colliding with them as causing the horse to bolt, injuring the rider.
The German ambassador to Pakistan went out of his way to find a locally made bike, because he wanted that Made in Pakistan stamp to show his support for the country’s people.
A bighearted South African boy broke open his own piggy bank to buy a new bicycle for a gas station attendant he befriended.
Sad news from New Zealand, where a 32-year old elite cyclist is dying of intestinal cancer, saying she should have pushed harder for a diagnosis after suffering from years of stomach pain.
A Singaporean news channel examines why the island city has yet to become a bicycling paradise, pointing a finger at the heat and rain, and a lack of safe space on the road.
Long Beach will host this year’s Paratriathlon National Championships in June.
Cycling Tips looks at how a little known cyclist from Cuba beat the world’s best women’s riders in the Cadel Road Race.
Road.cc offers advice on how to step up from riding sportives to your first actual bike race.
The LA Times says Zwift’s new esports league is just like pro cycling, but without the turns or crashes, and with actual pro cycling teams.
And nothing sells Danish beer like a good bike ride.